Skip to content

What do toners do for the skin? Do you need to use a toner?

What is a toner in skincare parlance? A liquid, mostly water, with additions like ethanol or surfactants, is used to remove oils and sebum. The objective: to strip the skin of oily substances and whatever else a cleanser may have left behind.

Remember, however, that sebum has a purpose: it lubricates the skin and prevents water loss from the skin, so a toner may well be a waste of money or, worse, a waste of a valuable skin resource.

A “typical” toner, whatever its price (you can buy one for $200) it will contain water, ethanol (or another solvent), surfactant (synthetic or saponins). The water may be replaced by floral water. It will also contain some preservatives plus a long list of label value ingredients (components to make you feel like you are not wasting your money but present in minute concentrations).

My advice: if you are planning to use a toner, avoid anything containing ethanol or isopropyl alcohol, essential oils, or fragrances. Have a good laugh at toners containing 24K Italian gold. Reject expensive toners: they are not a treatment, just a cleanser that comes after a cleanser.

How about Skin Actives toners? You will find no alcohol, no essential oils, or fragrances. Here are the two options:

Nourishing Floral Toner

Citrus Aurantium (Neroli) Flower Water, Rosa Damascena (Rose) Flower Water, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Seakelp (Lactobacillus/Kelp Ferment Filtrate) Bioferment.

Vitamin C facial toner

Water, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Citrus Aurantium (Neroli/Orange Blossom) Flower Distillate, Propanediol, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Fucoidan, Xylitol, Disodium EDTA, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol (and) Chlorphenesin (and) Caprylyl Glycol.

The nourishing floral toner has the lovely fragrance of orange flowers and will provide the many benefits of the sea kelp bioferment.

The bark of Hamamelis Virginiana contains tannins like hamamelitannin and pentagalloylglucose and proanthocyanidins. This active use goes back to Native Americans who produced witch hazel extract by boiling the stems of the shrub. The extract was which was used to treat swellings and inflammation.

The Vitamin C facial toner contains Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, a stable form of Vitamin C, plus sea kelp fucoidan, xylitol, and aloe vera, all good stuff for skin in need of calming down.


Claims on this page have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.