Let's talk toners
At the recent KBeauty meet up in London, I was asked by someone ‘what is one piece of advice you would give male customers, or what’s the one step you feel makes a huge difference to your skincare routine’. Possibly expecting me to say sheet masks or double cleansers, people were a bit surprised when I said TONER!
Considered by many as the least sexy step in your skincare routine, toners are possibly my favourite. We’re generally picky on our face washes, and moisturisers, and we know we’re doing good by adding actives and serums to our routine. But toner? Isn’t that just one of those steps I just ‘need to do’?
Why are toners important?
Toners have many benefits and as a result of this, on my dresser I usually have about 3 toners that I will rotate depending on my skin’s needs. Yep, you heard me. Toners can do everything from re-adjusting the pH level of your skin, closing your pores after cleansing (and shaving for the boys!), moisturising and prepping your skin for subsequent steps.
Why Korean toners?
I remember when I used to use toners from western brands. I used to get a tingly sensation using them and naively thought that this must be ‘doing good’ by stripping my pores of gunk. WRONG. All they were doing were stripping my skin of moisture. Why? Because many contained high amounts of alcohol which can irritate sensitive skin and worsen acne. Many Korean toners use natural ingredients, some completely waterless as well, using aloe instead for more intense hydration. Korean brands have come up with wonderful multi-tasking toners, hydrating toners and mist toners. Some are thicker in consistency as well, not water-like, and therefore add that extra layer of moisture. Despite this, they absorb nicely in to the skin prepping your face for the next step in your routine.
Dry skin? Hydrating toners are for you. Thicker in consistency, these hydrating toners work wonders to give your skin a boost and prep your skin for your routine. Simply dispense in to the palms of your hands and pat in – such is the hydration level of these toners, I wouldn’t waste them on a cotton pad! Treat yo self with the cult favourite Whamisa which uses aloe instead of water to provide maximum hydration or the affordable no fuss Klairs toner which gives you the perfect canvas for your serums and moisturisers.
The perfect companion on the go, on the plane or if you’re in a rush. Mist toners are handy to keep in your handbag for when your skin gets dry on the go. The luxurious Whamisa Damask Rose is a firm favourite and I’ll usually spray first thing when I wake up in the morning whereas the Pyunkang Yul Mist Toner I keep in my gym bag and is very refreshing.
My favourite. Exfoliating toners are great for those with combination, acne prone or oily skin types. Usually lighter in texture, they will work to combat clogged pores by including AHAs and BHAs (naturally derived acids) which work as gentle exfoliants. These AHAs and BHAs are oil soluble so can penetrate areas of the skin with excess oil (think around your T Zone). The result? Smoother and clearer skin. The Cosrx is great for acne-prone oily skin whereas the Benton is good for those with dry acne-prone skin. The Son & Park is great for those with sensitive skin and can also double up as a gentle cleansing water.
In a hurry? Shorten your routine with these multi-tasking toners. The Thank You Farmer Toner is an unusual consistency – almost like a creamy essence/emulsion. Deeply hydrating and nourishing, you could literally just slap this on your face and be done with your routine as it is a toner, essence and moisturiser in one. The hugely popular Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner doubles up as… you guessed it… an essence and toner providing hydration and helping to brighten the skin.
Please let me know what are your favourite toners and how you use them in your routine!