The Evolution Of Skin Toners

We are all aware of the 3-step routine: cleanse, tone and moisturise, but do we really need that second step? Skin toners can be beneficial, but you may have found yourself questioning whether or not they are truly essential.

After all, this regimen was popularised in the 1960s, when women were often taught to value their appearance above all else. Unfortunately, they seldom questioned what the products they were being encouraged to use could be doing to their skin.

The purpose of this blog isn’t to share the horrors of historical skincare regimes, but rather to shed some light on whether we still need skin toners. In recent years, newer, more sophisticated PH balancing cleansing formulas have been developed and the benefits of active ingredients have become more obvious than ever before.

Toners is Earlier Skin Care Routines

Sixty years ago, one of the most important steps in any woman’s skincare routine was using a very soapy cleanser to wash off her makeup at the end of a long day. This would’ve left the skin squeaky clean. The second step would be to introduce a skin toner, this was used to restore pH levels after the acid mantle was disrupted with a highly alkaline cleanser. Skin toners were also useful in wiping away any excess makeup or cleanser that was left on the skin after it was washed.

Back then, a nightly routine was akin to a woman’s skin being put through a car wash, after which, in an effort to rehydrate the skin, a heavy moisturiser was probably used to overcompensate for the abrasive cleansing techniques used by so many.

Luckily, in 2022 we know much more about skin types, ingredients and how to look after our skin to avoid and minimise any potential damage to our skin’s natural barrier.

What Role Do Skin Toners Play In Our Skincare Regimes Today?

Before we pass judgement on toners, it is important to note that they have become much more sophisticated in recent years. Thanks to advances in aesthetic practises over time, the role of a skin toner may have become more than just to balance PH levels.

Hydrating mists, pH balancing sprays and brightening AHA products can all fall under the toner umbrella, with the thin consistency of these products playing a vital role in their classification. These products aren’t typically made using alcohol anymore, which means they are less drying for the skin. They often contain calming ingredients, gentle AHAs and thermal waters to cater to different skin types, making them useful in the management of many common skin concerns.

The Benefits Of Skin Toners

There are many benefits to using a skin toner in your skincare routine and the right one for you depends entirely on your skin type and individual concerns. Some general benefits include:

  • Toners in the form of mists can help to lock in moisture, making them ideal for those struggling with dry, irritated skin.
  • They are considered useful for oily skin/oily T-zones in astringent formulations but they can also have a drying effect because some brands still use harsh alcohol formulations. It is always important to check ingredient lists prior to purchasing a new toner.
  • Congested skin (often characterised by small, under-the-skin bumps on the forehead) often benefits from BHA-based toners.
  • AHA-based toners can be used to effectively brighten the skin and help to fade acne scarring.

However, I would advise you to err on the side of caution when using trendy AHA-based skin toners, such as exfoliating pads with glycolic acid. These products can be damaging to the skin when used every single day. Overuse of these seemingly handy pads can lead to the skin’s protective barrier being compromised, but this doesn’t mean that they are inherently bad for your skin.

A Final Word On Toners

Facial toners have made something of a comeback in recent years, with more versatile and sophisticated formulations. Products that contain essential active ingredients for certain skin types can be very useful additions to anyone’s skincare routine, but they don’t have to be classified as toners. These products might deliver better results that you wish to see from the use of a toner.

Two of my favourite formulations are the Clinisoothe Skin Purifier and the AlumierMD Bright and Clear Solution.

Clinisoothe’s offering is great for calming inflammation and neutralising the skin’s pH level and bacterial activity. AlumierMD Bright and Clear Solution, on the other hand, contains lactic acid and salicylic acid, which are perfect for keeping the skin bright and refreshed. These products are both available on my webshop.

If you want to learn more about which products are right for your skin, or to book in for a consultation, please get in touch.

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