When it comes to creating a skincare routine, one of the main questions is whether or not to use facial toner. While cleansing and moisturizing are a given, there are differing opinions when it comes to adding toner as part of your daily ritual. Some say toner is always a good idea, but there are others who claim toner is only good for certain skin types, particularly oily skin and acne-prone skin.
The truth is, there was a time when most toners were harsh astringents loaded with alcohol to "tighten" skin, remove excess oil, and supposedly minimize large pores and clear breakouts. But we now know that alcohol — namely isopropyl alcohol, SD alcohol, denatured alcohol, ethyl alcohol, and benzyl alcohol — can wreak havoc on the skin by stripping it of its natural moisture, causing irritation, and throwing off natural pH levels.
Today, many face toners are alcohol free, but that doesn't mean they are good for you. Unfortunately, chemical ingredients and unnatural preservatives such as parabens, phthalates, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, and dyes are very common in skincare products, including skin toners, which can lead to dry and irritated skin.
The good news is that there are also plenty of natural toners that are both gentle and effective at doing what they should have been doing in the first place: Toning skin's pH levels back to a natural state (slightly acidic at about 5.5), clearing away impurities that might be left behind after washing your face, and prepping pores to absorb moisturizers, serums, and other hydrating skincare products.
Just remember: Reading product labels is essential not only to avoid potentially harmful chemicals, but also to ensure you are getting ingredients that are best suited for your skin's needs.
Natural Toners for Your Skin Type
To help you shop smart and find the best natural toner for your skin type, take a look at this handy checklist, which also includes a curated selection of Feel Beauty skincare products. After all, adding the right natural toner to your complete beauty routine is a surefire way to keep your skin feeling and looking fresh, balanced, and squeaky clean.
If you have normal skin that doesn't give you many problems, well, we won't blame you if you gloat — or glow. To keep your skin in perfect harmony, try a natural rosewater toner such as Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel. The pure witch hazel base helps tone, cleanse, and moisturize skin naturally while the distilled water (rosewater) and certified organic aloe vera offer soothing hydration.
Use with: Feel's Probiotic Moisturizer.
If you have combination skin that can't seem to make up its mind (one area is a little of this, another spot is a little of that), it can be more than a little frustrating. To help balance out skin tone and soothe your entire face, look for a toner with calming natural ingredients such as aloe vera, lavender, and clary sage, which has anti-inflammatory properties. Try an organic hydrosol (also known as a water toner or floral water) such as the clary sage version from Mountain Rose Herbs.
Use with: Our Enzymatic Exfoliating Cleanser, which gently exfoliates dead skin cells (dry patches) while offering a rich lather that gently cleanses and balances any areas with excess oil (T-zone, we're talking about you).
To help combat acne and the bacteria that causes it, look for a face toner that has willow bark (nature's salicylic acid) to clean pores and remove dead skin cells as well as antibacterial ingredients such as rosehip oil and tea tree oil. A good choice is the Tea Tree & Willow Clarifying Astringent from 100% Pure. You can also try products with citrus extracts such as lemon or grapefruit, which can help lighten dark spots.
Use with: Our Squalane Facial Oil, a powerful silky-smooth serum loaded with acne-fighting rosehip and avocado oils, plus white grapefruit essential oil that gently brightens and tightens skin. You also can't go wrong with Feel's Rose Extract Mask, an ultra-concentrated toning gel.
Dry and mature skin types will want a moisturizing facial toner that forgoes astringents like witch hazel in favor of deeply hydrating ingredients including hyaluronic acid, aloe vera gel, honey, vegetable glycerin, and algae such as seaweed. 100% Pure's Restorative Sea Culture Hydrating Toner is a solid choice with skin-firming chia, ultra-moisturizing hyaluronic acid, and seaweed grown in unpolluted water.
If you have sensitive skin, less is more. Opt for a spray toner, which you can spritz on your face rather than applying with a cotton ball. You'll also want to look for calming botanical ingredients such as aloe vera gel, chamomile, cucumber, and lavender. Instead of a witch hazel based toner, try a hydrosol such as Tata Harper’s Hydrating Floral Essence, which is an ultra-delicate but still effective method to tone skin.
Use with: Our gentle Vitamin E Balm soothes chapped lips and can even be swiped on as a blush or eyeshadow for the perfect finish to your look.
Tone It Up
It's pretty clear that a natural skin toner can be a valuable part of your daily skincare ritual no matter what skin type or challenging skin condition you have. While you could also consider a homemade toner (such as those created with raw apple cider vinegar), the main priority is to choose a natural toner free from harmful chemicals and loaded with pure ingredients that address your specific skin needs. Cleansing, toning, moisturizing, and treating yourself to regular masks is just what you need to look and feel beautiful inside and out.