I think we can all agree that one of great features of FashionBeans – as a fashion and grooming mecca – is the interaction via the comments section of each article. It’s refreshing to see so many like minded guys sharing (and often debating) the rights, the wrongs, the do use and the definitely don’t buy after each writer has had their say.

For me it’s also a great way for me to hear your feedback on the grooming products you’ve been using, plus it’s a chance for some of you to get some advice from someone who’s used more products than he’s had hot dinners! Chatting to many of you via my Men’s Grooming Resolutions 2012 article inspired me to pen the article that you’re reading right now, and share some information on one of men’s groomings unsung heroes – Toner.

What Is A Toner?

Some of you may have read that last sentence and responded with “Toner. What the hell is toner?” Well gentlemen, a toner could be the missing link that you’re skincare regime has been crying out for. Of all the products out there (and there does seem to be an increasing number of serums, masks, creams, lotions and potions nowadays) a toner is often the product guys neglect from their routine. I think one of the main reasons for this is that many guys don’t understand what a toner could be doing for their complexion.

Masquerading as a light (often clear) lotion, toners can also come in the form of a spritz, or on toning ‘pads’. In whatever form, a toner is designed to aid your skin in one or a handful of the following ways:

  • Remove the excess oil that causes ‘shine’.
  • Prevent pores from becoming clogged with dirt and grime (causing blackheads).
  • Help to eliminate or control breakouts.
  • Refresh your complexion.
  • Refine skin tone and reduce pore size.
  • Sooth after shaving and prevent irritation.
When Should I Use A Toner?

A toner is primarily designed for use as part of a three step Cleanse, Tone & Moisturise routine. Once you’ve cleansed your skin with your chosen face wash, pat the skin dry with a towel and apply your toner (depending on the type of toner you use this may require a cotton ball or pad). Once your toner has dried, apply your moisturiser or mattifying product to complete your regime.

But that’s not all a toner can be used for. If you experience excess shine or grease throughout the day, then a toner can be used to control and eliminate this often embarrassing problem, and help prevent breakouts. Likewise, a refreshing toning spritz can breath new life into lackluster skin that’s under constant attack from dryness or external aggressors. For these type of grooming dilemmas the spray or toner pads are fantastic for an on the go touch up (see some of my recommendations below).

The final string to the toner bow is it’s post shaving benefits – helping to calm irritation, reduce redness and close pores after your razor has done its best work. Now do you see why using a toner might benefit your complexion?

Should I Be Using A Toner?

After all that, this is the big question isn’t it? In short, the answer is probably yes. But I don’t just say that on a whim, here are some of the reasons you need to add a toner to your routine – whatever your skin type*.

*If you’re not sure what skin type you have, check out my Know Your Skin Type article.

What Can A Toner Do For Combination Skin?

One of the main complaints from those struggling with combination skin is that they struggle to balance the dry areas of their complexion, with treating breakouts normally found on the T-zone (forehead, nose, chin).

You could try using a combination of normal moisturiser and a mattifying moisturiser, but this is more costly and less effective than bringing a toner into the equation.

Applying a small amount of toner to your problem areas (blemishes, not dry patches) will help limit the amount of breakouts you experience, while leaving your moisturiser to go to work on any dryness. You may have heard the term ‘restoring balance’ to your skin before – and a toner helps to do just that, restoring your combination skin’s natural balance so the irregularities disappear and ‘normal’ skin service is resumed.

  • Men-u Matt Skin Refresh Gel 100mlMen-u Matt Skin Refresh Gel 100ml
  • Ole Henriksen Pick Me Up Face Mist 207mlOle Henriksen Pick Me Up Face Mist 207ml
  • Anthony Logistics For Men – Alcohol Free Toner 237mlAnthony Logistics For Men - Alcohol Free Toner 237ml
What Can A Toner Do For Oily Skin?

If you suffer from oily skin then your main complaint is going to be a ‘greasy’ appearance and regular acne-like breakouts. However, the solution to treating your overloaded complexion is closer than you think. I mentioned that using a toner on combination skin is about restoring a natural balance to your skin – and it’s very much the target for those with oily skin conditions too.

‘Oily’ skin produces excess sebum, which causes your skin to become shiny throughout the day. This sebum also clogs (your enlarged) pores, which then leads to regular breakouts. Adding a toner into your routine will help to control excess sebum production, which keeps skin oil free and purified, while visibly reducing pore size and your chances of blemishes appearing.

Rather than removing the natural moisture in your skin, quality toners (like those shown below) work with your skin to limit sebum production instead of stripping your skin like cheaper alternatives. I would definitely recommend opting for quality if you want to see results.

FashionBeans Tip: If you find that your skin becomes shiny throughout the day, try taking toning pads – like the Anthony Logistic Astringent Oil Control Toner Pads – on the go to handle embarrassing greasiness.

  • Anthony Logistics For Men Astringent Toner PadsAnthony Logistics For Men Astringent Toner Pads
  • Ole Henriksen Grease Relief Face Tonic Oily/acne Prone 207mlOle Henriksen Grease Relief Face Tonic Oily/acne Prone 207ml
  • Murad Blemish Control Clarifying Toner 180mlMurad Blemish Control Clarifying Toner 180ml
What Can A Toner Do For Dry/Sensitive Skin?

A toner isn’t the most obvious product choice for aiding dry skin, but a high quality toner (steer clear of cheaper imitations) can play an important role in skin hydration. If you’ve ever suffered from dry skin you’ll know that it can become very sore and irritated, especially during the winter months.

Used sparingly as part of your ‘Cleanse, Tone, Moisturise’ routine, toners can have a calming and brightening effect on your skin helping to aid cell renewal so that your skin recovers from dryness quicker, and is more receptive to the hydrating qualities of your moisturiser.

  • Balancing Cucumber Face Mist TonicBalancing Cucumber Face Mist Tonic
  • Aesop Immediate Moisture Facial Hydrosol 50mlAesop Immediate Moisture Facial Hydrosol 50ml
  • Murad Hydrating Toner 180mlMurad Hydrating Toner 180ml
What Can A Toner Do After Shaving?

Shaving irritation is one of the biggest problems associated with men’s grooming. As an alternative or partnered with an aftershave balm, using a toner post shave will help refresh your skin, leaving it feeling soft and soothed. In addition, applying a toner like the Clinique Scruffing Lotion before shaving will help to tighten your skin and makes facial hair stand up, enabling your razor to slice through your stubble much more easily.

But be warned, not all toners are suitable for this kind of use, so check out the ones featured below that are designed specifically for improving your daily shave routine.

  • Clinique Skin Supplies For Men Scruffing Lotion 4.5 Very Oily 200mlClinique Skin Supplies For Men Scruffing Lotion 4.5 Very Oily 200ml
  • Weleda Mens Smooth Shave Toner 100mlWeleda Mens Smooth Shave Toner 100ml
  • Peter Thomas Roth Conditioning Multi-tasking After Shave Tonic 250mlPeter Thomas Roth Conditioning Multi-tasking After Shave Tonic 250ml

So there we have it, the (expansive) pros and (seemingly limited) cons of using a toner. As always, if you have any questions or need any product tips please do leave your comments below. Who knows, your question could inspire my next article!

Thanks for your support and continued feedback.