Face Toner For Skin: Benefits, How To Apply, & When To Use

Best ways to incorporating facial toner in your daily skin care routine and maximize its benefits.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Nermeen BedairDr. Nermeen Bedair, MD, PhD (Dermatology)
Written by Arshiya SyedaArshiya Syeda  • 

If you do not have the time to follow a 10-step skin care routine every day, you can stick to a basic cleansing and moisturizing routine. However, if you have noticed dullness on your face, you should include face toner for skin brightening. But, how do you apply face toner? What are the uses of face toner? And why is it necessary?

It simply takes a few minutes to apply this liquid to your face, and it offers you a beautiful glow as well as other advantages. Here are some essential things to know about toners if you are unsure about what they are or how to use them. Keep reading about the cosmetic uses of toner!

​What Is A Face Toner?

A face toner is a water-like liquid that is used between cleansing and moisturizing. A skin toner’s purpose is to remove dead cells from your skin and provide hydration. It also acts as a primer for other products.

If you are thinking, “What does toner do for your face?”, keep reading to know about the multiple benefits of face toner!

protip_icon Did You Know?
Toners are divided into four types based on their alcohol content. Skin fresheners (<10% alcohol), skin tonics (up to 20% alcohol), acid toners (AHAs and BHAs), and traditional astringents (20-60% alcohol).

So other than deep cleansing, what does toner do for your skin? Find out the other benefits of this product below.

Benefits Of Face Toner

While more research is required to confirm the benefits of toners, anecdotal evidence suggests that this product can improve your skin health in many ways. Let’s see why the beauty community insists on adding toners to your skin care routine.

1. Reduces Visibly Large Pores

Woman with large pores may benefit from using face toner.
Image: Shutterstock

The use of toner can improve your skin texture over time, leading to smaller pores. Toners with glycolic acids act as pore minimizers and are said to be great for reducing large, prominent pores as they wipe away dirt and dead cells around a pore, thus making it less visible.

2. Increases The Efficacy Of Other Products

As stated earlier, facial toners are known to act as primers for other skin care products. The pH-balancing properties of a refreshing toner in better absorption and penetration of creams and serums. This is why it helps in improving the efficacy of your moisturizer or other products.

3. Removes Impurities

The most important benefit of a face toner is its deep cleansing properties. Toning lotion helps you remove not just excess oil or sebum but also dirt, dead skin cells, and makeup. A skin toner will wash away stubborn impurities that do not get removed by your cleanser, leaving behind a squeaky clean face.

4. Protects The Skin

Woman with skin inflammation may benefit from using face toner.
Image: Shutterstock

A toner can protect your skin from acne, inflammation, and infections by removing grime, sebum, and oil. Repeated use will also cause your pores to shrink and reduce the chances of impurities getting into your skin.

5. Anti-Aging Benefits

With all the above benefits combined, your skin will be healthier and show lesser signs of aging. Facial toners that contain alpha-hydroxy acids can minimize fine lines and hyperpigmentation (1). Smaller pores also give your face a more youthful look.

protip_icon StyleCraze Says
Acid toners may also help manage ingrown hairs. The exfoliating effects of the acids can tease out the razor bumps and further prevent scarring.

Now that you know what toner does for your face, check out the next section to understand how to use toner correctly to make the most of it for your skin.

How To Apply Face Toner

Woman applying face toner.
Image: Shutterstock

For best results, soak a cotton ball with the toner of your choice and gently blot your face. This applies to all types of skin toner. If you need a quicker application, many toners come in spray bottle packaging. In that case, just spritz it all over your face.

Ideally, a skin toner is applied after washing your face and before moisturizing it. However, if you want to skip the moisturizer, you can choose a gentle and hydrating skin toner that does both jobs well.

Apply any serum after toning as the product will penetrate deeper into your skin. After applying toner, your skin is also primed for makeup and will make the application smoother.

Find out how often you should use a toner in the next section.

How Often Should You Use Face Toner?

A facial toner is safe to be used almost every day. However, how often you use face toner depends on your skin type or concerns.

Generally, people with normal skin can use it daily, but other skin types may use it depending on how their skin reacts to it. As such, it is advisable to start with applying it once every alternate day to see how your skin reacts and then eventually build up the frequency to every day or twice daily.

The type of toner you use may also impact the results of the product on your skin. Therefore, make sure to choose a facial toner that suits your skin type. A soothing and hydrating toner can be safely used up to twice a day.

Let’s answer an important question.

Are Face Toners Suitable For All Skin Types?

Woman with oily skin may benefit from using face toner.
Image: Shutterstock

Face toners are most beneficial to oily skin and though it is suitable for all skin types, toners should be used with caution in individuals with dry or sensitive skin. Therefore it is important to keep in mind that different skin concerns should be addressed with the correct type of toner.

Reading the ingredients label is of utmost importance while buying a face toner suitable for your skin. Here are some ingredients to look for while choosing the best skin toner for your skin type:

  • Oily Skin: Choose a skin toner with alpha and beta hydroxy acids such as lactic acid, salicylic acid, or glycolic acid. These will help remove all the excess oil and dead cells from your skin. According to anecdotal evidence, they can also decrease the appearance of large pores.
  • Dry Skin: Dry skin is more prone to damage by a wrong toner. Look for a toner with hyaluronic acid, which is an excellent humectant (2). This will replenish your parched skin and soothe it. Other ingredients like glycerine, aloe vera, chamomile, and cucumber are also some good options to look for. Stay away from alcohol and witch hazel if you have dry skin.
  • Dull Skin: If you want to get rid of dullness, anecdotal evidence suggests choosing a face toner with natural clarifying ingredients like salicylic acid. It is gentle and will help in reducing the pore size. Vitamin C is also known to give a glow to your face.
  • Sensitive Skin: A gentle toner that contains rose water, aloe vera, or chamomile can soothe sensitive skin and aid deep cleansing. Hyaluronic acid will also be a great addition as it keeps the skin hydrated.
  • Acne-Prone Skin: Acne is caused mainly due to excess oil, so look for ingredients like zinc, witch hazel, or tea tree extracts. This will help in reducing excess acne breakouts, redness, and skin irritation.

In addition, if you have combination skin, incorporating an alcohol-free toner into your facial care routine can be a game-changer.

Face toners are generally safe to use and work on all skin types. But, can you use this product after hair removal treatments? Read the next section to find out.

Is A Toner Safe For My Face Even After Hair Removal?

Woman uses soothing toner to avoid irritation.
Image: Shutterstock

Generally, face toners are safe for application after treatments like waxing, epilating, shaving, etc. Even after hair removal procedures like laser, it is often okay to use a skin toner on your skin.

However, keep in mind that the toner must contain naturally soothing ingredients or be gentle in its formulation for post-shaving or post-laser treatment. Make sure it does not contain ingredients like retinol, alcohol, or vitamin C. These ingredients can cause irritation or penetrate deeper to cause dryness.

A facial toner best suited for post-shaving application would be witch hazel. It is a natural ingredient and will give your skin a soothing effect after shaving, especially if you have sensitive skin.

To avoid any adverse reaction, irritation, or breakouts, it is advised that you carry out a small patch test on your arm before you apply toner all over your face. If the patch test does not cause visible redness or irritation, you can safely apply it to your face.

Next, let’s explore the major difference between astringent and skin toner.

What Is The Difference Between A Toner And An Astringent?

The traditional facial toner was also known as an astringent. While it did do the same work, it was quite unpopular for the resulting dryness. The reason was the content of alcohol in this product.

An astringent is made up of solvent alcohols. These alcohol formulations are great for oily skin but over-drying for others. An astringent can be exceptionally harsh for sensitive skin, owing to its drying abilities. Examples of an astringent are rubbing alcohol, distilled vinegar, silver nitrate, etc.

On the other hand, new-age skin toners are formulated with more gentle ingredients. They contain lesser amounts of alcohol or may also come in an alcohol-free formulation, making them suitable for most skin types. A face toner is safe for everyday use, whereas an astringent can make your skin dry and flaky if used daily.

Thus, it is advisable to use an astringent for bug bites, irritation, and fungal infections. For daily use, a skin toner is a better choice.

Infographic: How Toners Elevate Your Skin Care Game

Facial toners contain soothing, pH-balancing, and nourishing ingredients that offer extra hydration to your skin, minimize the appearance of pores, and do a lot more. Check out the infographic below to learn why facial toners can be absolute game-changers in your skin care routine.

how toners elevate your skin care game (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Save the high-quality PDF version on your device now.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

For those looking to take their cleansing and moisturizing skincare routine to the next level, you should include face toner for your skin. Face toners are water-like liquid that removes dead cells and makeup and provides moisturization. Additionally, anecdotal evidence suggests that toners provide better absorption of other products, shrink large pores, and reduce fine lines. To reap the benefits of your toner, soak it in a cotton ball and gently apply it to your skin. While toners are suitable for all types, initially use every alternate day before increasing the frequency to every day.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is rose water a toner?

Yes. Rose water is a natural toner that has been used for centuries. It is made by distilling rose petals with steam.

Is aloe vera gel a toner?

You can use aloe vera gel as a toner. Mix one part of aloe vera gel with two parts of water to prepare a DIY aloe toner.

Should I use a toner in the morning?

Yes, you can – though you also can use a toner at any time of the day. Apply it to your face immediately after using a face wash.

Can I use toner on my lips?

Yes. You can use toner on your lips. This helps get rid of dead skin cells and flakiness on your lips.

Which is better: toner or moisturizer?

Moisturizer is the most important skin care product to use regardless of skin type. Also, it has many benefits over a toner as it offers skin hydration, helps replenish your skin, and gets absorbed fast.

Key Takeaways

  • Skin toner removes dead cells from your skin and provides hydration.
  • It can protect your skin from acne, inflammation, and infections by removing grime, sebum, and oil.
  • Skin toner with alpha and beta hydroxy acids such as lactic acid, salicylic acid, or glycolic acid is good for oily skin.

Learn how to use facial toner to keep your skin looking healthy and glowing. Check out this video to get useful tips on the best products and techniques.


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Hydroxy Acids the Most Widely Used Anti-aging Agents
  2. Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin aging
Was this article helpful?
The following two tabs change content below.

Latest Articles