Skincare routines can consist of many steps, but toning is a step that beauty assistant Kiran Meeda never skips.
There are certain things in my skincare arsenal that I never go without. They’re the key products that I use on a daily basis that I know won’t break out or irritate my blemish-prone skin. You’ll usually find a non-abrasive gel cleanser (my favourite is Dr Sam’s Flawless Cleanser, £16), a gel day moisturiser like The INKEY List’s Vitamin B, C and E Moisturiser, £4.99, a thicker night moisturiser in the form of Ren’s Overnight Glow Dark Spot Sleeping Cream, £49, and the product that’s closest to my heart – toner.
Now, my love for toner seems to be an unpopular opinion amongst the beauty community, but I’m not one to always go with what’s popular. Many experts and beauty obsessives have their doubts when it comes to the liquid, sceptical of its efficacy, but for me, it’s a step that always works.
Perhaps it comes down to how I learnt about skincare in my teenage years. Never has anything become more ingrained than the three step cleanse, tone and moisturise routine. Having dealt with blemished skin since I was about 16, I’ve religiously adhered to those three steps. Although I’m partial to using a serum every other day of the week.
So what exactly is a facial toner? Traditionally, toners were used after cleansing to remove excess oil, but they now come in various forms, and as consultant dermatologist and spokesperson for the British Skin Foundation Dr Emma Wedgeworth says: “Depending on the exact ingredients and formulations, they can have a number of effects on skin including hydration, exfoliation and calming. Toners have also become more sophisticated and can now be used to deliver active ingredients to the skin, such as AHAs and BHAs.”
I find that it’s one of those skincare products that can run out all too easily, especially if you’re like me and become addicted to the ritual of applying a fresh hit of hydration. To try and combat that, I try to use the most purse-friendly option and my go-to is the Boots Fragrance Free Facial Toner, £1.50.
Boots Fragrance Free Facial Toner, £1.50
As someone with darker skin, I’m always looking for products that give me a glow. and I run away from products that leave my skin looking lack-lustre - without the use of a toner, that’s something which is almost always the case. On days where I need a glow-inducing boost, I opt for a toner with an active ingredient. DHC’s Soothing Lotion, £18, contains glycolic acid, which works to to gently exfoliate the skin.
DHC Soothing Lotion, £18
“If you are using a toner with active ingredients like lactic, glycolic or salicylic acid, start slowly. Use them every other day and see how your skin responds” says Dr Wedgeworth. “If your skin can tolerate it well, then go up to using it daily. You should use enough product to soak a cotton pad and sweep gently across the face and neck.”
Despite the nay-sayers, toner will always be a staple skincare product for me. It’s gentle, effective and preps my skin for any serum or moisturiser that comes after. I won’t be giving it up any time soon.
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