BUT WAIT! We can't just go making a toner for dry skinned girls as we did with oily skinned girls because our goals are completely different! Dry skinned girls will probably use a moisturizer after cleansing, so we don't need to include tons of our water soluble moisturizers in this product! We can, however, focus on things like extracts, AHA, salicylic acid, and so on so we don't have to include those in a moisturizer! Almost like a "treatment" that can be used under moisturizer or a serum. So we need to think of two different recipes - one that might be used as a moisturizer and one that will be used as a precursor to a moisturizer!
IF YOU WANT TO USE TONER AS YOUR MOISTURIZER...it's probably not a fabulous idea if you have dry skin. But if you are rosacea prone or acne prone, oils aren't your friends. So we can make our goal to get you some serious moisturizing without oils! If you're unfortunate enough to have dry skin with rosacea and wrinkles, a toner type product might be the only thing your skin can handle!
As the basis for this kind of toner, we need to choose our liquids carefully. I'd suggest reducing the witch hazel to about 20% (it's still a great anti-inflammatory) and increasing the aloe vera to 30% (for all those lovely polysaccharides). You want to use some lovely hydrosols - chamomile, lavender, rose, and rosemary are good choices - although rosemary might be too much for dry skin, it does create a nice oily layer - to make up the rest of the water amount. You definitely need allantoin to create an occlusive layer, and you definitely want some film forming and conditioning agents.
Let's take a look at our humectants. Glycerin should always be the first humectant of choice for dry skin products. Various studies have shown that glycerin is incredibly effective for dry skin, so we want to include that at up to 3%. We could use more, but it can feel kinda sticky if you use too much. Hydrovance is a good choice in that it contains urea - something our skin likes - and it is a great humectant, but it can cause the pH of your product to drift over time, which isn't a fantastic thing to happen if you're a novice formulator.
If you have rosacea, acne prone, or wrinkled skin, there are four good reasons to use sodium lactate as your humectant of choice! It has been found to improve the barrier properties of our skin (in studies, there is a decrease in the trans epidermal water loss, which is a good thing), it is believed to stimulate ceramide synthesis in the skin, and it increases the plasticity of our skin. It also acts as a mild AHA on fine lines and wrinkles, which means it will also act as a light exfoliator. It can make us sun sensitive, though, above 3%, which is why we combine it at 2% with another humectant. (Oh, and it's quite inexpensive!)
Remember, if you have acne or rosacea prone dry skin, this means your skin's barrier layer is likely damaged. We would normally use linoleic acid or GLA containing oils, but your skin may not be able to handle oils (leading to break outs, for instance). As I mentioned above, sodium lactate at 2% can help with skin's barrier properties, but we need more - like conditioning polymers and hydrolyzed proteins to offer a film forming and moisturizing properties.
Conditioner polymers like honeyquat or polyquat 7 are great in toners as they condition and moisturize your skin as well as behaving like a humectant. Try either of them at 2 to 5%.
We need hydrolyzed proteins - choose something with low molecular weight like silk or Phytokeratin (a combination of proteins, some low molecular weight), which will penetrate your skin for great moisturizing.
And panthenol. It's a fantastic ingredient I always use at 2%. If you have a lot of inflammation or need more moisturizing, then you can up to 5% in your toner.
Finally, we come to the extracts. Most extracts have astringent qualities, which means they probably aren't the first choice for dry skinned types. But if we want to include a good anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, or anti-oxidant, then extracts are the way to go! Chamomile is a great anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant, it can reduce TEWL (so it adds a little moisturizing), and it can help with the look of UV damaged skin! Ginseng forms a film on your skin, so it is very moisturizing. Grapeseed extract is a fantastic anti-oxidant with some anti-exfoliation properties (which makes it less of a good thing) and great anti-inflammatory properties. And green tea is generally fantastic with loads of anti-oxidizing and anti-microbial properties. You can use one or two of these in combination.
Chrysanthemum extract is suggested for people with rosacea type skin as it is a very good anti-inflammatory.
White willow bark is a good addition for all the sensitive or wrinkled skin types as it offers great exfoliation with great anti-inflammatories. If you are using this under a moisturizer that contains AHA or salicylic acid, do not include white willow bark, AHA, or salicylic acid in your toner - it's simply too much of a good thing!
And finally, our esters! A water soluble oil - I generally use PEG-7 olivate or water soluble olive oil - is a great addition for dry skin toners as it offers all the goodness of an oil without having to use an emulsifier (which would then be a lotion, not a toner). I like to use it at around 4% or so, but you can go as high as 5% or as low as 1%. You can choose any water soluble oil you want - or leave it out entirely if your skin type can't handle it!
You could also try using 3% oil of choice with 3% polysorbate 80. Mix it well together before adding to the heated water. Remove 2% from the water phase. If you really want to use oils, I'd suggest the water soluble ones - polysorbate 80 can feel a little sticky on your skin.
Let's take a look at a toner suitable for dry, sensitive skin intended to be used as a moisturizer.
TONER SUITABLE FOR DRY, SENSITIVE OR WRINKLED SKIN
20% witch hazel
30% aloe vera
32.5% hydrosol - chamomile, lavender, rose
2% glycerin or Hydrovance
2% sodium lactate
3% cationic polymer like honeyquat or polyquat 7
2% hydrolyzed protein
4% water soluble oil (ester)
COOL DOWN PHASE
0.5% green tea extract
up to 1% other combined extracts
For rosacea, I suggest chamomile and chrysanthemum extracts.
For acne prone skin, I suggest white willow bark and honeysuckle extracts.
For wrinkled skin, I suggest grapeseed and white willow bark. As well, consider using something like Phytofruit or Multifruit at up to 3% and remove the white willow bark (too much exfoliation isn't a good thing!)
You can use any combination you like as long as you aren't putting a ton of exfoliating types together!
So how is this really different from a toner for normal or oily skin? The emphasis on moisturizing ingredients! The esters for one, and a ton of humectants designed to help with skin moisturization. Sodium lactate is generally in my products as a humectant, but here I'm using it as a skin barrier repair product and exfoliant. I'm still keeping it below 3% to avoid sun sensitivity, but I've combined it with other humectants for maximum moisture!
Join me tomorrow for fun formulating an under the moisturizer toner for dry skin types!