The Parable of the Toner

Clinique Step 2 Skin Type 1

step 2

Riddle me this. What does toner do exactly?

Not the laser printer kind. The skincare kind. I know it’s supposed to exfoliate. Every skincare program includes it. But it’s way too harsh for my very dry skin.

I tell the whitecoats at Clinique I won’t use their Clarifying Lotion toner. I’ll skip Step 2 in the 3-Step.

“Oh, no! You can’t do that!” they say. “You just need another formulation. You must exfoliate with a Clarifying Lotion in Step 2.”

Must. A small but mighty manipulative word.

There are skincare lines that boast of a kinder, gentler exfoliation. A-thousand-points-of-light toners, smelling of orange blossoms and chamomile. Might as well splash cold tea or rose water on my face.

Seriously, what does toner do? Is it necessary when an occasional 7 Day Scrub does the trick to get rid of dead skin cells?

Daily cleansing and moisturizing is what my skin needs to be healthy. Like confession and restoration. Toner is optional. Like legalism in a bottle.

very dry to dry

very dry to dry

It’s an added step. An upstanding thing to do perhaps. A requirement by those who added it. Usually does more harm than good. Absolutely not a deal breaker to get the desired results.

I don’t want to get by with less than what I need or less than what’s best. But I don’t want the unnecessary, heavy, drying burden of add-ons either.

I can’t earn salvation with add-ons. I can’t earn salvation with faith plus add-ons. Faith alone brings salvation and inspires actions of courage and obedience. There’s no earning to it on my part.

My time’s too precious to succumb to legalism. My skin’s too dry to use toner.

Then Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 NLT

You tell me I’ve been made Free, by Dara Maclean. Sing it, sister.

Have you ever encountered legalism? How did you let go of it or have you?

Disclaimer: I’m not being compensated to promote Clinique, nor do I mean to pick on them. Personally, I like and use Clinique products. Just not the toner.

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Filed under faith, humor, women's studies

10 Responses to The Parable of the Toner

  1. Colleen Cecil

    Seriously, who makes these rules! I’ve been a three step rebel for years, all three steps in fact. Drives the white coats crazy! Great post, feel no guilt. I hope you bought some shiny lip gloss with the money you saved on step 2. :)

    • Aimee @

      You know I did, Colleen. High-gloss, high-flavor lip shine from philosophy in fact!

  2. I’m unfortunately one of these rule-creators for myself – and while I try to repress it, sometimes for others, too! (This latter tends to peeve my freeforming husband to no end.) Maybe that’s why law fascinates me so much…
    Toner is, by the way, to close up the open pores after you cleanse, so dirt/bacteria have a harder time getting to your skin. At the same time, it also dries. A natural idea would be a mask from fresh aloe and cottage cheese: the aloe pulls the pores together, while the cheese hydrates and replenishes the oils the aloe and the cleansing took away. Just throw the ingredients in a blender (add some honey or a banana if you like), then make a double batch, before you WILL eat some while putting it on. :D

    • Aimee @

      Breakfast and a hydrating mask all in one blender. I like it! And Cosmetics For All, perhaps? :)

      • Who knows, once this crazy rush of the last week of summer school and deadlines chasing me (I have a 10-page paper due on Monday – so far, I only have half an introduction) and I get back to blogging, I may do one on beauty recipes!

        • Aimee @

          I think that would be terrific! Can you believe you only have one week of summer school left? It’s flying by!

  3. Michele.

    Stand your ground against baseless doctrinal rigidity in the overpriced cosmetics world, Aimee. The few exceptions notwithstanding, toner is an unnecessary step and added expense. I have no problem spending money on high quality products, and there is no expense I will spare in order to care for my skin — the human body’s largest organ. Multiple trips to the dermatologist every year. And I have always been told that simplicity is the key. In fact, for more than 20 years — I have bypassed high end brands and consistently used a simple, gentle $10 cleanser found in nearly every drug store. Stand firm, Aimee. Skip “step 2” — just cleanse, moisturize, and go! (Just be sure to wear sunscreen during the day!)

    • Aimee @

      Thanks, Michele. Women of the world unite in simple skincare! You are a gem and you have beautiful skin, my dear.

  4. Amen! I also have very dry skin, and when I use toner my skin overcompensates by becoming super oily and then I break out. It’s not pretty.

    • Aimee @

      Thanks for the comment, Ariel. Everyone’s skin is different. If toner works for you, great. But if you have dry skin, like we do, it’s no good!