In cosmetics, toner refers to a lotion designed to cleanse the skin and shrink pores, usually used on the face. Some people dispute whether toner is actually necessary, and prefer to use plain water instead.
Toners can be applied to the skin in different ways:
- On damp cotton wool. (most frequently used method)
- Spraying onto the face using a vaporiser
- By applying a tonic gauze facial mask - a piece of gauze is covered with toner and left on the face for a few minutes.
After toning, blot the face almost dry with a tissue and apply the moisturiser.
Types of toners
Skin bracers or fresheners
These are the mildest form of toners; they contain virtually no alcohol (0-10%), water, and a humectant such as glycerine. Humectants help to keep the moisture in the upper layers of the epidermis by preventing it from evaporating. A popular example of this is rosewater.
These toners are the kindest to skin, and are most suitable for use on dry, dehydrated, sensitive and normal skins.
These are slightly stronger and contain a small quantity of alcohol (up to 20%), water and a humectant ingredient. Orange flower water is an example of a skin tonic. Skin tonics are suitable for use on normal, combination, and oily skin.
These are the strongest form of toner and contain a high proportion of alcohol (20-60%), antiseptic ingredients, water, and a humectant ingredient. These are commonly recommended for oily skins as they are drying, but note that the removal of oil from the skin can lead to excess oil production as the skin tries to compensate for this and prevent moisture loss. Witch hazel is an example of an astringent. To prevent dehydration, astringent is best applied only to problem areas of skin, such as spots.