Toners. Some may love them, some may think they're a waste of time. I've always had one or two sitting on my shelf ready and waiting but more often than not just skipped the step altogether. However, since becoming a little too obsessed with my, and many others, new skincare idol Caroline Hirons (whose cheat sheet on toners I highly recommend a browse through, if not her entire collection of them) I decided it was probably time to take a good look at my routine and this step in particular just wasn't cutting it.

I've been alternating between two different products and even using them together at times depending on what my skin needs. First up the Dr Jart V7 Balancing toner which comes in a scientific looking bottle with a rather fancy pipet. Always a sucker for packaging. This is my toner of choice for the mornings when I want something light and refreshing and is packed full of vitamin complexes which help to control sebum production, hydrate and generally neutralise the skin in preparation for the next step of my routine.

Since taking the decision to stop using manual exfoliants I've been relying on AHA based products to do the job of sloughing away those dead skin cells. Although it had all the potential and a great concept, Alpha H Liquid Gold just didn't work for me so I set out looking for something a whole lot milder and the Clarins Gentle Exfoliating Toner has been my port of call ever since. It's almost bordering on a lotion in consistency but soaked into a cotton pad and swept across the face it uses a combination of glycolic, salicylic and tartaric acids in a very small amounts to polish the top layer of the skin and soften any rough patches. One of the main ingredients is glycerine which makes it incredibly comfortable to use and despite it's exfoliating nature, injects a good boost of moisture too. This one I reserve for the evenings to let it work it's magic overnight and with the help of a handy travel spray bottle I'll occasionally use a spritz of the Dr Jart toner on top to keep everything balanced.

Although it may not have the instant wow effect, using a toner has improved the texture of my skin dramatically, yes, dramatically! Of course I'll also put some of that down to Caroline's magical knowledge regarding a host of other skincare products but for now I wont be forgetting that magical post-cleanse sweep that's now a firm feature in my daily routine.

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