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Do I Need a Facial Toner?

What is a facial toner?

In the past, a facial toner was part of the cleansing routine. You’d remove your makeup with a jar of thick cold cream, and follow by wiping your face with a toner-soaked cotton pad to remove heavy makeup and make sure your skin was completely clean. Traditional toners are highly astringent, usually with an alcohol or witch hazel base. They pull oil from the skin, leaving it tight and dry. They are typically recommended for oily or acne-prone skin (though that approach often causes more breakouts), and they come in all sorts of synthetic colors, like pink or yellow or teal blue!

More modern skin toners have a different role entirely: they are the first leave-on layer in your skincare routine rather than part of the cleansing process. They can be spritzes, sprays, clear liquids, or gels, and there are some amazing natural options these days!

What does a facial toner do?

It depends on the ingredients. Toners with a high alcohol content will likely be drying to the skin. Luckily, the newer toners on the market have higher performance ingredients. You’ll find hydrosols to hydrate the skin, hyaluronic acid to help the skin hold moisture, aloe vera and other botanical extracts to soothe irritation, and mild astringents like distilled witch hazel or willow bark to tone the skin and reduce the appearance of pores.

When should I use a toner?

A toner is usually a middle step in a routine. After cleansing, you apply your toner while the skin is still damp, and follow it quickly with your favorite moisturizer or facial oil. The toner hydrates the skin, and topping it with a cream or an oil helps your skin retain that moisture. An example of an Osmia routine would be cleansing with the Black Clay Facial Soap or the Purely Gentle Mud Cleanser, applying the Purely Calm Gel Toner, and following with either the Purely Simple Face Cream or one of our facial oil serums.

Does my skin need a toner?

If your skin feels like it needs a boost of moisture, or if your skin has specific issues like acne, dermatitis, or eczema, the right toner can be a great addition to your routine. You’ll want to read the ingredients to make sure you’re selecting a toner with benefits specific to your skin type.

If your skin is doing great without a toner, you don’t need to add one to your routine until you feel like your skin needs a little something extra.

Are there any skin types that should avoid toner?

No particular skin type should avoid toner. If your skin is super-sensitive or has a history of reactivity, you’ll want to introduce any new product slowly and cautiously, and a toner with a short ingredient list might be the best place to start. Also, it's smart to start by ordering a sample of any new product before investing in the full size.

Are there different types of toner?

Definitely. There are still plenty of drying, old-school toners out there that will strip your skin of its natural oils and leave it feeling tight and parched. You’ll want to avoid toners with alcohol in the first five ingredients, or toners that are colored like cotton candy. Certain extracts are alcohol-based, so be sure to ask the brand if alcohol-based ingredients make up a large part of the formula.

Luckily, there are lots of modern facial toners out there, too. You’ll find spritzes like these beautiful, simple hydrosols from Evan Healy or the lovely botanical facial mists from Meow Meow Tweet, Mun, and Kari Gran. You’ll find spray toners with a few more active ingredients like Josh’s beloved Hydrating Accelerator or Tata’s Hydrating Floral Essence. And you’ll find one truly divine gel toner: the Purely Calm Gel Toner.

What are the benefits of Osmia’s Purely Calm Gel Toner?

We have a slightly different take on toner: Purely Calm Gel Toner is a cooling, hydrating botanical gel that penetrates all layers of the skin for a moisture boost that lasts all day. There are three ways in which it affects your skin. First, it helps your skin cells retain water with a blend of apple extract and just the right amount of hyaluronic acid (too much can be drying!). Second, it calms irritation (including eczema, dermatitis, and acne) with botanical extracts of caper, oats, and white tea, reducing redness and inflammation. Third, it promotes skin health with aloe vera and vitamin B3, both of which support collagen production and strengthen your skin so it can do its job well!

Purely Calm Gel Toner is appropriate for all skin types, and can be tailored to fit your routine! Here are a few of our favorite combinations.

For dry skin:

Wash with Purely Gentle Mud Cleanser, then apply Purely Calm Gel Toner and follow with Purely Simple Face Cream plus a few drops of Nectar Nourishing Drops

For oily or acne prone skin:

Wash with Black Clay Facial Soap, then apply Purely Calm Gel Toner followed by Balance Serum all over (if needed) and Spotless Blemish Oil on spots.

For dermatitis:

Wash with the Black Clay Facial Soap (or Purely Gentle Mud Cleanser if in healing stages), follow with Purely Calm Gel Toner. Follow with Purely Simple Face Cream

For mature skin:

Wash with Purely Gentle Mud Cleanser, followed by Purely Calm Gel Toner and Restore Serum.

Sometimes it seems impossible to create a routine that doesn’t require a PhD to understand and an hour to perform. But toners don’t have to complicate things! If your skin is feeling healthy, hydrated, and non-irritated, you don’t need to add a toner to your life. If you’re dry, acne-prone, or you struggle with inflammation or dermatitis, it might be time for you to become a toner owner!

As always, find us with any questions!