The one thing I have always loathed when using a toner was the need for a cotton pad. The sheer amount of wastage, both product and applicator. So skip the cotton one says? Well, why not – only to find half the product has evaporated or slipped through my fingers before I could slap it on my face. Enter: a hybrid “toner serum” product, which we will probably be seeing more of.
I’m all for condensing my skincare. Gone are the days of my 10+ step morning routine as I swan around the bathroom, ensuring I leave a decent amount of time between each product application. Our skincare and daily routines have changed a lot – thanks to traffic – however, it turns out that condemning our skincare could have actual benefits. In fact, the overuse of products has actually become a problem, with dermatologists saying patients are experiencing sensitised and irritated skin from overdoing it when it comes to skincare.
So back to the basics. A toner is traditionally an astringent and incredibly drying, used to treat acne and oily skin. In the past, toners were deemed unnecessary and conducive to a healthy complexion. These days, toners do just the opposite, with many being alcohol-free and address almost every skin concern.
A serum, on the other hand, refers to a usually clear lightweight topical. With solutions ranging from gels, oils to toner-like formulations, serums often have humectants and even actives like peptides and retinol – to name a few.
So, in short, a toner is to eliminate oil, and serum is to deliver actives. While this is true, there are no strict definitions as the new generation of skincare goes to show, bringing hydrating toners and astringent serums.
Both a leave-on products, used after cleanser – toner, then serum – but before moisturiser and are we are beginning to discover are more easily combined than initially thought.
Why should you use a toner serum?
This is a reasonably new category of products, so it might take some experimentation to determine how these products work in your routine. In theory, the hybrid toner-serum might eliminate the need for one or the other – maybe a hyaluronic serum-toner might reduce then need for both individually appearing in your line up, each person is different. Renée Rouleau, the celebrity facials behind Lili Reinhart and Demi Lovato’s covetable glow explains that skincare hybrids, “are time-saving and offer less confusion, due to the easier-to-follow routine. It also means fewer products (that) you have to purchase and less risk of irritation from overdoing it with products.”
As for the ingredients we should be looking for? Rouleau says, “Hyaluronic Acid, sodium hyaluronate, and sodium PCA are all great ingredients to (look for in serum-toner hybrids as they) drench thirsty skin cells and restore them to a healthier state.”
Take it from my experience, and as I also discovered – Rihanna’s, combining the two can never be a bad thing when used correctly. You lose the need for cotton pads and won’t sink through your fingers, as the formulation no longer resembles water. And let’s be honest, if Fenty Beauty believes the combo to be a win-win, it definitely deserves a trial.
How to choose a toner serum?
When it comes to picking a toner serum, it’s no different than picking up any other new product. First, and this is a big one, patch test. Start with using the product a few times a week and slowly work the product into your daily routine, that is if that product is meant to be used daily. Second, pay attention to what your skin needs. Don’t add a new product for the sake of adding it. Be aware of what ingredients are best for your skin type: those with oily skin would do best with a BHA such as salicylic acid, read our guide here, or those with dry skin, a product with a humectant such as Hyaluronic Acid.
Words: Georgia Rose
Images: Fenty Skin, Pinterest.