One question I'm asked frequently is: What's a toner?
Every day, we use some type of cleanser, then follow up with a moisturizer or cream or facial oil (learn the differences here), but many of us forget a crucial middle step: the toner. Once I explain what a toner does and why it's important to use one, I usually get the follow-up question: How is a toner different from an astringent? So right off the bat, I'll answer both questions for you:
- Toner: A water-based solution that hydrates, removes leftover cleanser residue, removes chlorine, chemicals, and minerals found in tap water, and balances your skin's pH level.
- Astringent: Essentially the same as the above, except astringents are "stronger" because they are made with alcohols and can therefore be drying. Astringents are more focused on drying excess oils and constricting the skin.
When we clean our skin (especially with a non-oil-based cleanser), a few things happen: we get rid of excess dirt and sweat, we strip away our skin's natural oils, and we affect our skin's pH level, making it more alkaline. That first part is a good thing, and we restore oil to our skin by using a facial oil/cream/moisturizer, but what do we do about the pH level of our skin?
Remember working with the pH scale in chemistry class? Dipping those orange paper strips into liquids and watching them turn different colors? That's what I'm talking about here. The chart below shows the pH level of common things. Essentially, a solution's pH level is determined by how many hydrogen ions are in it. More hydrogen ions result in a lower pH level (more acidic), and fewer hydrogen ions result in a higher pH level (more alkaline or "basic").
Image source: CompoundChem.com
As you can see in the above chart, soap has a higher pH level and is therefore more alkaline, whereas the outermost layer of our skin has a pH score of about 5 (slightly acidic). What happens when we use soap (alkaline) on our skin (acidic)? It boosts up the pH level a bit, so we have to balance it out with something slightly more acidic to balance it out.
My Rose + Tea Facial Toner contains just the right amount of Witch Hazel (pH 3-4) to bring your skin's pH level back down without drying it out. It also helps remove any dirt or residue leftover from your cleanser. Plus, it's got Aloe Vera, Green Tea Extract, and Rosewater, which are all incredibly hydrating and balance out the drying effects of Witch Hazel. Grab my Rose + Tea Facial Toner here, or get it as part of a Facial Care Set.