Toner has long gotten a bad rap as an unnecessary step that leaves skin parched and overstripped — but that’s far from the case these days. Now, it’s all about hydrating toners that actually add moisture to the skin while balancing the complexion.
They’re especially popular in Asian countries such as Korea and Japan. And as Christine Chang, co-CEO and co-founder of Korean skin care destination Glow Recipe, explains, hydrating toners (often referred to “softeners”) typically make up “the first leave-on step of hydration after cleansing.” In terms of function, she notes that they’re quite different than the traditional American concept of face toner — they’re not typically used to cleanse (what with the advent of double-cleansing) and are “instead used to infuse the skin quickly and efficiently with liquid hydration, plumping it up for the next skin care steps to be effectively absorbed.”
So, what’s the best way to add toners to your routine? Well, they’re perfect for giving the buzzy 7-skin method a try. “Our favorite way to incorporate a hydrating toner is actually by practicing the 7-skin method, a method we had heard about from our editor friends and beauty gurus in Korea,” says fellow Glow Recipe co-CEO and co-founder Sarah Lee. “It’s where you put on a layer of hydrating toner 7 consecutive times.”
7 layers sound like overkill? “You can also adapt this method for days you don’t need as much hydration and alternate by using a 3-skin method, layering just three layers,” adds Lee.
No matter how you choose to wear them, we’re full-on toner converts now — and we can’t imagine our skin care routine without them. Keep reading for 15 of our faves, from K-beauty and Western brands alike.
This article originally appeared on TotalBeauty.com