With a myriad of skin care products at your disposal, it may seem like your skin care routine is constantly growing and evolving. Despite this, you may be overlooking one skin care product that’s been around for quite some time — face toner. You probably remember using the stuff in your middle school days, but since then, what we remember as harsh, astringent toner that often dried out our skin has had an impressive transformation.
Shifting towards gentle, hydrating qualities and alcohol-free formulas, toner is a necessary skin care step that only elevates your routine. Whether you have dry skin or oily skin, toner’s quick benefits make a strong case for adding it to your fall and winter skin care routine. So, take notes as we break down exactly what toner does for your skin, how to use it and most importantly, which toners deserve a spot on your top shelf.
What Is Face Toner?
The toner that you used in middle school is nothing like the toner that beauty lovers and K-Beauty loyalists are reaching for now. What used to be a harsh, alcohol or witch hazel, based astringent liquid is now mostly alcohol-free, hydrating and used to target issues such as dark spots, large pores and dull skin.
Toner may look like water to the naked eye, but don’t underestimate this quick-absorbing liquid’s power to boost hydration and plump skin while gently addressing your skin’s concerns. Toner is meant to be used right after cleansing and before applying serums and moisturizer — think of it as a primer for your skin care that aids absorption for the rest of your routine.
What Does Toner Do for the Skin?
Some toner formulas strictly hydrate the skin, while others can also refresh, brighten and leave skin feeling soft and smooth. Some also claim to help tighten and shrink the appearance of pores, remove dead skin cells and even out skin tone. Many of today’s formulas are developed without alcohol and therefore, won’t dry out your skin or increase sensitivities.
Overall, toner is versatile in nature and this skin care step can be customized to suit your ever-changing skin care needs. One thing that many toners have in common is the way they boost hydration and improve absorption for your serums, active ingredients and moisturizer.
When Should I Use Toner?
Consider toner a wonderful addition to both your morning and night routines. Depending on what type of toner you reach for, you may want to limit use to once a day if you’re using a formula with active ingredients such as alpha hydroxy acids.
Always reach for toner after cleansing your skin. Applying your serums and moisturizers onto a damp complexion will help to draw in moisture, allowing you to get the most benefits out of your skin care. Thankfully, due to toner’s watery texture, it doesn’t feel heavy or sticky on the skin and it layers well with the rest of your routine.
How Should I Apply Toner?
Lightly press toner onto the skin with clean hands or with a saturated cotton pads. While a liquid formula is most popular, it may also come in spray, gel or cream form.
The Best Toners for Your Skin Concerns
The best toner for your skin is the one that can satisfy your needs. Whether that’s to boost hydration, remove dead skin cells or fade dark spots, your skin care routine is better when you add one into the mix. Check out our favorite toners to consider.
The Best Toner for Dark Spots and Dull Skin
Put dark spots in your past with the L’Oréal Paris RevitaLift Derm Intensives 5 Percent Glycolic Acid Peeling Toner. Formulated with glycolic acid and aloe vera, this alcohol-free facial toner is gentle for daily use and aims to remove dead skin and fade dark spots. With consistent use, skin texture is smoother and your complexion is brighter.
The Best Hydrating Toner
Turn your attention to the L’Oréal Paris HydraFresh Toner, which has an alcohol-free, gentle and non-drying formula. Made with beta hydroxy acid and pro-vitamin B5, it helps to gently sweep away dull, tired-looking skin, protect against moisture loss and brighten the skin for a soft and smooth finish.
How to Add Toner to Your Skin Care Routine
Once you decide which toner is the best fit for your skin’s concerns, adding it to your routine is simple. Here’s a routine to follow for easy introduction.
1. Start With Your First Cleanse
Kick things off by cleansing your face to remove makeup, dirt, excess oils and impurities. As for which cleanser to use, we recommend the L’Oréal Paris Micellar Cleansing Water Complete Cleanser Waterproof – All Skin Types, which intensely purifies and hydrates the skin in a single step. Simply just pour some micellar water onto a cotton pad and gently swipe the pad across your face.
2. Follow Up With a Rinse-Off Facial Cleanser
After you’ve done an initial cleanse with micellar water, pick up a rinse-off facial cleanser to remove any leftover impurities. Try the L’Oréal Paris RevitaLift Radiant Smoothing Cream Cleanser to gently cleanse, nourish the skin and boost radiance.
3. Apply Toner
Post-cleansing means it’s finally time to reach for your toner. Saturate a cotton pad with toner and gently sweep it across your complexion. Those with dry skin may find it beneficial to pour the toner onto clean hands and lightly pat it into the skin to absorb.
4. Layer on a Facial Serum
Facial serums are highly concentrated formulas that address specific issues, like fine lines and wrinkles, dryness or dark spots. Facial serums can also help to improve the overall appearance of your skin.
To lock in moisture and boost hydration, use the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 1.5% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum after your toner. Perfect for dry skin, this powerful serum works to visibly plump and nourish skin with continued use over time.
5. Apply an Eye Serum
The skin around your eyes is very delicate, so naturally, it requires special care. We recommend an eye serum to address the appearance of dark circles, crow’s feet and puffiness, like the L’Oréal Paris RevitaLift 1.5% Hyaluronic Acid + 1% Caffeine Eye Serum. Formulated with hyaluronic acid and caffeine to tackle puffiness and dark under-eyes, this serum offers a soothing, well-deserved treat for your delicate under-eyes.
6. Apply Moisturizer
Regardless of your skin type, moisturizer is always essential. The L’Oréal Paris RevitaLift Micro Hyaluronic Acid + Ceramides Line-Plumping Water Cream is a water-based moisturizer, formulated with hyaluronic acid and ceramides to lock in hydration and strengthen the skin barrier. It’s lightweight and suitable for all skin types.
In the morning, switch out your moisturizer for something with SPF like the L’Oréal Paris RevitaLift Triple Power Day Lotion SPF 30. Spending time out in the sun sans protection can lead to damage, which can show up down the road as visible signs of aging. This moisturizer-sunscreen-hybrid makes sure you never forget to apply your SPF and it’s packed with hyaluronic acid, Pro-retinol and vitamin C to firm and brighten skin over time.
Edited by: Reece Andavolgyi, Photo: Chaunte Vaughn
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