Toner has a bad rap as an unnecessary step that leaves skin parched and stripped. But that’s far from the case these days. Now, it’s all about hydrating toners that actually add moisture while balancing your complexion.

They’re especially popular in Asian countries. And as Christine Chang, co-CEO and co-founder of Korean skin care destination Glow Recipe, explains, hydrating toners (often referred to as “softeners”) typically make up “the first leave-on step of hydration after cleansing.” In terms of function, she notes they’re quite different from traditional American face toners. They’re not typically used to cleanse (what with the advent of double-cleansing) and are “instead used to infuse the skin quickly and efficiently with liquid hydration, plumping it up for the next skin care steps to be effectively absorbed.”

So what’s the best way to add toners to…

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