Exfoliating Toners – Rant or Rave?

Avene Cleanance Toner, La Roche-Posay Effaclar Toner, Vichy Normaderm Pore-Tightening Toning Lotion
Avene Cleanance Toner, La Roche-Posay Effaclar Toner, Vichy Normaderm Pore-Tightening Toning Lotion

I never believed that applying an extra step in your makeup routine for the sake of it being called ‘a toner’ was going to do you any good. 

We spend so much time on skincare these days that I think its only worth while adding these steps to our routine if they have a proven benefit. Most toners often have a lot of chemicals in addition to alcohol and parabens. Alcohol helps dry the skin out but often it irritates even normal skins. Parabens have been used for a long time in skincare as a preservative and without this, products degrade much quicker. Because of the duration of the existence of parabens in the history of skincare, more research has gone into it than the other ‘new preservatives’ so much that parabens have been classified as potential carcinogens. Often I use toners for the purpose of making sure my makeup has been removed thoroughly after cleansing but if you have a wonder-product makeup remover, you shouldn’t need it for this purpose.

Exfoliating Toners

Exfoliating Toners on the other hand are a different matter. Despite the new trend, they are not new. They have been around for a while under the guise of ‘toners for oily or acne-prone skin’. These are liquidy lotions that have one or a few of the ingredients that have been shown to be good for acne. Most of them contain salicylic acids, lactic acids, etc which act through their antibacterial and sebum-reducing properties. And I must say that for the right skin types – they work!

In the process though, these too dry skin out and I would suggest unless your skin is ultra-greasy limit to using this one or twice a week to prevent skin irritation. The acids act by drying your skin and cells from the superficial layers of skin flake off – and this Is the ‘exfoliating’ effect.

for Oily Skin

These are fantastic for the acne prone and for gals with greasy faces, but I must inform you that while effective, these are not the first line or only treatments you would consider for acne. Have a read of my acne series here if you wish!

for Combination Skin

For people with combination skin, you have to be particular about where you would apply this. As much as I would like to lazily lather it up on my whole face, I would just limit this to the grease-prone areas which is commonly the T-zone in this case: Forehead, Nose, Chin. It will dry out the skin of your cheeks too much if you apply it there.

There's more out there

While Exfoliating Toners are a good way of gently exfoliating your skin, you must remember there are better ways of renewing the skin surface such as microdermabrasion and chemical peels that you can get in salons and much better results can be achieved with specialists eg. Cosmetic clinics and those done by trained and licensed doctors.

So that’s my little rant on toners that has been plaguing my mind as of late. I’m glad its all out in the open now, but I’d like to know what you think… Toners – rant or rave?

Livia | The Skin and Beauty Blog


  1. I have the La Roche Posay one.. but found it too stronge for my combination skin as you pointed out.. Its now eating dust somewhere in the house! I am eyeing the Pai Toner because its gentle and organic.. any suggestions?

    TheConscienceFund | My Bloglovin'

  2. Anjelica Armendariz11 June 2014 at 15:26

    Great to see a little "about me" post. I can't believe you have the time to be a doctor and maintain this blog! Really shows your attention to detail.

  3. Thank you hun! How are you? It's been a while!

  4. Young At Heart is so pretty! It's great on sunny days, its not too bright IMHO unlike the likes of MAC Candy Yum Yum lipstick, it is much more wearable. That's a shame Korean counters don't let you try the products, but it is beautiful!

  5. It's a little pricey but a good investment! Shannon has been using it for at least 6 years now.

  6. Thank you Anjelica, I try my best to keep it going as I do enjoy blogging. Your comment has made my day! :)

  7. I love Bobbi Brown pot rouges! Powder Pink is my favorite color! These look super pretty!

    Carry Makeup in Style | TheConscienceFund | My Bloglovin'

  8. I have tried the clarins exfoliating toner and it really did make a difference to me

  9. I swear by Caroline Hirons when it comes to skin care and since coming across her blog last year I've started using an exfoliating toner followed by a hydrating toner (She recommends this to prevent drying out of the skin from the exfoliating toner). I have dry, sensitive skin and this combination works perfectly for me! I wouldn't be without toner now! I use one ever day, twice a day, but have about 3 on the go and choose which one to use depending on how my skin is looking and feeling.

    Kelsey xx


  10. I wish you actually reviewed each product separately. I have tried the La Roche Posay and Vichy, but the Avene one I have yet to try for my oily skin...what was your experience with it?


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