By Carson Ross

Do I Really Need Toner?

Cleansing. Toning. Moisturizing. Scrubbing. Exfoliating. Sunscreening. Rinsing and repeating. How many of these skincare steps are actually necessary and when do you draw the line and say enough is enough?

Of all the products we’re told to buy, there is one shrouded in mystery beyond the others: toner.

But toner isn’t just a superfluous extra step in your skincare routine, it’s actually the subtle star of the show, working behind the scenes to make the better understood steps like washing and moisturizing work more effectively.   

Toner is super effective at cleaning dirt and oil out of pores, removing makeup, and hydrating the skin. Spritzing some toner on your face after cleansing removes certain minerals, like chlorine and fluoride, found in tap water that dry out the skin, and can regulate the pH levels of your skin that get thrown out of balance from alkaline soaps and face wash.

Check the label before buying toner, as different ingredients are used to address oily, dry, or combination skin types—and never EVER buy a toner that’s alcohol based. This is a sure way to completely dry out your skin. Instead, find one that’s rich in vitamins and antioxidants, and use between cleansing and moisturizing. This will really heighten the effects of your facial oil or cream, as wet skin is much more permeable than dry skin, and more likely to soak up the vitamins in that final step.

So rather than thinking of toner as a dark, mysterious stranger, think of it more as the quiet, mysterious girl in the back of the class. She may be shy, but once you get to know her, you realize she’s actually quite brilliant—and doesn’t she have fantastic skin?