It was only a matter of time before my skincare obsession turned to toners. To be honest, toner has never been very interesting to me; it felt like an extra product that didn’t make a major difference, and therefore, one I could easily write off and put my skincare pennies to use elsewhere.

As it turns out, however, toners can change the game in how effective your other skincare products actually are.

One thing I’ve always dealt with is skin that skews towards dull and dry. No matter how much I exfoliated, or how many retinol-type products I used, it just never seemed to do the trick. Plus, I was dealing with little pesky breakouts that didn’t clear up no matter how clean I ate. Enter toners. Introducing a toner into my routine added the hydration, exfoliation and cleansing I needed to support everything else I was doing for those issues.

Here’s the deal – toners cover a lot of ground when it comes to their benefits, which can get confusing. Depending on the one you choose, they can boast benefits ranging from brightening to anti-aging to hydrating to rebalancing ph levels. If you’re feeling a little lost when it comes to toners and wondering why the heck you should use one, we’ve got answers. Scroll on for tips on how to use toners, and the best nontoxic ones for your skin type (ie. glowing skin without the junk.)

featured image: maed

image: honeynsilk

How Toners Work

There are three things we’d rather not associate with our skin: dryness, buildup, and dullness. Toners do the tough job of clearing out any lingering bits of makeup, bacteria and dirt on the skin, rebalance moisture levels and prepping skin for your skincare routine. Since most exfoliate on a chemical level (and depending on your application method, they can exfoliate on a manual level too!), your toner clears dead skin cell buildup allowing other skin products to penetrate the skin more deeply and rapidly. They take cleansing a step further and thoroughly prep skin for ultra-absorption of serums and moisturizers.

When and How to Use Toner

Toner goes on post-cleansing and pre-serum/moisturizing, day or night – or both. Apply after skin has been washed and skin is still a bit damp. Toner is also a great way to refresh post-gym skin if you can’t wash your face right away. My favorite way to apply it is with a reusable cotton round for extra exfoliating points, but simply misting on then patting in with your fingers works too. I usually wash my face at night with cleanser and then in the mornings, after a splash of cold water, use a cotton round + this toner to prep my skin for the day. That way my skin gets a nice and hydrating refresh, while leaving the more intense exfoliating and cleansing to the evenings. If you have more oily skin, toning day and night might be the way to go for you.

image: glossier

Which Toner Is For You:

Hydrating / Anti-aging for Dry Skin

Balancing for Oily Skin

Gentle for Sensitive Skin

Resurfacing for Dull Skin

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