Toner is the ideal product for an oily skin type because it contains a lot of wonderful astringents and it can behave as a water based moisturizer. It doesn't take much to adapt this recipe for acne prone, rosacea, or wrinkled skin types types, so let's take a look at how to make an oily skin toner, then adapt it!
SWIFT'S BASIC TONER RECIPE
up to 85% water based ingredients like aloe vera, hydrosols, and witch hazel
3% to 5% humectants
3 to 5% film formers and cationic quaternary polymers
3% to 5% moisturizers
up to 1% extracts (including allantoin)
up to 1% preservative
For very oily skin, you'll want to use a goodly portion of witch hazel in your water portion. I'd go with at least 30% and consider going to 40%. It's astringent, but increases blood circulation while soothing. It is a good anti-inflammatory and contains great anti-oxidants, and all skin types can benefit from those qualities!
As for the other liquids, aloe vera is a fantastic ingredient for moisturizing, and there are some lovely hydrosols just perfect for oily skin. For oily skin, consider clary sage, neroli, rosemary, lavender, or rose hydrosols. For acne, consider honeysuckle or chamomile hydrosols as well as the others. For rosacea, try chamomile or lavender, as both are soothing and anti-inflammatory.
We want to add a barrier ingredient to this recipe, but cocoa butter and dimethicone are not the oily or sensitive skinned girl's friends. So we turn to allantoin. Add it at 0.5% to get some great anti-inflammatory and barrier qualities into your toner.
Humectants are vital for a toner you will be using as a moisturizing ingredient. Glycerin is generally the first choice for a humectant, but it could feel sticky on your skin, so use it at no more than 3%. I love sodium lactate and sodium PCA in a toner, but they can make you sun sensitive, so use it at no more than 2%. You can use Hydrovance at up to 3% as well.
As a note, at 3% sodium lactate is exfoliating, so if you need a little exfoliation and can wear a sun screen over it, try it at 3% in this toner recipe.
How about those cationic polymers? Honeyquat and polyquat 7 are humectants and conditioning polymers, so they work double duty. You can add either of these at up to 3% of your recipe! They are great for all skin types, and work well in hair care products - so I suggest always having some of this on hand.
Film formers are also very important for moisturizing without oils. So consider adding 2% hydrolyzed protein into this toner. You will have to think about which one works for you. I find hydrolyzed oat protein works well for my oily, rosacea type skin - silk penetrates my skin and annoys it, for some reason. Aloe vera will also act as a film former, as will some of the extracts you might want to consider.
How can we get moisturizers into a toner? We are already using quite a few - aloe vera, some of the hydrosols, the film formers, the humectants, and the cationic polymers - but we could include something like water soluble olive oil or soy bean oil or something of that nature. Make sure they are water soluble, and use them at no more than 3%!
Panthenol is great for all skin types.
Extracts are fun inclusions in a toner! As an oily skinned girl, you can choose from a variety of extracts - most offer are astringent and good anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant qualities. Green tea and rosemary extract are great for all oily skin types as they are slightly astringent, and contain anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant qualities. Interestingly enough, strawberry extract is a great extract for all these skin types, as it contains a lot of anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant qualities. Papaya is an extract suggested for oily skin types, but if you have sensitive skin, it will likely be too exfoliating for you (but do try it just to see!) Cucumber is also suggested for most oily skin types, but some sensitive skin types might find it too much! Chamomile is a great extract for most oily skin types - it is a great anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant, it can reduce TEWL (so it adds a little moisturizing), and it can help with the look of UV damaged skin!
If you have oily skin, no sensitivity, then you can choose from pretty much any of the astringent extracts with anti-oxidant qualities (choose any of the ones below!).
If you have acne prone skin, concentrate on those extracts with anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial qualities like white willow bark (not anti-bacterial), chrysanthemum, comfrey root, and honeysuckle. Also consider using salicylic acid in your products, but not in combination with white willow bark! (See below.)
If you have rosacea prone skin, concentrate on those extracts with anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant qualities like white willow bark (contains salicylic acid), comfrey root, and chamomile. You will want to stay away from chrysanthemum extract as it can exacerbate rosacea (although us rosacea types don't necessarily have rosacea, you might want to test it out before adding it a lovely leave-on product!)
If you have pigmented skin, you want to concentrate on extracts with skin lightening qualities, such as strawberry or liquorice extract.
If you have wrinkled skin, concentrate on extracts with anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant qualities. You can use green tea or grapeseed extract, Vitamin C, or something like Phytofruit or Multifruit BSC to get some AHA into the mix! (These are much easier to use than straight AHA.) Horsetail extract is showing some promise in helping with fine lines and contains a lot of Vitamin C, as is honeysuckle extract (lots of Vitamin C). Ginseng might help with collagen maintenance.
For those of you with acne prone or wrinkled skin, you can add a little salicylic acid to your creations either through the use of 0.5% white willow bark or 0.5% to 2% salicylic acid (start low and increase when you see how your skin tolerates it). Wrinkled skin can try a little AHA as well - again, start at 0.5% and work your way up.
And preservatives. Well, there's no debate there - you need them!
A note on essential oils in something like this. If you are including oils, you'll need an emulsifier. Try polysorbate 20 for this application. One disclaimer - although essential oils are from the land of awesome, do you really want a smell on your face all day long? And oils don't tend to be an oily girl's friend, so you might want to make up a small batch of product and try it out before adding it to a large batch you want to use regularly!
Wow, this post is far too long! So join me tomorrow for putting it all together for your skin type!