I have a complicated relationship with toner. Sometimes I love it, sometimes I hate it. Sometimes it seems necessary, sometimes it seems like a watery waste of money. I’m wishy-washy on this one and still can’t make a decision, using toners on and off whenever they fall into my possession.
If you live by the book on your beauty routine, toners are supposed to be the last step in the cleansing process. They exist to clean any impurities on your skin that weren’t reached by your cleanser, like dust, residue or pollution. A good toner is alcohol-free (duh) and also pH balanced, serving to chill out your skin after a rough cleansing.
My most recent attempt at incorporating a toner into my routine was Kiehl’s Ultra Face Toner ($16). I figured if I was ever going to love a toner, it would be one from Kiehl’s, my favorite skincare store.
The Ultra Face Toner is pH-balanced and alcohol free (check and check). It promises to clear off any remaining debris from your face while also working to hydrate, improve skin texture and prep for skin for moisturizer.
After cleansing with Glossier’s Milky Jelly first thing in the morning, I use this toner with a cotton pad and gently apply to my face (avoiding the eye area) and neck. Sometimes, it’s stunning (and horrifying) the amount of visible dirt left on the cotton pad when I’m done, leaving me second-guessing the effectiveness of my cleanser and completely convinced of this product’s necessity in my routine.
The Ultra Face Toner cleans my combination sensitive skin thoroughly without drying it out or causing any redness, then leaves it balanced, soft and smooth. This is a toner I can get behind; it’s earned a permanent spot in my medicine cabinet.