Toner1 Toner2

When you read, talk, think, breathe and sleep about beauty as much as I do, you tend to come across a helluva lot of different bits of advice, opinion, tips and tricks, from a huge variety of people, from friends and bloggers to magazine writers and skincare experts.

And while a lot of it is really up to personal opinion, it can be quite hard to keep up with it all – and, more importantly, to separate honest pieces of beauty advice from vague stab-in-the-dark statements made by people and publications which can’t back them up with any actual fact or experience.

So, in an attempt to try and work my way through the myriad of *ahem* bullshit *ahem* that’s floating on round the beauty world, I thought I’d put a whole heap of those beauty myths to the test, in order to see what’s fact – and what’s fiction.

First on my list? Toner.

Now, let me lay all my cards on the table first of all and say that I love toner. Love it. So much so that I double up on the toner dosage every morning and evening. An acid toner followed by a hydrating spray toner, if you were wondering. But, I’ve heard the ‘toner isn’t necessary’ line on so many occasions – and from so many different people – that I wanted to try that theory out for myself.

So, I put all of my personal feelings aside, along with my expansive toner collection and went one week without using any toner at all – just so I could see whether or not it made a difference to my skin.

And I admit, initially, on days one and two, I didn’t notice a huge amount of difference – my skin was slightly dryer, I think in part because it wasn’t getting an added boost of hydration from my spray toners, but other than that, everything was as normal. On the third day however, the no-toner road started to get a little bit bumpy – as too did my face.

An enormous and painful under-the-skin pimple sprung up overnight, leaving my skin looking red and inflamed come morning – and it showed no signs that it was going anywhere any time soon. Now normally in these situations, acid toners are my go-to fix when it comes to killing off the bigger, badder blemishes, while spray toners help to soothe the unhappy skin around them.

But without them, this thing just kept on growing. Seriously, it was like a bloody monster from a bad horror movie. On and on it went, despite me using every other bleedin’ spot treatment available in my beauty arsenal.

Elsewhere on my face, the differences were a bit less noticeable, but that didn’t make them any more easy to put up with. My skin was much less smooth than normal – and I found I had a lot more small blackheads and blemishes cropping up each and every day. It also looked a bit ruddy dull; there was no plumpness to it, and it just felt a bit meh.

In all honesty, days four, five, six and seven were just a bit bloody awful. My skin didn’t feel like my own – sounds weird, I know – and it really threw off the rest of my skincare routine. My moisturiser didn’t sink in properly, my face oil didn’t apply as smoothly as normal and by the end of the week, all I wanted to do was douse my face with toner.

So, my personal opinion on this particular subject? It may be because I’ve been using it for so many years, but I just hated leaving toner out of my routine. Now I don’t know if it’s a case of ‘you won’t miss what you don’t already have’, but, for me, toner is just an absolute essential. And that’s not because anyone has told me it is (or that it isn’t!), it’s because I can actually see the difference that it makes to my skin.

All you toner skeptics out there? Give it a go, please? You might just find you like – nay love – it…

AN UPDATE: Just wanted to clear a couple of things up, as I’ve had a few questions from some of you since publishing this post. First of all, toner is not just one specific product type, think of it more as a skincare category. Just like there are a huge variety of cleansers targeted at a wide range of skincare types and problems, toners are much the same. I personally use an acid-based toner after cleansing, before following that up with a hydrating spray toner. This is just the combination that I find works really well for my skin. But do some research, see what you think might work best for your skin. And if you have any other questions, just let me know in the comments below!

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7 thoughts on “Debunking beauty myths: ‘Toner is an unnecessary skincare step’

  1. rachwat says:

    Loved this post! I dont currently use a toner as I cut out a few of my more recent products in order to get a bout of breakouts under control, which included my vitamin e toner from TBS. One thing I cant seem to find out is what exacty a toner is meant to do for your skin! One of mine says its to remove excess product after cleansing and anotger says it soothes and hydrates, any ideas?

    1. I think it really depends on what toner you are using. I used to be under the impression that toner was just one kind of product, but the truth is there are so many varieties available, which cater to all manner of skincare issues. For example, if breakouts are an issue for you, it’s worth trying an acid-based toner, which will really help to clear up your breakouts. I really like the Pixi Glow Tonic and the First Aid Beauty Radiance Pads. Both work brilliantly. Then, if you find that you’re suffering from redness or inflamed skin, a soothing spray toner will really help to combat that, while ensuring that your skin is getting a much-needed dose of hydration. Liz Earle does a great spray toner – the Skin Boost Tonic – and Lush do a great one too – the Eau Roma Water. Hope that helps! x

      1. rachwat says:

        Ah thats so helpful thank you 😊 x

  2. Laura says:

    I definitely think toner does have a purpose and does make a difference but I only find it necessary it I’m going to apply a serum or a corrective skin product. I like to make sure my skin is extra clean and free from any debris/left over make up before applying serums and toner does that job brilliantly!

    1. I agree, I think toner creates the perfect base for skin treatments – I find all of my treatments work so much better when I’ve used a toner beforehand! x

  3. Whitney says:

    Toner is so necessary in my skincare routine! I forgot to pack it once on my vacations and it was chaos afterwards hahaha. But like you, I’ve also used it for a long time now, so my skin is probably just used to it.

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