Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Toning up. Facial toners - the missing step

I have never really been a 'cleanse, tone, moisturise' kind of a girl. Well, not since my Clinique 3 step days as a teenager (maybe that's what put me off - what a disaster that was). I always thought that because I used a wash-off cleanser I didn't need to use a toner and I could just slap on my serum and moisturiser post cleansing. But since discovering Caroline Hirons skincare-Bible-of-a-blog and reading her take on the uses of toners I decided to reinvest in some. Now, this woman knows about skin (if you haven't read her blog I suggest you check it out) and she suggests a double toning routine. So, after cleansing (twice again - the first cleanse removes
any make-up and SPF, the second actually gets down into the skin) Ms Hirons suggests using an exfoliating acid toner followed by a regular toner. Don't let the 'a' word scare you - these are Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) or fruit acids to you and me and they are actually far more gentle on the skin than the traditional face scrub type exfoliant, which can aggravate delicate skin. Plus the results are in a different league. The theory is that the acid tone 'takes away' from your skin lowering the ph, sloughing away dead skin and unclogging pores thereby rebalancing any dryness or oiliness. You then use a regular toner suited to your skin type to hydrate and calm and aid in the penetration of the products that follow in your routine (your most expensive purchases usually - those serums and eye creams and miracle-in-a-jar night creams).

So toners help you to get the most out of your other beauty products. Ok, I'm in. 

The two toners I plumped for after much internet browsing, were Ren's Clarifying Toning Lotion (the acid toner) and Darphin's Intral Tonique as the hydrating toner. The Ren is fresh smelling and gives the tiniest tingly feeling (I love that - makes me feel it's really working!) whilst it gently exfoliates and clears. The Intral smells divine and softens and calms the skin, also reducing redness. I have used them one after the other, morning and night and I have to say that the overall condition of my skin seems improved - altogether smoother and clearer and so much softer. In fact, I have been so impressed with the results that I have returned to a bit of an old favourite product of mine, the Daddy of all exfoliating toners - Alpha-H Liquid Gold.

I had eased up on using Liquid Gold a couple of months ago, adding it in to my evening routine only once a week or so when I felt like my skin needed a boost. But having recently upped its use to twice a week I realise how much my skin has missed it. Liquid Gold is an incredible product. It is essentially a glycolic acid liquid exfoliant.  You apply it every other night after cleansing, like a toner (so swept over the face with a cotton pad). You feel that satisfying tingle then...that's it. Nothing else. No serums, no oils, no creams or lotions - just the Liquid Gold. On post LG mornings, my skin is plumper and markedly smoother - I find myself studying it in the bathroom mirror in wonder at its overnight transformation. It decongests the skin and reduces the appearance of fine lines. In my experience there is nothing like it for refining the skin. If you have enlarged pores this will degunk them and make them smaller. If you are prone to oiliness this will regulate it. If you have dry patches this will deflake them. If you have pigmentation marks this will fade them. I finished the bottle last night and I am now in a mild state of panic as to when my reorder will arrive. I cannot be without it. It is quite simply a wonder product. 

If you are thinking of giving Alpha-H a try then Salon Skincare have some great offers on the whole range at the moment. I ordered my supersize Liquid Gold in a set with their Balancing Cleanser and Eye Complex, which are both lovely products, but you can get the Liquid Gold separately there too. 

It's time to tone up, people!

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