Toner versus Astringent, is there a difference?

Today I held a skin care class for about 20 teenage girls and it was loads of fun. They learned a lot about basic skin care, such as washing their face every day. When I said removing their makeup before bed was important to keep thir skin looking healthy a couple were heard to say “even if you just wear mascara?” The answer was absolutely because wearing it all the time can lead to lashes breaking. Eventually we discussed the purpose of astringents and I was asked how they were different from toners. What a great question!

Listening to ads on tv can be confusing as various names are thrown around to describe the product being sold. Balancers, clarifying lotions, clarifiers, skin purifiers, toners and astringents are all the same thing. While some distinguish one from another based on the level of alcohol, most companies are working to reduce or eliminate that ingredient while keeping their effectiveness. Most experts classify astringents as being the strongest in this group.

So why use a toner at all? It has four main purposes. Remove residual traces of cleanser, remove the last amount of makeup left after a cleanser is used, remove excess oil and reduce the size of pores. Let’s start with the cleanser and makeup issue. Years ago when makeup removers were not as developed there often was some makeup left behind. Today, a good makeup remover no longer has that issue as it will remove every bit of makeup. A good cleanser rinses away completely.


Only those with extremely oily skin need to worry about that issue and toner is a great help. If you are prone to breakouts it might be beneficial to use a toner. I prefer to use a toner at night so it has a chance to work on the skin without fighting other products like your sunscreen and makeup.

The last reason is to reduce the size of pores. This is a controversial reason because some feel toners don’t really do that at all. I believe that it depends on the toner. I have seen the results on friends whose skin looks radically different after just one month.

When trying a toner, alcohol is the enemy. It’s sole purpose is to dry the skin. Remove too much oil and the body’s natural reaction is produce even more. If your skin feels tight after using a toner, it has dried out the skin requiring you to use even more moisturizer. A good toner will leave the face feeling soft, smooth and fresh.

To remove excessive oil or makeup, spray a cotton ball with the toner and gently rub your face. You will see the dirt and oil on the cotton. Continue until no more is coming off. To reduce the size of your pores, spritz a light mist in the face and allow to dry naturally.

I don’t have excessively oily skin, but as I hit my 40s I found my pores were getting larger. I tried a cleanser designed to reduce them and saw no results. As I began using rosewater as a toner a couple times a week I saw the difference it made. Now I am sure that my pores were not changed enough that anyone else could tell because they were just beginning to get larger, but looking at my face close up in the mirror I sure could.i also noticed a difference in how my foundation looked.


A good toner requires a humectant. This will increase the ability of the toner to penetrate the skin. It also draws moisture from the air and into the skin. These effects lead to softer and hydrated skin. How awesome is that?

Now I am the queen of cheap, I have mentioned this in my blog a few times. If something has multiple purposes then I am sold. At first it was hard to rationalize a bottle of toner taking up space in my bathroom. Over time I could not believe the uses for this one little bottle of rosewater. Rose oil has been used as far back as the ancient Egyptians so these are not new ideas. I now use it to set my makeup and even made a video showing how easy it is to do it.

I keep it in my purse all Summer long for sunburns as it reduces the sting and on bug bites as it reduces the pain and swelling. Rosewater also promotes blood circulation and therefore hair growth when spritzed on the scalp. With antibacterial properties it is perfect to spray on small scratches to minimize scarring and infection. Rosewater can also reduce puffy eyes. For that I spray a cotton ball till it is good and wet then place in the freezer for 5 minutes. The cool cotton is place on my eyes and it feels divine. After a couple minutes my eyes are not as puffy.

Can you just feel the love? While you can make your own rosewater at home with distilled water and fresh petals, it is only good for a week so you will need to make a batch every weekend. I opt instead for Refreshed from Younique. It slips easily in my purse during the Summer and I don’t have to make it. It has no alcohol but does have the required humectant.

So my Beauties, I hope I have answered some questions you may of had. If so, please share this blog on facebook. Have a fabulousness weekend!


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