A skin toner, also called an astringent, clarifier, or freshener, is a product that is used to clean, refresh, smooth, control oil, and moisturize the face. A skin toner is often used after cleansing the face, but before applying moisturizer or makeup. By identifying which skin type you have, you will be able to chose a toner that works best for you. In general, however, avoid toners that contain alcohol and fragrances which can cause any skin type to become irritated.
Determine if you have a dry skin type. Dry skin is often characterized as skin that has small pores, feels tight, and has a dull and rough complexion. You will also know if you have dry skin if your skin becomes very dry and even flakey during the winter months. This skin type is also prone to cracking, peeling, irritation, redness/dry patches, and itchiness.
Find out if you have an oily skin type. Oily skin is often characterized as skin that has enlarged pores, looks shiny from excess oil, and, when blotted with a tissue, significant oil residue is visible
Learn if you have a combination skin type. Combination skin is a little more complicated because, as the name suggests, you tend to have both oily and dry or normal skin. Combination skin is often characterized as skin that has larger pores and more oil in the T-zone area, i.e., your forehead, nose, and chin. However, the other areas of your skin, like your cheeks and the sides of your face, have smaller pores and less oil.
Establish if you have a sensitive skin type. Sensitive skin is often characterized as skin that is easily irritated. Sensitive skin can become irritated from beauty products, being touched, hot water, alcohol consumption, or spicy foods. Because many things can irritate this skin type, redness, itching, and burning are characteristic of this skin type.
Matching a Toner to Your Skin Type
Select a hydrating toner. If you have a dry skin type, choose toners that are hydrating and moisturizing. Look for products that have peptides, glycolipids, rose hips seed oil or jojoba oil, dimethicone, and glycolic acid. Avoid products that contain alcohol (SD 40, denatured, ethanol, and isopropyl), sodium or ammonium lauryl sulfate, mineral oil, and pertrolatum.
Pick a refreshing toner. If you have an oily skin type, choose toners that are refreshing and gentle for the skin. Do not punish your oily skin by buying toners saturated with alcohol. These toners will dry out your skin causing your skin to produce even more oil. Use products that contain oil-free ingredients, sodium hyaluronate, sodium PCA, and AHA. Avoid products that contain alcohol (SD 40, denatured, ethanol, and isopropyl), sodium or ammonium lauryl sulfate, mineral oil, and pertrolatum.
Opt for two different toners. If you have a combination skin type, you will need to purchase two different kinds of toners: one for the summer months and one for the winter months. For the summer months, use a refreshing toner with oil-free ingredients. For the winter months, use a hydrating toner with ingredients that will moisturize your skin, like rose hips or jojoba oil.
Choose a gentle toner. If you have a sensitive skin type, pick mild toners that are completely free of alcohol and acids, like salicylic acid or paraben. Use products that contain beta glucans, sea whip, white tea extract, and glycerin, i.e., ingredients that are anti-inflammatory and that have antioxidants. Avoid products that contain synthetic dyes and fragrances, alcohol (SD 40, denatured, ethanol, and isopropyl), and sodium or ammonium lauryl sulfate.