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2. Toner

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*Last update on 25/05/2021

Preparing // The must-do step

After cleansing, you may want to prepare the canvas (thus your face). After all, a damp canvas always absorbs better than a dry one. Here in the west, the toner step is often skipped, simply because people don't fully understand the idea behind it. But this is a very important step in the daily routine according to the Korean thinking of skin care!

Sometimes also called: tonic, astrigents, (re-) freshener, essence (toner), skin, activating serum, skin softer, booster, lotion tonic

Why should we use it?

Every wash damages your skin layer!
A healthy skin barrier (pH ± 5.5) is naturally more acidic while tap water used for face washing (pH 7+) is alkaline. As a result, our skin is stripped of its natural acid layer (/ protective layer) and becomes unbalanced. The skin will therefore feel dry, tight and sensitive after washing. Our skin is able to restore this barrier, but this takes about 30-40 minutes. This means that in the meantime the skin is extremely vulnerable and is not able to (optimally) absorb nutrients.

A pH-balancing product such as the toner is soothing to the skin and ensures that the skin is better and more quickly able to absorb moisture and nutrition from products afterwards. It is a prep for the steps you take afterwards.

After all, a dry sponge will even be able to repel very rich cream, while a damp sponge can absorb it much better.


In the West, toner or tonic was often seen as an extra cleansing step in addition to the daily cleanser for removing make-up and other dirt residues. These often had a high percentage of astringent such as alcohol (20% -60%) and / or witch hazel, so that the skin was often stripped and left drier and more sensitive.


In Korea

The toners in Korea mainly focus on moisturizing and strengthening the skin barrier. They are gentle on the skin and protect the acid mantle, often contain many nutrients, humectants (such as glycerin) and ceramide.

 

4. (low) pH TONER

[immediately after washing your face (on a damp face)]

Use the toner to balance the pH (/acid) layer so that the skin is repaired, soothed and prepared. In addition, toners can also have other beneficial properties such as helping to remove residual facial cleansers or providing hydration and nutrition to the skin.

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4. Essence toner

As the name implies, these types of toner fall somewhat between the 2 categories and can be used for both purposes; balancing the pH values and moisturizing the skin. You can use them as your only toner after cleansing on damp skin or after another (ex: exfoliating) toner as your essence step. They are often ideal for dry, dehydrated and sensitive skin. // An essence toner is often alcohol-free and can be used perfectly for the 7-skin method or DIY sheet mask as below in the video.

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Tip: in combination with the Pyunkang Yul cotton pads you can use make excellent DIY facial masks.


 

Application

[Use a toner immediately / as soon as possible after cleansing with water, on slightly damp skin. (within 30 sec.)]

Method A - Cotton pad: wet a cotton pad with toner and pat / press gently on face, starting at dry areas such as cheeks, then wipe from the inside out and bottom up. This removes leftover dirt and cleansers, in addition, with the right kind of cotton pad you can exfoliate the skin in a very mild way because the cotton can take the softened dead skin cells with it. When using cotton wool, always start with the problem areas such as forehead, nose, cheeks and wipe from the inside out. // When you suffer from inflammation such as acne, be careful not to reuse the used cotton ball on the "clean" areas to avoid spreading.
Method B - Patting with hands: pour a few drops directly onto the hands and pat directly onto face so that the skin can slowly absorb it. In the case of hydrating (essence) toners, you can dab a number of layers in succession for more hydration.
Method C - Facial mist: Spray directly on face then pat gently on skin until absorbed or use cotton ball to wipe lightly.

Does your skin feel moist / hydrated after applying the toner and is not greasy or tacky? If so, then you did well!


pH facts

pH values are measured in a scale: 0 to 14.
0 (acidic) ------ 7 (neutral) ------ 14 (alkaline)

A value of 7 is called pH neutral. Tap water is almost everywhere in the Netherlands slightly to medium (7+) alkaline. Water with a pH value below 7 is referred to as acidic water, while water above pH value 7 is referred to as basic or alkaline water.

Healthy skin is more towards acidic and usually has a value of 5.5. A skin that is too acidic can feel irritated and more likely to suffer from blemishes and excess sebum production.

Products with a high alkaline (7+) content can "degrease" the skin and can even dry out the skin and thereby make it duller.

If you have oily skin, choose, for example, a more alkaline (7+) cleanser and toner.
If you have a more dry skin, you will benefit more from acidic or neutral products (+/- 5.5)

 

Also see:
How much should I use?
Applications and handlings: toner


 

 

Skin improvement is being patient! It is important to give a new skin care routine/product a trial period of at least 1 month since your skin will renew its cells each 28 days. In case you notice (a small) difference, please try another 2-3 months.  

KOREAN 10 STEP ROUTINE

HARU DECODED

1. Oil-based cleanser
2. Water based cleanser
3. Exfoliator
1. Cleansing
To remove makeup, sunscreen, dirt, blackheads and dead skin cells.

4. Toner 2. Preparing
Balances pH-level, triple cleanses leftover dirt + face wash, hydrates + prepares your skin for the steps to follow.

5. Eye serum / cream 3. Eye care
Thinner than regular face creams, to target gentle areas around your eyes, reduces dark circles and wrinkles.

6. Essence
7. SerumAmpoule
8. Sheet mask
4. Treatment / Boost
High concentration products to target & treat different concerns such as acne, dehydration, dull, pigmentation, fine lines, etc.

9. Moisturizer 5. Moisturizing
To seal in all the good stuff that you have just put on your face.

10. SPFspot treatmentsleeping mask 6. Special care

- day
- night
DAY - sun protection: Most effective step in the morning since it helps your skin to defense against all the harms from the sun 

NIGHT - spot treatment + sleeping packs: The cells in your body repairs themselves at night during your sleep, hence makes this the best moment to see maximum benefit of your (hydrating) products.

 

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