Using toner after cleansing is optional. For the best results, look for a toner which has a gentle action. Harsh toners, especially those containing alcohol, are too aggressive for most skin types as they strip essential moisture. Don't be tempted to use alcohol-based toners to dry out oily skin. They might have a temporary drying effect, but to compensate, the skin's oil-producing glands will go into overdrive and increase production.
To get more mileage from your toner, you can dilute it with mineral water. As a refreshing treat, decant the toner into a spray bottle and store it in the fridge. Spritz the toner over your complexion whenever you need an instant pick-me-up, or during the hot weather to cool down.
You don't need to splash out on fancy toners - floral waters will do the job just as effectively. Rose water is suitable for dry and normal skins, witch hazel for problem and oily skins, and camomile water for sensitive skins.
Accumulated dead skin cells, sebum and dirt can make the complexion look dull, lifeless and uneven. Use an exfoliating cream, scrub or mask once a week. Choose exfoliators with very fine abrasive particles to ensure they are gentle. Massage it into damp skin, working in small circular motions. Overzealous scrubbing will scratch the skin's surface and weaken the protective barrier.
If you have sensitive or dry skin, avoid using an exfoliator and simply buff the skin with a muslin or cotton face cloth. If you have patches of broken blood vessels or thread veins, avoid using an exfoliator on the area.
As an alternative to manual exfoliators, use a chemical exfoliator such as alpha hydroxy acids (AHA). Incorporated into skincare products, AHA or fruit acids shift dead skin and simulate the production of new cells. They can cause irritation, so avoid if you have sensitive or young skin. Products enhanced with AHA are most suited to older, drier skin types.