With a million different types of skin care products out there, doesn’t it seem like your skin care routine is constantly expanding? Well, it turns out that despite this you might be overlooking one skin care product that’s been around for quite a long time—we’re talking about face toner. Yes, toner! You probably remember using the stuff in your middle school days, but did you know that it’s still worth considering as part of your current skin care routine, whether you have dry skin or oily skin? Yep, that’s right! And if you’re reading this and still wondering, ‘what is face toner?’ then get ready to take a refresher course on toner. Here, we’re breaking down exactly what toner does for skin, how to use toner, and—possibly most importantly—sharing our best face toner.
WHAT IS FACE TONER?
Simply speaking, toner is a skin care product with a liquid consistency that’s meant to be used right after cleansing and before applying serum and moisturizer. Toner is usually intended to be used on only the face and can be applied via a saturated cotton pad.
WHAT DOES TONER DO FOR SKIN?
Depending on which toner you use, it can have quite a few benefits. Most popularly, a toner can help to ensure that dirt, excess oil, leftover facial cleanser, and any other impurities are swept away from your skin’s surface after cleansing. Other versions of toner are strictly for hydrating the skin, and some also come in facial spray form. Depending on the formula you choose, a toner can also refresh your skin, help it look brighter, and leave it feeling soft and smooth. Some also claim to help tighten and shrink the appearance of pores and help to even out skin tone. Pretty neat, right? Toner is a very versatile product that can be customized to your skin care needs and concerns, and unlike the toners your parents may have used, many of today’s formulas aren’t formulated with alcohol and therefore won’t dry out your skin.
SHOULD YOU USE A TONER?
Now that you know all about the benefits of toner, you might be trying to determine whether or not it’s a worthwhile skin care product to add to your skin care routine. Well, it really depends on the individual. Some people may find that they need an extra bit of cleansing, making toner a useful addition, while others may not want to make their routine any longer by tacking on an extra step. It truly depends. If you think there’s room for a toner in your routine, know that anyone can use one—you just need to find a toner with the right benefits and ingredients for you. If you have dry or sensitive skin, keep this in mind: According to the American Academy of Dermatology, alcohol-based toners can potentially irritate your skin, so check the label first to ensure the toner you buy is alcohol-free.
OUR BEST FACE TONER
Intrigued by toner and want to add one to your skin care routine? Turn your attention to our best toner, the L’Oréal Paris HydraFresh Toner. This toner is 99 percent alcohol-free and has a gentle, non-drying formula. It’s formulated with beta hydroxy acid and pro-vitamin B5 to help gently sweep away dull, tired-looking skin and protect against moisture loss. It also refreshes skin, helps to reveal a brighter-looking complexion, and leaves skin feeling soft and supple. To use, apply it to your skin with a cotton ball in the morning and at night.
Now, if you’re waiting for our best toner for oily skin—you’ve already found it. The HydraFresh toner can be considered our best toner for dry, oily, and combination skin. Everyone can benefit from a gentle, non-drying toner.
HOW TO USE TONER
So, you’ve decided you want to start using a toner—but when, exactly, do you apply it? Typically, you should apply skin care products based on their consistency, going from thin to thick—but where does toner fall? We’re here to break down the right skin care routine order for days when you're using toner. Below, find a basic skin care routine that includes using toner!
STEP 1: DO AN INITIAL CLEANSE WITH MICELLAR WATER
First things first: It’s important to start off your skin care routine by cleansing your face to help remove makeup and also wash away any dirt, excess oils, and impurities that are on the surface of your skin. As for which cleanser to use, have your pick from the L'Oréal Paris Micellar Cleansing Water Complete Cleanser for Normal to Oily Skin, which purifies and mattifies, the L'Oréal Paris Micellar Cleansing Water Complete Cleanser for Normal to Dry Skin, which hydrates and soothes, or the L'Oréal Paris Micellar Cleansing Water Waterproof – All Skin Types, which intensely purifies. Pour some of your micellar water of choice onto a cotton pad and wipe the pad across your face gently.
STEP 2: USE A RINSE-OFF FACIAL CLEANSER
After you’ve done an initial cleanse with micellar water, pick up a rinse-off facial cleanser. Try the L'Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Detox & Brighten Facial Cleanser, L'Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Purify & Mattify Facial Cleanser, or L'Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Exfoliate & Refine Facial Cleanser, all of which are formulated to rid the surface of your skin of impurities and seamlessly transform from clay to mousse. Squeeze a small amount of facial cleanser into your hands, add water to transform it from clay to mousse, then gently massage it onto your skin before rinsing off thoroughly and patting dry.
STEP 3: MASSAGE TONER ACROSS YOUR FACE
This is where toner comes in! Using a cotton ball or pad, gently sweep toner across your face to help rid the surface of your skin of any impurities that might still remain. Depending on the toner you use, this step can also help hydrate or brighten the appearance of your skin. Most toners can be used twice a day, morning and night, to prep your complexion for the rest of your skin care routine.
STEP 4: APPLY FACIAL SERUM
Typically, facial serums are highly concentrated formulas that address specific issues, like fine lines and wrinkles or dark spots. Facial serums can also help to improve the overall appearance of your skin. If you’re new to using serums, too, we have a couple of options for you.
If you have dull skin…try the L'Oréal Paris Age Perfect Cell Renewal Golden Serum. This serum can help revitalize dull skin and also minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles with continued use over time.
If you have dry skin…try the L'Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 1.5% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum. This powerful serum will visibly plump and nourish skin with continued use over time.
STEP 5: DAB ON EYE CREAM
Next up: Eye cream! Post-facial serum application, reach for an eye cream to help address the appearance of skin care concerns such as dark circles, crow’s feet, or puffiness. The skin around your eyes is very delicate, so it requires special care. If fine lines and wrinkles are your biggest concern, reach for the L'Oréal Paris Age Perfect Eye Renewal Eye Cream. For general de-puffing and hydration, try the L'Oréal Paris Age Perfect Hydra Nutrition Manuka Honey Eye Gel instead.
STEP 6: SMOOTH ON MOISTURIZER
Remember: Moisturized skin = happy skin! Look for a moisturizer designed for your specific skin type—and yes, you should use one even if you have oily skin. Try the L’Oréal Paris Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care for Normal to Oily Skin, L’Oréal Paris Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care for Normal to Dry Skin, or L’Oréal Paris Hydra Genius Daily Liquid Care for Extra Dry Skin. These water-based moisturizers are formulated with hyaluronic acid and aloe vera water to help provide long-lasting hydration.
STEP 7: APPLY BROAD-SPECTRUM SUNSCREEN IN THE MORNING
When it comes to your morning beauty routine, broad-spectrum sunscreen is crucial. Spending time out in the sun sans protection can lead to damage, which can show up down the road as visible signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles and dark spots. The Food & Drug Administration recommends wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF value of 15 or higher every day. Sunscreen should be the last step in your morning skin care routine, so apply it as directed after your moisturizer and about 15 minutes before you go outside—and remember to reapply at least every two hours!
Of course, sunscreen isn’t the only sun protection measure you should take in the morning. You should also limit your amount of time in the sun during peak hours (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), seek shade when you’re outside, and cover up exposed areas in long sleeves, pants, a broad-brimmed hat, and UV-blocking sunglasses.
BONUS STEP: USE A FACE SCRUB OR FACE MASK
While there are some steps you should take in your skin care routine every day, there are others that you only need to do a couple of times a week. That’s the case for face scrubs and face masks. Both of these skin care products can help perfect the appearance of your skin. If you want to exfoliate, reach for a gentle sugar scrub, like the L'Oréal Paris Pure-Sugar Smooth & Glow Grapeseed Scrub, L'Oréal Paris Pure-Sugar Purify & Unclog Kiwi Scrub, or L'Oréal Paris Pure-Sugar Nourish & Soften Cocoa Scrub, three times a week.
To show your skin a little TLC, you can reach for a face mask instead. Use the L'Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Detox & Brighten Face Mask, L'Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Purify & Mattify Face Mask, L'Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Exfoliate & Refining Face Mask, L'Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Clear & Comfort Face Mask, or L'Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Clarify & Smooth Face Mask two to three times a week for best results.
5 other ways to use toner
That’s right—the uses of facial toner go beyond what we've already covered! In fact, there are plenty of other ways in which to use toner and maximize its benefits.
1. CHILL OUT
On a hot day, there’s nothing better than cooling down your skin. You can do that by storing certain skin care products in your fridge—including toner. Pop your bottle of toner in your refrigerator (or a designated skin care fridge) for a few minutes before you want to use it, then take it out, pour some onto a cotton pad, and sweep the pad over your complexion in circular motions to refresh your skin.
2. CLEANSE YOUR NECK AND CHEST
Toner doesn’t have to be reserved solely for your face. You can use it to cleanse your neck and chest, too. Extending your skin care routine past your jawline is important—your neck and chest are likely to be the first areas to show signs of aging if you don’t take care of them. So, post-cleansing, apply toner on your neck and chest as well as your face.
3. REFRESH ON THE GO
When you’re traveling, you may notice that your skin becomes drier. If you’re flying, the air in a plane can dry out your complexion, making refreshing whenever you can a necessity. So, make sure to bring a bottle of our hydrating toner with you the next time you have a flight scheduled. Pour some out into a travel-sized bottle—and pack cotton balls, too—so that you can fit it in your carry-on bag.
4. PREP FOR MAKEUP
In addition to exfoliating and protecting against moisture loss, our toner also leaves skin feeling soft and supple. Soft skin is key for makeup application (because no one wants to apply makeup over flaky skin!), so prep your skin for foundation and concealer by toning after cleansing. Then, follow up with a thin layer of primer to create an even canvas for the rest of your makeup application.
Now you know how to use toner as part of your skin care routine! For your next skin care lesson, head on over to our article, What Is Cica Cream?