"Should I be using a toner?" I get this question a lot.
Here is my opinion, the short answer, "Maybe"
A facial toner is marketed as being a necessary step to remove makeup, oil, and dirt "left behind" on your face after cleansing it. But a good facial cleanser should be doing this as a stand alone product. My Goats Milk Soap is an excellent choice as a facial cleanser.
Toners are also said to "minimize pores" and/or "close pores" after a spa facial. Both of those statements defy scientific logic so I'm not going to address this.
Toners can do more harm than good if they're removing the skin's natural acid mantle thus throwing off the skin's pH and removing our protective barrier. Toners can strip the face of it's natural oils and this actually causes breakouts. It's a cycle that goes like this: we think our face is oily or we want to prevent it from being oily, so we use alcohol based astringents (toners) which strip all of the oil. The body knows it needs oil, so it produces more oil. This leads a person to think that their face is too oily. So that person uses more toner. Too much toner = stripped, dry flaky skin. Moisturizers are then put on the face to counteract this. Those synthetics clog the pores. Clogged pores leads to acne. The person in this cycle thinks their skin is to blame, when really, it could very well be the products and this cycle to blame.
Many women just assume they need a toner because our mothers used toners and told us to use one, too. Every commercial cosmetic brand sells one. My personal complexion care regiment is this: I wash my face in the morning with my own Goat's Milk Soap and I apply my pure LUXE Facial Oil under my makeup. At night, I wash my face again with Goats Milk Soap and then I use 5-6 spritz of a very simple Rose Geranium Toner that I blend myself. I also use that same toner to mix my Mud Masks with.
If you want to use a toner make sure it's an alcohol free toner. If you use my complexion care products I would love to hear your thoughts - please comment for us all to read.
Here is a recipe for a lovely toner based upon an age old traditional "beauty secret": rosewater and glycerin. This toner is really more of a splash; its refreshing, smells divine and I do like it. I have no expectations of it other than its smells lovely and would be nice on an airplane or when I want to feel refreshed, I would spritz my face with this.
1 cup rose petals
2 cups distilled water
3 Tbsp. of glycerin
Put the rose petals into a sterilized (wipe with bleach water) pan. Cover the petals with boiling distilled water. Let steep 2 hours. Strain the petals out and the rosewater water into a sterilized Mason jar. Add the glycerin. Let cool. Cover and shake. Shake before using. Use a cotton ball or pad to swipe over clean face and neck. Store this in the refrigerator. This could be put into a spritzer bottle and used as a facial refresher, too. A couple drops of geranium essential oil would be a nice addition to it.
Why glycerin? It's a humectant which means it attracts moisture to the skin. You could leave the glycerin out and use just the rosewater alone. Or you can add equal parts of alcohol-free witch hazel to your rosewater for a more toner-ish toner. I did not do this with my rose water.
There is no preservative in that recipe so it must be kept in the refrigerator and will last for about 2 weeks. If you want to make this so that you do not have to refrigerate it and want a long shelf life, add 1% of a preservative such as Germaben to it.