What is a toner and why should you be using one?

Posted by Scott Hamish on

The world of skincare can be daunting, with a myriad of different products claiming seemingly every benefit under the sun. But with a few key insights and a little knowledge you’ll be able to cut through the jargon and make informed decisions about what products you need to best care for your skin. 

In this post, we introduce toner—what it is, what it does, how to use it, and some key ingredients to look out for when choosing one for yourself.



What is toner?

Firstly, what actually is a toner? In simple terms, a toner is a liquid that is applied topically to refresh, renourish, and soothe the skin. Whilst traditional toners were alcohol-based and developed somewhat of a bad reputation for drying out the skin, nowadays, the majority of toners are water-based and use updated formulas that either contain much smaller quantities of alcohol or are completely alcohol-free (such as the Scott Hamish Blue Blended Toner Essence for men, made with Icelandic glacial water). 

What do toners do?

A good toner gently refreshes and rehydrates your skin by helping to replenish nutrients and moisture that may have been stripped away during cleansing. Toners can also help close pores, making them less noticeable and helping to prevent the build-up of dirt and grime, and make skin clearer and less oily by regulating the production of sebum—an oily substance produced within the skin’s sebaceous glands. Whilst sebum plays an important role in moisturising and protecting the skin, excess sebum production can result in an oily complexion. 

Alongside the more direct benefits, toners also help to rebalance the skin’s pH level, preparing it for other products such as moisturisers to improve product absorption and efficacy. Think of it as a warm-up for your skin—just as it’s important to properly warm up your body before exercise to ensure you move well and get the most out of your workout, it’s important to use a toner to prepare your skin and help you get the most out of your skincare routine. 

How to use a toner.

A toner should be added into your skincare routine after cleansing and before applying other products such as serums or moisturisers, so that your routine looks something like this: 1) cleanser, 2) toner, 3) lotion, 4) SPF.



Using a toner is incredibly simple. Simply apply a few drops to a cotton pad and gently smooth it over your face in a circular motion. Or if you don’t have any cotton pads on hand, simply apply a few drops directly onto the palm of your hand and gently pat it onto your face. 

Whilst it’s generally recommended to use a toner every day, directly after cleansing, if you have particularly sensitive skin, you may wish to consider using a toner on a less frequent basis, such as every other day.

What to look for when choosing a toner.

There are so many different types of toner on the market—toners for oily skin, for dry skin, toners to soothe, to refresh, to fight signs of ageing—that trying to choose the right one can be overwhelming. Most of these terms, however, are just buzzwords. So when choosing a toner, ignore the jargon and instead be on the lookout for a few key ingredients. 

As mentioned above, toners with a high alcohol content can dry out and irritate the skin, so avoid them in favour of water-based toners containing antioxidants and other soothing ingredients.

Some great ingredients to lookout for include:

Hyaluronic acid - has restorative abilities and hydrates the skin.

Amino acids - water-binding agents, with antioxidant properties, that when combined with other ingredients work to restore skin and combat signs of ageing.

Alpha and beta hydroxy acids - gently break down and remove dead skin cells and can reduce signs of ageing and alleviate dry and sun-damaged skin.

Green Tea - possesses numerous benefits including antioxidant, anti-ageing, and soothing properties alongside helping to relieve sun-damaged skin.

Vitamins E and C - antioxidants that are proven to combat multiple signs of ageing, help to even skin tone, and restore and soothe the skin.

Scott Hamish Blue Blended Toner Essence

So, if you’re looking for a toner to strengthen and revitalise your skin, why not take a look at our Blue Blended Toner Essence for men. It contains 5 types of hyaluronic acid, 7 essential amino acids, and peppermint leaf extract to hydrate skin, improve elasticity, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and control sebum production. It also contains barley and malt extracts, ingredients rich in vitamins and antioxidants—thus possessing anti-ageing properties and aiding in skin recovery—and Ulmus davidiana root extract, a plant extract long-used in traditional Korean medicine. Possessing anti-inflammatory and photo-protective properties, Ulmus davidiana root extract helps prevent the formation of wrinkles caused by exposure to UVB radiation. 

Visit the Scott Hamish store to browse our full men’s skincare range. You can also follow us on Instagram at @scotthamish_global for more information about how to make self-care a rewarding investment.

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