Who needs a toner? Is one necessary to remove the last trace of whatever your cleanser left behind? My cleanser leaves nothing behind, thank you very much. And if yours does, this is why we double cleanse, amirite?
Enter K-beauty and its emphasis on the non-negotiable importance of a toner in its multi-step skincare routine. Their exquisite formulas balance the skin’s pH level after cleansing and deliver liquid hydration that cushions the skin for treatment products. Not surprisingly, the word toner in Korean translates to skin in English.
You may have heard of the ‘7-Skin Method’ – that’s when you pat in your toner multiple times and let it sink in between applications.This clever technique delivers a plump post-facial glow and creates a healthy skin-vironment for other products (especially those with active ingredients) to absorb and perform more effectively. Below are four Korean toners from my favorite K-beauty destination, Glow Recipe. Each layers perfectly whether you opt for a single application or multiple rounds of hydration.
Whamisa Organic Flowers Deep Rich Toner
Hands down the most iconic k-beauty toner, this organic infusion of fermented plant extracts is viscous, silky, and all sorts of delicious. It’s an essence, it’s a toner, it’s my go-to during colder weather when my usual combination skin becomes particularly parched. Choc full of botanicals (Aloe Leaf, Pink Lotus, Chrysanthemum, Licorice Root, among others) and nourishing oils (Avocado, Rosewood, Bergamot) this nourishing blend sets an impeccable foundation for the moisture that is to follow. $40
Whamisa by Glow Recipe Green Tea Serum Toner
There is nothing I don’t enjoy about this toner. It is not as viscous as most and the ‘runny’ texture makes for a very user-friendly solution if your complexion gets easily congested. More than just refreshing, this soothing and hydrating hybrid delivers the brightening benefits of a treatment serum (Broccoli Extract!). On lazy nights, I mix it with a few drops of facial oil for a single step moisture application to keep the skin balanced and hydrated. $22
Earth’s Recipe Energy Boosting Toner
Featuring an impressive ingredient deck, this glow-boosting potion combines the healing and soothing Tremella Mushroom with Licorice Root, Konjac Root, Aloe, and Wild Yam Extracts, to name a few.This is a toner I enjoy most as part of my DIY sheet mask (Get some of the compressed sheets on Amazon. I swear by them.) to recover from a rough night. The zingy floral aroma helps when you press it into your fatigued complexion once or thrice after one of those nights. $34
ID.AZ Dermastic Essential Toner
Possibly my favorite year-round formula, this botanical blend comes straight from one of the top Korean dermatology clinics and can be used as an extension to in-office procedures as well as at-home care and maintenance. A perfect match for my combination skin, this fusion of Hyaluronic Acid, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Vitamin B-5 and herbal extracts has a slightly slippery texture that feels soothing and nourishing on contact. Love the light lavender/bergamot/rose aroma. $34
How do I K-tone?
- Skip the cotton pads and pour the lush formulas into the palm of your hand. Then, press into cleansed skin.
- During the summer, I housed my Earth’s Recipe toner in the fridge, which provided an extra boost of energy.
- They make excellent carries for facial oils, which can help skin that doesn’t love a straight-up oil application. And, this way, it absorbs faster.