Cleanse, tone and moisturise — that’s the basic at-home skincare message that has been spruiked for years but could it be about to change? Yes, according to some beauty experts who say it may be time to dump toners for good.




Vice Aesthetics cosmetic doctor Alana Rowick says toners were originally designed as pH balancers to remove soap and cleanser residue but most toners are formulated to be much milder these days.

“This has reduced the need for toners and they are becoming increasingly less popular in skincare regimens as a result, ” Dr Rowick says.

“Personally, I don’t believe toners are entirely necessary. For me, it’s another step in a skincare regimen that takes up time. They still can provide some benefits and are still included in some effective skincare ranges.”

Mind+Body beauty expert Simone Cohen agrees, adding that the days of a “one toner fits all” are behind us.

She says the purpose of toners has changed from dehydrating to rebalancing the pH levels in the skin.

“Toners of the past were classed into one astringent category focused on tightening the pores and, in some cases, unnecessarily dehydrating the skin which conveniently led to an increase in sales of moisturisers, ” she says.

“As a result, the reputation of toners suffered.

“The modern-day toner is a much softer and gentler product.

“Cosmetic companies have recognised the need to introduce a different toner for the different skin types, as well as reducing the alcohol content.

“For example, as we get older our skin becomes more acidic, which is why a very harsh toner would be considered harmful and pointless on mature skin.”


Keep your skincare regimen simple so it is easy to maintain and don’t forget to apply sunscreen, according to Dr Rowick. She says there is no point investing in an elaborate 10-step regimen if you use it only for a few days.

“You need to look beyond the marketing and pretty packaging and look for products that actually deliver results. Most physician-only product lines are backed by this sort of evidence and there are many affordable options available.”


For those with dehydrated skin, Ms Cohen recommends using a toner completely free of alcohol but with comforting ingredients such as chamomile, wheatgerm and rosewater.

“If you have an oilier complexion it is OK to use a small amount of alcohol but make sure you stop using this product if your skin becomes dry, ” she says.

“A better alternative is to look for ingredients such as tea-tree, witch-hazel and lavender.”


Dr Rowick says while toners can reduce the appearance of pores, remove or control sebum, exfoliate and make you feel clean and refreshed, they also can cause irritation.

“The types of reactions that toners can cause include irritation, allergic reactions and they may cause the skin to become more sensitive, ” she says.

“Rosacea patients and those with sensitive skin types should avoid toners as they may cause stinging, burning and may exacerbate facial redness and irritation.”

Image via To Tone or not to Tone?


© The West Australian

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