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Let me be real for just a moment. I honestly spent around 28 years of my life ONLY washing my face and forgetting all of the other important facial care steps. That's it. No toner, no moisturizer, just face wash. I really had no idea that to get clear and beautiful skin, I needed to do more than just wash my face. I needed to tone my face after washing and then follow with a moisturizer, but these were not steps I was taking and my face was trying to tell me so.
What is facial toner and why do I need it?
One of the most often forgotten steps in facial cleansing, toning is the second step after cleansing your face with a cleanser of choice (You can choose to make your own Creamy Soapwort Facial Cleanser, or my personal favorite, my Facial Cleansing Grains). The purpose of using an astringent or toner (interchangeable words here), is to help remove excess oils and dead skin cells that may have been left behind after washing. Toning also helps to restore your face's pH, and most importantly, to close the pores and to help your moisturizer penetrate your skin even better. Moist skin is much better able to absorb nutrients than dry skin. By toning, before you moisturize, you are making your moisturizer more effective in the long run. I like to use a toner on my face after cleansing, using a face mask, or for a refreshing pick-me-up when my skin is looking dry and tired.
Natural ingredients for toning, moisturizing, and healing
It's important to pick ingredients that are ph balanced for the skin. If the pH is off it may cause you to break out or dry out your skin. This isn't the only factor in clear skin, what you wash your face with, your diet, your water intake, and your habits can all affect your skin's health. These are some of the most common natural ingredients you can use to make your own toner at home:
- Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar – Though this makes a great toner for some, others (myself included) have issues with ACV being just a little bit too acidic and causes my skin to break out. If it works for you, great! Just dilute it 1 Tbsp. per 1 cup of water. The great thing about apple cider vinegar is that you can infuse skin nourishing herbs into the vinegar before using it as a toner! Just like alcohol, vinegar is good at extracting many of the healing properties from the herbs, very easily.
- Aloe Vera Gel – Naturally close to our skin's pH, and totally moisturizing to the skin, aloe vera gel is a great cleanser and toner all by itself. I always add aloe vera gel to pretty much any concoction I am making for the skin.
- Hydrosols – Made during the process of making essential oils, these herbal “flower” waters are gentle and nourishing, and safe for everyone from babies to animals. During distillation, the essential oil is separated from the water leaving behind an herbally enhanced water and trace amounts of the essential oil. These gentle healing waters are great for toners and give your face a drink in the healing herbal properties of the herbs they are made from! I love to keep hydrosols of lavender, chamomile, calendula, and peppermint around for all of my cosmetic making needs!
- Witch Hazel – A fabulous astringent and naturally anti-inflammatory, witch hazel has been used for just about forever, for skin healing and facial care. Witch hazel helps to shrink the pores, banish blackheads, kill acne, and tighten skin. It's one of the main ingredients in my toners! You can steep herbs in witch hazel first before using in your toners, for an herbal boost to the toner.
- Herbal Tea/Infusions – You can use all sorts of wonderful teas for a great toner to your face! Green tea is one of my favorites to keep on hand because of its high amount of antioxidants and its natural anti-inflammatory properties. Study the herbal benefits of different herbs and try adding them into your facial care routine, including your toners.
The Hippy Homemaker's Moisturizing Facial Toner
This is pretty much the recipe I used in the Hippy Homemaker Etsy shop before I closed it down! You can substitute the hydrosol in this recipe with distilled or filtered water. I have also provided essential oil blends for each skin type so that you can customize your toner to your own face's needs. While I give exact hydrosol suggestions for each skin type, you can essentially use any of them for any skin type. I simply paired the hydrosols that will give the most healing benefits for that skin type!
- 4 oz. spray bottle
- 1/4 cup witch hazel
- 1 tsp. vegetable glycerin
- 2 tsp. aloe vera gel
- essential oil blend for your skin type (see below)
hydrosol(or filtered water), to fill
NORMAL SKIN TYPE
- 5 drops lavender essential oil
- 3 drops grapefruit essential oil
- 3 drops coriander essential oil
- lavender hydrosol, to fill
ACNE/OILY SKIN TYPE
- 5 drops lavender essential oil
- 5 drops geranium essential oil
- 3 drops rosemary essential oil
- 2 drops roman chamomile essential oil
- lime peel hydrosol, to fill
DRY/DAMAGED SKIN TYPE
- 5 drops lavender essential oil
- 3 drops petitgrain essential oil
- 5 drops steam distilled lemon essential oil
- 2 drops coriander essential oil
- chamomile hydrosol, to fill
MATURE/AGING SKIN TYPE
- 10 drops palmarosa essential oil
- 5 drops frankincense essential oil
- 2 drops geranium essential oil
- 2 drops rose absolute
- helichrysum hydrosol, to fill
- Combine ingredients in the 4 oz. spray bottle.
- Keep in a cool dark location when not in use. You can keep this in the fridge for a longer shelf life but I have yet to have a toner go bad on me even over a 6 month period of time. The essential oils and witch hazel (because it's processed with alcohol) do help to preserve this toner.
All information on The Hippy Homemaker is meant for educational and informational purposes only. The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products and/or information are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. Readers are advised to do their own research and make decisions in partnership with their health care provider. If you are pregnant, nursing, have a medical condition or are taking any medication, please consult your physician.