Toners seem to be that skin care item that many get confused about. Are they necessary? What does a toner do? I get these questions often and know there are many misconceptions out there, but with the evolution of toner formulations, this is a skin care item you may want to re-consider introducing to your routine.

W h a t  a r e  t o n e r s ?

Toners are used after cleansing the skin. They remove excess residue {including minerals and chlorine in tap water} and allow for better absorption of products. In some cases, toners help to remove dead skin cells. It was once thought that toners return the skin’s PH balance, but this is no longer the case -specially because of how cleansers are formulated today. Instead, well formulated toners contain skin loving ingredients that benefit the skin leaving it healthy and balanced. There are different kinds of toners in the market, so knowing the types is helpful when choosing one.

T y p e s  o f  t o n e r s

One type of toner, are astringents, these are typically alcohol based, and in my book they are a no no. Alcohol based toners can irritate and dry out the skin – so they should be avoided.

Then there are exfoliating toners which contain, either beta hydroxy acid {salicylic acid, like this one} or alpha hydroxy acids {like glycolic, lactic, malic and/or tartaric acids}. Salicylic acid is great for those with acne prone skin, this acid helps to “unplug” your pores of dirt, grime and excess oil. Alpha hydroxy acids work by dissolving the bond between dead skin cells and allowing them to scuff off.

For those with acne prone skin a toner with salicylic acid can work great but if you find them to be a little much, there are toners containing anti-bacterial ingredients that may be more gentle on the skin. This one by Michael Todd Organics and this one by Hylunia are two of my favorites for reducing breakouts and keeping skin clear.

Other types of toners are those with soothing and/or hydrating ingredients {like chamomile, aloe, rose extracts}. These are great for those with sensitive or dry skin. This rose one by Jurlique  and this one by Beauty Counter are pretty great.

Lastly, there are toners that contain antioxidants, which are amazing at protecting skin from environmental damage. Environmental damage causes pre-mature aging and irritation. This one by Michael todd and  kiss my face are awesome.


1. Paula’s Choice – Clear extra strength anti-redness exfoliating solution with 2% salicylic acid 

2. Michael Todd True Organics – Blue-green algae toner

3. Hylunia – Colloidal Silver Spray with Lavender Floral Water

4. Beauty Counter – Rosewater Uplifting Spray

5. Jurlique – Rosewater Balancing Mist

6. Kiss my Face – Potent and Pure balancing Act