DIY Spa Facial in 6 Simple Steps: Step 4, Tone

Facial toners are nothing new to most of us. They were around when I was a teenager and even before that – you know, when the dinosaurs roamed the earth.  (Kidding.  Yesterday was a milestone birthday and it sort of feels like watching the car’s odometer roll over: exciting yet depressing all at the same time.)  Even though I bought skin toner, I have to admit that I rarely used it.  I had some vague notion that it was drying, and I was a one strange teenager because I had dry skin (OK, there were other things that made me a strange teenager, too.)  At any rate, I never knew what toner really was or what it could do for my skin.  And just like any other goal in life, how can you know if you hit that goal if you don’t even have one?

It turns out that toner can do a lot of great things for your skin.  Once you know all the benefits of using toner, how to choose one that’s right for your skin, and how to use it, you’ll be on the road to better skin.  And that’s a worthwhile goal, isn’t it?

Here are some things that toner can do for you:

  • Provide extra and deeper cleansing when heavy makeup or sunscreen is being removed;

  • Quickly balances the pH of skin after cleansing with soap, which is more alkaline;

  • Refreshes and cools overheated skin after being in the sun or exercising;

  • Can be a quick fix for a light cleanse instead of washing;

  • Helps to close pores and protect the skin from contaminates in the environment;

  • Tightens and shrinks pores for a smoother looking complexion;

  • Maximizes the effectiveness of facial serums and moisturizers.

Choosing a toner is mostly about what type of skin you have, with considerations given to possible allergens and personal preference.  Here are some recommended toners to use according to skin type:

  • Dry or Mature Skin – rose water (also called rose hydrosol), freshly brewed, cooled green tea or chamomile tea;

  • Normal Skin – apple cider vinegar diluted to 1 part ACV to 3 parts distilled water; substitute rice vinegar for ACV, or make an herbal infused vinegar by steeping a few spoonfuls of dried mint, rosemary, or lavender in one cup of vinegar at room temp for 6 to 7 days; freshly brewed, cooled peppermint tea, or aloe vera juice combined with peppermint tea in equal parts; rose water and other floral waters such as lavender, peppermint, patchouli, and many more;

  • Oily Skin – witch hazel (only use the type that’s made without alcohol); a mixture of 1 part aloe vera juice and 2 parts kombucha; rose water and other floral waters, especially those that have astringent qualities.

All of the above toners should be either made and mixed just prior to using (with the exception of the infused vinegar) – or – refrigerated and used within 3 or 4 days.

To use, take a cotton ball or cosmetic square and saturate it with the toner.  Spread it on your face with light, upward stokes, then allow to air dry.  Or you can put your toner in a fine mist spray bottle and spray on your toner - just remember to close your eyes before spraying. 

A note about commercially made facial toners:  there are some very good ones out there.  Right now I’m using Thayer’s Rose Petal Witch Hazel with aloe vera and vitamin E.  It’s alcohol free, which means that it’s not drying, and it has no added fragrance.  Since fragrance is the #1 cause of skin irritation, synthetic fragrance is a big problem for many, many people.  (And I am one of them.)

So now I know – and now you know, too – that facial toners should be a major weapon in your arsenal of beauty products.  The next step in my DIY Spa Facial is the facial mask.  Get ready for some unconventional and superstar ideas for masks coming your way!