Toner Pads vs Astringents Explained

Have you ever had that ah ha moment where you didn’t know what you were missing until you tried it? You’ve probably had many epiphanies albeit food, cosmetics or really anything. Something that solved a problem you had and made you excited to discover it. Well, for skincare, one such thing is facial toners. It’ll give your skin just that little boost that you were looking for.

What are toners? Do Toner Pads Balance the pH levels?

In general terms, toners are another layer of defense that gives you a deeper clean removing dead skin cells after using your preferred cleanser. Unlike cleansers, toners remain on your skin. Additionally, toners are known to have balancing properties. Which will restore your skin to its natural pH levels. As you may already know, our skin has a slightly higher pH level. That means that our skin is more acidic. With the higher acidity, our skin can fight the microbes and free radicals that may speed up the aging process. Who wants to age faster said no one. Cleansing products were historically very alkaline, so toners were used to get the skin back to its natural pH level. However, the evolution of skincare products have improved to the point that now it is fairly on par with the natural skin’s pH levels.

When you were researching information about toners, you’ve probably seen the term astringents floating around the internet as well. Astringents and toners have overlapping features and benefits. But, it might be best to know your skin type first before experimenting with any of these products.

Are toners right for me?

Simple answer, it depends. There’s no such thing as one size fits all in skincare. There are different variables that you might want to consider, before deciding. For instance, what skin type you have and the ingredients in the toner will determine what is best for you.
For toners, dry skin is best since toners not only get a deeper clean, but also exfoliates and moisturizes your skin. Depending on the ingredients, toners can have a cooling factor to more soothing and moisturizing focus. Toners come in two forms, spray and in pre-soaked cotton pads. Whichever you choose, it will make a difference in your everyday needs by keeping your face moist and hydrated.

Are Astringents right for me?

Just like toners, it depends on your skin type and the ingredients in the astringent. The main difference is that astringents are more concentrated so it can remove more oils compared to toners. It usually includes denatured alcohol and isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol). However, you can still find astringent products without these two alcohol ingredients. Astringent products work best on oily skin types because it removes that much more oil. But, you can also find oil free toners. So, depending on what your goals may be, you can use both.

Which are good for acne-prone skin and blemishes?

If you had to choose, astringent products would be best, with one caveat if your skin is oily. Whichever product you choose, it should include salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or lactic acid. While, if your skin is not oily or already using acne fighting medication, go for the toner.

How do you all apply toner?

Many aestheticians agree that after using your preferred cleanser, you should immediately apply the toner. This is because the toner will lock in the moisture and hydrate your skin for longer. Afterwards, apply moisturizer and sunscreen.
The Skin Types

For Oily Skin

For oily skin types, astringent products are best, due to its highly drying properties, even with alcohol free ingredients. But, remember that tight skin may be a sign of dehydration. Your skin should never feel tight.

For Sensitive Skin

The rule of thumb for sensitive skin types is to have oily skin when using astringent products, and all others stick with toners. However, even toners have some restrictions to watch out for. For instance, avoid active ingredients such as fragrances, colorants, alcohol, menthol, and sodium lauryl sulfate. Note that if you feel burning, stings, or leaves your face red or tight, stop using it. In this case less is more.

For Normal or Combination Skin

With those skin types, you’ll have more options. For people with not too oily or dry skin, stick with toners since you probably won’t need the extra oil removal. However, when your skin is a combination skin type, you can use both astringent and toners. Using the astringent products on your T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin).

Can your pores shrink when using astringent or toner products?

Your pores may appear to shrink since the dirt and grime are removed and your pores shrink to its original size, but it will not shrink because of the toner or astringent products.

Do I Really Need Cotton Pads for Toner?

Some estheticians say that misting the toner onto your face is better than with cotton pads. Since, rubbing might irritate your skin. But, either way, the application of toner is a great way to develop your skin care routine further.

Watch this video to learn this and more about what you might be doing incorrectly.



Depending on your skin type and the ingredients in the toner or astringent, you can decide which one is best for you. Cotton pads or no cotton pads, and pore shrinkage are all answered.

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