Monday, 15 July 2013


A while ago Darphin's Intral Toner was my Product of the Week and I confessed to not really know what a toner should be doing and why you should use one. Cue me doing lots of research into toners, their uses and ingredients.

The term 'toner' now seems to cover a lot of products that actually do different things. The skin has an acid mantle of sweat andoils that you produce naturally. A cleanser will strip these away and change the pH balance. A little oil is a good thing as the acids prevent bacteria build up but a good toner will keep very oily skin in check. The delicate balance of the oils in the skin means normal soap is usually too harsh for the softer skin on your face. So a routine of using the right cleansers, toners and moisturisers is better than scrubbing away with soap everyday.

Life is dehydrating - heating, air conditioners, smoke, traffic all dry the skin out. A good toner can re-balance the skin after cleansing, reduce the penetration of impurities and environmental contaminants to the skin, gently exfoliate without using any harsh grains, hydrate the skin by attracting moisture from the air and help your moisturiser absorb into the skin. Traditional toners soothe while the more astringent toners tighten the skin and remove oil. Refreshing toners tighten the skin and are usually alcohol free, balancing the pH of the skin after cleansing. Though it's worth mentioning the skin would normally do this naturally after half an hour or so.

Your toners should contain a humectant (for example glycerin) to attract and keep moisture. Astringent toners with a high proportion of alcohol (20-60%) are good for oily skin. Alcohol is alright in toners if they are concentrated by glycerin. It's the alcohol in a toner which makes your skin feel tight after use.

Anything using AHA's (alpha hydroxy acid) must have a warning on it as it makes your skin more sensitive to the sun but actually glycolic is the only one that has this effect. Of course really you should always use an SPF when going out in the sun.
Ingredients to look out for:
  • Glycolic or alpha hydroxy acids loosen excess accumulation of dead skin and exfoliates.
  • Witch-hazel tones and firms.
  • Ginseng naturally supplies the skin with oxygen.
  • Pineapple is an anti-inflamatory 
  • Papaya extract hydrates
  • Alpine herbs soften and plump the skin
  • Salicylic acid causes the skin cells to shed more easily.
  • Peony flower extract or royal jelly are good for moisture in toners.
Some of my favourite toners are the First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads, Pixi Glow Tonic and Environ AVST toner for when I need something really basic.

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