Exfoliating Toners…what are they and do I need one?


New Year, New skin? Possibly!

Have you heard of Exfoliating toners or Acid Toners as they are sometimes referred to? If you’re not using one trust me, you’re missing out on the multitude of benefits.

First off, I wanted to write this post specifically on this topic as I was speaking to one of my girlfriends, whom I adore deeply, but would not allow me to use her name on my blog so we will use an alias and call her “Sheera” ( sorry, but you should have let me use your real name!)

“Sheera” has never used any toners let alone an exfoliating toner.

(Yes, there is a difference between a regular toner and an exfoliating toner. Back to that in a minute.)

You see, “Sheera” didn’t see the need to start using toner in her routine as her routine is time consuming already and how can she possibly add another step. As I was a bit perplexed by this, I asked her in a confused tone…”but do you know the benefits you are missing out on? Do you have any clue?” She looked at me and said “Maha, I challenge you to write a post on it and if you convince me to start adding toner in my routine, morning coffee on me for a month!”.

GIRL, Ain’t nothing coming between me and my morning coffee!

Challenge Accepted!!

So here’s the lowdown:

Regular toners hydrate the skin and restore the skins pH balance as well as prep the skin for the rest of the skin care.

Exfoliating toners are a bit more advanced and contain potent ingredients such as AHA’s (alpha-hydroxy acids) and /or BHA’s (beta-hydroxy acids) , glycolic, lactic acid and salicylic acidbeing the most popular, which can be used morning and/or night after cleansing to rapidly increase skin cell turnover, also commonly called the cell renewal factor.

My Derm broke it down for me:

Skin renews itself on average every 28-40 days. As you age your cell renewal factor slows down, rapidly. It’s believed that around age 25-28 the rate your skin renews itself starts to S.L.O.W down . Acid toners aide the cell renewal factor by speeding it up. AHA’s and BHA’s help with uneven skin texture, signs of aging and dullness in the skin. As well the AHA’s and BHA’s greatly benefit anyone with acne prone skin. It’s best to apply a toner after immediately after cleaning using a cotton pad.

According to Health Magazine:

” Acne-prone skin produces more dead skin cells than is typical, and these cells aren’t properly shed. This condition, called retention hyperkeratosis, is the reason regular exfoliation is so important for acne prone skin types. In normal functioning skin, excess dead skin cells are constantly being sloughed away naturally. In acne-prone skin, dead cells remain stuck on the skin’s surface and within the follicle, creating a clog (impaction). This plug of cellular debris and excess oil forms a blackhead or, if bacteria invade, an inflamed blemish.”

I wish I knew about Exfoliating Toners as a teenager 🙁

The acids are so powerful that they can remove approximately twice as much dry skin cells as we do naturally and at a quicker rate. If your skin goals for 2019 is to have blemish free, glowing, healthy younger looking skin, add an an exfoliating toner to your routine.

If I was to name all the exfoliating or acid toners out on the market, I would be here for hours, maybe days! There is such a HUGE selection. You have to research which products are suitable for your skin type and skin goals. Every toner is formulated with different ingredients and varied concentrations of these ingredients so I highly recommend you read up on the acid concentration levels, especially if you have sensitive skin.

I’ve listed below all the highly popular Exfoliating Toners including the one I am currently using and obsessing over!

So what do you think ? Have I convinced YOU to start using a toner? Hopefully I’ve convinced “Sheera”! I want those free coffees!



1.Glossier 2.Mario Badescu 3. Herbivore 4.Drunk Elephant 5.NeoStrata

6. Pixi (current obsession) 7. Paula’s Choice 8.Sunday Riley  9. VICHY 10.The Ordinary

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  • Reply CrystalCandy

    Which would you recommend for sensitive/acne-prone skin? I have the Glow Tonic but my skin is a bit too sensitive for this one right now.

    January 15, 2019 at 2:05 pm
  • Reply jill oliver

    This is so helpful. Although I have both the Pixi Glow Tonic and the Vichy Idealia I have no real clue where I am supposed to put them in my routine or frequency. I had a friend ask me the other day and I kind of shrugged. Thanks for explaining it easily to me.

    January 19, 2019 at 9:46 am
  • Reply Christina Truong

    I was recently surprised that a lot of people don’t use a toner in their skincare routine. To me it doesn’t feel right if I don’t apply a toner right after cleansing. I’ll definitely be sharing this post to everyone who don’t use a toner 🙂

    January 19, 2019 at 2:49 pm
  • Reply Renee C.

    Great post – love my exfoliating toners!

    January 20, 2019 at 8:46 pm
  • Reply Kate Brownell

    This a very informative article. Toner is very important, people should use the toner of the brand suits them. Well I have issues with chemical products because of my sensitive skin. I use Hydrating Mist toner, this is made of natural extracts with instant hydration. Who loves vegan product can use this, it is perfect for all type of skin.

    February 12, 2019 at 3:05 am
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