Toner vs Lotion: What is the Difference?

Skin care can be confusing because the beauty market is overloaded with a variety of products. My girlfriend shared her story. Last week, she was stocked in Sephora looking for a face toner for dehydrated oily skin. Her favorite brand was out of stock, and she desperately tried to find a replacement. Although there were many toners around, one of the consultants recommended her to try a new liquid lotion. She had never tried it before but decided to buy it. She bought it but felt that it was a compulsive purchase. Have you found yourself in a similar situation? Toner vs lotion can be interesting competitors.

Difference Between Face Toner and Liquid Lotion

Face Toner and its Benefits

In cosmetics, a toner refers to a quick, absorbing liquid. It brings many benefits to the skin. First of all, face toner acts as a cleanser. It helps to remove dead cells, traces of dirt, and excess oil. So, we can assume it is the final step of facial cleansing. The formula also corrects and balances the pH of the skin, making it slightly acidic. According to Schmid-Wendtner’s article, the right pH is a key factor in barrier homeostasis and antimicrobial defense. As changes in acidity can cause irritation, contact dermatitis, itchiness, and “everyone’s favorite’ – acne. The toner also serves as a delivery system for many useful skincare ingredients, like antioxidants, vitamins, acids, and others. Each type of product is intended for different skin needs; thus, it’s crucial to find the right one for your skin.

Lotion and its Benefits

The liquid lotion is slightly viscous, like a very watery serum. The formula typically contains a small number of oils and many other different ingredients aimed at meeting specific skin needs. When applied to the face, it provides deep hydration with a noticeable plumping effect. Also, the product can make the skin soft because of the oils in its composition. They function as emollients and intensify the skin’s water-retaining abilities. Isn’t it nice? Do you want to get long-term benefits? Use the formula with hyaluronic acid, as it is a powerful humectant and a “best friend” with emollients. In addition, liquid lotion, as well as a face toner, restores the acid mantle and protects the barrier. Dermatologists recommend using it daily, right after the cleanser.

Best Product Picks, According to Our Editors

COSRX Full Fit Propolis Synergy Toner is a Korean superstar. It is infused with 10,7% of honey and 72.6% of black bee Propolis to hydrate and nourish your skin with a natural healthy glow. Lightweight. Hypoallergenic and animal testing-free.

Rovectin Lotion is one of those skin care products that are blowing up on Tik Tok. It’s multitasking and chock full of many useful ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid, vitamin B, and enzymes. They aim to hydrate, exfoliate, and prevent tired-looking complexions.

Hada Labo Lotion is a J-beauty star that is surprisingly affordable for its incredible properties. The formula contains five different kinds of hyaluronic acid that leave the skin moist and dewy. Not heavy or greasy. It lasts for a long time and suits all skin types.

Sake High Moisture Skin Lotion is another Japanese hydrating hitmaker. It has a slightly acidic formula that helps to prepare the skin for better penetration of other skin care products. On the face, it feels like a very thin layer of moisture. Rich in hydrating ingredients and fast-absorbing. The bottle is big and lasts a long time.  

Toner vs Lotion

Alright, it’s time to get out of the constant state of confusion! Face toners and liquid lotions are not the same, though they have a lot in common. There is only one difference. Whereas toners tend to contain alcohol and don’t leave the film on top of the skin, lotions have a tiny amount of oils and can act as emollients or occlusive agents. None of these products is better than the others. You just need to figure out what your skin needs.

If you have sensitive, dry, or dehydrated oily skin, you better try the liquid lotion with a less irritative formula. For those who complain about acne-prone oily or combination skin, the best choice would be toner with salicylic acid or polyhydroxy acids, applied every night. By the way, it is not a problem to find an alcohol-free toner and use it for sensitive skin as well. You just need to be very picky and read the list of ingredients of every single skin care product.

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