What is a Toner – by Clare O’Hanlon, Business Development Manager

Continuing on the ‘Back to Basic’ features in Irish Beauty Magazine Clare looks at ‘What is a toner?’

A toner is an astringent liquid applied to the skin to reduce oiliness and improve its condition. We have all be taught to cleanse, tone and moisturise. Toners differentiate by ingredients by different skincare lines.

What’s its function? Its main function is to remove the oil and sebum that is produced during the night and also to make sure all the cleanser and make up in removed thoroughly before bed. As any of these particles would result in blemishes and the skin unable to properly breathe.

What kinds of toners are there? There are many different toners to choose from depending on the skin type you have, there are hydrating toners specifically to increase water to the skin and prevent dehydration. Soothing toners to help reduce irritants and burning feeling on the skin. Active toners with acids for example containing AHAs these are great for preparing the skin for further penetration of products. Redness relief toners are ideal for clients with very red and sensitive skin that tends to flare up from the environment, food and acne rosacea. Shine control toners are great for clients who have very oily skin and need that extra product to regulate the oil and stop the shine. Lastly acne toners that are anti-bacterial and kill infection causing spots.

At what stage in your skin care routine should you add a toner? The toner should always follow the cleanser because the cleanser is thicker in consistency and removes the makeup. A toner is a liquid applied on a cotton disk and rubbed in circular motions. A toner should be repeated until the cotton disk is clean, this ensures you are applying your mask, serum or moisturiser onto clean skin which in turn keep the skin looking flawless.

How can you pick the right toner for your client? Generally that are not too many toners per skincare range to choose from. Once the client’s skin is analysed and you are happy with the consultation outcome it is easy to choose correctly. There are mainly three types of toners out there on the market: Alcohol-based formulas that often include “astringent” ingredients such as witch hazel. Water and glycerin or glycol-based formulas with fragrant extracts such as rose water or citrus fruits. Water-based formulas loaded with beneficial ingredients such as skin-repairing substances and antioxidants.

Are there any dangers to watch out for when using a toner? The common danger with toners is the amount of alcohol in them. Alcohol strips the skin of its natural oil and water and also causes premature aging. Some clients like to feel there skin tingle or tight after they tone, they also believe a toner can close pores. All an alcohol based toner does is damage the skin and causes inflammation and should be avoided.

How best can you retail these toners in your salon? Toners should go hand in hand with cleansers just like serums go hand and hand with moisturisers. Both complement each other, there is nothing worse than residue of cleaner on the skin or dirt and makeup that hasn’t been removed properly. Skin should be cleansed well in order to stay youthful and fresh. A toner will prepare the skin for the next regime step. Toners can prevent spots and congestion, lock in hydration and even calm down broken capillaries.

Click here for more info on our toners