It’s funny how we’re always seeking advice on ways to minimize our skin care routine (and for some, the definition of excess can start at anything beyond soap and water). Yet it’s the very products that we use that can help us reap the skin-saving benefits—toner, of which, being at the top of that list.

We asked Dr. Howard Murad, celebrity dermatologist and founder of Murad Skincare, for his expert reasons on why you should be adding toner to your daily skin care routine right now.

It improves the overall appearance of your complexion.

So what’s the deal with toners and why should you add this extra step to your skin care routine? “Toners work to cleanse the complexion,” says Murad. “They minimize pores, and also remove the dirt and debris inside pores.” They also work to modify the pH levels (depending on whether your skin is more acidic or alkaline) after cleansing.

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Then there’s the emotional aspect of using a toner, says Murad. These are the feel-good benefits that come from walking around with a fresh, clean and well-moisturized complexion.

There’s one for every skin type.
…Which means there’s a perfect toner for you. “There’s one for everyone, depending on your specific skin care needs,” Murad affirms. Look for ingredients that are suited to treat your skin type (for example, citrus oils contain healing properties for sun-damaged skin).

If you have an acne-prone complexion, toners work to treat the skin’s appearance with antioxidants (like grape seed extract) that have anti-inflammatory benefits. Of course, you can find more targeted products for your skin type, to treat wrinkles and pigmentation. “It can have an amazing effect on your complexion,” he says.

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3 more reasons to use toner on the next page…

toner-page-two.jpgToner cools and refreshes skin.
Like a blast of cool air against the skin, toner provides the same tingly freshness on a hot summer day. And you can get that instantly refreshed complexion year-round, especially as a mid-day skin pick-me-up: “Spray toner on the skin and it instantly cools and soothes,” says Murad. “Many people enjoy that fresh feeling after applying toner.”

And it won’t dry out your skin.
The formulation of toners today has reached a point where it no longer requires harsh drying agents to properly remove dirt and oil, and minimize pores. “They are much more sophisticated,” says Murad of the alcohol-free versions. In fact, “toners help with winter hydration, allowing your moisturizer to penetrate into the skin.”

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Add toner to your winter skin care routine by applying to the face directly after cleansing, then following up with your favourite moisturizer right after. Try Murad Hydrating Toner, which contains lecithin and cucumber extract to hydrate and nourish skin.

Good news! You actually do have time for it.

Since Murad asserts that there’s a toner for all skin types, and that skin allergies to it are unlikely, the only excuse one can muster for avoiding toner is a lack of time to include it in a skin care routine. “People want to limit it to just one thing,” explains Murad of the rationale behind a pared-down skin care routine.

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But you can easily incorporate toner to you morning and nighttime cleansing rituals by re-adjusting how you care for your skin. “We think of it as a three-step system,” says Murad. Start off by combining cleansing and toning the skin in the first step—easy enough. Then move on to treating more specific issues for your skin type.

“Sun damage, wrinkles, pigmentation,” he lists off. Then round it out by moisturizing. “If it’s nighttime, use a richer moisturizer, and for day go with one that contains SPF.” There’s really no reason not to.

Read more:
12 toners for every skin type

10 best skin brighteners
Anti-aging skin care: Your new routine

Skin care: Make over your skin in 5 days