If you're not using a toner right now, then you need to re-think your regime, because they are fast-acting, skin plumping and brightening wonders (yes, really). Toner was originally invented as an antidote to the drying soaps women used to wash their faces, helping to balance the skin's pH. Funny then, that the common perception of toners is that they strip the skin. These days our cleansers are not as drying as they once were, and neither are toners, for that matter.
Thanks, in part, to our obsession with K-beauty, toners are back on the agenda. In other parts of the world, toners are known as lotions or softeners or tonics. This new generation of toners has different purposes depending on your skin's needs. You may want a toner to boost your hydration levels, tackle dullness and pigmentation, or simply to ensure that your skin is completely cleansed of the day's makeup.
And yes, it may be an extra step in your routine, and we're busy women, but the seconds it takes to sweep a toner-soaked cotton pad across your complexion or pat a few drops of the liquid onto a cleansed face are well worth the skin-refining results you'll reap. Keep scrolling for our pick of the best toners.
Floral water is combined with glycolic and hyaluronic acids to form a consistency similar to good old H2O. Simply place four to five drops of this toning serum into your hands and pat onto your skin. It leaves skin feeling refreshed, and over time you'll looking clearer, calmer and more hydrated.
Saturate a cotton pad with this toning lotion and apply to skin. Niacinamide boosts circulation and prevents skin from losing hydration. Fruit acids accelerate cell turnover leaving your complexion looking brighter.
For anyone who suffers from dry or dehydrated skin, this lotion will be a welcome relief. Camelia hydrates while blue ginger protects the skin from free radical damage that can affect your complexion's delicate and much-needed lipid barrier.
Inspired by Korean beauty routines, this ginseng-infused lotion adds a jolt of energy and hydration to post-cleansed skin. You can also use this to DIY your own sheet mask.
Inspired by Chinese beauty, this oil-in-water formulation should be used after cleansing in the morning to hydrate and energise the skin. Wild yam nourishes while the antioxidant-rich extract of gentian flower protects your complexion from the elements during the day.
There comes a point where you start having to deal with spots and wrinkles (not fair). This solution contains salicylic and glycolic acids to prevent breakouts and soften the appearance of fine lines.
With exfoliating glycolic acid, circulation-boosting horse chestnut and firming witch hazel, this tonic will perfect your complexion. Not convinced? Jourdan Dunn's a big fan.
Recently Dr David Jack let us in on the best skincare shopping list, and on that list was the recommendation that everyone own a leave-on product with glycolic acid (4% or more). This toner ticks that box and then some (it houses a whopping 10%). The result? Brighter, clearer, smoother skin.
Great for oily or blackhead-prone skin types, this reduces oil production while helping to clear clogged pore thanks to its gentle exfoliating AHAs. Vitamin C protects your complexion from the environment.
Anne Hathaway's facialist created this rehydrating toner with hyaluronic acid (capable of holding 1000 times its weight in water) and rose petal essence to leave skin plump and dewy looking. Well, if it's good enough for an Oscar-winning actress…
Just like a facial in a bottle, this toner dissolves dead skin cells thanks to a combination of gentle acids while peptides smooth and copper regulates sebum production. The result is a perfected complexion (our editorial director swears by this one).
Dubbed 'liquid energy' this toner hydrates the skin helping anything you apply after penetrate more effectively. Rich in algae and sea minerals this is great for anyone who suffers with a dry and uncomfortable complexion. Pat it gently onto your face before following with your serum or moisturiser.
Do you use a toner already? Let us know which your favourite is in the comment box below.
Opening Image: @sarah_coonan