There are a few skincare staples that we all know about; cleanser, moisturizer, sunscreen to name a few. But what about toner or astringent? We see a lot of confusion about the two. With good reason though, toner is often used as an umbrella term and that’s where things get messy. Let talk more about toners and astringents — and help you figure out which one is right for you.
Toner: A toner is water-based and is made to balance the skins pH and rid the skin of any leftover impurities such as dirt and makeup.
Astringent: An astringent is alcohol-based and strips the oil from your skin.
As stated, toner and astringent are formulated very differently and therefore serve completely different purposes. Toners often contain glycerin and some form of glycol, which both help draw water into the skin and balance pH levels. A lot of people view toners as a step that they can skin in their routine, but it’s actually pretty important. Since it removes leftover dirt or grime that wasn’t cleaned off by your facial cleanser, it allows the products you use after to penetrate deeper (so more effective!)
Astringents, on the other hand, are much more potent, alcohol-based and designed to remove oil from the skin. It’s easy to over-do it with astringents, as the alcohol drys you out.
Toners are just about good for everyone. However, there are a variety of toners out there, and a lot of them are labeled as a toner but are really an astringent. So please read the ingredients! They can address everything from dark spots to hydration, so keep that in mind when finding a good one for you.
Astringents are more one-track and are mainly for oily, acneic types. Be careful with them as they can really dry you out, cause irritation and cause you to over produce oil instead. No matter what you hear, don’t use straight Witch Hazel as a “toner”! It is way too drying.
No matter your skin type, a toner to balance the skin’s pH is always best! Just check the ingredients to make sure it’s not an astringent in disguise.