For a toner, you will want to stick to all water soluble ingredients because we don't want to add an emulsifier. Why? Because a lot of the emulsifiers are sticky, and we want something that is easily sprayable (yes, I like a spray bottle for ease of use) and we don't want any stickiness on our skin! So we'll find ways of adding water soluble ingredients that won't add stickiness and will behave like some of our favourite oil soluble ingredients.
FOR ALL SKIN TYPES: Is toner suitable for all skin types?
For oily skin, the answer is quite clearly yes! Toners, by definition, tend to be astringent, so this will help decrease some sebum production. It is a great way to moisturize without oils, and I use it as the last step in my morning routine for that reason.
If you have acne prone skin, you can add some salicylic acid and anti-bacterial ingredients, and get moisturizing without oils.
For rosacea prone skin, it's a fantastic way to add anti-inflammatories and anti-oxidants, as well as a little allantoin to act as a barrier ingredient.
For pigmented skin, you could add some liquorice extract or Vitamin C to help with tyrosine inhibition, and get some exfoliation from AHA or salicylic acid.
For wrinkled skin, you can use it as a way to include AHA or salicylic acid for exfoliation, anti-oxidants, and lightly moisturizing ingredients.
The one skin type for whom a toner might not work well would be the dry skin type. Astringents are not your friends. So instead, I suggest the dry skin type think about a toner as more of a floral or extract splash to make her skin feel well hydrated before putting on moisturizer. If you can trap in some moisture - good moisture full of lovely extracts, hydrosols, and so on - then the moisturizer will work better!
SWIFT'S BASIC TONER RECIPE
up to 85% water based ingredients like aloe vera, hydrosols, and witch hazel
3% to 5% humectants
3 to 5% film formers and cationic quaternary polymers
3% to 5% moisturizers
up to 1% extracts (including allantoin)
up to 1% preservative
Toners are mostly water, so let's make that water part something awesome by including hydrosols, aloe vera, or witch hazel. We want humectants to moisturize without oils, and we want moisturizers like water soluble oils for skin types that can handle it. We need panthenol in there - there's just too much goodness for every skin type to ignore it - and we need our preservative. You'll want to include some lovely extracts in there to act as anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant, soothing, or healing (not a claim!) ingredients.
Join me tomorrow to customize this recipe for oily skin!