Toners are the liquid, water-based lotions designed for use after the cleansing step. Most toners are either hydrating and include humectants such as hyaluronic acid, or they are exfoliating formulas that contain Alpha Hydroxy Acids or Beta Hydroxy Acids. Some of these treatment toners also include other active ingredients such as Niacinamide and Vitamin C.
Astringent toners, which typically include a high concentration of drying alcohols have fallen out of favour in recent years. Those with sensitive skin types should seek out toners that are free of fragrance, colorant and drying alcohol.
In a skincare routine, toners, lotions and essences occupy the same space, but as a rule of thumb, the most fluid textures should be applied first, before more viscous, thicker formulas. Toners can be patted into the skin with hands or applied with cotton pads.