Now we know the what whys and hows of toning onto the good stuff, what should you be using?
Unlike cleansing there really are only 2 ways to tone your face; swipe it over your face on cotton wool or spray it directly onto your skin in a spritz.
My my my, what a lot of trouble I had finding toners to recommend! One thing has become very clear; a lot of toners have terrible ingredients! It's much harder to find a reputable list of toners to recommend than cleansers, I didn't realise there was so much denatured alcohol sitting on the chemist shelves. But hopefully what follows is a list of good toners that you can trust have the right ingredients. Look out for the best toner in the world DIY at the end!!
Traditional toner for dry or dehydrated skins
This is probably the most traditional and oldest type of toner there is! But it's pretty hard to get hold of it now without extra chemicals. This one is from boots, just £2.59 and it's usually buried away on a strange shelf somewhere, it's not even listed under toners on the website! But if you have dry or dehydrated skin I'm sure you've read lots of times before how good rose oil is for dry or dehydrated skin, and using rosewater as your toner should restore comfort to tight uncomfortable skin and hydrate ready for your next step in your skincare regimen.
|Rosewater and Glycerin toner, £2.59 from Boots|
So called toners for sensitive skin are hiding a lot of irritating ingredients in their formulas but here is
a toner from the body shop - BUAV approved! - with a beautiful (short) list of ingredients. Aloe vera is a gel direct from the leaves of the plant and is widely used in all kinds of skincare for its soothing qualities. I have not tried this one but if you have sensitive skin you can try this one with total peace of mind that it shan't make your skin worse. Please let me know what you think of it!
|Aloe Vera toner £8.50 from The Body Shop|
Now down to serious business. For some reason the skincare world hears "oily" or "acne prone" and decides to throw every irritating, drying, astringent, downright awful ingredient to attack your face! For that reason I've had to go more expensive for this one. Lots of these toners are meant to take advantage of teen girls, i.e. dry up the oil as much as possible in the short term and maybe they won't notice the long term mess. What it comes down to is this, there is no reason to dry out your skin. Oily or acne prone skin needs the same gentle care as sensitive or dehydrated skin. If you find you have a lot of those painful big red spots use a calming toner for sensitive skin. If oil control is your priority try Paula's choice toner for balancing. A great ingredients list, non-irritating, non-drying, these guys know what they're doing!
|£19.25 from Paula's choice|
I can't stop myself from raving about this DIY toner! IF you're acne prone like me (check out my acne story) have a go at this toner. it WORKS. Use it twice a day on cotton wool swiped across the skin after cleansing. If you have sensitive or dry skin but need to deal with those blemishes simply use one of the modifications mentioned.
|Apple cider vinegar and green tea DIY toner.|
Try this from John Masters organics. I won't lie, I want this! With a dream of an ingredients list including rose, aloe vera and oat oil, this should do the business of calming, hydrating and purifying everybody's skin! But, yeah, it ain't cheap.
|£21 from feelunique.com|
Alcohol denat. - denatured alcohol is listed among the main ingredients of many toners for oily skin, I even found one very expensive so-called 'premium brand' toner which listed it as the main ingredient. AVOID IT! This is one of those awful, drying, irritating ingredients you've been hearing about!
Fragrance, perfume or parfum - I had to reject SO MANY toners from this guide because in the first 5 or 6 ingredients fragrance was listed. Whether natural or synthetic fragrance has no benefits for your skin. At all. It's irritating, even if you can't tell, it's working against all the good things in your skincare, just leave it on the shelf and walk away!
Hamamelis Virginiana or Witch Hazel - Witch hazel is great to use on a spot but not over your whole face. It is an stringent which works by making your pores sting to close them up. NOT good, avoid avoid avoid
Methylparaben - parabens are an awkward one, not technically bad for your skin but if you want to avoid spots and blemishes avoid anything with this inside.
Toners has proven to be a much bigger topic than I thought when I first started researching for this guide. I discovered the DIY Green tea and apple cider vinegar about 4 years and have used no other product since. However, even if you're not attracted to the toners mentioned, I hope you feel like you have the tools to go out into the shopping jungle and know what to steer clear of.
I might do a couple of fluffier posts before diving into the next What Why How guide for moisturiser! Hope you don't mind!
Time for some tea I think!
Ciao for now