Do you really need a toner? Do you think women in Hawaii or the Pacific (with beautiful skin) need them? The likely answer is no. A toner is used to ‘remove the last bits of cleanser from your face’. But is that not what water is for? Toners claim to rebalance the skin’s PH, but a good soap or cleanser should not send it out of whack anyway. Toners are useful to dab away excess oil (for acne) or to make you feel refreshed (try splashing your face with water?) Natural beauty expert Adina Grigore has lovely skin: she eats well, and does little else to her skin other than wash with water and occasionally use a toner or skin cream.
If you do use toner, here are some better brands. They are not needed by most people, but they are at least simple, free from chemicals and animal ingredients. Use with reusable make-up rounds that you can pop in the washing machine, to avoid disposable cotton pads. Do a patch test before use (dab a bit on wrist, inner elbow or behind ear, where skin is thinner) and leave for 48 hours.
- Rosewater (or orange blossom water) is found in chemists, made by distilling flowers or fruits. It can also be used to flavour cakes and ice-cream.
- Lucy Bee Dazzling Organic Skin Tonic is made with organic ingredients.
- Witch hazel is from a native American herb, but too harsh for most people and will not help acne (this is caused by excess sebum from hormones or diet – you can’t cure acne by ‘drying up your skin’.
- Herbowski Botanical Facial Steam (Kent) was invented by a chemist/herbalist to create a ‘steam tent’. Strain the tea, then you can reuse it in a bath. Herbs are strong, so avoid for pregnancy/nursing and medical conditions, and avoid near pets or children.
Make Your Own Skin Toner
You can make your own refreshing skin toner. Just strain cooled mint or green tea (use organic brands free from nylon string – and never ‘donate string’ (biodegradable or not) to birds’ nests in the garden, as it can choke or harm.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or lemon, in a cup of water.
- Aloe vera gel is a good toner (it can also heal sunburn). But it can cause allergies and affect some some medications, so check with your doctor.
- Hello Glow has nice recipes for DIY toners, using herbs or essential oils. Stefanie recommends rosemary chamomile (mature skin), tea tree basil (oily skin) or geranium/lavender (combination skin).