Face Serum and Toner: Benefits, Differences, and Which One to Apply First

Face Serum and Toner: Benefits, Differences, and Which One to Apply First

Beauty is constantly evolving, with cleansers and moisturizers giving way to toners, serums, and exfoliators. It's difficult to tell which products are necessary to achieve your skin goals and which are just for show. 

In this article we will dive deep and discuss what a toner and serum is, and how to find the right product for your skin type. 

What is a toner?

Toners are liquid skincare products that cleanse and exfoliate the skin while restoring its natural pH balance. Apply toner to your face after washing it to refresh, protect, and moisturize it. Toners do not strip your skin of natural oils, making them ideal for sensitive skin. Toner is available in two forms: a pour-out liquid that can be applied with cotton pads and a spray mist.

Toner formulas are beneficial to your skin in several ways.

  1. Toners balance your skin's pH after cleansing and are effective for dry, uncomfortable, or irritated skin.
  2. It offers gentle hydration and is ideal for combination, oily, and dehydrated skin.
  3. Exfoliation helps treat blackheads and blemishes while reducing the visibility of pores.

After cleansing your skin, use a toner before applying a serum. 

How to find the right toner for your skin type? 

Let’s address the elephant in the room, how to find the right toner. Always use an alcohol-free toner because alcohol dries out the skin and removes its natural oils. Consider the following:

Oily Skin: Look for a toner specifically designed for oily skin. Choose formulas that are oil-free or contain tea tree oil, lavender hydrosol, or AHAs.

Dry Skin: Hydrating toners containing hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, or glycerin are ideal for people with dry skin.

Acne-Prone Skin: Oil-free toners formulated with salicylic acid are beneficial for acne-prone skin.

Combination Skin: People with combination skin must fight oil while hydrating their skin. Toners with rose water, vitamin E, and vitamin C are excellent choices.

Sensitive Skin: Sensitive skin requires soothing toners containing aloe vera, chamomile, and rose water. 

Now, what is a serum? 

Serum formulas contain tiny molecules designed to penetrate the skin with highly concentrated, active ingredients that are skin-specific and intended to treat a specific skin issue.

There are numerous serums on the market, ranging from hyperpigmentation treatments to skin brightening.

The serum is typically thicker than toner but thinner than a gel or oil-based moisturizing cream. After toner and before moisturizer, a water-based, gel-like serum is the third step in your skincare routine. After the moisturizer, oil-based serums, also known as facial oils, are applied. Apply serum to a clean face and gently massage it in to allow it to penetrate deep into the epidermis.

Another elephant in the room, how to choose a serum? 

First, determine your skin type and the skin concern you want to address. With so many serums in the market, read the labels carefully to find the best one for your skin type.

Hydrating Serum - Suitable for all skin types.

Brightening Serums - Beneficial for people who have dull skin, hyperpigmentation, or dark spots.

Firming Serums - Suitable for all skin types.

Clarifying Serums: Ideal for those who experience breakouts, have oily skin or have clogged pores.

Calming Serums - Excellent for sensitive skin and redness.

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