The Basics of Toning

Written by: Swati on:

Now that we are done talking about cleansing & exfoliating let's move on with our skincare basics. What's next? Toning.
(Oh, if you haven't read the earlier posts in the series yet, I suggest you do that first and come back here - CLEANSING; EXFOLIATION - HERE & HERE)

Okay, so toners. You either use them or you don't. I fall in the former category. I like using them - yes, at any given point of time I have a couple going - I choose depending on how my skin feels or I alternate between them or use 1 in the morning & 1 at night. 
You don't need 2 or 3 necessarily. But if you aren't using any yet you might want to add 1 in your routine and up your skincare game a little.

Here are a few pointers : 

  • Toners are not cleansers. Stop using them as one. 
I know many people do it but toners are not supposed to remove the last traces of your makeup or grime. No. Just No. 

  • Say No to Alcohol
Gone are the days when getting/using an alcohol-based toner was a thing. Toners have come a long way since then.  Alcohol toners (aka astringents) dry your skin out. If you are using an alcohol-based toner, consider stopping. Alcohol = drier skin = more oil production to compensate. Of course, if the product really works for you, then continue using it, regardless of what I am saying. 

  • Toners are only for oily skins
No, they aren't. This was a common misconception especially during the time when most toners had alcohol. 
These days you get so many different ones with different purposes - hydration, exfoliation, retinol, Vit c toners you have them all.  Everyone can use a toner, irrespective of skin type.

  • Toners will not make you poreless
They are not magic. They are toners. Nothing will make your pores disappear. 
Some toners, depending on the ingredients, might make your pores shrink temporarily. But that effect will wear off. So do not expect a toner to fix/shrink pores permanently. 
Just step a few feet away from the mirror. That'll do the job. 

  • Toners balance your skin
Cleansing often changes the pH of the skin slightly and most toners bring it back to normal, quicker. And we all want well balanced skin!

  • They aid in the absorption of other skincare products

  • They decrease the amount of serums/moisturizers you need to use
I generally find that I use lesser product if I have used a toner before. This is mainly because a good toner also hydrates your skin and locks some moisture into the layers. Something like the Forest Essentials Tejas Balancing Water is a good example. 

Exfoliating toners which contain a small concentration of an acid - like Glycolic acid which help exfoliate your skin effectively but in a gentle way. (I'd recommend something like the Pixi Glow Tonic - reviewed HERE - which is a 5% glycolic acid toner). Even the Ordinary make one which is 7% in concentration. Pick up the milder one if you are new to this. 

Some use an exfoliating toner every day. Some use it on alternate days. 
It really depends on what your skin needs and can tolerate. 
I use it 3-4 times a week maximum and only at night. It is always better not to overdo anything. 
Always Always use a sunscreen the day after. 

  • If you have acne prone skin or breakouts, go for a soothing toner/spray instead of an alcohol one. I especially love Serozinc from La Roche Posay - reviewed HERE which is a simple zinc sulphate solution and helps a lot with acne.

  • If you want something natural - pick up ROSE WATER
I cannot even tell you how much I love using rose water. It is one of the best facial sprays/toners ever, in my humble opinion. 
Keep in mind though that the rose water needs to be 100% steam distilled. Do not pick up something like Dabur Gulabari! Yes, it will be cheaper to get that - but it won't work. 
I will always always love the Kama Ayurveda Rose Water - reviewed HERE
Some other good ones are Forest Essentials Rose Water, Juicy Chemistry Rose water. 

If rose water does not suit you - try Mogra water or Lavender water - reviewed HERE. You have options :)

My toning routine goes something like this : 

* Serozinc in the morning post cleansing. Rose water in the night post cleansing. 
* Rose water in the morning post cleansing. Pixi glow tonic in the night post cleansing. 
* Rose water both times a day. 

* I finished my FE Tejas Balancing Water. When I had that I used it in the morning. Cleansing - Rose Water - Tejal.  

It basically depends on what my skin feels like. So pay attention to your skin closely and choose accordingly. 

Happy Toning! 

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