How to Find the Best Cleanser and Toner by Skin Type
Written by Nicola Moulton
24 Feb 2023
Cleansing is great. Toning is great. Finding the right cleanse-and-tone combination? It’s like giving yourself a mini-facial every morning or evening. But finding the right cleanser and toner for your skin can often be a process - so we’re here to save you the trial and error and fast-track you straight to a winning combination.
As BEAUTY PIE founder and skincare expert Marcia Kilgore says: “ask any dermatologist or cosmetic chemist and they'll say the same thing: Good cleansing is a non-negotiable ‘STEP 1’ in your skincare routine."
Ask any dermatologist or cosmetic chemist and they'll say the same thing: Good cleansing is a non-negotiable ‘STEP 1’ in your skincare routineMarcia Kilgore, Beauty Pie Founder
Use a cleanser that’s overly-harsh and strips your skin, and you can encourage your skin to create excess sebum, leading to oiliness and breakouts - and exacerbating the problem that you were (probably) trying to solve.
Use a cleanser that doesn’t work hard enough, and leaves behind traces of dirt and impurities? You could be encouraging clogged pores and a build-up of dead cells, leading to dullness, dryness and sensitivity.
Of course, unexpected stressors (weather, changing seasons, hormones, pregnancy, pollution and monthly cycles) play their part – but – whether you’re a time-starved ‘quick cleanser’ or have turned double-cleansing into an art form, there’s a go-to formulation, ingredient and - YES - cult cleanser created just for you. But first:
Some common cleansing myths, debunked
Double-cleansing is NOT a necessity if your first cleanser is effective at removing excess oils, makeup and pollution layers.
Your grandmother may have washed her face with soap and water, but regular soap is for cleansing regular things. Dewy, soft, hydrated, glowing skin is not regular. Sure, you can wash your face with soap and water, but there are so many better options.
Feeling ‘the burn’, or any tightness or dryness, doesn’t mean your face is cleaner, it just means that the protective acid mantle of your skin has been upset, which can lead to sensitivity if it’s not rebalanced.
Acne is not caused by washing your face too little
Acne is not caused by washing your face too little. There are four factors that can make your skin more prone to acne. Excess Oil Production (which is genetic), Hormones (which can cause the oil in your skin to become stickier), Humidity (which causes your skin to swell, trapping bacteria inside your oil/hair follicles), and Excessive Keratinisation (too many skin cells lining the pore walls and the skin’s surface). Yes, gentle exfoliating, good deep-cleansing and fruit acids will help, but everyday dirt is not the culprit when it comes to controlling facial acne.
To cleanse or to double-cleanse? As long as you’re not stripping your skin, a second cleanse is your prerogative!
We’ve all got our heads around the need for daily cleansing (or double-cleansing) - but where do toners fit into the equation? Sprays, mists, essences - what are toners for? What can they do? One of the easiest ways to get your head around toners is not to think about them as a 'second step' in your skincare routine - but rather, as part of your 'cleanse.'
Think about toners as part of your cleanse
And when it comes to whether it matters if you choose a mist, or more of an essence, the answer is that it’s all down to personal preference: the ingredients, the texture and the feel on your skin. The key thing to consider is what you’d like this ‘second step’ of your cleanser to do: toners can perform multiple, ultra-important benefits for your skin.
It might be that you need a pore-refining sweep for oily skin. It might be that your skin would benefit from a preparatory layer of liquid hydration, to ensure your serums and creams work as hard as possible. It might that a toner is the best 'vehicle' through which to supply your skin with some nutrients it could really benefit from.
Some common toning myths debunked
Toners don’t have to be astringent or acid-based. if you have dry skin, you might like to use one that delivers an extra hit of hydration.
You don’t have to go the traditional route of applying a toner to a cotton pad and sweeping over your skin - some ‘toner steps’ come in other formats like mists or droppers, but they take the same place in your routine.
You don’t only need a toner if you have acne-prone skin or enlarged pores. Dryness, dullness, dehydration and signs of ageing are all things that toners can help with.
Dryness, dullness, dehydration and signs of ageing are all things that toners can help with
You could use a different ‘toner step’ morning and evening. In the morning, you might want an energising, pore-refining mist for example, and then in the evening, you might want something more calming.
If you are looking to reduce clogged pores and soothe blemished skin, look for toners that contain acids and/or enzymes. Our Dr Glycolic Multi-Acid Micropeeling Pads are like cotton pads that are already saturated with toner.
Our Dr Glycolic Multi-Acid Micropeeling Pads are like cotton pads that are already saturated with toner.
How to find the best cleanser and toner combos
So how do you pair cleansers and toners to ensure you get the best results?
If you have dry skin…
At night, use an oil balm to give your skin a deep-cleanse, not only removing all traces of dirt and makeup but purifying, emulsifying and softening. Follow this with hyaluronic acid to refresh and rehydrate your skin.
If you have oily skin…
If you are prone to breakouts, you want to thoroughly cleanse your skin while avoiding stripping it. Use a gentle face wash with a high lather and antioxidant properties.
Introducing a toner containing glycolic acid into your routine as a 'pre-seum, post-cleansing' step (twice a week to start with) will help reduce the clogged pores that can lead to blemishes.
If you want to tackle signs of ageing…
In order to avoid the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and sun spots, ingredients such as ceramides, niacinamide and Hyaluronic Acid are great for smoothing skin.
Our Japanfusion Pure Transforming Cleanser is an antioxidant-infused, high-tech, gel-to-oil-to-milk cleansing balm which cleans skin beautifully while never stripping or making mature skin feel ‘tight.’ It’s the perfect partner to the Uber-Youth Pro-Biome Mist-On Serum, which works by protecting the skin barrier and minimising the effects of inflammation and glycation (both thought to be major contributors to ageing).
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