Julia applies a toner during a facial treatment

View the published blog post here.

If you’re a skincare junkie like me, you probably have a vanity full of moisturizers, serums, masks, eye creams and cleansers. But, I ask you, would a toner make it into your skincare shelfie?

In the skincare world, toners don’t get the glory. Many customers will forgo buying toner in favour of another more celebrated product in their skincare routine.

I get it – skincare is an investment, and you want to put those hard-earned dollars toward products with big benefits.

But toner is just as beneficial for your skin as the other skincare heroes! High-quality toners are loaded with effective ingredients that can transform the way your skin looks and feels after cleansing.

Today, I’m sharing why you need to start incorporating toner into your skincare routine if you want healthy, flawless skin.


OK, so you’ve probably had a bad experience with a toner. We all have!

After cleansing, you doused a cotton pad and rubbed it on your face. For a moment, you basked in that refreshing feeling, but then it happened … you felt your skin constrict and dry out.

No, thank you, right?

Wrong! You’re just not using the right one.

Toners were actually created to be state-of-the-art liquid moisturizers to replenish and nourish the skin after cleansing. The type that many of us are accustomed to contain drying alcohols instead of the beneficial fatty alcohols such as cetyl, stearyl, and cetearyl.

Yes, just as there are good fats to eat, there are good fats for the skin. And these “fatty alcohols” are non-irritating and help keep ingredients stable in your other products. They also have emollient properties that can soften and smooth the skin, priming it to better absorb serums and moisturizers.

Look for toners that combine these fatty alcohols along with botanical extracts like lavender water that naturally help to tighten, clarify and refine the surface of pores without damaging your skin.

Avoid all toners that have SD alcohol, denatured alcohol, menthol and isopropyl alcohol on the ingredient list as these deplete the skin of its moisture and contribute to ageing.


Think of your toner as a secondary cleanse, the right-hand woman to your cleanser. 

A quality toner will remove any traces of dirt, makeup, cleanser residue, and excess oil left behind from step #1 in your skincare routine. 

It will also minimize pores and tighten cell gaps, reducing the penetration of impurities and environmental contaminants into the skin. 

It can even protect and remove chlorine and minerals present in the tap water you use to wash your face.

Uneven skin tone or discolouration is another common skincare concern that can be addressed with an exfoliating toner.

Skin discolouration is the result of excess melanin, a natural pigment that gives a tint to a specific area of the skin. It is often caused by chronic UV exposure, hormonal fluctuations, past acne blemishes, and natural ageing.

To treat discolouration, look for toners containing salicylic acid as it works to exfoliate the affected areas.

For blemish-prone skin, look for toners containing oats and active botanical ingredients that work below the surface to interrupt inflammatory triggers.


These two letters are thrown around a lot; I don’t know about you, but I need a refresher on how this impacts our skin!

pH stands for potential hydrogen and is a measure of how acidic or alkaline a substance is. When it comes to the pH of your skin, it’s reliant on the skin’s acid mantle. 

This acid mantle protects skin against external influences like bacteria, allergens and pollution while maintaining moisture.

According to Dr. Hadley King, a New York City-based, board-certified dermatologist, our skin is naturally acidic, typically with a pH balance of between five and six (on a scale from zero to 14). 

But that balance can get out of whack after cleansing due to the alkaline nature of soap, UV rays, humidity and other skincare products. 

When this happens, your skin needs to work overtime to return to its normal levels (and that may result in oil), but using an alcohol-free toner can help restore this balance quickly.

Dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engleman advises looking for toners with acid blends like lactic or glycolic to exfoliate, as well as soothing toners that contain aloe vera, witch hazel, or vitamin C. 

Steer clear of products with fragrance or alcohol, which can trigger further skin issues.


Have you opened a new browser window and started shopping for that toner yet? 

While toners have suffered through some bad press in the past, beautifully-formulated toners loaded with beneficial ingredients have the power to transform your skin from dull to glowing.

Look for toners packed with generous amounts of antioxidants, soothing agents and vital hydrating ingredients and avoid the harsh alcohols we discussed.

If you have questions about which toner best suits your skincare needs, discuss them with Julia at your next appointment. She offers clients 15% off all skincare products purchased at her spa.

Laura Gatsos Young is a digital content writer based in Toronto. You can read more of her work at lauragatsosyoung.com.

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