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How to use a Toner

 

This blog post has been on my to do list for a while, and I am quite pleased I have come back to it, as I can now say that I have experienced the positive effects of what I am writing about.  Early in 2023 I had a skin care revelation.  I’ve never been very good with skin care routines, a quick wash of the face and apply some moisturiser was usually all it amounted to.  There is nothing wrong with keeping it simple, but I thought I had better try harder now I am promoting cosmetic products!


This is where the toner comes in.  I had used them occasionally to give my face a quick clean if I wasn’t using water.  That wasn’t completely wrong, but I certainly wasn’t getting the most out of the product.  Here’s my revelation; clean your face (with a facial soap or cleanser) and then apply your toner before you apply your moisturiser.  Still a simple routine, but adding the toner to a clean face before applying the moisturiser makes an amazing difference to your skin.  It’s all about balancing the pH.  (Some people prefer to use a cleanser instead of water).


A well-made toner will keep your pH around 5.5, which is perfect for healthy, glowing skin.  Your skin’s own hugely important pH can sometimes be thrown off balance by everyday life.  This can lead to redness, acne, and dryness.  Using a toner on clean skin, dampens the skin, and makes it more receptive to other active ingredients, so putting on serums or cream immediately after toning will help them work better.


If you use a cleanser, often not all the dirt and oils from your face are removed and they sometimes can leave behind a residue. A toner will help remove all these remaining impurities and leave your face feeling clean and refreshed.


My new morning and night routine, is to use my Bee Cosmetic facial soap, pat my face dry and then enjoy a reviving mist of Handmade Naturals Lavender Toner.  I often just leave it to dry naturally or use a washable face pad before I apply my moisturiser or serum.  Before this routine I had some very small red patches on my forehead, which wouldn’t go away.  Very soon after using my new routine they completely disappeared and have not come back. 

I recently helped a teenager with this routine to try and fight a few lingering spots, and very quickly the difference to the skin could be seen.


If you have not tried a toner before then the Handmade Naturals Brand is so mild and gentle, you can’t go wrong.  When I was reading up on toners, I learnt there are three main types: bracers, tonics, and astringents. Each type is designed specifically to provide varying benefits depending on their main active ingredients.  I felt however after a bit of reading that surely the kinder to your skin the better.  I have included the information I found here though, for an overall view of the subject, but personally I’d stay away from the harsher ones.


Bracers, or fresheners, are mild, alcohol-free toners providing hydrating and soothing effects for the skin, and are therefore best suited for normal, dry or sensitive skin types.


Tonics contain slightly higher concentrations of active ingredients and may have a low percentage of alcohol content.  Tonics are suitable for both normal and oily skin types.


Astringents are the strongest type of toner within the group, as they contain a high percentage of alcohol. Antiseptic ingredients are also often found within astringents that are designed to treat acne.  Astringents can be harsh to skin and cause damage and irritation by stripping away the natural, protective oils.  Unless you have symptoms of acne, it is best to avoid astringents and instead opt for gentler bracers and tonics, especially if you experience dry or sensitive skin.


I have also read about exfoliating toners which are acid toners to help remove dead skin cells and unclog pores.  These in turn can cause their own irritation and redness of the skin, so should be used with care, if at all.


The facial toners from Handmade Naturals contain no alcohol, perfume, preservatives, or synthetic additives.  They are gentle flower water toners containing Geranium which is famous for its balancing, regulating, decongesting and detoxifying properties.  Its ability to revitalize tissue helps heal wounds, frostbite, chilblains, and inflamed skin disorders such as eczema, acne and shingles, and gives a radiant glow to any complexion and skin type. Its cleansing and balancing effect on the production of sebum is beneficial to numerous skin disorders.


The Morning Gorgeous website has two Geranium toners with organic Rose and Chamomile and organic Lavender. 


Lavender is soothing not only for the skin, but for emotions too. 


Rose maintains the pH balance and stimulates the regeneration process. Its antibacterial properties help fight acne, giving troubled skin a gentle, rather than a harsh treatment. Rose has a calming effect on skin irritations and sunburn and is nourishing and hydrating. 


Chamomile is most beneficial to sensitive skin and treats the problems that often arise with this skin type, like allergic reactions in the form of skin rashes. It also helps to protect from the elements, and relieves sunburn and wind chapped skin.


If you have not tried a skin routine involving a toner, or like me did not really understand how to use them, then it may be just what you need to get that little extra glow in your complexion.




 



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The other day I had a friend round for coffee to chat Morning Gorgeous ideas and while I was apologising for the state of the garden, my friend was over the moon that she had finally found some Chickweed! I was all for pulling it up as I thought it was a weed, but it would be more respectful to call it a common wildflower. After potting some for her to take home she asked me if I had been suffering from any itchy skin? Actually, during the winter months, I had had incredibly itchy shins, which were soothed by my Bee Cosmetic balm. Apparently, the herbs and plants in your garden can appear just when you need them. Chickweed has been used as a remedy to treat itchy skin conditions, so I’m going to try a balm from the knowing plants in my garden.

Common chickweed (Stellaria media), with its small white star-shaped flowers, is a hardy annual plant which flowers throughout the year in mild weather. It is edible and nutritious and can be used raw in salads. A valuable food source for insects it is also eaten by chickens (hence its name), wild birds, and mountain sheep. Chickweed does contain plant chemicals known as saponins, which can be toxic to some species (notably fish). It is unlikely that most land animals will be affected, as the quantities involved are not large, however it is not advised for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, if you’re thinking of popping it in your sandwich!

So instead of pulling all the Chickweed up from my raised bed I am going to keep some for harvesting when needed. You never know what is hiding in your garden which isn’t just a weed but something so much more. A weed is a pesky little plant in the wrong place, or is it? Don’t be too quick to dismiss.

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There is a wonderful thing called propolis which I thought I would find a little more about and share with you. Alternative names are propolis resin, propolis wax or bee glue.


When you read articles on natural health products, such as propolis, they all say that it is not backed by enough scientific study to prove it is beneficial. That may be the case, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work and should be dismissed. Propolis has been used for centuries in skincare for its many beneficial properties and possibly in medicine since the year 300 BC. Long before that the Ancient Egyptians used propolis for embalming, and more recently some doctors used it during World War II to help with wound healing.


Propolis is a natural substance collected by honeybees. It contains a mixture of bee saliva and is made up of resins, balsam, waxes, essential oils, pollen, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. The nature of the propolis depends on environmental conditions and from which trees and plants it is harvested. It has a few roles to play within the hive. It is used as a sealant for unwanted small gaps as well as improving insulation and reducing water loss. It also plays an important part in the health and hygiene of the hive as it provides protection from pathogens, via anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. These properties are probably why it has been so popular over the years in health and medicine.


Bees usually carry waste out of and away from the hive, however sometimes it is not possible for them to remove the problem. This is where the propolis works its magic. If an intruder for example, finds its way into the hive and dies there, the bees may be unable to carry it out through the hive entrance. In that case, they would attempt instead to seal the carcass in propolis, essentially mummifying it and making it odourless and harmless. Those Egyptians were obviously onto something!


From a health point of view there are thought to be many benefits that have been associated with propolis, and it is considered an antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antioxidant and antiprotozoal, which means that it works against parasitic illnesses. It is available in many forms and can be taken by mouth or applied to the skin. My propolis knowledge is limited, which is why I am trying to learn more about the ointment Morning Gorgeous sells, but I will say that over the years I have seen first hand that honey has healed wounds and helped with skin complaints, and I use propolis if my skin needs a bit of TLC. It may not suit everyone but should not be dismissed because of lack of modern study.



If you would like to try Bee Cosmetics Propolis balm it is sustainably collected from their own hives across Sussex and Surrey and can be purchased on the Morning Gorgeous website. https://www.morning-gorgeous.co.uk/skin-care or just use the button to take you straight there.



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