Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist -  Written by Akruti Khandkar (Journalist)  on 08th Jan 2021

How to Use a Toner in your Skincare Routine 

How to Use a Toner

TONER is a familiar name in the skincare industry — those thin containers loaded with clear or colored liquid. Face toner is a mysterious skincare weapon. It arrives in a water-based consistency formulated with different extracts like eucalyptus, guava, peppermint, aloe vera, papaya, etc.

These extracts differ in choices as per your skin needs. A toner's job is to invigorate your skin without stripping off its natural moisture tenderly. Most individuals believe that toners can aggravate delicate skin or cause excessive dryness, but it depends on the ingredients it contains. If your toner consists of alcohol, it can irritate sensitive skin.

Toner is a misinterpreted skincare item. It provides you with many benefits. In this article, we'll discuss in detail how a toner can be an essential skincare product.  

Toner! What is it?

A toner is a liquid intended to eliminate cosmetics, dirt, and oil right after cleansing. When you cleanse your face, there still can remain some dermis that can be the reason for acne; here comes the toner. It deeply cleanses your skin and makes sure no residue is left on the skin.

However, toners gained criticism owing to their reputation of being very drying. These days, toners work towards achieving a healthy outcome. Many are alcohol-free, so they are not as drying. Each recipe is extraordinary and may contain calming, moisturizing, exfoliating, and antioxidant ingredients.

Glycerin and different types of humectants are prime ingredients in toners. They can help hydrate your skin & leave it feeling milder and smoother.  

Depending on the recipe, there are three types of tones available in the market:  

Toners without alcohol can decrease the abundance of oil on the skin's exterior while benefiting skin from aging by acting as an exfoliant.  

  • Fresheners: the mildest type of toners, they are alcohol-free and are great for all skin types.  
  • Tonics: they contain very less alcohol content and are generally reasonable for oily, dry, and combination skin.  
  • Astringents: the harshest type of toners contain ingredients with a lot of alcohol content and aren't appropriate for anybody. Maintain a strategic distance from these!  


As astringents are intended to purge excess oil from the skin, they are best for oily skin types, as this type is susceptible to breakouts.

According to Mona Gohara, in the 80s and 90s, toners were alcohol-based astringents that were used to wipe away the oil on the face. This can be the reason why toners have a mixed reputation.  

How does toner benefit your skin?  

One of the famous benefits of toner is pore-reduction. It likewise balances the skin's pH levels, re-establishing an acidic state so that skin is cleaned and better ready to retain moisture and other valuable ingredients from serums and creams applied after.

Anyway, is toner the utmost important product? The answer is no. But if used with the correct ingredients, it can benefit you amazingly.

According to Dr. Gohara, 

Toners are beneficial for individuals with combination skin who need proper care in certain areas. For example, toners with hyaluronic acid can be applied to the areas in need of extra hydration. Toners with AHAs and BHAs can be used in the areas where your pores need a little more effort.

Why is there a hype about toner?  

Properly formulated toners stacked with essential ingredients can change how your skin looks and feels after cleaning.

The motivation behind toners is to renew and nourish skin after eliminating cosmetics and dirt. A toner can rapidly equip the skin with liberal antioxidants, hydrating ingredients, and calming agents. A perfect toner improves the skin's surface, giving skin what it needs to look fresher, smoother, and hydrated. It additionally serves to eliminate those last traces of makeup. When you begin utilizing a perfect toner, the outcomes will be irrefutable.  

What is this perfect toner we talk about? 

When you pick your toner, there are a couple of points you should keep in mind 

  • Pick one according to your skin type: if you have dry skin, choose one with a large group of hydrating ingredients, and if you have oilier skin, it's ideal for searching out a lightweight formula as a heavy toner can clog your pores. 
  • Always look for specific ingredients: ingredients play a crucial role in toners.  
  • Hyaluronic acid for dry skin 
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  • Ceramide (a lipid molecule that holds skin together to prevent moisture loss)  
  • Antioxidants 
  • Alpha Hydroxy Acid/Beta Hydroxy Acid for oily skin 
  • Glycerin 
  • Willowherb 
  • Skin-restoring ingredients 
  • Panthenol (commonly used as a moisturizer to improve wound healing in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products)  

Stay away from certain ingredients: many ingredients are harmful to the skin and cause irritation. 

  • Denatured alcoho
  • Witch hazel (although a natural astringent and anti-inflammatory, it can cause face tingling and itching)
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  • Fragrance 
  • Essential oils 
  • Menthol  

Dr. Gohara adds Alcohol-based toner can strip away your essential lipids and proteins that shut down the irritants from your skin. 


For individuals with sensitive skin, make sure to examine the ingredients. Toners can contain some tricky ingredients, which can cause future problems. Boycott toners with fragrant concentrates, for example, organic citrus products, rosewater, or essential oils. Such excessively fragrant toners are a typical reason for responses that negatively affect the skin.  

Toners can multitask. Here's how:

  • Deep Cleansing: it removes the left-over pollutants from the skin after cleansing. They'll dispose of any traces of make-up that your standard cleanser missed.
  • Maintaining pH Balance: it helps to restore the pH balance of the skin. Skin usually is acidic, with a pH level of around 5.5. Some cleansers and exfoliants are alkaline. Utilizing an item with a different pH level to your skin can upset its nature, possibly prompting dryness, itchiness, or aggravation. Although your skin's pH can recover within hours, a toner can be utilized to adjust levels rapidly.  
  • Act as a supporter: Utilizing a toner can help your skin better ingest different items you use. When your skin is very dehydrated, different ingredients will sit on top. When hydrated with a toner, these ingredients can infiltrate the skin and work all the more viably. 
  • Oil-safeguard: Keep oil creation in control and decrease shininess. Toners can eliminate the overabundance of oil and grime developed during the day or night.
  • Balanced composition: Toners don't simply give additional exfoliation. It also revitalizes skin with extracts that work as a traditional cleanser. The outcome is milder and smoother skin. Formulas matter in toner (or any product) it can help stubborn issues like redness and acne if appropriately formulated.  
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  • Minimizes pores: as it eliminates the last hints of earth, grime, and contamination stuck in your pores after you wash your face, it can have a significant impact on the appearance and tightness of your pores
  • Forestalls acne and acne problems: when sweat, oil, and dirt become obstructed in the pores, it leads to acne. Oily skin is more inclined to breakouts. Toners are useful in treating this. By eliminating oil development, build-up, an

According to a study of Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, the three-step skincare routine including cleanser, toner, and acne treatment showed significant improvement in acne issues including red and inflamed skin, open, closed comedones (skin-colored small bumps) and papules (small bump with no fluid) and overall appearance of the skin.  

How should you incorporate toner in your skincare routine?  

Concerning application, clean your face with a physical or chemical cleanser, then you'll need to splash a cotton ball with the toner and tenderly move it across the skin after your favorite cleanser.

This double cleansing process ensures to wipe out all the dirt and microorganisms left on your skin. This must be your second step, so it prepares the skin to retain your moisturizer, SPF, and any other medicine like eye cream applied after. Remember using your toner for both your day and night skincare routine. Use the toner right after your cleanser, as it penetrates easily when the skin is wet. However, this advice works in every active ingredient case. Dr. Gohara recommends using toner if you need extra care on certain areas of your skin; it's not essential but is a cherry on the top. 


water-based toner consists of beneficial ingredients like minerals antioxidants like niacinamide (which can assist with skin inflammation) without drying the skin out. This is the sort of toner you need to utilize.  

How does facial toner maintain the pH balance?  

If you are on the hunt for sound looking skin, then maintaining adjusted skin pH levels is important. But what is skin pH level? Research directed by the Skin pharmacology and physiology clarifies that the pH characterizes the skin's alkalinity or acidity, ranging between 0 (most acidic) to 14 (most alkaline). Your skin's normal pH is around 5.5, which is somewhat acidic.

However, using products containing solid surfactants or some other magnificent creams may upset the pH levels of your skin. Imbalanced pH skin levels can lead to break-outs, acne, irritation, signs of aging, dry patches, and other problems.

This is where facial toner steps in. Facial Toners are detailed to re-establish the normal pH balance of your skin while limiting your pores, in this way loaning you sound and impeccable skin. Another huge toner capacity is they help to fortify the skin's proactive boundary to forestall the early indications of aging.  

Do you know:

Toner with Guava extracts further decreases oiliness on your forehead and nose more effectively than your regular toner. Individuals should try out any new toner on a small part of their skin to dodge likely disturbance. 


Toners have become an essential part of the skincare routine. However, remember, every skin type is unique and has various necessities. Understanding the necessities of your skin is imperative for finding the correct toner for yourself. Start by recognizing your skin type, and afterward, pick a characteristic water-based toner that is generally appropriate for you. Ensure that your toner doesn't contain unsafe synthetic substances. Consistent use of toner will guarantee hydration. The motivation behind the toner is to keep your skin hydrated. Always pick alcohol free toner to save your skin from dryness.