When it comes to the matter of why you need to use a toner – and what a toner is, more generally – it’s easier to start by saying what a toner isn’t. Toners are not what they used to be: skin-stripping, high alcohol, abrasive tonics designed to combat oily skin. The new generation of toners are more than the turbo astringents of their predecessors, many with none of the same irritating alcohol.
Toner is applied after cleansing and before moisturising. Think of it as a primer and it’ll start to make sense. But what does toner actually do?
Toner contains acids, antioxidants and anti-inflammatories that remove dead skin from the top layer of the complexion while hydrating what lies beneath. In a pinch, they can even be substituted for a traditional moisturiser if none is at hand. If you do opt for both, it’ll help your skin better absorb the active ingredients in your moisturiser.
Apply toner by spreading it over your face with a cotton ball and leaving as is. Rinsing again defeats the purpose as you’ve already cleansed. Follow with your daily moisturiser and SPF.