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PSA: Your skin deserves any and all TLC you can possibly give it.
As someone who dealt with oily skin and severe cystic acne for most of his teenage years, skincare was, and still is, an absolute obsession of mine. The search for a routine or product that works for you takes a lot of trial and error, but when you do it’s one of the best feelings ever.
But something I found that works for almost all skin types is a regimen that consists of cleansing, toning, and moisturizing. Whatever little things you want to use in between are totally great and all, but in my opinion, toner is easily one of the most underrated steps in any skincare routine.
But what in the world does toner actually do?
A toner is typically a liquid that goes on the skin after you’ve finish washing your face with your chosen cleanser. It’s basically an extra punch that will further clean out your pores and get rid of anything that may be left over after cleansing.
According to esthetician Renée Rouleau, toners help restore and maintain the skin’s pH balance, which is incredibly important when trying to keep skin healthy. Studies have shown that the pH of certain soaps can bother your skin, so you’re going to want a toner that doesn’t add insult to injury. This is especially important if you already have dry or combination skin — you don’t want to dry your skin out even more
So because there’s a weird balancing act in keeping track of all of this, finding the right toner for you can be a little tricky. So, to make things simple, here are a few toners that might work for you based on your skin type.
For oily skin
So if you’re like me and have really oily or acne-prone skin, a toner that gets rid of most oil without drying you out like a raisin is a must. Something that I found to work really well in the past — and that’s also pretty cheap — is Thayer’s Alcohol-free Rose Petal Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera.
Witch hazel is really great because it’s 100% natural and does everything that a good toner is supposed to do. Since it’s a part of the astringent family — a category of chemicals that dry out the skin by stripping it of its oils — be sure not to go too overboard when applying this product.
Witch hazel was also shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, making it potentially useful for helping ease the redness and swelling of existing pimples. So if you’re in a bit of rut with your acne struggle, this toner could benefit you.
One warning though: Don’t pick one with alcohol in it. Alcohol dries out the skin, and adding it to something like witch hazel that already cleans out your oily pores will only irritate your skin even further.
Thayer’s doesn’t have alcohol in it, so you’re pretty much in the clear. Just don’t over-use it, because too much witch hazel can be a little rough, in my experience.
For normal and combination skin
For anyone out there who has normal or combination skin, the toner you incorporate into your routine should be something that will cleanse, but also rejuvenate.
If that’s the case, Lush’s Tea Tree Water might be a good bet because it claims to be cleansing and not overly drying. As the name suggests, this toner features tea tree oil, an ingredient that may help with existing acne.
I chose Lush specifically for this type of toner because the company’s products are 100% natural and they don’t test on animals. It’s also a guilt-free purchase, thanks to a price of less than $11.
For dry skin
For people who have dry skin, you definitely want to use a toner that will 1,000% moisturize, but cleanse as well. While the Tea Tree Water from Lush is a great option for targeting small breakouts, you might want to consider something a little more hydrating.
Clarin’s Extra-Comfort Toning Lotion is a solid option considering it’s made specifically for dry skin. While I personally haven’t tried this product, it has 22 5-star reviews on the Clarins website that claim it doesn’t leave skin dry after use.
This toner contains aloe vera, a plant-derived substance that has excellent moisturizing properties, and is an especially soothing ingredient to work with. This product is also alcohol-free, so no drying or cracking here! One caveat: For $26, it’s more expensive than our other picks.
It’s up to you, though!
Depending on your skin type, any of these three products are solid options to consider if you’re looking to incorporate a toner into your routine and don’t know which one to start with. But don’t simply take our word for it — there are tons of toners out there, and you won’t know what works for you unless you’re willing to experiment.