Today we’re tackling a rather popular beauty question.
Do you really need a toner?
I get asked this one a lot.
Honestly, if you asked me this two months ago I would say no… unless you have really oily skin. The advice I’d always been given was that if you wash your face well enough, you don’t need it – especially if your skin is on the drier side. (Mine is.)
I’ve recently changed my position here.
In early November I went and had a facial at Christine Chin (I got a lot of questions about this, I saw Coco and loved her). It was the most violent (in a good way?) facial I’d ever had. If you follow my stories on instagram you probably remember what I looked like after. The extractions were… intense… and my skin was red for a full 36 hours but afterward, I glowed and had NO PORES. Worth it and easily the best facial I’ve ever had. Painful extractions aside, the questioning I received was also a little intense! Coco grilled me after extracting the small bumps on my left cheek. “You use a toner!?!” I lied and told her I did. She called me out on my lies. Yes, I’m serious guys, she called me out.
In my head though I was all…
“Toner!? Seriously? That’s what she’s asking me about? I do it all. Masks! Regular exfoliation! Vitamin C! Retinol! Why do I need a g*ddamn toner!?” I waited for the inevitable sales pitch that usually follows these sorts of conversations. It didn’t come. There was no special Christine Chin toner she wanted me to buy, this was not a sales pitch. She just wanted me to use toner, explaining that a) it would help with the bumps on my cheeks by removing those dead skin cells that get stuck and b) it would help my serum + moisturizer to penetrate deeper.
So, I committed to adding a toner to my already extensive skincare routine. My facial was about 6 weeks ago and I’ve been testing out (a few different) toners ever since. Honestly guys, I noticed a pretty big difference. No more bumps on my cheeks and the pores on my nose haven’t been getting as clogged (They still get clogged but I have one of those noses that just needs a Biore strip once a week. Those pores just get clogged so easily, no matter what I do.
Here are the three toners i tried, in least favorite to favorite order.
one // Herbivore Green Tea Toner.
Okay I really like Herbivore as a brand but this toner didn’t do a thing, except feel nice and cooling on my skin. It’s a spray so I would saturate a cotton ball and wipe all over my face. Nada. It felt good? For $39, we can do better.
two // Tracie Martyn Toner.
I really like this one – I’ve featured it here before. It’s ultra soothing and great for calming redness. Lady Gaga is a fan and it smells like a lavender cloud.
three // Acwell Toner.
Okay this is my favorite (and for once in my life also the biggest bottle + least expensive option so hooray!) It might be my favorite mostly because every time I use it, I can see the dead skin cells it takes off on the cotton ball. I need a visual reward and I don’t get that with the Tracie Martyn or the Herbivore. Even after a good solid double cleanse, it still takes off additional dirt and dead skin cells. I’ve been using this for a solid three weeks and really love it.
My skin is dry and slightly sensitive. It definitely gets red but redness is only situational (it gets red when too cold, or irritated, but easily calms down once back to normal). I would absolutely, wholeheartedly recommend the Acwell Toner, or the Tracie Martyn if your skin is really sensitive. Or if you want to be a fancy lady like me, get them both and use the Acwell most of the time and the Tracie Martyn when you want something more gentle. Or for something more wallet friendly, plain old witch hazel is also awesome. I’ve noticed a big difference in the texture of my skin and can’t wait to go back to see Coco to see if she notices too. She probably won’t (the salon’s hashtag is #meanchristine for a reason but I’m into it!!)
Photography by Carter Fish.