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This Is How You Should Be Applying Toner

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Skincare can get be complicated. Did you know the term lotion can refer to both creamy moisturizers and fluid-y treatments? Probably yes, of course—you're an expert—but whyyyy? Why can't lotion mean just one thing that we all agree on and then we can just come up with some other way to refer to the thing that use to be lotion but isn't anymore because we agreed that lotion was just going to be one thing? Are you free this weekend? We can meet up and do it.

But in the meantime, while there are still words that mean multiple things to multiple people and we're all talking in circles with the same goal in mind (beautiful faces), let's clear one up. Toner... What the hell are you talking about when you talk about toner? ITG is taking a stand and calling toner anything you press into your face after cleansing but before moisturizing. It's liquid-y and it's targeted. Over are the days when toner was just something to make sure you removed all your cleanser. Your toner can do better than that. And your cleanser should solve its own problems.

Depending on your skin type, you've got a couple of options. If you're oilier, something pH balancing like witch hazel (in products like Thayer's or S.W. Basics) is simple and effective. Dry? Go with a hydrating mix of rose or aloe or both (and definitely alcohol-free)—Sisley's Botanical Toning Lotion is an ITG-mainstay. Maybe your skin's feeling acneic or simply missing its former joie-de-vivre. In that case, reach for something acidic, not to balance your pH, but to exfoliate away whatever ails you. This is your Biologique P50 and your Glossier Solution category of products. Choose your own adventure.

But now that we're all on the same semantic page, why don't we get on the same application page, too? Toner goes on your face—obviously—but how? Do it correctly and your products are going to start working a hell of a lot harder. To demonstrate, we enlisted Melanie Simon, founder of the ZIIP microcurrent wonder-device and master facialist. (When we caught her in town last, she was here training the staff at Rescue Spa—and you know how we feel about them.) Watch and press your cotton squares along to the video above. You could find yourself with a whole new face the next time you look in the mirror.

Filmed by Tom Newton. Edited by Kevin Tadge.

More advice from Melanie and other pros, here.