A Case on Skin Toner

Hi everyone!

How are you today? I hope another wonderful day is waiting for you to conquer. For me, the topic of the day is toner. I have to admit that I used to have apprehension on the use of toner. Unlike other beauty bloggers, my skincare routine is quite simple: wash and moisturize, that’s it! There’s nothing in between the two-step system, nothing, nada!

To the old me, toner was kind of useless: it is watery and does not do anything to your face. Let’s see: face wash cleans your face and moisturizer keeps your face, well, moisturize. What does toner really do, anyways? Most times, it feels fresh on the skin but when one uses toner, one also wastes a cotton ball. Me, being stingy, refuse to use toner because of those reasons: I don’t want to waste money on cotton balls and useless watery stuff that does not do anything to my face.

It went like that for years! After I finished a set of ProActiv years ago, I decided not to buy toner anymore. But once in a while, I relapsed. It does take a lot of time for me to finish a bottle of toner. If I got a skincare set with cleanser, toner, and moisturizer, you betcha the toner would be the last to go.

Image from Viva Woman

So, why the change of heart?

First of all, let me say that I’m being influenced by some really great people. May blogged about her reunion with toner and how great her skin felt, which made me very curious. Then I read this article that Yoshiko Roth, the creator of Juara skincare, wrote about why East Asians prefer water scents. All of the sudden, toner made sense to me. Here’s an excerpt of the article that can be found here:
In Japan for example, the term “mizumizushii” is used to describe beauty and refers to the qualities “youthful”, “fresh”, “watery” and “supple”. When spelled with Japanese characters (Kanji), mizumizushii literally means “water-water-like”. Specifically, mizumizushii-looking skin is skin that looks plump and supple with the water (i.e. hydration) contained in it. Having mizumizushii-looking skin represents one of the highest beauty ideals in Japan and not surprisingly, it is directly connected to water. There is a deep reverence of water in Japan and other East Asian cultures, which can be observed in their bathing rituals, the popularity of koi-ponds, as well as the beauty products. Toner/ beauty waters are considered essential in East Asian skincare rituals to saturate skin with pure hydration before applying a moisturizer. Moisturizers, even those for very dry skin, usually have a lotion-like, watery-fresh texture, rather than that of a thick cream.

See, since my teen years, I started developing worshipping on the skin of Japanese women. They somehow manage to have the most pristine skin in the world and regardless the amount of money I spent at various Japanese skincare companies, I could not get that glowing poreless skin. It’s like I’m chasing after a mirage that’s called the perfect Japanese skin. After reading Yoshiko’s article, I eagerly picked up that bottle of Sephora toner that I bought a while back. Guess what? My skin has been behaving much better now!

However, not anything labeled toner would pass my gate. I do have some criteria on toners:

1. Alcohol free: alcohol does dry out the skin and strip away the skin’s natural oil. You want to remove extra dirt but retain moisture in your skin.

2. Natural ingredients are welcome: I love aloe vera, vegetable glycerin, and rose water in my toner. Aloe vera and glycerin are natural moisturizer while rose water smells nice.

3. Paraben-free: although the jury is still out there regarding parabens, most companies formulate their products with paraben-free preservatives. Although this is not a strictly-enforced criterion, I try to avoid buying products with parabens as much as possible.

A variety of Thayer's Witch Hazel Toner

So, what’s available in the market that’s alcohol free, paraben free, and contains natural ingredients? Turns out Thayer’s have some new witch-hazel astringent products that fit my criteria. The products are in big bottles that priced around 9 dollars at most health food stores. I had no idea the brand has so many formulas! However, before getting myself a new bottle of Thayer’s I need to finish my Sephora toner first!

One more thing: once I started using toner again, I realize that I use less moisturizer now. I guess Yoshiko is right: toner is needed to attain mizumizushii.

Now, my question to you is: do you use toner and what is your favorite brand? I want to know all about it so feel free to dish in the comment section.

Take care and stay gorgeous,
Your Makeup Blogger

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