The second phase of facial skin care, toning, helps to remove oily residue while refining and tightening the pores after they have been opened during the cleansing process. In general, toners and astringents have a drying effect on the skin; the more alcohol or vinegar used to make a formula, the more astringent and drying it will be. Water-based toners that include glycerin, aloe or other hydrating substances are less astringent and more moisturizing. A toner or astringent can sometimes be used instead of a cleanser. With the addition of an appropriate scent, these formulas can also be used as effective aftershaves.
In general, you should use alcohol- and vinegar-based astringents with moderation, as their overuse can have the opposite of the desired effect. For example, oily skin can become even oilier from too much toning or through use of an overly drying astringent, which can stimulate sebum production. Dry skin, on the other hand, can benefit from an occasional astringent toner, for the same reason. Keep in mind that the floral water toners are very gentle astringents that can be used as often as needed while hardly drying the skin, if at all. The hydrating herbal toners are also moisturizing rather than drying, and can be used throughout the day or as needed. The sebaceous glands, which produce oily sebum, are very responsive to environmental influences, meaning anything that comes into contact with your skin. Overall, the idea in toning is to work with your skin’s natural processes, encouraging balance.
Basic Toning Technique. There are two basic methods for applying a toner or astringent to your skin. The first method is simply to moisten a cotton ball or soft cotton or si1 cloth (avoid disposable tissues and synthetic cloth, since these can ftritate the skin) with the full-strength formula and to wipe it gently over all or part of your face, depending on your skin’s needs. In general, this method is appropriate for normal to oily skin types, since it helps remove excess sebum.
The second method is to use an alcohol- or vinegar-based astringent diluted with pure spring or well water, which you splash on your face. Place a bowl of cold water in the sink, add 1/2 teaspoon of astringent and splash water onto face, catching the liquid in the bowl. Repeat this for 1-2 minutes.
Alternatively, you can place the diluted formula in a spray bottle and mist your face. The amount of water you add to the astringent will vary depending on the potency of the formula and your skin’s needs. However, generally 1 part astringent is diluted with 1 part water for misting. For extra stimulation, try repeatedly patting your face all over with your fingers during the application. In general, this method is appropriate for normal to dry skin types. Proceed to the next stage of your skin care routine while your skin is still slightly moist.