Are You Skipping This Necessary Skin Care Step?


If you grew up in the ’90s you probably still feel a sting at the mere mention of Sea Breeze astringent. Yeah, let’s pack that away with the Dep hair gel and Calgon sprays as products that should make a comeback. Luckily, toners have come a long way since then and, according to many experts, are a necessary step in your skin care routine. One such advocate is all-natural beauty guru Indie Lee. “I never used toners before, but since I started recently, I don’t go a day now without it!” she says.

First, she says, here’s what the right toner does:

1: Balances your skin’s pH levels
2: Removes excess oil and shine
3: Refines and evens out skin tone
4: Reduces pore size
5: Reduces redness and irritation after shaving

A toner is good for everyone, according to Lee, but you’ll want to make sure you look closely at its intention: “If the bottle says for aged skin or adult skin or dry skin, you’ll want to choose appropriately.” Some brands might be made with ingredients like cucumber and papaya, which are refreshing and great for teens. Some, like Lee’s own, can be considered anti-aging—Lee’s contains coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ-10), which is said to help to reverse skin damage and preserve collagen.

The most important thing is to look for a toner that’s free of alcohol. As in not a drop. “You’re not looking to dry out your skin, but rather just remove the excess oil and residue that’s been accumulating on the surface of your face throughout the day,” explains Lee. “If you use a toner that has alcohol, it will strip away all the oil and then send a signal to your body to produce more, so you’ll be back to square one.” Some good options are: pure witch hazel, Kiehls Cucumber Herbal Alcohol-Free Toner, Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel Alcohol-Free Toner, Bliss Daily Detoxifying Facial Toner, and Indie Lee CoQ-10 Toner.

3 Times to Use Toner

1: Once a day, at night, after you cleanse. “At the very least, make sure to do this step every day,” says Lee. You can skip it in the morning.

2: After the gym. “Toners are a great in-between cleansing step throughout the day. If you don’t have time to shower at the gym, throw a bottle in your tote and ‘dry wash’ your face until you can get home,” she suggests.

3: After any outdoor activities. “After I take a walk and come in, I’ll wipe my face with some toner. I’m always amazed at the amount of crap that comes off of my skin. There’s so much dirt just in the air that gets attracted to pores,” says Lee.

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