Monday, July 7, 2008

Astringents, Toners and Lotions

Astringents, toners and lotions have a primary role to refresh, rebalance and restore the pH of cleansed skin. They do not cleanse the skin but complete the cleansing process by removing impurities, excess oils, or any remaining residue left from cleansing (including the trace minerals left behind from the water used to rinse the skin).

For years, the industry referred to astringents as those containing alcohol, and toners and lotions for those that did not. All three terms are now being used interchangeably. No matter what they are called, it is a shame these little gems are often forgotten in a skin care routine. In reality, they should be thought of as water boosted with great active ingredients. The non-alcohol containing products also boost the hydration of the skin. Day cream should be applied while the skin is still moist with toner to lock in the moisture of the toner. As an added bonus you will need less cream.

Lotions will also aid the absorption of beneficial ingredients of the products used after them. They have been created to hydrate, normalize sebaceous secretion, provide emolliency, soothe, address hyperpigmentation, strengthen capillaries, improve circulation and exfoliation, just to name a few possible benefits. Some have mist applicators, some can be reapplied over your make-up to refresh throughout the day, and others should be applied on a cotton pad (hint: if using a cotton pad moisten it with water first, squeeze out the excess water then put your lotion on the pad and apply - you will use less product as the pad will not soak up all of your lotion.) No matter your preference, watch for some winners chosen for review in upcoming posts.

Note: There is an exception to offering the above benefits. Those that contain alcohol (usually it is ethanol) must be used in specific trouble areas as they are too aggressive to be used all over the face.