Where Do Toners Fit in Your Skincare Regimen?

Toners have come a long way from their association with the soft-focus glow of Ate Vi in the ’80s.

Toning is a crucial grooming step, but it’s usually misunderstood or worse, skipped.

Forget the notion that toners are just for acne-laden teenagers. Today’s bunch has come a long way from their association with the soft-focus glow of Ate Vi in the ’80s. They now feature antioxidants, hydrating ingredients, and other skincare agents that remove dirt and debris your cleansers have missed.

The key is finding one suited to your skin, which is actually simple: If you’re oily or acne-prone, turn to astringents (usually containing salicylic acid) that soak up excess oil, prevent bacteria buildup, and stop breakouts. If you have sensitive, dry, or normal skin, choose toners with moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid that inhibit scaling and roughness. The emergence of essence lotions has also changed the game as these wonders allow better absorption of the ingredients in your serum or moisturizer (aka The Next Step).

So, why do you need a toner? They give your skin a smooth appearance and a healthy glow that moisturizers alone can’t do.

Esquire's Grooming Upgrade: Toners


LAB SERIES WATER LOTION: When applied, the weightless lotion really feels like water. After absorption, you’ll see cleaner, suppler, brighter skin.

LA MER THE OIL ABSORBING TONIC: A must for men with oily and breakout-prone skin, the refreshing toner absorbs excess oil and rebalances or calms the skin. You’ll love its clean, crisp fragrance, too.

M.A.C LIGHTFUL C MARINE-BRIGHT FORMULA SOFTENING LOTION: This is one trick you should steal from your girlfriend (M.A.C is a secret tool of a lot of men). The softening toner suits every skin type as it’s power-packed with vitamin C and a lot of antioxidants that repair, protect, and soothe.

CLINIQUE EXFOLIATING TONIC: Tough on dead skin cells, the exfoliating tonic scoops up dirt, flakes, and excess oil, giving you an instantly smoother appearance. This is gentle enough to be used every day and (bonus!) can be used as your pre-shave essential.

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About The Author
Nicole Limos Morales
Nicole is the former managing editor of Town & Country Philippines. After working as features editor and beauty editor of the title’s print edition for 6 years, she helped launch in 2016, creating new concepts and story formats, analyzing data, and mastering digital audiences—establishing the title to become the Philippines’ leading luxury lifestyle website. She left her full-time position in 2019 to focus on family life, while carrying on writing beauty content for T&C as a contributing editor. “I think what’s amazing about beauty is that in its arena, you can really only be a skeptic for so long,” she says. “There will always be a product that will make you believe.”
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