Fragrance Free TONERS

In the past toners tended to be targeted solely towards those with oily or acne prone skin.  They were often heavily astringent, primarily alcohol based and contained irritating ingredients such as witch hazel.  One of their primary functions was to bring the pH of the skin back to its normal range (pH4.5 to 5) following the use of harshly alkaline (>pH7) cleansers.  

 

Times have changed and thankfully there are many gentler cleansing options on the market.  This in turn has led to an evolution in toning products where their initial function of balancing pH is now only one of a number of beneficial attributes a toner may have.  This makes toners really versatile as they can enhance or replace aspects of the cleansing, exfoliating, and/or moisturising steps in your routine.  

Hydrating Toners

These toners focus on ingredients which are humectants (glycerin, hyaluronic acid etc.), meaning they help to bind moisture to the skin.  Hydrating toners are becoming increasingly popular in large part to the influence of Korean skincare.  The ‘seven skin method’ is a practice which originated in South Korea involving the application of layers of toner ‘skins’ to impart moisture without the need for heavy creams.  In practice most people would only apply 2-3 skins. However, the principle of applying many thin layers rather than a fewer thick ones can be really beneficial, especially for those with oily skin.  

It is important to note that toners are not occlusive meaning they won’t provide a seal on the moisture they add to the skin so will need to be followed up with an oil, moisturiser and/or sunscreen which has this property to prevent the moisture evaporating away during the day/ overnight.

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Exfoliating Toners

Many toners now contain specific chemical exfoliators such as AHA (Lactic Acid), BHA (Salicylic Acid), PHA (Gluconolactone) or enzymes (from passionfruit, pineapple etc.) which loosen the top layers of dulling skin cells allowing them to be swept away leaving a fresher and smoother complexion.  BHAs are oil soluble which additionally allows them to get into pores and clean them out, reducing the risk of breakouts. 

To avoid over-exfoliation and damaging your skin barrier, it is recommended that you use this type of toner only twice a week and preferably at night. Do not use these in the same routine as retinoids and always use a broad spectrum SPF protection in the day as chemical exfoliation can lead to the skin becoming photosensitive. 

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