Skincare, Two Ways is our new series exploring skincare routines in-depth, from the perspective of two humans who have very different skin types!In this second installment, our resident skincare experts, Courtney and Becca, are taking on toning for different skin types, at different pricepoints, and beyond. Here’s what they recommend:
Skin type: Oily and sensitive
“My skin is oily with visible pores and it’s moderately sensitive. I’m allways combating cystic hormonal acne under my chin, and will get small whiteheads if I’m not careful about cleansing after sweating. Over the last couple of years, my cheeks and forehead will become slightly tighter when I’m traveling to cold, dry climates.”
Deciem Hylamide SubQ Mist
“Green tea and rose water help hydrate and calm irritated or sensitive skin, and the spray application keeps it light and even. Smells a little strange, but I don’t think it’s too strong and it goes away quickly. Its ph is 6.00 - 7.00 and it’s also vegan/alcohol free!”
$13 at Deciem
Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner
“I recently picked this up because BHA is good for acne-prone skin, and I’m seeing slow but promising results on my jawline after using it every day for about 2 months. Its texture is a little slimey but it doesn’t leave any stickiness and absorbs just as quickly as my SubQ spray toner with noticeable hydration. The only downside of this one is that it smells like a YMCA indoor pool and costs twice as much to use it.”
$19 at Soko Glam
Skin type: Normal/Dry
“My skin trends (and I say this with enormous quotes) “normal”, but tends to get dehydrated fairly easily. While I don’t get breakouts often, I am extremely prone to clogged pores (talk to me about how I once shocked my derm by getting milia all over my face!). Though I once sought out thrilling cleansers that gave me an Experience with a capital E, I now look for cleansers that reliably remove all the sunscreen/sweat/NYC grime I collect throughout the day and then leave without a trace.”
Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal Extract Toner
“I bought this toner originally because it’s a cult favorite (they sell a bottle every 12 seconds, and it was created in 1960, which is practically 500 in skincare industry years), but wasn’t initially blown away. I think I was expecting fireworks or something? But it was just fine! Then I finished the bottle, and went a few weeks before I realized I really missed it. Now I’m halfway through my third 8-oz. bottle. It’s a solid hydrating and soothing toner, and just what you want to start off your routine with. It’s got a ton of herbal extracts in it, including allantoin and calendula to soothe, and burdock root to moisturize. The pro move on extra dry days is to layer this a few times, à la the 7-skin method. One note: I cannot explain the flower petals inside the bottle and I’m very sorry but they will come out in clumps into your hands. Sorry, but it’s worth it!”
$21 at Kiehl's
Acwell Licorice pH Balancing Cleansing Toner
“This is another cult favorite toner, and also my personal favorite toner of all time. It: hydrates, brightens, leaves you with a glow, and I can’t stress this enough, smells like fruit loops. Truly, what is not to love?! This toner is pH-balanced, formulated at 5.5, which is similar to the pH level of your skin. This pH level is generally seen as not being disruptive to your skin unlike alkaline products, so this means it leaves your skin feeling just right and not tight or irritated [read more about pH and its effect on skin here!](https://simpleskincarescience.com/ph-acid-mantle/). It includes licorice water to brighten the skin, and green tea to reduce any dark spots. Also, have I mentioned it smells like fruit loops! It’s a great product.”
$18 at Soko Glam
Dr. Jart Ceramidin Liquid Moisturizing Toner
“First of all, I am very sorry for recommending a $40 toner to you! The Dr. Jart Ceramidin line is an unfortunate mix of expensive and incredibly good, and the toner is no exception. The line is built on ceramides, which, if the skin cells are bricks, ceramides are the mortar holding them together to help the skin form a healthy barrier [read more in this guide to ceramides](https://www.thecut.com/2018/12/a-guide-to-ceramides-in-skin-care.html). This is the thickest toner you will ever meet, and for this reason plus the price, I would recommend this as a special occasion toner. It is both heavily moisturizing and repairing, so it’s great if you need some skin barrier repair.”
$39 at Sephora
Courtney is a brand designer living in Austin. You can find her posting about dogs and several attempts to leave her house @courtneyleonard (ig) and @courteroy (twitter).
Becca is professionally a software engineer, and personally a reality tv enthusiast living in Brooklyn. You can find her online @becckitt.
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