Toner: Why Do We Use It?


During my travels throughout the world of eco-beauty, I often get asked some interesting questions. Sometimes they are simple like “Can I eat my natural makeup?” (…No) Sometimes they are more complex like “Is this product native energy, fair trade, organic certified by USDA or just Ecocert or just the neighborhood postal carrier who claims it doesn’t make her skin red?” (“¦Let me get back to you on that.)

But recently, someone posed the question – “Is toner really necessary?” And my answer is – yes, yes, a thousand times yes! Strictly defined, toner is cleanser or lotion designed to clean skin and shrink pores. It can restore your skin’s natural pH levels, which is important to protect your skin against sun, stress, and pollutants.

Some industry professionals think toners are unnecessary while others swear by them. It very much depends on your type of skin and what kind of toner you use. Some are more like tonics that moisturize the skin while others are more astringent and can contain higher levels of alcohol. These clean the skin of oils – but that can lead to problems as your skin can go into hyper drive to replace lost oil.

Why am I so big on toner? I spend most of my beauty regime on retaining and maintaining my skin tone. And I find a good organic toner to be the best way to do this. Maybe they work because they tighten pores and maintain pH levels, or maybe they work because fairies sprinkle eco-dust on your face after an application. I just find that, yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and ask him to bring you some toner.

The Eco-Toner to Buy: Thayer’s Rose Petal Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel


Now imagine me repeating this three times and clicking my red sequined heels together. This project seems almost magical. Thayer’s contains tannins extracted from the bark of witch hazel, or Hamamelis Virginiana. The tannins are made into big tea bags, soak in purified waters, and then placed into the toner. And just what do tannins do? In my case, I saw my skin tone return to something it resembled ten years ago. Containing some organic ingredients, it’s moisturizing, clean, and survives my sensitive skin. I cannot recommend this product more highly.

How to Make Your Own Eco-Toner:

Want to make your own? Check out this recipe for a hydrating, homemade skin toner containing calming chamomile.

  • 1 organic chamomile tea bag
  • ½ teaspoon organic vodka
  • In a small saucepan, brew tea bag in two cups of water for ten minutes. Remove the ea bag and cool. Add vodka when cooled and apply to skin using a clean cotton swap.

And if you want to know more, check out our review of several organic toners!

Image: Perfecto Insecto

Katherine Butler

Katherine Butler is the Beauty Editor of EcoSalon and currently resides in Los Angeles, California.