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To Tone or Not to Tone

Why a pH Balanced, Hydrating Toner Should Be an Essential Part of Your Beauty Regimen

Read Time: 3-4 Minutesto tone or not to tone


When we first introduced our Anarose Hydrating Rose Toner back in 2014, we received so many questions and comments along the lines of “Why do I need a toner?,” “Won’t a toner just dry out my skin?,” “I don’t need a toner.,” etc. etc. Since then however, so much has changed in the US beauty market, and we have seen many different trends come and go. 

Thankfully, the evolution that has occurred over the last several years has helped more and more people recognize the importance of the right kind of toner - one that is pH balanced and hydrating. This has led to many brands following our lead to create their own toners and essences, and to the overall growing popularity of this category - much to the benefit of people’s skin!


What toners are supposed to do:


One thing to note: not all toners are created equal, and here we are talking about the right kind of toner - the pH balanced, hydrating toner. 

Because bar soaps and many cleansers are alkaline (unless they are pH balanced formulas like ours) and tap water* is either neutral or alkaline, your skin’s natural acidity is compromised by constant cleansing.

However, because daily cleansing shouldn’t be avoided, toners are meant to be used as a follow up to hydrate the skin’s surface and restore pH balance. pH level refers to how acidic or alkaline something is, on a scale of 1-14, with 1 being the most acidic and 14 being the most alkaline. It is estimated that the 'natural' skin surface pH is, on average, below 5. In addition to balancing the skin’s pH level, toners actively help to clean, smooth, soften, hydrate, tone/refine skin texture, and some even exfoliate the skin. Maintaining the skin’s natural and optimal pH balance preserves the skin’s microbiome’s environment, which is essential to skin health and appearance for a balanced and clear complexion. 

Toners also prepare your skin for the product(s) you apply to it next, so what follows absorbs better, which is why they work so well in tandem with moisturizers and serums.


*For additional background: tap water in the US is generally a 7 on the pH scale (this is considered a neutral pH, but it is higher than the skin’s neutral and optimal pH which is around blow 5), and tap water in Europe is generally an 8 (which is considered alkaline).

Why toners often fail:


Upon moving to the US in 2001, MŪN’s Founder, Munemi Imai was shocked to learn that many people here didn’t use toners at all. In her home country of Japan, excluding it from your skincare routine is unthinkable. It is estimated that about 90% of adult women incorporate a hydrating toner into their skincare routine, however, when shopping around for a toner in New York, Munemi found that all of the offerings were, in fact, intended to dry out acne prone skin and contained astringent ingredients like methanol, ethanol (sometimes also called ethyl), isopropyl, and denatured alcohol (these are types of alcohol that have antiseptic and antibacterial properties, but can be very drying). 

The appropriate acidity for toners is a pH of between 4 and 5. However, when Munemi saw that the offerings in the US ran the gamut, she understood the reason why people stayed away from toners. 

“When it came to MŪN’s second product, I knew I had to introduce the right kind of toner to the US market - one that is pH balanced and hydrating, but I also wanted to add anti-aging properties and gentle exfoliation.” —Munemi, Founder



The Brief History of Toner in Japan:


The earliest recorded mention of toner in Japan comes from the The Pillow Book, a book of observations and musings recorded by Sei Shōnagon during her time as court lady to Empress Consort Teishi during the 990s and early 1000s in Heian-period Japan. In it, she outlines a ritualistic toner only extracted over the night of September 9th. 

From there, the first widely known toner produced in Japan was during the Edo Period (from the 17th century to the beginning of the 19th century) and was extracted from Luffa Cylindrica (Sponge Ground). There is also a source claiming that toners made from Luffa Cylindrica started in the Muromachi Period (from the mid 14th century to the mid 16th century). 

Then the first widespread launch of toner from a major cosmetic company was the sweep-off method of Shiseido’s “Eudermine” toner in 1897. Since then, a number of Japanese cosmetic makers have started producing their own toners. 

Our Anarose Hydrating Rose Toner is perfectly pH balanced to help remove dead skin cells, instantly soothe and firm your skin, help fight acne, and provide long lasting hydration and long term anti-aging benefits!

Munemi Imai, Founder
As an international makeup artist, Munemi sees many different types of skin, but she knows that every one needs nurturing, balancing and brightening to achieve that youthful glow. She also knows firsthand that our #MUNGLOW starts with a healthy and mindful lifestyle. She shares her tips and knowledge right here and in our newsletters!
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