Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Inventory #13.1 Toners

It's been a while since the last inventory. Here is last year's stash, and below is the current stash of toners.

If this counts as a "stash", that is. PROGRESS!

Caudalie Beauty Elixir (Travel Size) - Received it as a part of a lovely gift package and used it in the summer on makeupless days to "refresh" -- or sometimes purely out of boredom. I'm not sure that it really counts as a toner but it doesn't fit into any other categories.

Simple Soothing Facial Toner (PR Sample) - I'm testing this out right now for a full review and find that it's quite good. One of the main ingredients is witch hazel, which I had been wanting to try as a pure substance. (For the rest of the ingredients, click here.)

The Body Shop Aloe Calming Toner (2 bottles) - My favourite because the calming effect of aloe is good for my acne-prone skin. This must be my fifth bottle now.

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Ever since I discovered The Body Shop Aloe Calming Toner, I stopped shopping around for new ones to try. If a sample falls into my lap, I will pause the regular routine to test it out. But at the moment, my eyes have stopped wandering the store shelves for more enticing options. Toner is one of those controversial products that some deem unnecessary and others deem a must. My opinion? It's both, depending on your skin and the products you use.

If you wear a lot of makeup regularly and use strong cleansers for the removal process, use a toner to wipe away any remaining product traces on your skin before you begin the treatment process with serums and moisturizers. Because I have acne-prone skin, I tend to favour cleansers with salicylic acid in it which can sometimes dry out the skin. On days when I skipped toner, my skin was definitely drier and the corners of my mouth grew patchy and irritated.

If you have fairly normal skin and use gentle cleansers, no harm in skipping toner -- though using the appropriate one wouldn't hurt either.

My toner philosophy is to look for one that has no fragrance and contains the simplest list of ingredients possible. I used to use anti-acne toners and astringents to try to treat my acne issues, but I've decided to treat acne by maintaining a diligent cleansing routine and using topical treatments after removing makeup and thoroughly massaging the skin during the cleansing process. The toner's function, to me, is to remove traces of makeup and cleanser on skin and prep it for further treatment. Looking for a multi-purpose toner resulted in much time and money being wasted. Unless something revolutionary or truly enticing comes along, I won't be paying much attention to toners and stick with my favourites that I know does the job well and is good for my skin.

Do you use a toner? What works well for you and how important is it in your daily routine? 

39 comments:

  1. I need to get back to using toners. These look like good suggestions to try.

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    1. All three are gentle and non-irritating. Simple is quite affordable and The Body Shop one is good to grab during BOGOs!

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  2. I've wanted to try out toners for a long time, but as I don't wear a lot of makeup (only mascara and lip color) I didn't really think it was needed. That The Body Shop toner sounds pretty amazing, though! :)

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    1. Lucky you! I'd love to get away with just mascara and a lippie. If you ever feel like giving it a shot, the Aloe is a good option for any skin types. :)

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  3. A long, long, time ago in a galaxy far, far, away....I used to buy pure witch hazel water from the health food store and use it as a toner -- I actually really liked the effect, although for some reason, using a toner fell out of favour with me. Now that I'm a little older and my skin seems to have undergone a few "changes", I'm getting back to incorporating toner back into my regimen. I'm currently testing out a couple of promising toners - will hopefully have some feedback soon! You're very right about your assessment of this type of product, though; it doesn't need to be overly-complicated or rocket science - just able to pick up any last vestiges of makeup and work with your skin - without that drying sensation. Plus, they feel good!

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    1. Do you hear that, Eugenia?? It's the theme to Star Wars!

      I've been eying the witch hazel sold at Rexall but a small bottle is at least $4 which makes me just restock on The Body Shop Aloe whenever I can. The Asians have a toner-like step in their skin care routine that's called a "softener" and focuses on adding more moisture and brightening effect rather than actually toning, if that's more to your liking. Can't wait to see what you have in store! I think sometimes we complicate simple things by wanting too much. While I'm a big fan of multi-usage factors in makeup, it doesn't work for me as well in skin care.

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  4. I now use that Body Shop one, thanks to you ;) I agree with you on all points! It works, it does what I need it to (which is clear my skin of product/cleanser) so I'm not shopping around, though I will play with new samples if I get them. I will change my toner if my skin changes, but otherwise, I'm good. High five!

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    1. I'm so glad you like it! Love it when a recommendation turns out. High five!!

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  5. I'm really going to have to try this out Liz - every time to talk it up I feel like I'm missing out!! I'm using a Shiseido Softener right now and it's OK, but I worry about the fragrance. This Aloe one sounds like it would be great for my sensitive skin. I'm not totally sold on toners but sometimes I like the idea of them LOL. It'd be nice to have this *just in cases* :D

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    1. If you wear foundation, I say yay to toners! I try to avoid anything containing fragrance and alcohol as they seem to strip the skin without adding anything beneficial. Honestly, when I looked at the ingredient list for TBS Aloe, I was shocked -- and won over. I think you'd really like it, except for the fact that you might be one of those lucky ones who don't need to use toners!

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  6. Phew! When I get to a point where I'm not looking for products in a category, it is SUCH a relief. I've never really used a toner but somehow Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water used as a toner does wonders for me...

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    1. If you're a fan of cleansing waters, I assume they work just as well! Keep the routine that works. I learned that the hard way after many, many years of product failures.

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  7. I'm beginning to understand the value of toners. I think it may not be necessary for all people, like you say it's dependent on the person's skin. But our people (I'm throwing a giant Asian net over all of our folks) love skin products and they are not kidding around. So now it's cleanser, toner, emulsion/softener, then moisturizer. My skin is normally pretty healthy, except for the oddball allergy issue, and I don't need all of that, but I like it. I think it's partly psychological, that I feel like I am doing something nice for myself and I do notice a glowiness (what the cosmetics industry like to call luminosity/radiance) to my skin. But that's probably incorrect as I don't think I could light a darkened room with my skin, because that would mean I was toxic, a glow in the dark Dan is never good. A well, I think it's healthy feeling and I do like that.

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    1. Wait, they use toners AND the emulsion/softeners? I thought they always just substituted softeners for toners. That's the sets my mom always buys, anyway. (I'm too scared to go to the stores myself because they'll talk at me for three hours and convince me to spend $200 on stuff I don't need.)

      I didn't mention this but sweeping even just a watery toner with a cotton pad over the face acts as a semi-exfoliation process, so for people like me who needs to exfoliate more frequently, it's a fabulous thing. I bet you glow all the time, you happy peach you. ;)

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  8. I'm one of those people that needs toner (I find that those with combination to oily skin feel the need to use it more). Maybe it's been ingrained into my brain since I started working in cosmetics but my skin just feels cleaner and more soothed when I use toner. Like you, I think it removes traces of make-up and cleanser left on my skin. I'm currently using the MAC Lightful Softening Lotion, and I love it. I'm not sure how "radiant" my skin looks because of it, but it does make my skin feel softer and more hydrated. :)

    I seriously need to check out this aloe toner you love so much!

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    1. Yes, totally agree that combination/oily people need to tone! We have to pay extra attention. :(

      With gentler cleansers like Philosophy Purity, I could get away without toners more frequently. But the Garnier Pure stuff was a bit harsh and I MUST use toners or else end up with regular oily face AND small, random, dry patches. UNACCEPTABLE.

      Your skin looked pretty good the last time we met, so I'd say that the MAC is doing its job! Or you're secretly more healthier than you claim to be, lol. ;)

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    2. "you're secretly more healthier than you claim to be" -- LOL!!!! Don't be ridiculous.

      But thanks. ;)

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    3. Haha! I'm going to make you eat lots of greasy fries tomorrow!!

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  9. I have never used a toner. I am just lazy to include an extra step in my routine. What you wrote makes a lot of sense. I have dry skin too and use cleansers with Aha/acids etc which can be quite drying. The Body Shop one sounds nice :)

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    1. Try it if you ever feel like adding an extra step, lol. I'm tempted to try their Vitamin E toner in the winter but am scared of breakouts as usual. My life motto is to stick with what works when it comes to skin care!

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  10. I love using toner because it just feels so CLEAN but I haven't actually owned one for ages. I stopped using it when I switched to drugstore skin care - it seems that very few drugstore ranges include toner unless it's for oily skin?!? The Body Shop Aloe Calming toner sounds lovely - I might look into that the next time I happen past their store. Must admit my current morning skin care routine already involves 4 steps (cleanser, serum, moisturiser, sunscreen) so I have to think seriously about increasing it to 5, lol!

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    1. Hmmm... I don't pay too much attention to skin care for other skin types but I do recall seeing quite a lot of toners for the regular ranges other than oily. The Simple one I talked about is for any skin types, as is The Body Shop Aloe. I actually avoid the ones formulated for oily skin because they tend to contain a lot of alcohol which ends up drying me out without drying out the zits. I see a lot of toners for anti-aging as well, as a matter of fact. But yikes - five steps is a bit much. Stick to what works for you! If no toner is fine, no need to add it!

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    2. Hi again Liz, thought I'd drop off the NZ beauty blog links while I'm here catching up on our toner chat:

      Nail Juice - http://nailjuice.blogspot.com.au/
      GiMiKd Girl - http://gimikdgirl.blogspot.com.au/

      Enjoy :)

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  11. I LOVE Caudalie's Beauty Elixer and used to use it as a pre-treatment spray to dampen my skin and help my serums absorb better, but I've since stopped using it regularly because of the alcohol content and have switched to Ole Henriksen's African Red Tea Face Mist--it's great! Alcohol-free and lots of nice antioxidants. It's that or LRP mineral water spray. The Body Shop Aloe toner sounds nice though, I may have to give it a try!

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    1. I tried Ole Henriksen's Three Little Wonders a few years ago and was shattered when they broke me out. The Truth Serum was doing amazing things to the areas that didn't grow new zits. :( I haven't had any issues with any Caudalie products so far, so it looks like our skin likes different brands! But I'm kind of on board with The Body Shop's aloe range for now, simply due to the fact that they have great BOGOs and are easy to access. Do try!

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  12. Oh man I had a love hate relationship for a very long time with toners, but recently made the discovery that if I use my tea tree oil from the Body Shop to take off my vitamin e cleanser (also from The Body Shop) it's the best combination for my dry, sensitive but acne prone skin. It's helped manage breakouts without overdrying my skin!

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    1. Really? I didn't think to mix the two but it kind of makes sense! I haven't tried the Vitamin E line because it looks a bit too heavy for me, but I want to try the body butter some time. Glad you found a great solution! It's such a relief to not think about what the next best combination is.

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  13. I was lazy and didn't use a toner for quite some time--- however I'm starting to use one again; like you mentioned it picks up the little residues left on the face from other unwanted things!

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    1. I go through phases now when I don't use it, but I find that it helps me to keep on top of a routine and generally pay better attention to how my skin is doing. :) I know you're fond of Avene - curious to try it some day!

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  14. You have been tempting me with The Body Shop Aloe Calming Toner for so long-- I think that I'm going to have to get a bottle once and for all! You temptress! The fact that this is your fifth bottle, or so really speaks volumes!! xoxoxox

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    1. Hahahaha! And this isn't even the product that The Body Shop supplied me with - I discovered it totally by accident! It's just a really good, simple, clean product. Hope you'll like it. <3

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    2. Sometimes that is the best way to discover something that really works for you! <3

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  15. The Body Shop toner sounds nice! I purchased the Caudalie mist two weeks ago on an impulse--it was in that section in Sephora that you see while waiting in line. I've been using it to set my makeup, or out of boredom like you mentioned :) I like to use a glycolic toner a couple of times a week. The one I'm using right now is by Mario Badescu.

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    1. Oh, that section of Sephora is like the valley of shadow of death to me! I've spent many an hour being good in the store, only to fall when I get closer to the cashier. LOL I've used the Caudalie mist before and like it though was puzzled at the time. This time I just enjoy it without the pressure of trying to figure it out. :) And whenever I hear of a Mario Badescu product, I immediately want to try it, too!

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  16. I don't currently use a toner, but I'm planning on picking up the Body Shop aloe one when they go on sale! I've used sea salt toner in the past with some success, and have tried using some acne toners with basically no change in my skin (except perhaps the development of more acne, whee). I think with my skin type a toner would be a beneficial addition!

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    1. Yes, do! I can't imagine it being bad for anybody. What brand/company was the sea salt toner from? Never heard of it!

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  17. Brilliant post, I use a toner every night and find that I like knowing the cleanser has done a great job before I load up my skin with a serum and moisturiser. At the moment I am using a Kiehls cucumber toner, but was just sent the oil-free toner from them so will see how I get on with that one. I might have to get that Body Shop one when I finish the ones I have, it sounds really lovely.

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    1. Cucumber toner sounds SO NICE! I'm not a huge fan of Kiehl's but might have to check those out eventually. I'll stay tuned for your reviews. :)

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