I heard somewhere on a blog recently that toners don’t do anything. And thinking about it, it’s so hard to know which products are working when you’ve got a billion different steps to your skincare routine. A toner, by definition, is used to finish cleansing the skin and exfoliate the pores of impurities– thus, ‘tightening’ the pores. But with ‘acne-fighting’ and ‘age-defying’ products on the market, who’s to know what works? We’ve got lotions and creams that also fight these skin concerns. Nonetheless, I’ve used toners that have been obviously doing something, I’ve used toners that have worsened my skin just in general, and I’ve used toners that do absolutely nothing at all.

I don’t have a specific toner philosophy (like Amanda), and I generally use just one after cleansing– I usually go for an acne fighting one. Amanda swears by the Beauty Mouth method, which is using an exfoliating toner, then followed by a moisturizing toner. I tried that method with Peter Thomas Roth and Mario Badescu products, and felt like they just did nothing.

Tried and true, Yonka and Kate Somerville take the top spots for me. Yonka’s Emulsion Pure is an acne-fighting toner, which you’re supposed to apply after cleansing, then leave for thirty minutes, then moisturize. I saw results after about two weeks, and as soon as I swapped it for another toner I wanted to try, I saw immediately that I was breaking out more. That being said, I do have oily skin, and for drier skin types I would recommend using the Yonka only where you’re breaking out rather than all over the face.

Kate Somerville’s Clarifying Toner is another acne fighting toner that actually stood out from the abundance of products that clutter my countertop. I noticed after using up the entire bottle that my acne scars around my mouth had significantly faded and that my breakouts, while still there, were minimal and not meltdown-worthy. These two toners don’t give that typical toner ‘sting’ that some people live for, which is probably for the better

–Anna Raponi


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