There are just a few skincare staples which are non-negotiable for all pores and skin sorts—cleansers and sunscreen amongst them. But what about age-old but usually mystifying toners? Are they an integral a part of a cleaning routine, an non-compulsory add-on, or just superfluous?

To higher perceive toner, its advantages, and finest practices, we consulted Dr. Nancy Samolitis of our go-to LA skincare haven, FACILE dermatology + boutique.

For starters, what’s toner?

Toner is a liquid answer used after cleaning to clear away traces of extra product and stability your pores and skin’s pH degree. Essentially, it provides your pores and skin a clear slate in order that it could possibly higher take in merchandise utilized afterward. Dr. Samolitis prefers utilizing a tender cotton pad to use toner, whereas others go for gauze pads or immediately use their arms (à la Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski).

What’s really in it?

“Traditional toners were largely alcohol based, which could cause irritation and dryness. Many of them also contained witch hazel and/or salicylic acid to clarify acne-prone skin,” Dr. Samolitis explains. However, the toner market has skilled a latest renaissance of types, increasing to deal with extra skincare issues. “Now there are many kinds of toners available, including those with micellar water, rose water, essential oils, and emollients such as glycerin to provide more hydration,” she continues.

Can you continue to use an exfoliating toner in case your routine contains different actives?

“Toners can enhance the penetration of active ingredients by removing excess oil and skin debris prior to applying those actives,” says Dr. Samolitis. “Toners with a mixture of exfoliating acids in gentle concentrations (glycolic, salicylic, or lactic acid) are finest for this function.”

To keep away from compromising your pores and skin barrier, slowly introduce new merchandise and energetic substances. To play it protected, you can begin by diluting a cotton pad with water earlier than making use of toner. You may also construct up from a patch check to as soon as weekly, each different day, every day, and twice every day primarily based in your pores and skin’s response.

Additionally, when you use medical-grade topicals, you must rotate (quite than layer) exfoliating toner in your routine. For occasion, tone within the morning and apply your Rx energetic at night time—or swap them out by the day. Of course, it’s at all times suggested to seek the advice of your dermatologist to tailor your personal distinctive routine.

What pores and skin sorts ought to and shouldn’t use toner?

Dr. Samolitis says there’s no easy reply since pores and skin sorts and issues are distinctive to the person. However, “toner is most beneficial for people who have very oily or acne-prone skin and need a bit of extra exfoliation to clarify pores.” Conversely, “anyone with sensitive skin, eczema, allergies, rosacea, or dry skin should be cautious of toners in general,” she says. Essentially, this latter group would fare higher with hydrating and replenishing (vs. energetic and exfoliating) toners.


If you’d like to include toner into your skincare routine, make sure that it’s suited to your pores and skin sort. Here are just a few beneficial toners primarily based on totally different pores and skin sorts and issues:

Sunday Riley Martian Mattifying Melting Water-Gel Toner

Oily Skin

Oily-skinned people: Know that gels are your good friend. Sunday Riley’s Martian Mattifying Melting Water-Gel Toner cools and clarifies with potent oil-zapping powerhouses together with bentonite clay and witch hazel.

Boscia Resurfacing Treatment Toner

Acne-Prone Skin

Boscia has been providing Japanese-inspired, preservative-free skincare merchandise for almost 20 years. Their Resurfacing Treatment Toner is nice for acne-prone pores and skin because it incorporates each salicylic acid to purify pores and glycolic acid to shed useless pores and skin cells. Bonus: It additionally incorporates vitamin C-rich apple cider vinegar, a stable supply from which to get your collagen repair.

Caudalie Moisturizing Toner

Dry Skin

Caudalie is a vine-to-visage French skincare firm that prizes plant-based and essential-oil formulations. The star ingredient of their Moisturizing Toner, vinolevure, concurrently hydrates dry pores and skin whereas defending your pores and skin barrier.

Dr. Barbara Sturm Balancing Toner

Sensitive Skin

Hailing from Germany, Dr. Barbara Sturm is an aesthetic medical knowledgeable with a line of celeb-approved, cult-fave skincare merchandise. With nurturing and replenishing substances together with hyaluronic acid, her Balancing Toner is ideal for these searching for a non-irritating, light-weight possibility.

Simply put, is toner mandatory or a pleasant to have?

Dr. Samolitis confirms that toner, in reality, isn’t important for many pores and skin sorts. However, since totally different formulations will help hold breakouts at bay, forestall dehydrated pores and skin, and obtain a brightening glow, you possibly can nonetheless attain to your tonic of selection with confidence.


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