The Truth About Toners: Debunking Myths and Choosing Wisely

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Good morning, Today, I’m writing this article as a follow-up to last week’s because it’s important. Last time, we talked about skincare products we can skip. Now, let’s dive into toners, especially since many of you asked about them in the comments.

If you don’t have time to read this post right now, why not save it for later?

The Truth About Toners
The Truth About Toners: Debunking Myths and Choosing Wisely

what’s my issue with toner?

Why am I so bothered by the term ‘toner’? Well, to put it simply, my main gripe stems from the misconception that toners are a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s not that I despise toners outright, but rather the misleading portrayal of them as some sort of miracle product. In reality, toners serve diverse purposes and should be seen as complements to serums. However, rectifying this misunderstanding requires considerable resources in terms of money, time, and effort to educate consumers. Instead, brands continue to perpetuate the traditional usage of the term ‘toner,’ adding further confusion to consumers and potentially causing skin issues

how toner is marketed?

There’s this big-name brand, you know the one, but we won’t mention it here, that insists toners are just any liquid skincare thing you slap on after cleansing. They’ve taken the broadest definition possible, which basically means any post-cleansing skin prep fits the bill. Frankly, it’s a definition so wide it’s practically meaningless. And yet, they’re sticking to it and selling toners under this umbrella.

Toners have been around for ages, but they got popularized back in the 60s and 70s. The pitch was simple: after cleansing strips your skin bare, toners swoop in to rebalance things. But let’s be real, in 2021, who actually wants that “squeaky clean” feeling? Only one celeb, apparently, and we’re not even going there. Today’s cleansers are all about being gentle, preserving your natural oils, and definitely not leaving you feeling like your face might crack if you try to smile.

But back to toners. They were originally meant to restore balance, but somewhere along the line, the marketing got lost in translation. We’ve made strides in skincare tech, but when it comes to redefining toners, not so much.

So, why am I ranting about toners today? Because if you’re using them to wipe off leftover gunk from cleansing, you’re missing the point. That’s what double cleansing or a makeup remover is for. Toners are supposed to hydrate, refresh, brighten, and leave your skin feeling silky smooth. If that’s the case, why bother with all these other products like serums and moisturizers?

Some claim toners can tighten pores and even out skin tone. How, exactly? Are they packing some secret chemical exfoliant punch? Because if they are, using that after already treating your skin with something like salicylic acid is like playing a dangerous game of pH roulette. You’re risking over-stripping your skin, throwing off its balance, and basically doing it a huge disservice.

So, here’s my gripe with the term ‘toner’: it’s become a catch-all for anything liquid you put on post-cleansing, with no real brand stepping up to define what it should actually do. And since I’m not tied to any brand, I’m here to set the record straight on how to actually use a toner in your skincare routine.

toner vs. essence

Toners and essences are pretty much the same thing, just with different names. Essences have been used for a long time in places like Japan, Korea, and China. They’re made from plants and can be good for your skin. But if you’re only using one because it smells nice, it might not be doing anything useful. Essences need to have plant ingredients that actually help your skin.

how to use toner if you choose?

Toners aren’t just about “toning” your skin—it’s more nuanced than that. The effectiveness depends on the specific brand and the ingredients it contains. While witch hazel is often touted as a do-it-all ingredient, it might not be suitable for everyone, especially those with dry or sensitive skin. Instead, think of toners as water-based products meant to follow cleansing, particularly if they provide an active ingredient that isn’t present elsewhere in your skincare routine.

For instance, if your cleanser doesn’t contain any chemical exfoliants but you want a gentle exfoliation, a toner with alpha hydroxy acid and a water base could be a beneficial addition between cleansing and applying serum and moisturizer.

If you’re using a toner to deliver antioxidants that aren’t typically found in your serums, that’s a smart move. Similarly, if your toner contains peptides that you want to apply before moisturizing, that’s another valuable step you’re adding to your routine. Ultimately, it’s about understanding your skin’s needs and selecting the right products to address them effectively.

So, my point with this article is, First off, there’s no one-size-fits-all definition for toners. They’re as varied as skincare itself. Second, don’t treat toners like they’re your backup cleanser or makeup remover. Stick to using them for what they’re meant for.

If you’re into toners, use them with a clear purpose in mind. Know what active ingredients they contain and what benefits they offer. For instance, toners packed with active ingredients are often a hit for folks with oily, acne-prone skin. These lightweight formulas can help without adding to the oiliness.

But again, that’s just one person’s take. Maybe it’s time for the big skincare brands to rethink how they define toners. After all, it’s not a one-size-fits-all deal. It’s all about what those active ingredients can do for your skin.

The Bottom Line

I hope this article helped you understand toners better. In simple terms, toner is a water-based product with active ingredients that help your skin in different ways. It’s important to know what your skin needs when choosing a toner because everyone’s skin is different.

Feel free to leave any questions or feedback in the comments. I truly value my readers’ input.

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