I get asked this question all the time if it actually matters and I always say yes. Depending on where you live, the water you use to wash your face has minerals in them that can throw off the pH level of your skin and toners help to bring it back to a neural level. pH levels are an indication of the acidity level of your skin and are measured on a scale of 0 to 14, with 7 being the most neutral level. Having a balanced pH level means your skin is less prone to oiliness and infection, creating a more vibrant and smoother appearance.
I have about 4 different toners in my bathroom, but I stick to SKII Facial Treatment Essence and La Mer’s Treatment Lotion as my toners. Some brands call their toners “lotions”, which can make it confusing to some people. One time a sales associates even told me “oh it’s a new type of lotion, it’s just in a liquid form!” …. um no, you’re seriously mistaken.
La Mer’s Treatment Lotion is actually thicker, but not to a point where it can replace a serum. The popularity of SKII’s Facial Treatment Essence sparked a new trend of coming out with a product that blurts the line of a toner and a serum, but it is to be used as a toner. Fresh came out with one under their Black Tea line as well.
Some sales rep will say to use a toner, the treatment lotion/toner, serum, and then your moisturizer. I’ve done that before, but I think the treatment lotion/toner can replace a regular toner completely.
I’ve tried go without a toner/treatment toner/lotion completely for awhile just to see if it makes a difference and my skin definitely took a hit during that time. The toner preps your skin to absorb your products better and have multiple benefits depending on the toner you use (a cucumber one can be refreshing, a royal jelly one can be hydrating..etc).
Bottom line, look for a toner that fits your skin type. They don’t have to be expensive, but do look for one that makes your skin feel nice and supple after you wash your face.