Found this on Handbag.com, I thought it was really useful!
'Why do I need a toner?' 'Why can't I use my moisturiser on my eyes?', 'What if I am too knackered to remove my make-up at night?'
All good questions, so why doesn't anyone ever answer them? Hang on to your headband and let's attempt to demystify the perpetually confusing cosmetic industry.
If I had 10p for every time someone said to me, 'I don't use a toner because I have never really understood what it is for', I could go and buy another loud jacket! Or this one: 'Why do I need an eyecream - can't I just use my moisturiser?' If this sounds like you, be assured that these aren't stupid questions; it is simply that nobody has taken the time to help you understand the functions of certain products. Plus, I think we all feel that the consultants are just trying to get us to buy another product. In some cases I am sure that is true, but in others, they are trying to make sure the products you buy will not do more harm than good. So in the spirit of goodwill, I will endeavour to shed light on the whys and what ifs you have about the cosmetic jungle!
So you end up staying over at your boyfriend's house, and all he has in the skincare (and I use the term as loosely as possible) category is a bar of suspicious looking soap. If you are brave enough to pluck the dodgy looking hairs from it and wash your face, it is going to feel like you shrunk your skin by three or four sizes. So what should you do? If you don't make a habit of it, just go straight to bed. 'What? Go to bed without cleaning my face?' Yes! In this instance you are going to do more harm by washing with the soap than you are by not cleansing. Just make sure you do a really thorough job when you get home. The world will not come crashing down around you, but as I said, don't make a habit of it. If you find yourself in this situation often, maybe you want to keep some little travel sizes 'round his place. If you find yourself sleeping in many different places, then you're going to get a reputation, and that, my friend, I can do nothing about!
Eye make-up removal
Does this require a separate product? Not always. There are an awful lot of cleansers around that will do the face and eye areas. But if the packaging does not specifically say you can do it, you are taking unnecessary risks. The eye area is very fragile which is why it is the first place that shows a woman's age. If you are using too strong a cleanser, you will dry the skin out. If it is too rich, you will leave a film and eye make-up will not stay in place the next day. It doesn't need to be the most expensive product in the world, but get yourself something that will dissolve the make-up quickly and without yanking the eyelids around. 'How about baby oil/lotion or Vaseline?' Well, they are fast, but how emphatically can I say NO NO NO NO NO! Bad plan mate. They are petroleum-based oils and they do not break down with water. Not only will your eye make-up not stay in place the next day, they can cloud your vision and clog your tear ducts. Is all of that worth scrimping on a proper product? No, I didn't think so either.
I have been told by so many women that they have been admonished for using water on their skins that it makes my head spin. So is there a problem with it? No. If you like water, use water. End of story. The only way water can dry the skin out is if you leave it to evaporate from your face, or if you have dreadfully hard water. And if your water is hard, your toner is there to rebalance it. Nobody should be able to tell you what you can and cannot do. If you tell a cosmetic consultant that your skin is dry, but you like to wash make-up off, the only reason she may say you can't is if the company she works for doesn't make one. But believe me, someone else does. I personally do not feel clean until I splash my face liberally. I don't mind cream cleansers, oils, lotions or any other method just as long as I can rinse when I am finished. So if you want to do it, do it… just as long as you feel comfortable when you are done.
What the heck is a toner for?
Contrary to popular belief, the primary function of a toner is not to remove your cleanser. Nor is it to make your skin smart, or to close your pores. The most important thing a toner will do is ensure your skin is at a normal ph balance of 5.5 and prepare it for whatever the next item of skincare is. If your cleanser is doing its job properly, there should be no reason to have a product finish the job. Some cleansers feel like they need that extra bit of cleaning power, but that is not its original function.
So how about water? A great many people think that if you use a rinse-off cleanser, that toner is obsolete: after all, there is no residual cleanser to remove, is there? Well at least we are halfway there! If you rinse with water you change the natural ph balance of your skin from around 5.5 to anywhere up to 9 depending on how hard/soft your water is. If you skip the toner out, your skin will try to rebalance itself by producing more oil. If you don't produce oil very effectively, the pores may enlarge so the small amount of oil you do produce can spread out over the entire face. Some toners have additional functions such as helping the skin to retain moisture (Shiseido), exfoliating (Clinique, Aveda, Kanebo), or slowing down excess oil (Sisley Tropical Resin). There is an upsurgence of new cleansers that are cleanser/toner in one, but beware: it is a bit like shampoo/conditioner in one. A bit too good to be true.
Separate day and night moisturisers
We have now officially entered the minefield. Let me make this simple. No, you can use one product provided it is doing everything you need a product to do. The problem with this theory is that by the time you get an anti-oxidant, SPF, anti-ageing, firming, oil controlling, hydrating, cellular renewal product, there are too many diversified things going on for it to do all of them as effectively as they could be done. There are now a few products that fit the bill, but you are going to pay more for them. You may find it best to use a protective product in the day, and a product to deal with all the other stuff in the evening. Your skin does not know what time of the day or night it is, but because you are at rest in the evening, skin tends to be more accepting at night. If you are young and trouble free, use a single product. But, if you are going to make a lot of demands on a product, perhaps use separate products.
Do they all have to come from the same company?
Nope. Almost all of the make-up consultants will tell you that to get the most effective results you should buy all 50 of their products. 'They all work together', they say, but in truth, most products are based at a neutral ph so they will work together regardless. Mind you, there are some actions that cannot be done together, so if you are uncertain, using products within a single line might be less confusing. For instance, you shouldn't use AHA or Retinol products together with cell renewal products. But as for making one another more effective? Nope. The single exception to that is the EX range from Kanebo, but if you are going to spend £340 on a moisturiser, and buying a second product will boost its effectiveness… do it.
Why do I need an eyecream?
If you think of different parts of your skin as different kinds of paper, it's easier to understand. Around the eye is tissue paper, the face is writing paper, and your body is wrapping paper. The cream you use on your face is much thicker than the skin around your eye, so if you use that product around the eye, there is nowhere for it to go. Would you use a body moisturiser on your face? No, because it would be too heavy. The same goes for the eye area. You are asking, no, begging for puffy eyes by using a face product on the delicate eye area. There are only a handful of products that have been tested as safe for use over the eyes. If it doesn't specify, don't do it. Even an eyecream (with half a dozen exceptions) doesn't get used directly over the eye: they are used around the bone of your eye socket. That is because the companies that produce them are afraid of how thin the skin is, so it is easier to make a product that will migrate from the bone toward the lash line. If you use too much, or go too close to the eye with a product, you will awake puffy. When that happens, you are stretching out the skin, and just like a favourite pair of knickers, the more you stretch, the less it goes back to its original shape!
Separate neck cream?
If there are no concerns for this skin, you can use your face products on the neck and throat. Some women use their body products, but the skin on the neck is better treated like your face. Think of this - your face ends at your bra. There, that should do it! If however you are concerned about floppy skin on your neck, you would be best to purchase a separate product. The skin is thicker than the skin of your face, so the product can actually be more intensive than what your face would allow.
There we go. That should debunk some of the myths about products, what they are for, and why you may want to consider that additional purchase. Nobody is saying they all need to be expensive - as a matter of fact I would say you should spend your money on the products that will make the biggest difference. If you can use a cheap eye make-up remover with no difficulty, there is no sane reason for you to spend double or triple on a different product. But if eye make-up removers are prone to stinging your eyes, buy a better product. If you do you will always get the most for your money and indeed out of your products.