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In the past few years, I’ve seen radical improvements in my skin ever since I switched to natural skin care. My routine is now painfully simple. At night, I clean my face with coconut oil and apply this apple cider vinegar facial toner (using raw apple cider vinegar). During the day, I only use safer cosmetic products (which are the bomb) for makeup. And that’s it.
To tell you the truth, I wasn’t sold on natural skincare (or putting apple cider vinegar on my face) in the beginning. For years, I was practically married to my four step cleansing process I thought I had to do to get clear, beautiful skin. How could you expect to treat acne and pimples without exfoliating, cleansing, toning, and moisturizing with the most expensive products? Clearly, an apple cider vinegar toner wasn’t as sophisticated as my expensive store-bought one.
Then, it hit me. Why would adding more synthetic (and expensive!) chemicals to my skin somehow be better for me?
If like me, you’ve seen huge improvements in how you feel when you eat less processed foods and more whole foods without additives, you’ve probably already started to wonder about the concoctions you put on your face, skin, and hair.
To help you navigate natural skin care, here’s why apple cider vinegar can be great for your skin, and how to make your own DIY apple cider vinegar facial toner.
The act of cleansing, toning and moisturizing dates back thousands of years. Evidence shows ancient cultures utilized avocado, palm oil, olive oils, and spices for moisturizing, animal fats and salts for cleansing, and botanical waters and natural astringents for “freshening” the skin.
In fact, in the early 1900s, women (our great grandmothers!) were still making their own skin care products for toning and brightening skin from unprocessed milks, lemon juice, witch hazel, and vinegar.
Are toners a must?
Toners were originally introduced as a way to restore the skins natural pH after using conventional cleanser products, which became popular in the 1930s.
The skin has a very delicate acid mantle that normally has a pH of around 5. Soap-based cleansers are typically more alkaline (have a pH above 7), which can disrupt the acid mantle on the skin. When the acid mantle is disrupted, it promotes abnormal bacteria growth, and our skin becomes more susceptible to diseases, infections, and even wrinkles long-term. Toners, which are more acidic (a pH of around 3-4), restore the skin to its natural pH.
As beauty products have developed and evolved, most cleansers are now less alkaline and tailored to specific “types” of skin. As a result, there is much controversy about whether toners are necessary for use among professionals. Claims of conventional toners to “tighten” and “soothe and soften” skin can be far-fetched and inaccurate.
Here’s the low-down. Convention toners are typically a chemical soup of alcohol and conventional astringents, fragrances, parabens, hydrogenated oils (seriously?), and additives like “RED” this and “BLUE” that. These aren’t even close to being necessary for anyone to have clear, beautiful skin.
Because our skin’s delicate pH can be disrupted by many factors including stress, our diet, lack of exercise, and not drinking enough water, a simple, natural toner like this DIY apple cider vinegar facial toner, can be very beneficial for balancing the skin.
Why use an apple cider vinegar facial toner?
Raw apple cider vinegar is simply the by-product of the fermentation of apples. Apples are loaded with potassium, pectin, malic acid and calcium, and fermentation fortifies it with even more beneficial acids and enzymes. While it may seem weird to put apple cider vinegar on your face, it’s antiseptic and antibacterial, which is an added bonus when dealing with skin infections and conditions like acne and eczema.
Apple cider vinegar facial toner made from raw apple cider vinegar balances the natural pH of the skin, and breaks up the bonds between dead skin cells (exfoliating) to keep skin pores open. It also can lighten sun and age spots, and can improve acne and acne scars. And lastly, it’s great for freshening and removing excess oils and make up that may have been left behind after performing natural techniques like the oil cleansing method for cleansing skin.
Best of all? It’s super-duper affordable and contains no added conventional chemical craziness. Now that’s what’s up.
DIY Apple Cider Vinegar Facial Toner
Raw apple cider vinegar
For sensitive skin: Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar with 4 parts water
For normal/dry skin: Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar with 2 parts water
For oily skin: Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar with 1 part water
Note: One “part” is any measurement you chose to use. So, if you’re following the sensitive skin ratio, you’ll mix 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar with 4 tbsp water. I typically follow the oily skin ratio, and make 16 oz total. This means, I use 1 cup filtered water, and 1 cup apple cider vinegar.
Using brewed tea: Brew your favorite organic herbal tea like green tea and use it in place of filtered water. If you do this, you will need to store your toner in the refrigerator.
Adding hydrosols: Hydrosols are gentle “flower waters” that have nourishing properties. They are made during the process of making essential oils. During distillation, the essential oil is separated from the water, which leaves behind a nourishing, herbal water with small traces of essential oils. To add a hydrosol to your toner, use 1 tsp per 8 oz of toner. This will not be in place of your filtered water, rather as an addition.
Adding essential oils: Essential oils are natural oils obtained through distillation which have the characteristic fragrance of the plant or other source from which it is extracted from. Adding essential oils increases the nourishing properties of your toner depending on which one you use. I recommend using tea tree oil for additional anti-inflammatory benefits, or lavender oil for a more aromatic, soothing experience. Use 2-3 drops per 8 oz of toner.
Mix the ingredients together and store in a glass or plastic container. This toner is shelf stable and does not need to be put in the fridge.
To apply: Using a cotton square, lightly rub the toner on your face and neck. You can also store this apple cider vinegar toner in a spray bottle and spray a light mist directly on your skin to freshen your skin throughout the day. Do not rinse it off after use. You can apply this multiple times a day to freshen skin. As a reminder, this should come AFTER you clean your face.
IMPORTANT: No matter what your skin type is, do a patch test on your skin to see how your skin responds. I also recommend using the sensitive skin ratio first before increasing the amount of apple cider vinegar you use. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the ratio to figure out whats best for you skin. Overtime, if you feel the solution seems to be too weak, slowly increase the ratio of apple cider vinegar to water. Do not increase more than a 1:1 ratio of apple cider vinegar to water.
If you’re looking to improve your hair and scalp, check out how to make an apple cider vinegar hair rinse.
Will you be giving this apple cider vinegar facial toner a try? Let me know what your special “blend” is and how it works for you!