But because we love an opportunity to level-up our skincare steps, most toners come with additional benefits that can help skin. “You can now find a toner suitable for all kinds of skin types and many different individual needs,” says Alise. “You can find toners with various active ingredients incorporated to target different skin concerns.” For instance, a toner with salicylic acid (such as Obaig’s Pore Therapy) can help to calm spots, a toner with exfoliating acids (such as Pixi’s Glow Tonic) can help smooth and brighten skin and a toner with nourishing ingredients like honey can help to soothe sensitivity – all of which can help to improve your skin texture.
Who is a toner best for?
“A toner is particularly helpful if you have oily and acne prone skin,” says Alise, but anyone can benefit from one, especially if you choose one tailored to your skin concerns.
How/when to use a toner?
“Apply it straight after cleansing as most people don’t know that active ingredients (like vitamin C, retinol and glycolic acids) in skincare products work better when applied onto moist skin,” says Alise. Then leave it to sink in before applying next steps like a serum and face cream.
A short history on toners
When toners first arrived on the skincare scene, they tended to be very harsh and packed with drying alcohol to reduce oil production. “Decades ago we used to wash our faces and bodies with lye-based soaps, which left residues on our skin, so toners were used to remove that excess scum,” explains Alise.
“They were first made with rosewater, however later alcohol was incorporated as it removed the residue much better. It was then also discovered that alcohol helped with spots due to its drying and antibacterial properties, Alise adds.
Toners were around long before they started gaining mass popularity in the 1980’s. Instead, they used to be called ‘skin tonics’ and ‘astringents’, which were usually quite harsh with perfumes, ammonia and alcohol. These products were advertised to help firm up facial muscles and featured harsh ingredients that had a short-lasting tightening effect. Thankfully, toners have come a long way since then.
Do I really need a toner?
“Is a toner a 100% necessary part of your skin care routine? Probably not. But it can make you feel like your skin has had an extra boost, so the choice is yours,” says Alise. “Personally I think if you have acne prone and oily skin then a toner should definitely be the second step in your everyday routine.”
To help you pick the right toner that works for your specific skin type and preferences, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide on the very best formulas on the market right now: from budget-friendly beauty products to premium buys and trending releases, there’s definitely one that will tick all your boxes.
Feeling inspired to upgrade your skincare routine? Shop the best sunscreens for face, best eye creams and the best hyaluronic acid serums.
For more shoppable makeup, skincare, haircare and wellness content from Glamour UK Commerce Writer Denise Primbet, follow her on Twitter @deniseprimbet and Instagram @deniseprimbet.