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I Tried the Popular “Toner Wash Method” For a Week, and This Is What Happened to My Skin

The “toner wash method” has been popular for some time among K-beauty fans. It was time for us to give this a try for ourselves.

There are always new viral trends popping up every single day. From the seven skin method to splash masks, it’s hard to tell what’s a gimmick and what actually works. When I first saw the viral video about the toner wash method, I definitely thought it was another marketing ploy. In the video, you see a girl go from acne to acne-free in 50 to 60 days, just from rinsing her face with toner.
You can imagine my hesitation. But with all the good reviews floating around on the toner wash method, I became curious about whether or not it would actually work. I decided to give it a try for two weeks to see how my skin reacted. Curious why the title only says one week? Well, keep reading to find out.

What is The “Toner Wash Method”?

The “toner wash method” is essentially a different way to apply your toner. You’re supposed to cleanse your face and then after you “toner wash” it. You do this by taking two capfuls of a highly-concentrated toner and adding it to two cups of water. After cleansing (day and night), you rinse your face with the mixture for 30 seconds before patting it dry.
The method adds an extra cleansing step, which is supposed to ensure your skin is 100 percent clean. It’s also meant to be a gentler way to get rid of impurities for sensitive skin. This technique claims to cleanse and moisturize the skin, which will in turn help to prevent acne and bacteria buildup. It sounds great in theory, but will it actually work?

Do you need to use a specific toner?

The toner used in the viral video is the Nature Republic Calendula Tincture Toner and it’s made from 90 percent calendula and also features papaya and malt enzymes. The calendula soothes while the papaya and malt slough away dead skin cells. But the video does say that you can use any highly-concentrated toner.
If you want to try toner washing, a great soothing and moisturizing one is the Klairs Supple Preparation Toner. It contains amino acids that reduce irritation and impart deep hydration.

How I tested the method:

If you’ve read my previous experiment where I tried out apple cider vinegar as a toner for three weeks, you’ll know that I like to stick with my current routine when testing out new products. Sticking with my usual products ensures that when I add something new to my routine, I can properly test it to see if it’s providing results.
My previous routine was the Klairs Rich Moist Foaming Cleanser, followed by the Acwell Licorice pH Balancing Cleansing Toner, ENature Birch Juice Hydro Essence Skin, Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Serum, SKINRx LAB Madecera Cream and lastly for my SPF, the Acwell Aqua Capsule Sun Control Gel.
After using the apple cider vinegar as a toner for a few weeks, my skin was (spoiler alert!) suffering from over-exfoliation. So I had to switch up my routine in order to pamper my skin back to life. My current routine is the Klairs Rich Moist Foaming Cleanser, Nature Pacific Fresh Herb Calendula Tincture Toner, The Plant Base Quesera Ceramide, SKINRx LAB Madecera Cream and lastly for my SPF, the Acwell Aqua Capsule Sun Control Gel. As you can see, my routine is much simpler than before. This is because it’s best to keep things basic when recovering from over-exfoliation. I also added in the Nature Pacific Fresh Herb Calendula Tincture Toner in place of my regular toner.

The results:

Before starting the experiment, my skin was about 90 percent recovered from the over-exfoliation disaster. It’s hard to tell in the “before” pictures, but I was suffering from congestion and redness in my cheek areas. If you look closely, you can see I am dealing with a lot of textural issues around my cheeks and forehead. The “toner wash method” claims to flush out impurities and help treat acne-prone skin. I was curious if it would help alleviate some of the texture I was experiencing.
Please note: No, I am not wearing makeup in the “before” picture, except for mascara! I was too lazy to take it off before taking the picture, but I did want to address that to avoid any confusion.
OK, back to your regular scheduled programming. The first time I tried toner washing, I didn’t notice any difference. It didn’t make my skin feel soothed or dry. It just felt like I had splashed my face with water after cleansing. And the extra step was frustrating. In the viral video, the girl pours the two capfuls directly into her sink and then proceeds to rinse her face. I’m sorry, but there was no way I was doing that. I just felt like it was far too unhygienic when you’re using a shared sink. I ended up used a bowl instead. I poured the two cups of water in and then the two capfuls in and then proceeded to rinse. It was messy. Water got everywhere.

Beyond nitpicking on the messiness of it, it takes a lot of extra time in mornings, especially on days where I’m in a rush. I have to get the bowl, pour the capfuls, splash away for 30 seconds, clean the bowl, and finish with the rest of my routine. I would say it added an extra two to three minutes to my normal routine in the mornings, which didn’t necessarily pique my interest.
Skin wise, I didn’t notice any difference. If you look at the “after” picture, I’m not sure you won’t notice a difference either. My skin does feel smoother, but I couldn’t tell if it was from the recovery of over-exfoliation or from the toner. I was hoping it would calm down any redness as I’m prone to reactive skin, but it didn’t do much. I can say that I felt my skin was missing some hydration from my normal toner application but I wouldn’t say it was dry. Overall, it didn’t irritate my skin but it also didn’t do much of anything.
Plus, on day one of the experiment, I was already baffled by just how much product I had to use. Two capfuls seemed like a ton. By day six, I could already tell I wasn’t going to be able to test it for the full two weeks straight. As you can see from the picture, the bottle is almost 80 percent done and that was only after a week and a few days. This can get costly when toners cost anywhere from $16 to $30 a bottle. I would have loved to test it longer, but with how quickly one bottle went, I couldn’t imagine purchasing another bottle so soon.

The bottom line:

Sometimes viral videos are just viral and nothing more. It’s best not to believe all the hype when it comes to certain products or methods. If you did want to give this a try, I’d suggest sticking with your current toner. Don’t bother purchasing a special one for this method.

+Have you tried the “toner wash method”? Share your experiences below!