Do Toners Really Tone?

Facial toners can be a confusing topic, especially if you have sensitive skin.  What does it do for your skin and how do I know if you should use one?

There are three different products that can all be called toners; astringents, fresheners and toners. Astringents are made with alcohol and used to tighten skin, remove excess oil and reduce the appearance of pores, they are very drying and irritating to sensitive skin.   Fresheners are are not usually made with alcohol but also have a tightening effect on skin and reduce the appearance of pores. They are made with ingredients like green tea. Toners are designed to constrict your pores and soothe your skin. They are usually made with water, botanicals and light moisturizers.   A good toner can also help reduce inflammation, add antioxidants, soothe skin.  The mildest toners are made with ingredients to draw water to your skin (humectant) and are alcohol free, and are perfect for sensitive skin. While toners may be slightly acidic, it is not necessary because your skin will naturally return to it’s pH balance on it’s own.

If you are looking for something to make your pores look less visible you can give toners a try. As part of your skin care routine toners are used after cleansing your face with a mild cleanser.

But before you buy one, we at Alabu always recommend, READ THE LABEL and think about how the ingredients might react to your skin. Always test first on the inside of your forearm before you use it on your face to see how your skin will react.

Toners can be inexpensive or expensive – but you want to be careful they don’t contain ingredients that are skin irritants.

You may want to try making your own toner, it is easy, economical and fun. And you will know exactly what ingredients you are putting on your face

An old fashioned and all time favorite and best smelling toner;

Rose Water Toner- great for all skin types, especially sensitive skin.

  • 1 cup rose petals, use home grown or organic
  • 2 cups boiling filtered water
  • 1 spray bottle
  • Put the rose petals in a glass bowl, boiling water and pour over rose petals. let steep for 3 to 4 hours. Cool, strain and pour into a spray bottle. Store in your fried for up to two weeks. Spray directly on your face, so refreshing!

 Aloe Vera Toner –

  • 1/2 c filtered water
  • 2 T Aloe Vera Gel
  • a  few drops of a favorite Essential oil, like rose, chamomile or lavender. (optional)
  • mix  aloe vera gel with water, until it is well mixed. This is very soothing as long as you are not allergic to aloe vera. It is very soothing and also very good as an after shaving.

These next few homemade toners for sensitive skin use herbal teas. Because they use just one ingredient, you’ll be able to see how your skin reacts. If you are salicylate sensitive or allergic to herbs or botanicals then you should avoid using herbal teas.

A side note on salicylate sensitivities and allergies in general; the Feingold Association is a great resource.  Alabu products have been reviewed and accepted by the Feingold Association as good products for sensitive skin care.  Here is a link to their salicylate sensitivity page as well.

  • Green Tea Toner – Steep a green tea bag in a cup of hot water for at least 5 minutes. Cool and apply to your face with a cotton ball or pour into a spray bottle. Cooling and soothing. Green tea is filled with antioxidant properties that are good for your skin.
  • Peppermint  Toner – Steep a peppermint tea bag in a cup of hot water for at least 5 minutes, Cool and apply to your face with a cotton ball or pour into a spray bottle. Very cooling, refreshing.
So while it is not necessary to use a toner, some people really like them and find them beneficial. And they can be uplifting and a nice de-stressor.

Alabu Trivia

  • My husband and I homeschooled our two children.
  • Alabu started out as a homeschool chemistry experiment in 1997.
  • The name Alabu came from a homschool homework assignment given to our daughter Nell.


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