Skin Is In: Toner Deaf

After last week’s intensive training session on the art of cleaning your face, it’s expected that you’re all just itching to find out what to do next. Toning: it’s something I only picked up in the past year or so and has made a lot of difference to my skin.

It may seem like an unnecessary or pointless addition to your skincare routine but read on because it could be the blackhead cure you’ve been waiting for. If you’re worried about your credit card taking a bit of a beating, remember these wise words: travel size. I swear by travel size products because it means you get to shop around a little trying different products before finding “The One”. Of course it doesn’t hurt that you can try out some of the fancier products when the cost and size are halved, if you look hard enough (cough Ebay cough) you will find most brands offer sample/travel sizes.

Toning is a cause of confusion for a lot of people because the name implies something altogether different to what it actually is. Toners are merely a way to keep that skin clean throughout the day by tightening pores so less dirt can get in. That is it. They don’t even out your skin tone, nor do they do anything for wrinkles. But toning is a very important step that’s often missed out in a lot of young people’s skincare regimes; those pores need to be tight for your skin to appear smoother and to prevent nasty blackheads from appearing, it also prepares your skin for moisturising and god knows your skin needs to soak up all it can when the cold weather strikes.

There is an art to choosing the right toner for you, if you have sensitive skin you need a very mild formula and should look for 0-10% alcohol otherwise you can end up looking like a dried up leather purse. Kiehl’s Cucumber Herbal Toner contains no alcohol and soothes any redness in the skin as an added bonus, perfect for the grueling ordeal your skin goes through in winter.

Kiehl's Cucumber Herbal Toner - £16.50
Kiehl’s Cucumber Herbal Toner £16.50


If you have oily skin you can be a little more liberal with your alcohol content – of the toner, not in general – because you require a little more dryness. Going for an astringent formula such as this Equalizing Toner Spray from SkinCeuticals will balance you out. It contains botanical extracts such as witch hazel, rosemary, aloe and chamomile soften, soothe, and tone the skin. Fragrance-free and oil-free this pricey number contains anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.

SkinCeuticals Equalizing Toner £22
SkinCeuticals Equalizing Toner £22

Last but never least: all of you crazy cats with combination skin are better off sticking to a skin tonic with a medium range alcohol content of 10-20%. If you have an oily T-Zone but are dry everywhere else, it might suit you best to buy both sensitive and oily toner products and apply both to the areas that need it most – your bank balance probably won’t like this but your face will. If you feel like you have middle of the road skin that behaves itself most of the time then something simple and suitable for all like The Body Shop’s Seaweed Clarifying Toner will suit you down to the ground.

The Body Shop Seaweed Clarifying Toner £8.50
The Body Shop Seaweed Clarifying Toner £8.50

So now we know the basics on toner, we are ready to move on to the next riveting chapter of our skin saga: moisturising. Enjoy the brief nature of this article because it’s about to get a whole lot wordier next week. Class dismissed.

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