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The Difference Between a Toner & Astringent

The Difference Between a Toner & Astringent


Toners and astringents are typically clear fluids but may have color if the manufacturer has added any dyes. Both astringents and toners are applied after cleansing your face. Toners and astringents are used differently depending on skin type and desired effects due to the difference in their ingredients.


A good skin-care regimen begins with cleansing your skin, which helps eliminate oil, dirt and other impurities. Even after cleansing your skin, residue is still left behind from the cleansers. Toners and astringents help remove these residues. Depending upon your skin type and desired results, you can use an astringent or toner by applying the product to a cotton ball or cotton pad and gently swiping it across your face.


According to the Whole Living website, toners tend to be less harsh than astringents. Astringents contain alcohol; toners are alcohol-free. Astringents work better for nonsensitive skin types that are oily and toners are geared toward skin that is sensitive and dry. Whole Living also suggests reading the label carefully to ensure your toner does not contain alcohol. If you have sensitive or dry skin, you want to avoid using products that contain alcohol since alcohol can make dry skin even more so.


While alcohol is one of the primary ingredients in astringents, some manufacturers also use witch hazel. In either instance, astringents are either alcohol-based or chemical-based. Toners consist of more natural ingredients such as herbal extracts or water steeped with chamomile.


Toners aid in keeping your skin hydrated because of the composition of herbal ingredients, such as citrus fruits, that help eliminate the number of free radicals on your skin. Toners are slightly acidic due to the herbal extracts used, which helps restore pH balance to your skin, aiding in the reduction of breakouts. Astringents can help diminish the size of your pores, due to skin tightening after application, which can create a tingling sensation on your skin.


Regardless of which product you choose, it's important to use a gentle sweeping motion with the cotton pad or cotton ball across your skin. Making numerous swipes can leave your skin feeling overly dry or tight and negatively alter the pH balance of your skin. If your skin begins to show signs of irritation after applying toner or astringent, you should reduce the amount you are using or switch to a milder astringent or toner. If you still experience irritation after reducing usage or switching to a milder product, you may want to consider ceasing usage altogether.

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