Do You Really Need A Toner?

As an Esthetician, one of the things I hear most frequently is, “Do I really need a toner?”.  I believe this question stems from the misunderstanding of what toners truly are and the multitude of benefits they can offer the skin.

Too often, the word “toner” is associated with alcohol-based astringents of the past and this mindset feeds the misconception that they are only suited for oily or acne-prone skin.  Perhaps this explains why many skin care brands are moving away from the use of the word toner and are instead using product names like facial mists, toning lotions or, in the case of Luzern, toning essences.

Toners used to be thought of as simply removing dirt and debris left over from ineffective cleansers or as a way to normalize skin’s pH after using harsh, alkalizing products like bar soap.  Modern day tonics are loved as much for their replenishing and balancing properties as they are for their antiseptic and clarifying qualities.

In my opinion, one of the greatest benefits a skin toning essence can offer is increasing hydration and prepping your skin for the products that will follow, especially serums.  No matter if your skin is oily or dry (or a little bit of both), it’s probably also a bit thirsty and toning essences can act like a big drink of water.  Hydrated skin will look healthier and function better, helping to give that youthful glow we all crave.  As a bonus, properly hydrated skin is more receptive to and better absorbs treatment products.  What this means is that a relatively inexpensive bottle of toning essence can help your not-so-inexpensive serums and moisturizers work better and last longer – I don’t know about you but I’m sold!

So, how do you choose the right toner/toning essence?  Here are some ingredients to look for:

  • Is your skin feeling dry or tight?  Lack of moisture often comes with age but can also be brought on anytime by environmental factors or the use of harsh products that strip away skin’s lipid barrier, resulting in transepidermal water loss.  Humectant ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid and Glycerin act as water magnets, increasing hydration levels and restoring skin’s natural moisturizing factors.  Bonus points for Hyaluronic Acid’s smoothing and plumping anti-aging benefits!
  • Do you experience redness or sensitivity?  Here’s another case where you’ll want to look for ingredients that help repair compromised barrier function, which can leave skin more susceptible to irritation.  Organic seed oils, such as Rosehip, are rich in Essential Fatty Acids and will help strengthen the skin’s resistance to irritants, minimizing the inflammatory response which can lead to redness. Anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant ingredients like Aloe Vera and Green Tea will also help to calm and protect delicate skin.
  • Are you suffering from acne or excess oil production?  Purifying ingredients clear oil buildup and pore-clogging debris that can lead to breakouts.  Willow Bark Extract (a natural source of Salicylic Acid) will help refine skin texture and reduce the appearance of pores while at the same time calming inflammation.  Witch Hazel gently removes excess oil without over-drying skin, leaving you with a more balanced complexion.

So do you really need a toner? The answer is a resounding “Yes!”.  No matter what you call it, all skin types can benefit from the use of a well formulated toner.

Luzern has introduced two new toning essences to its L’Essentials collection. Both toning essences are packaged in an elegant 4oz frosted glass bottle that includes a reducer to allow for application control. Both are lightly scented to provide a refreshing sensorial experience. Balancing Toning Essence features a Bergamot/Vanilla/Orange scent while Hydrating will provide a natural Lavender/Orange scent. Balancing Toning Essence is best for oily/combination skin while Hydrating will refine and refresh normal/dry skin.

Which Luzern Toning Essence is right for you?

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