Like a celebrity child burdened at birth with a name like Audio Science or Dweezil, toner was at an unfair disadvantage from the start. Cleansers cleanse and moisturizers moisturize, but what is the actual function of a toner aside from just being a pretty, expensive water that smells like rose petals or makes your face tingle or some other pleasant but ultimately superfluous thing?
First of all, there’s nothing wrong with skin care that’s pleasant but superfluous; in fact, you might argue that many of the best things in life fall under this umbrella. (Nobody needs to drink brut rosé in the sunshine, we just like to.)
But toner does serve a very real purpose in your regimen, regulating pH levels that have been knocked off-kilter by certain chlorines or minerals in tap water, replenishing lost moisture, and otherwise providing all sorts of benefits in a lightweight liquid formula — so there's never a bad time to get on board with skin care's most underrated essential. If your only previous experience with toner is a brief but painful fling with highly-astringent Sea Breeze as an adolescent, well, you're in for a treat.