There are probably dozens of skincare products in your bathroom cabinet and at least half of them serve to cleanse and soothe your skin. After removing daily or nightly make up and washing your face in detail, you may want to remove all the unnecessary skin residue and clear and firm the skin pores. Astringents and toners are great products to use in this part of skin routine.
Although they may seem to serve the same purpose, they are actually designed for very different purposes. Don’t worry, many get confused on what separates one from the other. The key differences between the two lie in ingredients, as well as skin types they are aimed at.
Toners are used to soothe your skin and balance its pH value, after it may have been affected by other make up products that you probably had on your skin for hours. They are usually water based and contain moisturizing elements like glycerin or glycol, along with herbal extracts which soothe skin, like chamomile, rose, aloe vera, etc.
Although glycerin can be both made from propylene alcohol and vegetable oil, it is known to be very mild and the effects it has on skin are amazing, so it’s no wonder it’s being used daily, even as a skin remedy for various conditions. The best part is that most people are tolerant of it so its usage is highly recommended.
You can find it to be the main ingredient in almost all complexion care products, especially skin lotions and moisturizers. It wouldn’t be wrong to call it a moisturizer itself, since attracts water to the intercellular part of skin and helps keep the moist in which results in more radiant and natural complexion.
Astringent Vs Toner
A toner is of great use if your skin is normal to dry, or if it’s prone to irritations caused by dirt in skin cells or abnormal maturing of cells, also known as shedding of the skin. Even out your texture and improve overall complexion by choosing to use a toner on a regular basis. It can be used several times a day, as it is mild and does not harm the skin.
With toners being mainly watery-based, astringents on the other hand tend to contain more alcohol or witch hazel in its basis content and are aimed at people who have oily to normal skin or need to clean their skin more deeply and thoroughly. Ingredients like witch hazel and cider vinegar are a bit stronger ingredients and have a harsher effect, which is what makes them great as they reduce inflammation.
While toners tend to clean and moisturize the skin at the same time, the main aim of an astringent is to clear the skin by removing all the dirt and excessive oil from the skin cells to the surface. It also contacts the pores of the skin and tightens the skin making it look more radiant and firm. This is one of the main reasons why people with dry skin should not use it, as it could cause more dryness, even irritation or itchiness.
On the other hand, it’s known that oily skin type leads to many undesired issues, like pimples or acnes. They are both caused by high amount of oil and dead cells, which makes it a perfect setting for bacteria to grow. So if you are prone to acne and breakouts, you may want to stick to astringents. They contain salicylic acid which helps with pore clogging. Containing a higher percentage of alcohol, astringents have antibacterial properties, as well.
How to use a Toner or an Astringent?
They are both used after cleansing and removal of makeup, but just before moisturizing. It is important to wait cca.10 minutes after cleansing and then apply a toner or astringent. Once you have completed that step, you should wait another 10 minutes to apply a moisturizer. This is to make sure that all the products don’t mix up and thus reduce their effectiveness. There are three simple steps to follow when applying one or the other.
One, make sure your face is clean and well washed. If you used soap and warm water to remove your makeup, make sure you have a good rinse afterwards and dry the face by tapping with a soft fabric towel. This step will probably make your skin a bit more alkaline. That is why you should use a toner afterwards, as it is acidic and will bring back the proper balance to your skin.
Two, make a cotton ball or use a cotton pad. Both will do just fine, but some will agree that cotton balls are more practical, as they soak more fluid in and you save time. However, once you soaked the ball with the solution, make sure to use sweeping motions across your face when applying to the skin. These moves should be quick but firm. Do not rub it as this might cause unwanted damage or irritation to the skin and most importantly, do not rinse it. A toner or an astringent should be left to dry out and there is no need to remove it from your skin.
Three, apply a moisturizer. A lot of toners contain glycerin in small amounts. However, astringents do not and they tend to dry out skin, as they remove the natural oil from the skin. This is why it is important to moisturize afterwards.
It would be ideal to try the product on the small portion of the skin like an arm wrist, just to see if it would cause an irritation. Also, use small amounts when applying it onto the cotton pad and add more only if necessary.
Depending on the brand and type of a product, it should be fine to use these solutions several times a day. But to make sure you are following the right routine, just follow the instructions on the label. Both toners and astringents are great product to use if you want to improve an overall complexion.
Now that we covered the main differences and guideline how to apply it, it should be helpful to mention what kind of toners and astringents are available to purchase.
Rose water toners
We have already mentioned that toners tend to be milder than astringents and are aimed at skin prone to dryness and irritations. Even though they are mostly water-based, some of them are 100% organic and natural. You should be able to find several brands that use pure rose water as its basis. These would be mild to your skin, and yet effective when it comes to cleaning pores and attracting water to skin cells and balancing its pH level.
Citrus and flowery based toners
Many toners use citrus herbs and flowers as their following ingredients because they are the natural healers. We are familiar that citrus fruit and herbs have both cleansing and antibacterial properties. They tighten the skin naturally and have a refreshing smell. These are also often use to cover the alcoholic smell of solution.
Daily toners enriched with vitamin C
Most toners contain witch hazel enriched with amino acids and the most empowering antioxidant-vitamin C. Manufacturers add extracts from plants rich in this vitamin to help skin look more radiant, to lower and contract the pores, and even out the complexion, which is sometimes damaged by sun burns.
Spray toners and astringents
These products are pretty handy as they come in spray bottles and are easy to use several times a day. All you need to do is spray it across the face, taking care you don’t spray directly into your eyes. These astringents are good for a quick refreshing when you deal with saggy bags under eyes or your face looks tired.
Acne fighting astringents
The best solution for people prone to acne and excessively oily skin is the astringent containing salicylic acid. This acid is good for its property od deeply penetrating into the skin, thus cleaning the dead cells, pushing the oil onto the skin surface and clearing any kind of pimples, breakouts, or acne.
Oil free astringents
These are astringents free of any kind of oil and are highly recommended for persons with extremely oily skin. They tend to be harsher on the skin and might cause initial redness and feeling of tightening, but you will be amazed by the result. In longer terms, it will help clear the scaring and help your skin look refreshingly clean.
These are astringents that are milder than the rest because they are made of 100% vegetarian ingredients, they have not been tested on animals, and they do not contain perfumes or parabens. It is a right fit for those of you searching for true natural products.
With so many different types of products on the market, clearly everyone can find a right fit for themselves. Although they may look alike, toners and astringents do not fit to every skin type and do not contain the same ingredients.
Be careful to identify the right type of your complexion and look through the ingredients carefully before purchasing it. Clear, clean, and refreshing skin can be yours, too.