face toner



What Does Face Toner Do And What Is The Correct Way To Use It?

April 29, 2021 By

What does face toner do, and how can you best incorporate it into your skincare regimen? 

The basic “cleanse, tone, moisturize” skincare routine has been around for ages (and still holds water to this day), but it seems skin toner and its major benefits aren’t as praised as that of facial cleansers and moisturizers.

It could be because that same age-old skincare routine involved harsh toners with alcohol. Since skin toner was meant to remove all traces of dirt, it also meant stinging, drying, and an overall unpleasant experience. Back in the day, toners were often astringent formulas that triggered skin issues for sensitive skin types. 

But not anymore — there’s much to be said about toners today. Read on to learn more about what role facial toners should play in your beauty skincare routine, the awesome active ingredients (and skincare benefits) you’ll find in today’s toner formulations, and see which kind might work best for your routine. You surely won’t be skipping this skincare step anymore.

Facts First: What is Face Toner?

Toner isn’t meant to strip your skin of traces of oil and leftover makeup — a good face cleanser should be enough to do so. Today, toners function as targeted skincare, delivering an instant dose of potent ingredients to help you achieve your skincare goals. These ingredients may include exfoliating actives that gently lift off dead skin cells, revealing fresher skin that’s prepped and ready for additional skincare products.1

rose water toner

Toners are generally lightweight but very concentrated. They’re meant to be easily absorbed by the skin for an instant boost of hydration. Water-based toner formulas may help combat moisture loss from cleansing. They also help soften your skin, readying it for your serums, creams, and SPF — letting these heavier formulas work their magic more efficiently.2

Think of toner as a pore prepper, and any other skincare benefits are subject to what other beneficial ingredients your chosen product contains.

From Hydration To Anti-Aging: What Are The Benefits Of A Face Toner?

There are many types of toners available, and they all promise some combination of the following benefits. Generally, toners are designed to:

Help Support Your Other Skincare Products 

Toners can help balance your skin’s natural pH levels. This allows the other skincare products in your routine to better sink into your skin, helping make them more effective.3

Remove Excess Oil And Impurities Without Drying 

The alcohol content in old-school toners went a little overboard in removing oil, stripping skin of essential moisture. But today’s alcohol-free toners are still able to gently lift off stubborn dirt and excess oil you may have missed from your initial cleanse without stripping your skin.4

Hydrate Skin

Instead of drying the skin, many toners actually help add moisture. Thanks to popular toner ingredients like hyaluronic acid and amino acids, skin can now more efficiently replenish and hold on to moisture lost from cleansing or environmental factors.5

Support Clear Skin

Everyone can benefit from a good toner — even those with oily skin. Some formulas contain natural or botanical ingredients that help support healthy skin by zapping bacteria that may lead to breakouts.6

Support A Healthy Skin Barrier 

Since toners help clean and tighten pores, your skin’s natural protective barrier is better protected. This may help it further repel impurities. Some sensitive skin conditions react to the minerals in tap water used during cleansing, and the right toner can help safeguard against this.7

Which Kind Of Toner Should I Use?

With all these potential benefits, it’s important to choose the best toner formulation suited to your specific skin care needs or goals. 

It all comes down to bridging the gap between your skin type and the specific skin concerns you’d like to address. Make sure to read the ingredient label of your toner product and keep an eye out for these ingredients. Overall, your choice of toner should give you healthy skin you’d be happy to show off.

different skin types chart

And, if you have any concerns about what might work best for you, ask a skin care professional for their recommendations.

Dry Skin Or Mature Skin: Hydrating Toner

Drier skin types always need a bit of extra moisture. Look for a hydrating toner with hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, and other plant extracts that help keep skin hydrated and youthful-looking.8

Dull Skin: Exfoliating Toner

Toners with chemical exfoliants, like glycolic acid and alpha hydroxy acids, can gently exfoliate dead cells and clogged pores, revealing fresher and glowing skin.9

Acne-Prone Skin And Sensitive Skin: Alcohol-Free Formulas With Soothing Ingredients

You can still use a toner to help support healthy skin and mattify, but you don’t need to use drying or harsh alcohol-based toner to do so. Look for skin-soothing ingredients instead — aloe vera, witch hazel, and gentle acid toners may help promote glowing, healthy-looking skin without adding to sensitivity.10

How Should I Apply Toner?

how to use face toner

Toners should be applied after cleansing. You can use a cotton pad or cotton balls soaked with your chosen products to gently swipe it across your face and neck. Alternatively, you can put a few drops on your clean fingertips and gently pat the product directly onto your skin, until it is fully absorbed. Follow up with moisturizer and serums after.11

Toner May Offer A Lifetime Of Potential Benefits

With such a large array of skin toners offering various benefits out in the market today, you’d be doing your skin a disservice if you skip this step. Toner only takes a couple of seconds to swipe on, but it may help to enhance the appearance of youthful, healthy skin. Your beauty routine should never be without it.


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