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Should you be using an astringent in your skin care routine?
With so many products crowding skin care shelves, it can be tricky to know which ones your face truly needs. The latest one beauty lovers are mulling over? Astringents.
They're not new by any means; in fact, astringents are actually one of the most classic categories in the skin care space; but with similar (and often gentler) products such as essences, lotions and toners taking over in the complexion-balancing arena, they have come to be a little neglected.
Astringents absolutely still have a place, though; it all boils down to understanding how to use them to your skin's advantage and deciphering whether or not they're right for your face.
We spoke to Kiehl's Educator Jemma McBride to find out just where they fit.
How do astringents work and when/how would you apply one?
"[Astringents] are designed to reduce excessive sebum/oil, act as an antibacterial for acne and blemish-prone skin and minimise pores. Astringents are the second step in the routine, after cleansing. They can be applied directly onto the skin using a patting motion with clean hands, or with a sterile sustainable cotton round," says Jemma.
What separates astringents from toners?
"Astringents are designed to balance oil and act as an antibacterial. They usually contain antibacterial, pore-minimising and oil reducing ingredients," Jemma explains. "Astringents can also contain acids like salicylic acid. Toners don’t typically have antibacterial or anti-blemish ingredients as their purpose is to balance the pH of the skin" she shares.
Should astringents be used both morning and night?
"Yes, they can be used morning and night," she confirms. "A good quality astringent should contain ingredients that reduce oil and act as an antibacterial, as well as ingredients that hydrate the skin. When using an astringent for the first time, slowly build it into the routine by using it every second day for the first week," Jemma recommends.
When shopping for an astringent, how do I determine which products fit the category?
"Sometimes the labelling and names of products can be confusing or unclear. Any toner/lotion that boasts antibacterial, anti-blemish properties is usually an astringent. Some ingredients to help identify an astringent include acids such as salicylic acid, or witch hazel, camphor, which both have antibacterial, anti-blemish properties and are also anti-inflammatory and soothing. Kiehl’s Blue Astringent Herbal Lotion contains both witch hazel and camphor," she says.
Which skin types are astringents suited to/not suited to?
"Astringents are designed for combination, oily and acne or blemish-prone skins. If you have normal or dry skin types I would recommend to use a toner or essence instead," Jemma advises.
bh loves: Kiehl's Blue Astringent Herbal Lotion, Weleda Aknedoron Purifying Lotion, Aesop Bitter Orange Astringent Toner ($57, myer.com.au), UMA Ultimate Brightening Rose Toner ($107, sephora.com.au), Mario Badescu Witch Hazel and Rosewater Toner ($22, mecca.com.au)
Main image credit: @kiehls
Do you currently use an astringent? Would you be inclined to add one into your routine?