What Is Face Toner Used For and Do I Need One?

Learn how a face toner can make your skin velvety, younger, and more radiant! You don't think you need one? Well, you might want to reconsider, and here's why.

October 30, 2021 5 minutes read
Woman holding two face toners

In This Post

We completely understand that you might be overwhelmed by the number of cosmetic products available out there. The market is flooded with all sorts of innovative formulas for every possible skin type: sensitive, dry, oily, combination, mature, acne-prone...

Needless to say, you can go nuts trying to choose the right one in the sea of different products. They all promise great results, and you are tempted to try this and that, but you don't know where to start, and you can't try them all at once.

However, there is something that should be a part of your basic skincare routine. No matter your skin tone or type – it could be young, fully mature, or somewhere in the middle – a toner will offer some huge benefits for your complexion.

A face toner is exactly that connecting link you need to add to your beauty collection for your skin's optimal care.

What Exactly Is a Face Toner?

Different toners contain different acids, antioxidants, glycerin, and anti-inflammatory agents. It's a water-based liquid that penetrates the skin fast and delivers hydration while removing dirt and dead skin cells off the skin's surface at the same time.

woman applying face toner with a cotton pad

It's an in-between skincare step that should be used after cleansing and before applying a moisturizer or serum. Think of it as a prepping step that sweeps away all the impurities and helps your skin better absorb other products.

There are many benefits to this secret beauty weapon. If used regularly in your daily skincare routine, you will notice significant positive impacts on your complexion's appearance.

Curious to know what those benefits are?

Benefits of Using a Face Toner

As we already mentioned before, toners are used after washing your face to remove any last traces of grime and dirt stuck in your pores. So, it should be the second step of your daily a.m and p.m. skincare routine, right after cleansing and before applying moisturizer and skin treatment.

face toner and cotton pads

But, don't use it as a shortcut or replacement for a proper face wash. Think of it as an added bonus to your face cleanser.

So, what can toners do for your skin?

A well-formulated toner will complement your cleanser and gently get rid of excess dirt, oils, and makeup without over-drying your skin. It has several additional benefits, such as:

Toners shouldn't contain alcohols but rather ingredients that replenish and hydrate your skin. It would be best to look for toners with algae extract, amino acids, hyaluronic acid, grapefruit oil, and carrot root oil.

However, you must be wondering – Can I beat pimple-triggering bacteria without alcohol?

You definitely can! There are many other, safer ways to combat these. Some natural ingredients with antibacterial activity, such as propolis and chamomile, are great at fighting these nasty little pests.

Which Toner is Best For My Skin Type?

The majority of us have either predominantly oily or dry skin types. Those of you born under a lucky star have a 'normal' complexion that sits nicely somewhere in the middle.

woman choosing face toner

When choosing a toner, you should be mindful of your skin type and target specific ingredients in the formula.

Here are some pointers that can help you out:

#1: Toners for Acne-Prone skin.

If you have acne problems, blemishes, and blackheads, the best toner for you is a mild exfoliant that removes excess oil. Try products that contain salicylic acid or other natural alternatives, such as tea tree oil, chamomile, and propolis [source]. These agents gently remove dead skin cells and unclog pores while also promoting collagen production and cell turnover [source].

#2: Toners for Oily Skin.

Bentonite clay, witch hazel, niacinamide, and tea tree oil are ideal active ingredients for this skin type, as they control shine, purify congested pores, and act as natural astringents [source].

Again, we can't stress enough how important it is to avoid alcohol, especially in your leave-on products or products that come in direct contact with your skin. Alcohols will dry out your skin, irritate it, and trigger the sebaceous gland to produce even more oil.

#3: Toners for Large Pores.

Basically, everything we listed for oily skin can apply here as well. Also, target toners that contain amino fruit acids, lactic acid, and glycolic acid [source]. They exfoliate the skin by removing the dead cells that accumulate in the pores.

#4: Toners for Combination Skin.

Lactic acid does wonders for combination skin type. It gently exfoliates while at the same time hydrates the skin. It's great for sensitive skin as well since it doesn't make the skin thinner [source].

#5: Toners for Dry Skin.

You should gun for toners that hydrate and promote moisturizer absorption. Stay far away from harsh chemicals such as alcohols as they dry out even more. Look for toners with hyaluronic acid [source], or glycerin, and emollient-like moisturizers that soothe, hydrate, and soften the skin [source].

If you want to opt for a more natural alternative, go for essential oils such as lavender, carrot seed, cucumber seed, or geranium essential oil, as well as toners that contain rice extract.

#6: Toners for Normal Skin.

Co-enzyme Q10, combined with hyaluronic acid, makes a perfect toner for normal skin. Q10 acts as a powerful antioxidant while, hyaluronic acid replenishes the moisture, leaving the skin hydrated and soft [source].

#7: Toners for Mature Skin.

Aloe Vera and vitamin C are godsends for mature skin. Aloe Vera soothes irritated skin and moisturizes at the same time. And antioxidant-rich vitamin C fights free radicals protecting the skin and aiding in the battle against aging [source].

#8: Toners for Dull Skin.

To bring the glow back, use toners with natural exfoliants such as papaya extract or ingredients that have a brightening effect, such as rice extract or lactic acid. Aloe Vera, chamomile, and calendula are very soothing and hydrating, and they can bring your dull skin back to life [source].

#9: Toners for Sensitive Skin.

Thanks to its soothing properties, Aloe Vera is also very beneficial for sensitive skin [source]. Besides that, this skin type can benefit from algae or amino acids. They are incredibly effective in skin detox and gently remove the grime that irritates the skin.

How to Use Face Toner

face toner spray and liquid on cotton balls

Once you determined your skin type and chose the toner accordingly, it's time to go through its application method. Let's go through the whole process, step by step:

Step #1: Wash your face using a gentle cleanser without alcohol or harsh soaps. Rinse with lukewarm water and tap dry.

Step #2: It's time for your toner. They come in liquid and spray form. So you can directly sprinkle the mist onto your face or use your fingers or cotton pads to gently dab it all over the face, avoiding the area around the eyes.

Step #3: Allow your skin to properly absorb your toner it before your next skincare step. Now it's time to treat your skin using serums, spot treatments, masks, or others.

Step #4: Use your toner in the mornings and evenings, followed by your daily moisturizing cream and sunscreen during the day or a rich and nourishing cream before bed.

For refreshing in the morning and soothing in the evening, a toner is an absolute must-have, even if you've decided to keep the number of products you use in your skincare routine to a minimum!

To Wrap Up...

We believe that now you have a better picture of how vital toners are and why you should never skip this step in your daily face cleansing regimen. Hopefully, we managed to convince you to at least give it a shot.

Use the one designed for your skin type, apply it properly, and your skin will reward you with a healthy, glowing, and smooth look and feel!

how to use face toner infographic


Is face toner necessary?

Face toner isn't necessary but it can offer some great benefits for your skin, like hydrating and anti-aging. In addition, when used properly, after cleansing your face, face toner will balance your skin's PH.

Can I use face toner every day?

Yes, you can use face toner daily, after your morning and evening cleansing. In the mornings, follow up with a moisturizer and SPF, and in the evenings, apply your night cream or mask.

How do you use face toner?

Wash your face using a gentle cleanser, and then apply your face toner. You can dab it on your skin using your fingers or a cotton pad.

Is Rose water a toner?

You can use rose water as your face toner. Rose water is filled with flavonoids, plant oils, tannins, saponin, triterpenoids as well as vitamins A and C. Therefore, it offers a plethora of skin benefits, such as anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, hydrating, and balancing the skin's PH.

What is the purpose of toner?

Face toners are used as the last step of your cleansing routine to remove any last traces of makeup or dirt, rebalance the PH of your skin, and prepare it for the following skincare steps. In addition, many toners have additional skin benefits, such as hydrating, anti-aging, and soothing.

Which face toner is best?

It all depends on your skin type and needs. If your skin needs more hydration, choose toners with hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and others. If you're battling with acne and oily skin, go for toners that contain witch hazel, salicylic acid, niacinamide, or tea tree oil.

...Liked what you read?