Cleanse, tone, moisturise. That's how the beauty mantra goes. It's the law, the 11th commandment. Forget killing, adultery or coveting thy neighbour's oxen; straying from the cleanse, tone, moisturise rigmarole is made out by the beauty industry to be the real sin, punishable by I'm not quite sure what, but it's bound to be nasty and probably involves wrinkles.
Anyway, I've never been into following rules, at least not ones that weren't made up by me; and in my book toning is, whisper it, a complete waste of time. Cleansing is a pretty darned obvious necessity, unless a dirty, greasy face is the look you're going for. And I don't know a single black woman for whom moisturising isn't a necessity, either (or man, for that matter, though they do sometimes come a little late to the party - better late then never, though, eh?).
But toning? Give me a break. I view toning in the same way I view Pilates and reading my bank statements: life is too short. No one has ever convinced me exactly what the point of it is, what its job is, its raison d'être? Beyond ensuring we buy yet another product and have yet another thing to feel guilty for not doing. Yes, I know toning is supposed to remove any remaining make-up, but how hard can it be to wash your face properly?
Toning is also hailed as "closing the pores", or should that be opening them? Whichever, it sounds pretty dubious to me. Besides, even if it is true, many a beauty expert has told me in confidence that a splash of cold water has the same effect as a toner, and that's free (and much less hassle than the whole cotton wool malarkey that toning involves).
Then there's the "removes the last of your cleanser" argument - um, I refer the honourable gentlemen back to the cold water argument. And let's not forget my personal favourite, that toning "rebalances the pH of the skin". Well, deeply scientific as that sounds, I ain't buying it. Or, rather, I have yet to see the evidence that my skin gives a phuck about its pH.