K-beauty 101: All About Toners

By now, you’re probably aware of the Korean beauty or K-beauty 10-step skincare regimen: cleanse, cleanse again, exfoliate, tone, tap in essence or ampoule, apply treatments, apply eye cream, apply sheet mask, moisturize, and apply sunscreen. Essentially, toners fit into this skincare routine to hydrate your face and maximize your skincare results. Whether you’re new to the K-beauty skincare regimen or are already employing it, you should know why you shouldn’t skip the toner step.

Toners Purify, Nurture, and Hydrate Your Skin

Also known as lotions in Asia, toners, specifically Asian herbal skin toner preparations, are enriched with hydrating ingredients instead of those that dry out the skin. Common ingredients in such toners include hyaluronic acid, amino acids, mineral water, moringa oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, kelp extract, grapeseed oil, centella asiatica, various plant extracts, and antioxidants. But what about those with acne-prone skin? Will Asian toners work? Definitely yes. With Asian toners, instead of alcohol and other harsh, drying ingredients, you can find relief from breakouts due to calming and anti-inflammatory ingredients such as chamomile, propolis, snail mucin, and tea tree, among others. These ingredients fight acne-causing bacteria without wreaking havoc on your skin’s pH and moisture barrier. More importantly, toning is a vital step after double cleansing since it can also help eliminate any impurities that cleansing might have left behind.

Toners Effectively Balance the pH Level of Your Skin

woman washing her face

The hydrating and moisturizing ingredients mentioned above are vital since they restore and maintain the pH of your skin. The natural pH level of your skin is about 5.5. However, environmental stressors, alcohol, makeup, and oil production can easily lower or increase your skin’s pH level. If your skin’s pH is too low or too high, it will become more vulnerable to excessive dryness or oil production as well as environmental damage. However, most Asian toners have pH that ranges from 5 to 5.5, so they mimic the natural pH of the skin. Whenever you tone, you’re essentially balancing your skin’s pH level and overall health.

Toners Boost the Potency of Your Other Skincare Products

If your skin is dry, it will be harder to hydrate it as opposed to when it’s damp. This means that your skin can absorb your essence, moisturizers, oils, and other treatments after you have toned it. Likewise, when your skin is dry, all the products you apply won’t penetrate the layer of dead skin cells, so they won’t work as well as they’re supposed to. But when you hydrate it with a pH-balance toner, you boost the potency of your other skincare products. This is especially beneficial if you use skincare products with active ingredients such as retinol or vitamin C.

A word of advice, though, when choosing among the many different toners out on the market is that you need to choose one that contains ingredients suitable for your skin type. For example, you should opt for toners with hydrating and moisturizing ingredients if you have dehydrated or dry skin, and opt for toners with more astringent and bacteria-fighting ingredients if you have acne-prone or very oily skin. Once you find the right toner, don’t look back.

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