I’m sure most women are familiar with the age-old mantra when it comes to skincare: Cleanse – Tone – Moisturise. So, we all grow up thinking we have to follow this 3 step skincare programme. But have you really thought about the middle step – Tone? The texture of a toner is usually clear and liquid and you are advised to soak a cotton pad with it and then to wipe it all over your face.
I found a good article on About.com that addresses this issue of whether Toner is really necessary. Although they give the yes-sayers and no-sayers to whether toner is necessary, their conclusion is that toner is not really a necessary step – not in the way we were taught anyway.
I was told that using a toner was an important second step after cleaning, as it helps remove whatever residual dirt there is on the face, while helping the skin close the pores. I have tried many toners over time, from Simple to Estee Lauder andhonestly, I never saw a need for this second step.
I figured after a while, that if the cleanser was not doing a good job cleaning my face of the dirt, it can’t be a very good cleaner anyway! Also, I wasn’t quite sure about the pores opening and closing like a swing door. So, I decided to skip this step. It did not help that the many toners I tried made my skin feel squeaky clean and dry, and I felt I had to apply on thick moisturiser to restore the moisture. Most toners contain some level of alcohol which contributes to the drying effect, and helps it dry out faster on the skin. I found that even though I skipped the toner step, I did not end up breaking out more than I should. So, I decided to leave it out.
In Japanese skincare however, you will notice that they too have a middle step of a watery liquid. This however, does not perform a “toning” function as promoted in western brands. The Japanese have a regime of double-cleansing and double-moisturising. Double-cleansing usually involves using a cleansing oil followed by a foaming cleanser. Then, they recommend double-moisturising, which is the watery liquid lotion followed by a cream/liquid moisturiser.If you have tried Japanese skincare, you will notice that the lotion (mistakenly referred to as a toner by many) actually makes your skin feel hydrated after applying, unlike toners that usually have a drying effect.
However, as pointed out in the About.com article, don’t throw away your toner just yet. If you find that it works for your skin, by all means continue using it. Maybe something in it works for you.
The only concession to a “toner” that I presently use is the apple cider vinegar toner to control my spots and occasional breakout. Its the best remedy I’ve found thus far, and the cheapest too!
So tell me: Do you do the whole cleanse-tone-moisturise regime or are you like me and only cleanse-moisturise?