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What is the difference between Essence and Toner? | Doctor Anne


With the merge of Asian and Western skincare There is a ton of new products that came into our markets over the last few years. But which one of them is actually needed in good skin care regime, and what the h*ck is a difference between a toner, a tonic and an essence anyway? Hi, I’m Doctor Anne. I’m a medical doctor with a passion for skincare that works. On this channel We explore the science behind skin and do quick reviews, so you learn to pick exactly those products that work for your individual skin concern. If you’re into that, consider subscribing and ring the notification bell. Before we dive into the difference between toner, tonic and essence, let me say one thing: I do not believe that you need a 10 step routine to have great skin. Quite on the contrary, I think that it would do us a lot of good to be more minimalistic with the amount of products we slather onto our skin. I did a whole video on what I think are the Essentials in a good skincare routine that I’m going to link up there, and while I still stand by that statement: I love toners! I just enjoy the step and I always use one in my routine. A little Skincare history for you: 25 years ago a toner was an essential part of a Western skincare routine. It was needed to, one, remove the last traces of makeup and dirt, because cleanser weren´t that effective and it was really needed to counteract the effects of harsh cleansers. Face soaps like real alkaline soaps were a thing, and that really made the skin feel tight and itchy. The Problem was that many toners, in an attempt to make the skin really clean, were high on alcohol, just to get rid of Every little bit of oil that was on our face, and that upset our skin even further. And what might be quite a strange notion for you was for me my reality when I was growing up: A harsh stripping cleanser and then an Alcohol laden toner all over my face, and I can’t tell you how tight and Irritated my poor acne prone face was when growing up. Thankfully We have come a long way since then, and the cleansers we have are gentle and effective, Usually respect the skin’s pH and are thorough enough to really take off everything. So why still use a toner? Well two reasons: Water is alkaline, So if you wash your face with water, no matter what pH your cleanser had, it comes in contact with something that’s alkaline, Which will change the pH. If applying a low pH toner to balance that will actually help rebalance your skin… Experts don’t really agree on that. Because there are some that say, and I think they have a good point, That skin is great at rebalancing itself If you just let it be. But I personally think it won’t hurt and I like it for the second reason: Toners add a first layer of lightweight hydration, they dampen the skin, so anything you put on top will be absorbed easier, because damp skin more easily absorbs product, and Many of them have a ton of humectants, So they provide a very light layer of hydration. Toners are very watery and are supposed to be used right after your cleansing step. They often also come in spray form, which you just mist all over your face, or you can use them by applying them to the palm of your hands, swipe them over your face or Use a cotton pad. Then tonic: What’s the difference between a tonic and a toner? The Korean ten step skincare routine only knows Toners and essences, so Tonic is more of a Western development. I have found different things, but the one that I heard the most and that made most sense to me was that Tonics contain more active ingredients like, yeah, The pixi one, the pixi Retinol Tonic contains retinol, which is an active ingredient. So it’s a lightweight light layer, but has a first active step which toners Usually don’t have. So you could say it’s a more watered-down version of your active step, but still you have a different purpose than a toner That´s just aimed at hydration. An Essence on the other hand describes a product that is closer to a serum than a toner, so less watery with a little more body and More active ingredients. Quite similar to the Western Tonic thing. Still the main purpose is adding a layer of hydration But there are things like vitamin C, brightening ingredients, fermented, Even exfoliating ingredients that are not as concentrated as in your active step, but more as in your toner. In the traditional Korean ten step routine, there’s Cleanse, Tone, Essence, and then you go on to… I think sheet mask and serum step. Absolutely No expert on this! But the essence has a firm place after the toner, so: Lightweight layer of hydration, very watery, and then a little firmer an Essence, which contains a few more actives, But still mainly boosts hydration and an Essence is applied usually with your palms, So you pour it into your palms, press them together and then press it onto your skin. No wiping with a cotton pad. So it’s a really a difference between them? I think there was at one point in skincare history, But these days companies just name their products Essence, Toner, Tonic without paying too much attention. And I think it helps best to look at the ingredient list. And again: I really don’t think that this is an absolute necessary step, and I’d rather skip all of them instead of skipping my serum! Please tell me in the comments below if You use a Toner, Tonic or Essence or all of them, if you find them to be really different, I´d love to hear thoughts about that! I’m going to link to videos that I think you might enjoy and see you all very soon. Bye!

7 Comments

  1. KHADIJA PRODUCTIONS TOUR
    KHADIJA PRODUCTIONS TOUR September 9, 2019

    Superb, very nice video my friend. Thumbs up

  2. Doctor Anne
    Doctor Anne September 9, 2019

    Back to you: Which one do you use in your routine?

  3. Salma Ummbaby
    Salma Ummbaby September 9, 2019

    Another great informative video. Thanks Anne.

    I love a good toner in any form – mist, pat, swipe. I need it for my dehydrated skin to add some light hydration in and not overload my otherwise oily complexion.

    I was told to use a highly astringent toner on my skin as a teenage. I hated it but was convinced it would shrink my pores. Obviously it didn’t. And probably did more damage anyway. Good times.

  4. Sustainably Savvy
    Sustainably Savvy September 10, 2019

    I honestly didn't know the difference between these two — just kind of thought they were interchangeable. I think my skin has PTSD from my early skincare days with the Avon skincare routine and the toner which was pretty much straight alcohol. That tightening feeling still haunts me. I have a toner I received in PR by Sahajan and it looks really nice but I'm not sure I can come to terms with it yet, I'm still afraid LOL.

    Essences however, I think I can give them a chance.

  5. Mature Gents
    Mature Gents September 10, 2019

    Recently added a toner to my routine. I do enjoy the glycerin, niacinamide, willow bark, sodium hyaluronate and antioxidants- these are just good things to add to a freshly cleansed face. It’s light and watery, feels good, not sticky. Essence? I don’t feel the need. Good video!

  6. Cass63450
    Cass63450 September 10, 2019

    Finally, I have some solid general information on the whole tonic/toner issue.
    Thank you, Doctor Anne.

    PS: 10 steps routine? WTF.

  7. Kate Louise Blogs
    Kate Louise Blogs September 10, 2019

    Thank goodness skincare has come a long way since we were growing up! No wonder my skin used to struggle with all those harsh stripping ingredients. These days I like an exfoliating toner a few times a week but it's not a step I use every day. x

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