Toner: The Forgotten Step

Toner is never a step that has really excited me skincare-wise. A sweep of something refreshing, that gave me a little ‘aaaah’ post-cleanse and I was sorted. But when the skincare goddess that is Caroline Hirons (yep, her again) piped up and gave us all a talking to on that product we so often shrug off with a bottle of something stripping in one hand and a cotton pad in the the other, I listened, took notes, made Mrs Hirons approved purchases and you know what? I’m bloomin’ glad I did. Ramping up my toner routine into a two-step sloughing/hydrating duo has made the most noticeable difference to my skin’s texture and tone in all the various skincare-swap ins I’ve tried. Woah bold claim, but it’s looking pretty darn good right now and I’m pin-pointing the two toner trick as the main culprit…

Why not just one? Is a legitimate question but here’s the backstory. In layman’s terms (a.k.a, the one that I can understand), Caroline suggests using one toner ‘to take away’ and another ‘to add’. A cotton pad soaked in an exfoliating toner applied all over will help to lower the skins pH, thicken the dermis, plump and decongest which gives a helping hand to keeping breakouts at bay. Followed by a spritz of a hydrating toner which will  draw moisture to the top layers of skin and act as a good base layer for your proceeding skincare steps and you’re onto a winner. Heads up: I just use a hydrating toner in the morning, but do the whole two-toner thing in the evening.

For the first and exfoliating stage I’ve been flitting between two – Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 and Clarins Gentle Exfoliant Brightening Toner. The former of which when popped up on my Instagram was the talk of the comment section, so I’ll pop up something with a little more deats soon, but to keep it sort and sweet I picked up this acid-filled formula from Liberty and the Poly-Alpha-Beta-Hydroxy-Acids Complex (say what?!) has been sloughing my skin well polishing pimples away, smoothing lumps and bumps and generally making everything look a little brighter. P50 is a nightly affair, whereas the Clarins version is more of a twice-weekly occurrence; it’s much cheaper but works on a similar resurfacing principle with a tad more of a tingle. The Pixi Glow Tonic is also said to be a less wallet-weeping dupe of P50 and is a product that I’m impatiently sat on the waitlist for due to the ‘Caroline Effect’, but when that gets welcomed into my stash, I’ll let you know how it stacks up.

Caroline then spritzes on something hydrating to prep the skin for the serum step and again there’s two in my rotation: La Roche Posay’s Serozinc (stupidly not available in the UK, so I’ll stop my rave short here, just add it to yours and others shopping lists next time there’s a channel crossing jaunt) and Omorovicza’s Queen of Hungary Mist. Both perfectly refreshing, a little glow-giving and the application of which exerts that ‘ahhh’ feeling that leaves my skin satisfied. I spray on in the evening, post-P50 swipe and schedule in a tooth brushing sesh while everything settles before I reach for Hydraluron (another C.H must-have, you gotta listen to the experts, you know?).

Caroline, you’ve done it again. I’m a Beauty Mouth-believer…