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Autumn skincare staples: The exfoliating toner reaches essential status


Beauty Editor Melanie Kruger examines how exfoliating toners are beating moisturisers hands down in the battle against lacklustre skin.

It’s that time of year again, and with autumn comes a host of long-awaited delights. The leaves begin to change colour, and crunch beneath your feet as you stroll through the park to work. The Christmas lights go up, and the countdown to the festive season officially begins. That, and the dull and lacklustre skin that comes with it all, of course – because while the season to be jolly may be approaching for most of us, the same cannot always be said for our skin.

But before you start to panic and go putting in bulk orders of Sudacrem, rest assured that skincare has come a very long way in recent years. Gone are the days of smothering ourselves in thick, suffocating moisturiser only to wake up with the majority of it in our hair, for the secret weapon of today is the humble exfoliating toner – an inconspicuous and unimpressive looking product that packs a real punch in the fight against flagging skin. This exfoliator/toner hybrid can be incorporated seamlessly into your day to day regime, and will leave skin feeling soft, smooth and utterly radiant without an abrasive grain of apricot stone in sight – yes, it is possible to glow with health all year round!

Here’s the low-down on two of our favourite picks to see you through the colder weather unscathed – have faith, you’ll never look at a manual exfoliator or a standard toner in the same way again!

Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner

Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner

The Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner is a fresh, fluid exfoliating lotion that brightens, smoothes and softens the skin. Tamarind fruit acids eliminate impurities and dead skin cells, boosting cellular renewal, while white nettle extract helps to tighten the pores. Contrary to popular belief, pores do not shrink – but they can appear smaller – and this little gem is all you need to create the illusion.  Regular use encourages cellular renewal, strengthening the skin’s resistance to premature ageing and leaving you with a healthy, glowing complexion. Containing glycolic, salicylic and tartaric acids in much smaller quantities than many other popular toners, this is a great option for anyone with sensitive skin. Although it does contain alcohol, this is nicely counteracted with glycerin, and there is no sense of dryness following application.

Recommended usage is 1-2 times a week, but it is gentle enough to use every other day – and is best for normal to dry skin.

Featuring heavily in many a skincare savvy beauty expert’s collection of lotions and potions, there’s a reason this has become such a staple – it’s simple, gentle, and easy to use, and leaves skin feeling fresh, smooth, and radiant.

Pixi Glow Tonic

Pixi Glow Tonic

An oil and alcohol-free offering which is perfect for sensitive skin, the infamous Pixi Glow Tonic is packed with ginseng, fructose and soothing aloe vera, while witch hazel acts as a natural astringent. A great choice for those suffering from oily or problem skin, it’s adept at keeping pesky breakouts at bay, sloughing away dead skin cells gently in a bid to keep pores free of unwanted debris.

A cult product in its own right, the Pixi Glow Tonic has an incredibly floral scent that some may find off-putting, but if you can get past the perfume, then it’s worth the effort. Expect a more subtle effect than you’ll get from using Clarins’s offering – but you can feel confident in using it daily, which some may prefer.

With a cumulative effect that becomes more apparent over time, it’s a great place to start for those who’d rather avoid going in all guns – or skin – blazing, and a good choice for those with overly sensitive skin.

Add an exfoliating toner to your routine this autumn, and you won’t look back!

Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner is available from Clarins, priced at £26.00.

Pixi Glow Tonic is available from Cult Beauty, priced at £18.00.