Step 1. Cleanser
Step 2. Toner
Step 3. Moisturiser.
This was the simple skincare regime I grew up with. Just 3 easy steps you didn’t need to think about just mechanically followed as this was what was considered the norm. So, I’d mindlessly slap on a toner in between cleansing and moisturising not really paying much attention to what it was achieving for my skin, (besides making my skin feel uncomfortably tight which I thought meant the product was ‘working’, right...) Anyone else relate?
This was long before serums, retinols, daily sunscreen application and over the top 10-step skincare routines became the new norm. But are toners still relevant these days and are they necessary for an effective skincare routine?
Firstly, what is a toner?
Toners have been around for years.
Traditional alcohol-based toners were originally designed to remove soap scum remnants when lye-based soap bars were used as face cleansers & left a sticky residue on the skin. Toners of the past were designed to remove every trace of debris, makeup and oil after cleansing. These astringent witch-hazel style toners were therefore hailed a hero product among acne sufferers as it would strip away excess oil giving a much desired ‘drying effect’ to the skin.
Today's modern toner formulations offer more than just a blanket approach to their traditional astringent counterparts. They are marketed today to help exfoliate, cleanse, and hydrate your skin. While the newer generation of toners may still remove traces of debris, they're also said to nourish and replenish the skin after cleansing and act as a primer for your serums and moisturisers.
As cleansing technology improved over the years and aren’t as harsh on our skin, toner formulations were forced to evolve as well (otherwise who would buy them?)
So, who really needs a toner and who could do without this step?
The skincare world is forever changing and there is never a set ‘rule’ that applies to every single person. Skincare trends come and go and yes while it can be fun trying out new products to see what works for your skin it can also be a stressful and a costly exercise.
Skincare brands are always wanting to sell you more and more products. We’ve seen a shift where toners are crossing that fine line and merging with essences. Much like essences are crossing that fine line and merging into serums... Ahh, the beauty of the confusing beauty industry!
At AMPERNA® we believe in a simple less-is-more approach to healthy skin. We offer a curated line of the absolute essentials when it comes to skincare and helping people with sensitive skin concerns.
We view skincare holistically, working both on the outside as well as from within. If you currently use a toner and love the effect is has on the health of your skin, that’s great. You should continue using one that’s suitable to you. But if you’re questioning your regime or overwhelmed at trying to ‘fit everything in’ to a routine that’s not designed specifically for you, it’s totally fine to ditch products and steps that aren’t 100% necessary for your regime.
Below is an outline and some ideas around ditching a toner from your regime
The right cleanser should thoroughly clean your skin without stripping it of its natural oils.
A toner is not necessary as this extra step could damage your skin barrier.
If you’re someone that wears heavy makeup you might opt for these options instead of using a toner:
- Use a barrier cream like sorbolene as your makeup removal cleanser. This works well when used with our reusable cleansing pads.
- Alternatively, you could use a micellar water first to remove your makeup before cleansing. A follow up toner wouldn’t be necessary afterwards as your cleanser should be sufficient at cleaning your skin. If it’s not then you need a better cleanser, ASAP.
A common belief too is that toners are needed to close or tighten your pores. This simply isn't true. Pores aren't like doors; they don't ever close they remain open. You will reduce the appearance of your pores with a quality cleanser and gentle exfoliation.
Toners that ‘hydrate’ your skin
These are absolutely NOT necessary.
If you’re after an extra boost of hydration before applying your next layer of products, let's dissect this for a minute. When you think of hydration and moisture in the skin, the most effective product/s that is going to provide this for you are serums and moisturisers as they are occlusive. Occlusive agents act as a sealant on our skin without allowing water to be lost – known as trans epidermal water loss.
Toners are water-based products that dissipate whereas moisturisers will seal your skin locking in moisture. If your moisturiser isn’t providing your skin type with the right amount of hydration, you’d be better off switching moisturisers as opposed to adding in another product to your regime like a toner.
Remember, you want your skincare products working hard for you. It shouldn’t be a case of needing another product when you should be getting the desired effect like hydration from something you’re already using. It is also why applying your serums and/moisturisers containing hyaluronic acid to slightly damp skin is recommended as the water will be locked in underneath. And water is much cheaper right!
*TIP: A lot of the hydrating ingredients toners have can be found in a moisturiser. If you compare the ingredient lists of a toner and a moisturiser, you’d be best off sticking to just the moisturiser & foregoing the toner.
Hyaluronic acid is found in almost all skincare products, but for the best hydrating results you would want your HA in an occlusive carrier instead of a water-based one.
@ampernaskin A toner is not necessary in your regime. Do you use a toner? #notonerneeded #gentleskincare #balancedskin ♬ original sound - ampernaskin
Do toners help with acne?
The alcohol still used in toners can be a trigger for rosacea, increase the risk of breakouts in acne-prone skin or exacerbate sensitivity. This means that regular use of toners could leave the skin irritated, inflamed, and vulnerable to environmental damage.
Google for yourself and see that skincare brands (that funnily enough, sell toners in their range) will claim that toners can help “balance your skin and reduce pore-clogging dirt, debris, and makeup that your cleanser may be leaving behind. Plus, toners help remove excess oils and balance your skin's pH”. When quite frankly, if their cleansers, exfoliants and moisturisers were doing the job they needed to do, this should be taken care of in the first place!
Kiri (AMPERNA® founder and owner) suffered from acne for years and tried using toners, but it only made her blemishes worse. She developed the AMPERNA® skincare line specifically around products and ingredients that truly helped her skin in a calming gentle approach. Therefore, the AMPERNA® range DOES NOT include a toner.
There are two AMPERNA® bundles available for people with acne-prone skin:
- AMPERNA® Ultra Gentle Soothing Cleanser is a light gel cleanser that helps remove makeup while balancing the skin.
- AMPERNA® Lightweight Soothing+ Emulsion contains a ground-breaking probiotic formula, along with ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and emollients to help nourish the skin and protect it from free radical damage.
- AMPERNA® 10% Pro+ Resurfacing Lotion contains 10% glycolic acid (AHA) and antioxidants to help calm redness and improve the skin’s texture.
The Acne Plus has a fourth product included which is our number one seller, the Probiotic + DS Soothing Serum.
- AMPERNA® Probiotic+ DS Soothing Serum is a deeply restorative formula that helps cool and soothe irritated skin and calm redness. Containing copper and zinc which helps reduce inflammation.
So, are toners necessary for your skin health? No they’re not.
If you’re unsure why not see what happens to your skin by not using one in your regime. You might be surprised that you don’t miss using it altogether…