Here’s something you don’t often hear, but I will share this secret with you.
I had dull, lifeless, sallow dry/combination skin with breakouts before switching to the Korean glass skin routine I follow now, detailed in Glass Skin Beauty Routine for Perfect Skin. It was a terrible time. My skin was dry, over oily, and congested, all at the same time. I shudder to think back to it now.
It all changed with adding a good hydrating toner to my non-skin routine. A lot of you might think that’s very strange, but it’s true!
I would say it’s common knowledge for most people in North America to believe toners are all stripping, drying, and filled with alcohol and astringents (simply to use for removing makeup and restoring a necessary pH balance in your skin). Oppositely in Asia, toners are a foundational step in their skincare routine, as it is in the glass skin beauty routine.
Why? Because Asian toner solutions, as are most of their skincare products are about providing hydration to your skin at each step of the Korean glass beauty routine as outlined in Glass Skin Beauty Routine for Perfect Skin.
Hydration, hydration, HYDRATION! This is the key, and not only that, but achieving best skin hydration to deliver essential active ingredients to target your skin concerns. That’s how Asian skincare, and especially, Korean skincare works.
Following this practice, more North American and European skincare lines have begun to create toners that offer hydration and active ingredients as well, focusing more on nourishing and correcting in each step of the skincare routine.
Benefits of Using Toners
Depending on the active ingredients in a toner, generally the benefits of using toners are:
- It restores the pH balance of your skin after exposure to the atmosphere, and other products you may be using such as your soaps and cleansers. Apparently, as we are living organisms, there’s a level of acid in our bodies and in our skin. Depending on the ingredients in your soaps and cleansers, it can throw off the pH level of your face which can cause redness, inflammation, and ACNE. Remember to control your pH, ladies.
- Though it’s not possible to “shrink” the actual size of your pore, hydrating and plumping the skin around your pore can minimize the appearance of pores, as discussed in Best Tips for Getting Rid of Large Pores.
- It provides an initial layer of protection for your skin. Immediately after cleansing your face, it’s important to apply toner to provide your face with its foundational layer of hydration and protection to your skin. * I try to apply toner while my face is still moist – DO NOT towel dry your face after cleanser or shower as it introduces dust and possible bacteria *.
- It prevents and deters future beakouts as ensuring hydration in your skin allows your skin to continue it’s cycle of cell regeneration (which prevents in-grown hairs and faster recovery after a breakout).
These are all amazing benefits, but with so many products and skincare lines to choose from, how do we know which toner will work best for us?
Too Many Choices!
There are what looks like a million, billion, trillion choices of toners to choose from. Which one is best for your particular skin type?! Honestly, it’s pretty hard to say until you’ve tried some.
But here are a few options I would recommend for you to try first, depending on your skin needs!
Klairs is a lower cost Korean skincare brand that has been around for many years, with a focus on products produced with a careful mindfulness of the environment and the ingredients they use. This toner is vegan and focuses on providing skin care to suit sensitive skin (but good for all skin types). This toner not only hydrates, but also helps to clear away excess sebum and impurities, while soothing irritation. This would be a great choice for you if you have sensitive skin and want to incorporate a hydrating toner into your routine.
This toner is very interesting as it’s got a secret (not so secret) moisture boosting ingredient in addition to Aloe – Snail Mucin. What’s Snail Mucin? It is what it sounds like – it’s snail mucus, or snail slime, if you will. Before you get all excited and say this is controversial, yes, one of its ingredients is an animal byproduct of sorts, and no, snails are never harmed in the harvesting of snail mucin. Snails leave a trail of this stuff behind them and this material is then scraped off and used for skincare as it heals just about ANYTHING (you name it, acne, dryness, etc. Snails produce this mucin/slime to heal themselves of cuts and scrapes that they might have suffered from traveling on rough surfaces in nature. Now, this is a toner that simply uses snail mucin as an additional moisture boosting ingredient which is also paired with salicylic acid here to exfoliate the skin and reduce sebum. This would be a good buy for you if you want an ultra hydrating toner on a tight budget.
This is more of a luxury product with a focus on targeting breakouts and regulating oily skin using all natural, ethically sourced herbal ingredients. This toner contains Sandalwood Hydrosol which is a natural disinfectant and aids the skin in combating acne. If you are looking for a product that is not stripping and also helps clear acne in a long-term holistic way of restoring your skin’s natural balance, this is the product for you.
First Aid Beauty products are amazing for people with dry skin, though they are a bit lesser known. With the main ingredient in this toner being oat milk, colloidal oats, and wild oats, this toner is great for those who have sensitive and dry skin. Honey and Hyaluronic acid is added also to boost hydrating properties while soothing redness and irritation. If you have ultra sensitive skin, prone to rash and allergy, or have an intolerance to strong fragrances, I would strongly recommend this toner for you to try!
This last toner is an exciting product and is receiving a lot of acclaim recently. Glow Recipe focuses on natural ingredients with fruit as a key ingredient. The addition of BHA as we know, acts as an exfoliant that provides a deep clean of your pores and sebum build-up and PHA (Poly Hydroxy Acid) acts as a soothing agent as well as an exfoliant. The two together act to provide an at-home everyday facial as the product is inspired by the Korean Aqua Peel Facial.
My Secret Tip.
Oh, you already knew toners were good for you? FANTASTIC! Maybe you already have a toner in your glass skin beauty routine? FABULOUS!
But, do you know how to apply it to achieve best skin hydration for glass skin beauty… maybe not?!
Here’s the real secret – I call it, the “Slap Slap”. Sounds silly, I know. Bare with me! This is a technique I’ve been using for the past few years and I will never go back. I learned about this technique from one of Glow Recipe’s founders, Christine Chang, who came out with an instructional video on youtube.
The technique originally comes from Korea and the idea, as usual, is layers and layers of hydration. Immediately after cleansing, without towel drying your face when your skin is still slightly damp, you commence the Slap Slap x 7. You simply take a small amount of rich, hydrating toner on your hands, and gently pat and slap into your face and neck. That’s it. SIMPLE!
…Just slightly more time consuming than your old skincare routine used to be (like mine used to be!)
The reason why I call it the Slap Slap is because, over time, what started as a gentle patting and slapping on the face, it’s now turned into a slightly more vigorous slapping for efficiency and speed. Makes me look a little crazy, but HEY girl’s got things to do. Personally I enjoy the Slap Slap first thing in the morning as I find it stimulates the skin and provides a sort of massage to my face while waking me up. HA! **Disclaimer, the full out Slap Slap the way I do it is not for everyone.. it can be a bit aggressive and just what works for me! Please go for the gentle pat and slap version if you are new to the 7 skin method.
Though in the beginning when I started with this technique, desperate for results (which I saw within a few weeks of doing this, by the way) I did do the full 7 skin method (Slap Slap). I will also admit though, nowadays, I do not follow the strict 7 layers of toner, and have now abbreviated it to 2-3 layers of toner, followed by an essence, serum and moisturizer which is enough layers of hydration to keep my skin’s moisture barrier until the next morning.
The idea is to apply layers of moisture, and if you are accomplishing this, you are good to go. Everyone’s skin is different and it is certainly OK to tweak to your needs as you go!
Hydrating Toner is the KEY
Sure, the 7 skin method might be more time consuming and I won’t deny that sometimes I do have days when I definitely get made fun of by my husband and family, but….YOU KNOW WHAT – we all need to do us, girls. At the end of the day, if we look good, we feel 100x better inside and outside, and we should and need to do whatever it takes to get there for our own happiness!
So, let’s get that glow, girls!