Gone are the days when facial toners were deemed unnecessary. Those alcohol-filled solutions, meant only for oily, zit-flecked faces, used to sting a lot and dry out the complexion. However, with the rising popularity of Korean 10-step skincare products, the toner game has completely changed. Today’s worldwide cosmetic market is replete with new-age toning products, which instantly provide a revitalized look. It is even better to replace them with homemade skin toners for improved safety and efficacy. With this in mind, we have provided you with the best DIY toner recipes so that you can make toning a clutch part of your daily skincare routine. Keep reading.
What is Toning?
Well, let us start with the procedure of toning. It is the second step in the regular CTM routine (cleansing, toning, and moisturizing), which is considered the basic skincare regime for all. Once you cleanse your skin thoroughly, tone it up for unclogged and tightened pores right before slathering the moisturizer on it for a good dose of hydration. In other words, toning balances the pH of the skin and brings a beautiful glow to it, which is often lost after using regular alkaline cleansing products.
What is Skin Toner?
Skin toner is the secret weapon to healthy and youthful skin. It is, essentially, a fast-penetrating water-like liquid that eliminates stubborn buildups from the pores and prepares the skin for a quick hit of moisturization. Basic skin toner is all about the treatment of oily and acne-prone skin. But these days, most cleansers in the market are gentle and pH-balanced, which has changed the compositions and uses of toners too. The role of the reformulated skin toners now goes beyond that basic toning. They are water-based formulations with zero alcohol, making them mild and soothing on the skin. Some of the most common ingredients used are salicylic acid, lactic acid, glycerin, glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid, rosewater, witch hazel, etc. Unlike their predecessors, skin toners now address a wide array of skin concerns ranging from acne to aging.
Skin toners are different from astringents. Most astringents are alcohol-rich (isopropyl alcohol) solutions intended for oily and acne-prone skin that may dry it out and make breakouts even worse. Conversely, toners are suitable for all types of skin including oily, dry, combination, and even sensitive. In fact, they have gradually evolved from typical astringent products into a skincare category all their own. (1)
Benefits of Using Skin Toners
So, how do versatile skin toners work to benefit our skin? Well, we have outlined it below (2):
1. Maintains pH Balance
When we wash our skin with an alkaline cleanser, our naturally acidic skin loses its pH balance. A toner brings it back to its normal state by restoring its pH level faster.
2. Tightens Skin Pores
Toner helps us get rid of excess oil, sweat, dirt, dead cells, and makeup leftover trapped inside the skin pores. As the pores become unclogged with this deep cleansing effect and appear smaller in size, the skin also looks firmer and tighter.
3. Fights Against Acne
Apart from eliminating excess sebum and unclogging pores, toners also help combat acne and breakouts. The anti-bacterial properties of the product avert bacteria buildups while its anti-inflammatory properties lower inflammation.
4. Offers Added Protection
When you apply toner after cleansing your skin, the pores get sealed, and the cells around them get tighter. This reduces the penetration of impurities into the skin while protecting it from chlorine and minerals present in tap water.
5. Works As a Primer
Toner works as a primer for the remaining products in your skincare regime, such as moisturizer, serum, etc. It helps the products sink into the skin easily and facilitates their absorption to a great extent.
6. Keeps Skin Hydrated
Some toners come with humectants, which help them seal moisture in the skin. This eventually keeps the skin hydrated for a more extended period of time.
7. Revitalizes the Skin
Applying toner makes the skin feel refreshed and rejuvenated. It can turn even an oily and dirty face plump and radiant immediately.
Do you need a toner for combination skin?
If you have a combination skin, you can use a mild toner after cleansing or before applying a moisturizer.
How to Choose the Right Skin Toner?
- For Dry Skin – A toner rich in hydrating ingredients like amino acids, rosewater, vitamin E, fermented yeast (saccharomyces ferment filtrate), etc., is good for deeply hydrating and nourishing dry skin.
- For Oily Skin – To keep your skin matte all through the day and steer clear of pesky acne, opt for a toner that comprises salicylic acid, glycolic acid, witch hazel, tea tree oil, and so on.
- For Sensitive Skin – Any toner that comes with hydrating and soothing botanicals like aloe vera, chamomile essential oil is perfect for providing relief to sensitive skin.
- For Dull Skin – Brighten up your dull and lifeless skin with a toner that features exfoliants like lactic acid, papaya extract, etc.
- For Large Pores – Find a toner containing glycolic acid or other AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids) that help slough off accumulated dead cells from the skin around the pores.
- For Mature Skin – Your toner should have hydrating, antioxidant, and anti-aging properties, which are often attributed to glycerin, hyaluronic acid, rosewater, plant stem cells, sodium PCA, lecithin, etc.
The latest formulations of toner are basically toner-serum hybrids. They are mostly available in the forms of substantial gels or lotions.
6 DIY Homemade Skin Toners You Should Try
While the market is flooded with various toners, preparing one at home with a few simple natural ingredients and customizing it as per your needs is probably the best idea ever. Here are 6 amazing DIY recipes for you:
1. Ice Cube
This is the easiest at-home solution available for toning the skin. Simply wrap an ice cube in a cotton cloth and rub it gently on your face in a small circular motion until it melts completely. This keeps the skin cool, imparts elasticity in its texture, and prevents acne breakouts. You can also use frozen rosewater for this purpose.
2. Rosewater and Vinegar
This exemplary toner will tighten your skin and improve your complexion simultaneously. Take 4 tablespoons of vinegar from your kitchen and 4 tablespoons of rosewater from your beauty rack. Mix them in a bowl. Now, take a cotton ball and dip it into the mixture. Wipe your face off with it and apply your go-to moisturizer.
3. Basil Water
The holy plant of basil is known for its miraculous impacts on health and beauty. To prepare a skin toner out of it, boil 10-15 basil leaves in a cup of water for 5 minutes and strain it. Allow the infusion to reach room temperature and use it as a toner to tone up your face. The essence of basil leaves will endow your skin with immediate results.
You can also use iced version of basil water to tone up your skin. This will inculcate properties of both ice water and basil, which will be more fruitful for your facial charm.
4. Green Tea
Green tea is not only the healthiest beverage, but it is also full of skin-nourishing herbs. It supplies natural oil to the skin and works as a wonderful toning agent. Soak a tablespoon of green tea leaves in a cup of boiling water for 2-3 minutes and strain it. Now, allow the prepared green tea to get cold and then, apply it to your skin with the help of a cotton ball.
5. Curd and Cucumber Juice
Cucumber makes the skin radiant, while curd moisturizes it. When these two great natural components are mixed, they form one of the best toners for the skin. Take 1 tablespoon of curd and 1 tablespoon of cucumber juice in a bowl and blend them well. Apply it to your skin and wash off with cold water after 5 minutes.
6. Lemon Juice
Lemon is a natural bleaching agent that has excellent skin-toning qualities too. Apply lemon juice directly to your face after thorough cleansing or dilute it with some water before applying if you have sensitive skin. It will also remove extra oil from your skin and make it look healthy.
Read Also – 6 Homemade Skin Toners for Glowing Skin
How to Use a Skin Toner?
Check out below the steps that you should follow when applying a skin toner:
- Wash your face thoroughly with a mild cleanser and pat it dry.
- Then, pour a few drops of the toner onto a cotton ball or pad.
- Apply it all over your face by following a dabbing motion. You can also swipe the cotton pad around your face, working outwards.
- Wait a minute or two to let it dry.
- Follow it up with your moisturizer, serum, sunscreen, etc., as required.
A skin toner should be used immediately after washing the face as it helps the molecules of the active ingredients in it penetrate the skin better. Also, use it twice everyday – in the morning and at night.
How Do You Know Your Skin Toner Is Working?
Toner essentially removes dirt and impurities from your skin and tightens pores. Regular application will make your skin soft, supple, and hydrated. If your skin toner is working, it is easy to spot (10-12 days time is good enough to notice visible changes)
Here is the checklist to know whether your toner is working or not –
- If you have dry skin, your skin will turn soft, supple, and hydrated
- If you have oily skin, you will notice reduced breakouts, acne due to a reduction in pore sizes
- If you have sensitive skin, you will experience reduced redness and irritation
Side Effects of Skin Toners
While using alcohol-based or chemical-based skin toners, you may experience specific side effects, such as dryness, tightness, irritation, tingling, burning, redness, peeling, sun sensitivity, etc. They may also worsen your breakouts, rosacea, eczema, and skin sensitivity. If it seems abnormal, stop using the product and consult your dermatologist right away.
Toning is the second step in the basic skincare practice and a skin toner is the secret weapon to healthy and youthful skin. It is a fast-penetrating water-like liquid that eliminates stubborn build-ups from the pores and prepares the skin for a quick hit of moisturization. Though basic toners were used only to tone up oily and acne-prone skin, their compositions and uses have changed drastically over time. Reformulated skin toners are water-based formulations with zero alcohol, which address a wide array of skin concerns. Regular application of toner is helpful in maintaining the pH balance of the skin, increasing its moisture level, tightening skin pores, combating acne, enhancing the absorption of moisturizer, etc. It is always better to use homemade skin toners that are natural, affordable, and easy to prepare. However, make sure that you choose the right toner based on the needs of your skin and follow the right way of application to avoid adverse side effects.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is Aloe Vera Gel A Toner?
Freshly extracted aloe vera gel has skin-toning properties and can be used as an effective natural toner.
Can I Use Honey As a Toner?
Honey does not have astringent properties. But it can be incorporated into your homemade toner recipe for its humectant qualities. This will keep your skin hydrated even after using the toner.
Is Coconut Oil a Toner?
Apart from being a great natural moisturizing and anti-aging agent, virgin coconut oil has mild astringent properties too. Hence, it can be used as an active ingredient in your homemade skin toner recipes.
How Long Does Homemade Toner Last?
Being free from preservatives, homemade skin toners do not last for more than 7 to 10 days.
Can I Use Milk As a Toner?
Yes, cold milk has amazing skin-toning properties. You can apply it directly to your skin with a cotton ball and tighten it up immediately.
- “What is Astringent?“, Healthline.com
- “6 Reasons Why You Should Add Face Toner to Your Beauty Routine“, Today.com
- “What is Toner, Anyway? Our Guide to the Benefits of Toner in Your Skin-Care Routine“, Allure.com
- “Here’s How to Use Facial Toner without Drying out Your Skin“, WomensHealthMag.com