Friday, October 7, 2016

Is a toner really necessary?

On my way to an event about 'laser treatment for skin' conducted by a few of Mumbai's renowned aesthetic medical practitioners, I was debating about which toner to buy next. Toners serve a variety of purposes, from taking off any leftover residue (even after you have had a go with your cleanser), exfoliating the skin, calming sensitive skin to leaving a layer of hydration on the skin. I have all four varieties and a couple of favourites in that, but the one I find indispensable is the first type--the skin cleansing one. Let me clarify, I love cleansing and I love my cleansers, but my pores behave like a deep cave with dark recesses that house gunk, which can only be pulled out by a cleansing toner.

I had reached the venue, and the skin docs began talking about general skincare, giving tips and busting misconceptions. While I was enjoying all that, the subject of toner came up, especially for oily skin. My ears perked up and I was eager to hear what the expert had to say.

Avoid toners, he said! Shattering the long-held belief of the holy grail of skincare--Cleanse, Tone and Moisture--he silenced the audience but went on to explain how toners are unnecessary imports from the western world and we Indians do not need them, including oily skin types. What he meant was that we don't need the traditional alcohol-based toners that used to wipe away cleansing creams of the yore. Yes, before face washes came into the picture, women used to use cleansing creams, which were greasy and hence needed an alcohol-y toner to take it all off.

While I wouldn't degrade all toners (like I mentioned above, a few of them have something extra to offer), I agree with the skin doc in that I absolutely hate toners with alcohol. Any self-respecting beauty company ought to throw out such toners because in today's age, cleansers have become advanced thus eliminating the need for a strong-burn-your-skin alcohol-based toner. India is also catching up to the alcohol-free toner trend, with Plum being one of the early adopters.

In my next post, I will share a bit about my current toners, why and how I use them, and a few that are on my wishlist.


  1. Hey S, love your blog and this topics caught my interest. I always avoided toners because it really dried and irritated my skin...even a natural toner like rose water. I have very dry skin and i'm afraid it's turning sensitive. My skin gulps up any moisturiser or oil. Would love to see your reviews on some good moisturisers. :) :*

    1. Hey Shree, yes, after toners, I want to talk about moisturisers and facial oils. BTW, have you tried any Korean skincare products? Brands like Whamisa make excellent products for drier skin types. These products are not only all-natural, concentrated (many don't even include water as it only dilutes the product) but are loaded with fermented ingredients. Fermentation basically breaks down an ingredient into smaller molecules, which are more readily accepted by the skin. Maybe I should do a separate post on that...what say? :)