Mid End / Skincare

A Lesson in Toner from Stages of Beauty Founder Jasmina Aganovic

A haul post you were promised, and a haul post you shall receive just as soon as I get my shoot space set up.  And by shoot space, I mean something extremely flimsy with the paper I bought today and a desk lamp.  We’ll see how it goes.

For now, let’s talk skincare!  Now if there’s one thing I pride myself on having (besides insane stick figure drawing skills), it’s good skin.  The amount of effort I put into taking care of it is nothing short of mind-boggling, especially considering the fact that I spend less than 5 minutes on a normal day doing my hair and makeup.  But skin…I will wipe down my glasses and sunglasses with rubbing alcohol to prevent breakouts, spend hours poring over shampoo ingredient labels at the drugstore to avoid dimethicone, apply sunscreen no matter how rushed I am in the morning, and even take two cod liver oil supplements a day.  Seriously.  Dedication.

And yes, I actually get results from this insanity, except for that month following my trip to Pennsylvania.  Note to self: remember that your skin is tempermental.  So never, ever throw a bunch of old skincare samples into your travel bag and expect everything to turn out fine.

Ok, toners.  They’ve been a part of my skincare routine since seventh grade, when my skin started getting up to all kinds of shenanigans.  I know there’s debate about whether or not they’re necessary, and honestly I don’t think they are something you must add to your routine.  But, I will say that they are a wonderful way to refresh and prep your skin.  In this unbelievably humid weather, there are few things I crave more than toner-soaked cotton on…shall I say glistening skin.  I’ve been using the ’20s’ version from Stages of Beauty lately ($19.99 for a 4 oz bottle), which comes in a spray bottle that dispenses an even veil of product.  Meaning I can use it as a facial mist too.  Love.

I was lucky enough to chat with Stages of Beauty founder, Jasmina Aganovic. Read on to discover the answers to all your burning toner questions (everyone has those, right?).  And she explains what toner actually does for your skin, in plain terms because that pH-speak can be rather confusing at times.  

Jasmina Aganovic with the Stages of Beauty line

People frequently talk about toner balancing or restoring the skin’s pH, but what does this mean?  What happens when the skin’s pH becomes too basic or acidic, and how does toner help balance it, and effect your skin?

The normal pH of the skin is around 5.5, it is slightly acidic in order to be able to fend off bacteria. As we get older, the pH actually increases, meaning that the skin is weaker and is not able to kill bacteria as well. A pH of 6 or more can actually be indicative of a skin problem or other disease.  Cleansers can drastically affect the natural skin pH. Some cleansers (particularly ordinary soaps) are so alkaline (pH of 9 – 11) that can change the skin’s pH to be higher than usual.

If this isn’t adjusted with a toner or other product, this can allow for the growth of more bacteria, or additional irritation to the moisture barrier of the skin. Because of this, it is important to look for a high quality moisturizer, preferably with a pH of no more than 7.5. (ask your skin care product manufacturer for information) Regardless, any cleansing action will slightly alter the pH of the skin temporarily, and toners are the most efficient means to adjust this. This is because if you moisturize without adjusting the pH first, the skin does not absorb product as efficiently, and is not able to process the beneficial ingredients of the moisturizer as well.

Why develop a different toner for every age group?  How is each one different, and what is each one meant to do?

Toners are still part of a skincare routine. If the skin at each age needs something specific, why not provide that with each product you use?

In the 20s, our primary goal is to help repair free radical damage. This is why our 20s toner is packed with powerful antioxidants like African Red Tea. Going into the 30s, when collagen and elastin start to decline, along with cellular regeneration, we made sure to include peptides as well as other ingredients that would help promote natural exfoliation. In the 40s, our skin begins to thin, so our Elegance toner has lots of plumping ingredients, along with additional peptides to support collagen and elastin. Going into our 50s, hydration becomes a challenge, so our toners in the Grace line focus a lot on hydration and support the moisture barrier of the skin.

Can this toner be used to remove makeup?

No. These toners should be used on clean skin before using a moisturizer.

How about as a setting spray/facial mist?

Absolutely! This is actually one of the favorite ways our customers like to use the product.

And finally, because I’m always curious to hear about skincare experts’ favorite products, what does your skincare routine look like?

Regardless of the amount of time I have, I always make sure to get something in. In the mornings when I am short on time, I make sure to do the basics: use a cleanser to wash my face, then follow with my moisturizer and then an SPF. In the evenings, because there is no time crunch, I can do a more thorough routine with a scrub and toner.

A big thank you to Jasmina for answering my questions!

What are your thoughts on toner?  And if you use it, which one is your favorite?


Full Disclosure: The product in this post was provided for editorial consideration only.  Image courtesy of Stages of Beauty.  For more information, please see my disclaimer.


12 thoughts on “A Lesson in Toner from Stages of Beauty Founder Jasmina Aganovic

  1. Very informative post! I don’t use a toner currently, because I’m cheap and lazy (a brutal combination), but once school gets out and I have time to do homemade stuff maybe I’ll try experimenting around some. Or I could be a normal person and just buy one…but where’s the fun in that?

  2. Great post MM! I’ve recently rediscovered toners myself. You see, when I was young they were mainly just alcohol and just dried out your skin so I stopped using them. These days toners are so much more than just alcohol with all kinds of essential oils and actually do something for your skin. These ones sound lovely! I’d love to try the one meant for my age-sounds brilliant!

    • Yes, you make a good point! Toner technology (LOL is that a thing) has developed a lot by now, and I think these new ones are actually beneficial, whereas some of the older ones were just meant to product a cooling sensation. You should, I think the price point is just right on these.

  3. I have quite a bit of toners that I enjoy using. These days, it’s a green one from L’oreal. I love the icy cool feeling it gives me!

  4. Thanks for the interview! 😀 I love using toner. Especially when I see gross stuff stuck to my cotton pad afterwards…lol. My current fave is SK-II Clear Lotion.

    (The footbed on the SE sandals are padded. The stiff stuff scares me! :P)

  5. As soon as I stop using toner, my skin goes absolutely bonkers and this makes so much sense! I really love The Body Shop Aloe toner. I need to be more like you and go full-on INSANE about skin care. I mean, I try, but I’m still normal and clearly that’s not good enough!!

    • Right? So nice to have someone explain it in words I actually understand LOL. I didn’t even know they made aloe toner! Must investigate hahaha. Normal is good! Don’t be crazy like me.

  6. I really liked this post! I am huge on skincare too–like they say, beautiful skin is better than beautiful makeup any day of the week. I haven’t heard of this brand, but I like the sound of their 20’s toner. I am using a similar toner (Ole Henriksen African Red Tea Face Mist) and love it. I’m definitely one of those people who believes toner is a must-have in every skincare routine!

    • yayy kindred spirits! I’ve used a lip balm from Ole Henriksen before and remember liking it (I think it was African Red Tea as well), so I will definitely keep that Face Mist in mind.

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