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The lowdown on facial toners & why to avoid alcohol-based toners

Close up of Om Organics Hydrating Mist and a young woman’s smile.

Toner is one of those skin care products that’s often misunderstood and comes with so many questions: What does it really do? Do I actually need it? What’s in it anyway? Because a lot of us have memories of cringing before applying that astringent-soaked cotton ball to our teenaged skin in hopes of keeping oiliness and zits away, only to find more zits and a shiny T-zone.

But when you get it right—when you use a natural, gentle toner that’s effective—it can make all the difference in hydrating post-cleansing and cultivating your most beautiful skin.

How did so many of us get it wrong for so long?

There are actually two types of toners: toners and astringents. Astringents contain alcohol, and toners, especially today’s toners, are a water-based product more natural in their composition. First generation astringent toners had a very high alcohol content, and for most, that means more harm than good.

What’s the difference and why should you avoid alcohol-based toners?


WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TONER AND ASTRINGENT?

Toners
As a water-based skin care product designed to balance your skin’s pH after cleansing, toners:

  • Hydrate your skin and infuse the skin with vitamins and minerals
  • Contain more natural ingredients, such as floral water humectants and vegetable-based glycerin
  • Prep the skin for the next step in your routine: oils, elixirs and moisturizers
  • Are effective on all skin types, and work especially well for dry and sensitive skin

Astringents
As a skin care product containing alcohol designed to reduce oiliness, astringents:

  • Often end up drying out and irritating the skin, creating sensitivity
  • Often strip too much of your skin’s natural oils, can cause excessive oil production
  • Are best used only sparingly to help with very oily and/or acne-prone skin

WHAT DOES PH HAVE TO DO WITH IT?

We talk a lot more about pH now in skin care education, and pH balance plays a big role in getting it right with your toner.

Most people have a skin pH level of about 4.7. That balance between alkaline and acidity is needed so your skin can use its defences to hold in moisture and fend off toxins and bacteria. It’s also critical for your acid mantle. This is a natural, protective film or layer that helps keep your skin in balance.

Most skin care products have a pH range of 5 to 7 so they won’t disrupt you skin’s natural pH, but if it’s too acidic (as with an alcohol-based astringent) it can strip away that acid mantle and throw everything off balance.  

When you have a skin care routine with toner that’s natural, you never have to second guess or do math to keep your skin balanced.


TONERS AT OM: HOW TO USE TONER & KEEP YOUR SKIN HAPPY

At Om Organics, both of our toners have a pH of 5.2, bringing you a just-right formulation to help you clarify, purify and brighten.

TRY: SPIRULINA TONIC CLARIFYING MIST
Formulated with problematic, sensitive and combination skin, this facial mist gently removes toxins, heals and hydrates.

TRY: PINK COCONUT HYDRATING MIST
It soothes and hydrates as well as it brings your skin a plump, dewy glow. This mist is great for dry, dehydrated and sensitive skin.

Are you trying to overcome dehydrated skin? Read our article Do you have dehydrated skin? 4 signs & 8 tips to recover.


HOW TO USE TONERS IN YOUR SKIN CARE ROUTINE

A water-based toner should be an essential buffer step between cleansing and moisturizing, so we recommend using a water-based toner twice a day after your cleanser.

An insider tip we’re happy to share is that when you prep your skin with a toner mist and your face is nicely saturated before applying your moisturizer, you won’t need as much of your serums or creams. Your moisturizing products will absorb better and you can use so much less.


When you don’t want to have to worry about what’s inside your skin care or do the math, trust Om Organics. All of our products for treating, cleansing and moisturizing have been formulated with high-performing plant-derived ingredients so you know your skin is always in good hands. Shop by skin type or product.

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