After cleanser, there's another step

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 September, 2011, 12:00am


Adding a couple of minutes twice a day to your facial skincare routine is well worth the effort. After all, your face is the first to show the effects of sun damage, pollution, stress, harsh weather and ageing.

We all know the importance of washing and moisturising every day, but there is a third step in this routine that's often neglected by many of us: using a toner. And boys, that means you, too.

What is a toner?

A toner restores the natural pH balance of your skin - pH is used to measure whether an object is alkaline or acidic. Pure water is considered neutral with a pH of 7.0; anything below 7.0 is acidic, and anything above is alkaline.

The natural pH for your skin is at the acidic end of the scale, between 4.5 and 6.0. That's because acidic conditions help the skin fight harmful bacteria.

Cleansers usually leave your face on the alkaline side, between 6.5 and 8.0. Toners help restore the skin's pH level back to the ideal range.

Some toners help remove excess oil, dirt and make-up that your cleanser has missed, and they also help tighten pores. Others leave behind vitamins, minerals and substances to nourish and hydrate your skin, preventing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Skin types and types of

toners to use

For normal to dry skin, choose a moisturising toner.

For normal to oily, or acne-prone skin, choose a clarifying and exfoliating toner. This will not only help remove excess oil, dead skin cells and impurities, it will also clear your pores at the same time to prevent breakouts.

How do you apply a toner?

It's best to use cottonwool pads. Pour a small amount of toner onto a pad (there's no need to drench it) and lightly sweep (don't scrub or rub) the toner across your face.

You can do this each time after your twice-daily cleansing routine. Try not to use a tissue to apply the toner; it is too harsh for the skin and the tissue will probably tear.

Are you skin-savvy?

1 When do you put on sunscreen?

a. never

b. just before I leave for school

c. at least 20 minutes before I leave for school

d. only when the sun is out

2 What do you wash your face with?

a. I never wash my face

b. just plain water

c. with soap and water

d. with a mild cleanser

3 When is the best time to apply moisturiser to your body?

a. when the skin is dry and flaky

b. just after taking a shower or a bath when the skin is still damp

c. after drying off completely with a towel

d. just before changing into my pyjamas after a hard day at school

4 What does SPF stand for?

a. Sun Promotion Factor

b. Sun Protection Factor

c. Special Protection Factor

d. Special Protection Force

5 Which of the following ingredients in moisturiser helps reduce the loss of moisture from the skin?

a. humectant

b. emollient

c. non-comedogenic

d. alcohol


1. c, 2. d, 3. b, 4. b, 5. a