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Toners Are More Than An Extra Step In Your Skincare Routine

Much more than just bottles of fancy, coloured water, toners do surprisingly more than they look. There are myths that need to be debunked, though...
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Ask yourself this right now: does your skincare routine involve a toner? On the surface, toners feel a bit gimmicky, quite literally. It is neither serum, moisturiser nor essence. It isn’t a makeup remover, but somehow a cotton pad is required. Is it just coloured water?

Thing is, as I’ve come to realise after converting from a what-the-hell-even-is-a-toner person to oh-my-god-where-has-it-been-all-my-life person, toner is key to healthy skin. Really. It isn’t fluff. You see, you can cleanse your skin of the makeup, but sometimes stuff gets left behind. That toner steps in as the last line of attack, cleansing your skin and riding it of impurities, oil and grime while adding a bit of the good stuff into those pores. That’s why that cotton pad is necessary and not an accessory. Take it like the final step of a cleansing routine that will help remove any last bits of makeup or sunscreen, especially after a long and sweaty day.

Toners also help to balance the skin’s pH levels, which may have been affected by alkaline soaps such like your facial wash. It’s also super refreshing, moisturising and certain types are light exfoliants, too. Just one thing: don’t listen to those that claim to shrink your pores. Your pores aren’t shrinkable – they’re genetically determined. Bam. Truth bomb. What you can do, however, is to keep those pores clean and dirt free, which is the reason why a toner is so important.

Just like any other type of product out there, there are simply too many toners to choose from. Which one’s good? Will this suit my skin type? What if it ruins my skin forever? Now, now – don’t panic. There are a couple of pointers to look out for.

Firstly, eliminate any that has alcohol in its ingredients list, because it can majorly dry out your complexion. (We also happen to have a list of ingredients that you should avoid in your skincare routine, here.) Secondly, read those labels and look out for toners that cater to your specific skin type. Lastly, take note of what your skin needs and feed it accordingly. Look out for hydrating ingredients like these good-for-you oils and moisturising acids.

There are facial mists that are commonly labelled as toners. We love mists, but toners work better when a cotton pad is involved. Gotta give that face a good final wipe down. If we’ve convinced you to start the toner life, we’ve gathered some alcohol-free ones that’ll propel you into the life of smooth and clear skin.


NYDG Skincare Luminizing Skin Essence


African Botanics Rose Treatment Essence


Kat Burki PH+ Enzyme Essence


Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Brightening Botanical Essence


Chantecaille Pure Rosewater


Sunday Riley Martian Mattifying Melting Water-Gel Toner


By Terry Cellularose Hydra-Toner

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