Back in 80’s and 90’s facial toners were a must have item in any skin care routine. I remember wiping an orange coloured Neutrogena (?) toner across my face every night and you would instantly feel that tightening and drying sensation. You could feel something happening to your skin, so it must have been good huh!
Well it turns out I was just wiping some alcohol and chemical cocktail across my face that actually did nothing of benefit for my skin.
Historically facial toners have been used for centuries as way to rebalance the pH of the skin after cleansing it with a harsh soap based cleansers. The skin, like the rest of the body, has a tightly regulated pH level to help prevent damage, dehydration and infection to the skin. Remember the skin has the massive task of being our first line of defence from external harm.
These days’ cleansers are much more gentle and you can really hand pick a cleanser that is perfect for your skin type. There is not so much ‘stripping’ of the skin’s pH happening anymore (unless you are still washing your face with a bar of soap…).
So do we still need to use facial toners?
In my opinion, yes.
Rather than focussing on restore the skin’s pH, using a facial toner between cleansing and moisturising will help to hydrate your skin more than any fancy cream will. Water is still the skins preferred source of hydration. By spraying a fine mist of facial toner onto freshly cleansed skin, and then applying your moisturiser to your damp skin, this will lock in the water from the toner for your skin to absorb.
Yes, for your skin to absorb…This means you want the purest and natural toner for your skin to absorb into the body. Ditch anything with chemicals or that is not 100% organic. I think we need to switch the term skin toner to skin tonic, because this is exactly what it can be.
You can even super charge your skin tonic by adding herbal extracts to target specific conditions. When I say herbal extract, it can be as simple as steeping some dried herbs such as chamomile into boiling water (aka making a cup of tea), letting it sit for 3-5 minutes, then cooling it off and adding 10-20% to your toner base.
Try these herbs –
Chamomile – sensitive, inflamed skin
Rooibos – for sun damaged skin as it is high in anti oxidants
Lavender – all skin types, especially for those with irritate skin
What do I like to use?
I like to use organic coconut water as a base for my toner as it is very hydrating and nourishing to the skin. Coconut water also contains natural anti microbial and anti fungal properties making it perfect for those with acne prone skin. Due to it’s gentle nature all skin types can use coconut water as a toner.
I like to add pure rose water to my toner mix. Not only for the subtle rose aroma, but rose is traditionally used in skin care for its anti ageing properties. Rose extracts that are found in rose water are very nourishing and nutritive to the skin. You can find rose water in most supermarkets or gourmet stores. Make sure you buy the best quality that you can find and that it is pure rose water without any preservatives or additives.
COCONUT ROSE FACIAL TONER
1 Cup Organic Coconut Water (read the label, it must be 100% coconut water)
¼ Cup Rose water
Combine together and put into a bottle with a mist pump. Store in the fridge.
If it is a bit of a hassle to remember to get the toner from the fridge each day, then just keep a small amount in the spray bottle in your bathroom and refill it every few days with the batch from the fridge. Out of the fridge the toner should stay fresh for 3-4 days.