Do I Need to Use a Serum and Toner Daily?

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Question from Juliana: I am 22 years old and I am trying to figure out a good skin care regimen. I went to Sephora and they suggested that I use a toner and serum.

I have normal skin, sometimes a little dry, and I have never heard of serum and was wondering if a toner and serum were things that I should be using. And if I should, what products you would recommend?

Let's Start With Toners 

A toner is a product that you use after you wash your face and before your moisturizer, directly on your skin.

It is a liquid that you apply with a cotton ball, though there are some toners that you can spray directly on your face. There are many different toners which help different skin types. For instance, there are toners for oily skin which get rid of excess oil, toners for dry skin which add moisture to the skin, and toners for sensitive skin which can soothe irritated skin. There are also facial mists and waters that hydrate and soothe your skin and can be used both under and over makeup.

The verdict on toners tends to be that it is not necessary to use them daily. In fact, many experts think they can be a waste of time and money if you are using a product that cleans your face well. It was commonly thought in the past that you needed a toner to change the pH of your skin after cleansing, but cleansers have come a long way and do not harm the pH of the skin so drastically anymore. So using a toner has fallen out of fashion you could say.

Unless your skin is very oily you probably don't need a toner everyday. Since your skin is normal to dry you can have a toner on hand to use when your skin is feeling a little parched. It can give your skin a boost of needed hydration. Also consider using a facial water or mist throughout the day, keep one in your purse, in order to revive your skin while you are on the go.

Personally, I use a toner. I have combination skin, and when I use a toner, I feel my pores look smaller, and my skin gets a little extra pampering. But, it's also habit for me. For your skin, I think you can easily skip the toner if you're using a good face wash.

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On to Serums

First, see my explanation of moisturizers versus serums.

Serums are thinner liquids that usually have active ingredients that penetrate into the skin. They are used directly on the skin after cleansing and toning but before moisturizer and sunscreen. A little bit goes a long way. Often serums are good for treating specific skin care problems. There are serums for brightening treatments, anti-aging treatments, and sometimes acne treatments, none of which sound like you need. Serums are also great for people with very oily skin, as they can use them instead of traditional moisturizer. Some serums are simply used for extra hydration for dry skin during the winter for instance. Other serums like Vitamin C serums can be used by anyone, since they offer antioxidant protection that everyone's skin needs no matter what age they are.

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Bottom Line

Because you are only 22, I think that if you have overall healthy clear skin, I'd recommend you stick with a good facial cleanser, an exfoliator, and moisturizer with SPF in it. You can add on extra skin care steps as you desire, such as masks or other treatment products once a week or so.

Updated by Hanah Tetro