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The benefits of using face toner in your skincare routine

The application of toner is the skincare step most people skip. It may look like there is no difference or no benefit from the toner, but that is wrong. In this post, I am going to discuss the benefits of using face toner in the skincare routine.

What is face toner?

In a very simple way, the toner is the product which goes after cleansing the skin and before the application of serums and creams.


I mentioned in previous posts how important is to keep clean skin. However, when cleansing the skin we are modifying its natural pH, which can bring different negative effects.

The toner is a completely liquid product, though sometimes it looks like water, which we apply after cleansing the skin to re-balance the natural skin pH and strengths the skin’s natural barrier. All the toners leave the skin ready for the application of other products.

Benefits of using a face toner

The use of toner has lots of beneficial properties for the skin, like:

  • Gives the skin a deeper cleansing. The toner helps to remove the excess makeup, dirt or even soap that remains on the skin after cleansing.
  • Balances the pH levels. That is maybe the main function of toner, to balance the pH which may be altered as a consequence of the cleansers.
  • Supports the rest of the skincare routine.
  • Hydrates the skin and reduces the size of the pores.
  • Refreshes and revitalises the skin
  • Increases blood circulation in the area
  • Smooths the skin texture

When and how should I apply the face toner?

The best step to apply the toner is just after cleansing the skin if you are not exfoliating or using a face mask. In this case, apply the toner just before the serum and cream application, just after the scrub and mask.

About how to apply the toner, you can do it mainly in three different ways.

Apply the toner using cotton or a reusable pad. Firstly wet the pad with toner and then apply it all over the face by tapping or in circular movements.

The problem with this way of application is that you waste a lot of product in the pad. However, the application with the pad helps to remove the last excess of makeup, dirt and soap.


Apply the toner using your hands. Drop first a few drops of the toner on the palm of the hands and then apply all over the face pressing the palms against the skin.

Apply the toner as a mist. That is how I apply it normally as it is very refreshing. First, transfer the toner to a spray bottle and then apply a few sprays on the face. The effect of the mist on the face is lovely.

Whatever the application you use, let the toner sit on the skin for at least 30 seconds before applying the next product.

Different types of face toner

The main function of the toner is to equilibrate the skin pH after the use of cleansers. However, most toners nowadays contain other types of ingredients which allow them to bring other benefits to the skin. The most frequent types of toner are:

  • Moisturising. This type of toner is ideal for any skin type but also people with dry skin would find them very useful. This type of toner will tone the skin without affecting the natural skin hydration or impacting the natural skin barrier. They normally contain moisturising ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and you can use them daily.
  • Exfoliating. These toners are a good option for people with oily or combination skin, mainly if they have some skin imperfections. This type of toner has an additional function which is to exfoliate the skin and eliminate dead cells. It is better to use this type of toner only in the nighttime routine and a maximum of 2-3 times a week. They normally contain alpha-hydroxy acids, especially glycolic acid.
  • Soothing. This type of toner is also for people with any skin type. However, people with sensitive skin will find it very appropriate also. They normally contain soothing ingredients like aloe vera and avoid the use of alcohol. You can use them morning and night.

Main ingredients in the face toners.

The main ingredients you will find in toner are obviously water and alcohol. However, it is very frequent to see toners claiming to be alcohol-free, as alcohol may irritate the skin.

Alcohol and water are the main but not the unique ingredients in a toner. Toners may contain other ingredients in small amounts such as salicylic acid, hamamelis, panthenol or benzoyl peroxide among others.

Some toners are rich in minerals and natural ingredients, which bring a refreshing feeling to the skin or even may contain thermal water (these toners are indicated for people with sensitive skin). They can also contain micellar water, marigold extract, chamomile, anti-oxidant ingredients and many others.

Always read the ingredient list and product claims to know what a toner can bring to your skin.

What toner shall I use if my skin is……?

It may not be easy to choose the right toner for your skin type with all the options available. As with other skincare products, you should consider different aspects before buying a toner, such as your skin type, skin concerns you may have, when you want to use the toner, etc.

I am going to give you some tips to help you choose the right toner for your skin type. So what toner shall I use if my skin is….


Most toners fight sebum excess but if your skin is oily you will find especially beneficial toners with mattifying ingredients such as salicylic acid or glycolic acid. Niacinamide is also a good ingredient for people with oily skin.

…. Acne-prone?

If your skin is prone to blemishes or acne breakouts try to use a toner with a lightweight formula. Avoid toners containing alcohol and go for toners with alpha or beta-hydroxy acids to unclog your pores.


…. Dry?

That is my skin type and I love toners containing hyaluronic acid and collagen. This type of toner will improve the moisturiser effects. Other good ingredients for people with dry skin are allantoin, almond oil, glycerine or vitamin E.

…. Sensitive?

The best toners for people with this skin type are soothing toners or toners with thermal water in the formula. Aloe vera and hamamelis are also good options for people with sensitive skin. Avoid toners containing alcohol.

…. Combination?

People with combination skin are lucky as they have the best characteristics of oily and dry skin types. People with this skin type need a toner which removes the excess oil while keeping your skin hydrated. Therefore, go for nourishing and anti-oxidant ingredients, like hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid or lactic acid.

…. Dull Skin?

Most of the time, dull skin is a consequence of environmental pollution and, therefore, a revitalising toner may help. Try to get a toner containing green tea extracts or vitamin C. Both ingredients are very good at fighting free radicals.

…. Sun-damaged or mature skin?

If that is your case you should look for anti-oxidant and moisturising toners. Ingredients like vitamin C or E are good anti-oxidants which will improve the skin tone, texture and, therefore, appearance. The presence of hyaluronic acid will help to keep skin hydrated while glycolic acid will encourage collagen production.

Which are my favourite toners?

I have dry and mature skin with hyperpigmentation caused by sun damage. I like toners containing hyaluronic acid, glycolic acid for nighttime application and rose water. My top five toners, all of them available at Lookfantastic, are:

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid Toner

A versatile AHA toner that seeks to smooth and brighten the complexion.


Pixi Glow Toner

Brighten and balance your complexion with the PIXI Glow Tonic. The innovative toner is enriched with glycolic acid, working to gently exfoliate your skin, deeply cleansing pores to promote an appearance with the look of blemishes and breakouts drastically minimised.


Sukin Hydrating Mist Toner

Sukin Hydrating Mist Toner combines German chamomile and rosewater to create a toner that soothes and tones the skin. It is therefore perfect for when the skin feels tired or stressed, the alcohol-free hydrating mist should be used after cleansing


Garnier Rose Toner

Soothe and nourish your skin with the Garnier Natural Rose Water Toner for Sensitive Skin. The ideal addition to your skincare routine, the lightweight formula glides across your base, absorbing fast to avoid any tightness or dryness.


Upcircle Mandarin and Chamomile Toner

UpCircle’s Face Toner is designed to refresh the skin.

Formulated with hyaluronic acid to help create a more hydrated complexion. The toner also features glycerin to support the skin’s moisture barrier. The face toner is enriched with anti-inflammatory green mandarin fruit extract to help calm the skin.

Infused with chamomile stem extract and cucumber extract, the toner helps to soothe and nourish. This product can also be used as a face mist to revitalise the skin during the day.


Do you regularly use toner? Which one is your favourite? Let me know in the comments and see you in the next post.


Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

I love beauty and skincare, try new products, and share my opinion with you. All my knowledge comes from years of experience and reading articles. I have dry skin, Fitzpatrick type IV, warm undertone, and my main concern is hyperpigmentation. Keep in mind that what works for me may not work for you. We are all different and products can have different results on your skin. Want to talk? Email me at contact@irenebeautyandmore.com

One Comment

  • Rima Adhikari

    23 May, 2022 at 10:28

    Actually I’m getting confused while i purchasing some makeup stuff but after ready thus blog i’m preety sure that which is the best toner according to my skin type. Thank you for the such a knowledgeable blog.


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