Great question, and glad you asked! We get this question quite a lot.
If you are more familiar with Western toners than Korean ones, it is true that you will generally know toners as being astringent and drying. In South Korea, there are very few products that are meant to dry out your skin, because keeping the skin hydrated at all times is crucial to preserving your skin’s health. Let’s get into it...
There are a lot of misconceptions about toners. Many people feel that they are too drying, or simply just too much like water. While the texture to many toners you may be familiar with can be thin, light, and well… watery, there is actually a huge difference between toners and just plain water!
When water dries, it will dry out your skin. Let’s think about those who shave their faces; it’s commonly intuitive to use “aftershave” after shaving instead of just rinsing with water, because the skin can be inflamed and hyper-sensitive and the pores can be more vulnerable. This is an essential time to deliver healing vitamins and antioxidants to your skin so you can prevent any inflammation or infections.
Similarly, when we use cleansers, they will change the pH levels of our skin. If you do not bring the skin back to your regular pH level before continuing with a moisturizer, your skin may be prone to unevenness, redness, and breakouts. So a toner prepares your skin for the rest of your products to effectively and efficiently soak into your skin!
Because there are so many different types of toners, application for this step can vary based on the specific product and its formula.
If you’d like to focus more on exfoliation and refreshing, soak a cotton round with your toner and swipe it across the skin. If you see residue coming off onto the cotton round, then it is doing exactly what you want! This can help swipe off any extra residue that accrued overnight, or that didn’t come of all the way from cleansing (stay tuned for an article on double cleansing!). Some toners will come as pre-soaked cotton rounds.
Many toners can be sprinkled into your hands and applied directly to your face! This is especially nice with hydrating-focused toners, as you can ensure that your skin is really drinking up the moisture by setting it into the skin with your palms and fingers.
There are also mists, which I personally always recommend for people who are just getting started with their skin care journey, people who want to keep things simple and easy, OR people who are always on-the-go. Mist toners can easily be used as needed throughout the day if you’d like a mid-day refresher for your skin!
As you may notice, Western brands are following the trends of Korean products because, well… they work! Many brands are now modeling their formulas after the highly coveted Korean products that are being put out. In my opinion, after testing many western products even that are inspired by Korean formulas, nothing has ever worked as well as the authentic, Korean formulated products!
Dear72’s philosophy is that toners are one of the most important steps in our skincare regimens. If you are reaching directly for the thicker creams and not using a toner first, it is possible that you are clogging your pores! Because of this, we’re going to highlight some of our favorite toners for different skin types. Scroll to see some recommended toners for you!