Step Two: Tone

After double cleansing this second step in my skincare routine is one that I didn't do consistently for a few years- and still don't do every single day because I get lazy every now and then. I always found that the previous toners I tried were overly drying and not suitable for sensitive skin. Several years ago I had tried ones from Clinique and The Body Shop but stopped using them because they were too aggressive and I felt I could omit a toner all together. Within the last 3 years I've introduced a toner back into my routine because I've found formulas that are both effective and gentle. Here is a quick read about why toners should be a part of your routine too.

1. Kiehl's Rare Earth Pore Refining Tonic $21
I use this toner only during the summer when it's especially hot and humid out, and only in the morning. I like this toner in the summer because it does a nice job mattifying without making my skin feel tight or dry. It won't shrink your pores by any means, but it does help keep pores clean so that they'll appear smaller. It also controls oil and sebum well so my skin isn't noticeably oily throughout the day.
2. Darphin Intral Toner $42
Back in the winter to early spring my skin was having some trouble transitioning with the seasons. This past winter was brutal and my skin became very dry. I've never had dry skin before then and my skin was also very red in certain areas. I had a 20% off offer from so I used it to purchase a toner by Darphin. I wanted something to help soothe my skin and this did everything it promised. The formula is so light and it helped calm my skin in terms of redness and it removed any left over residue from cleansing. Even though I started using this in the colder months, it's great for all seasons. I would definitely repurchase this again.

3. Lancôme Énergie de Vie Dullness Relief & Energy Recharge Daily Lotion $50
This product by Lancôme isn't a traditional toner because you don't apply it on a cotton pad and then sweep it over your face. It's actually not really a toner- Lancôme created this product to be more like a liquid essence, a common step in Asian skincare routines. At night, I just lightly rub a few dabs into my palms and gently press it/ pat it into my face. It absorbs quickly and doesn't leave any stickiness. This product adds hydration to my skin and has really balanced it out. I also have noticed that over time and with consistent use, my skin texture has remained very soft and smooth. I also don't mind that it's more expensive because it lasts a very long time and you don't waste any product by having it soak into a cotton pad.