How to Use Face Toner, What It Is and Benefits

A woman applying a face toner with cotton pads

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Do you know when and how to use face toner and how to pick the right one for you? Stick around and find out.

Face toners are making a big comeback! Till recently, they have been frowned upon as they used to be skin drying products that seemed to be doing more harm than good. But this new generation of face toners surely has a lot to offer to your skin without those horrific side effects.

The new toner formulas offer that extra little advantage that makes the difference between an OK looking skin and a bright, toned, fresh looking perfection. They are a very important step of any skincare routine, no matter your skin type.

The uses of face toner are so broad and versatile, there’s practically no one that couldn’t benefit from some of them. But only if you know how to use face toner correctly and how to choose the one that will suit you perfectly.

The Benefits and Uses of Face Toner

Here are just some of the benefits of face toner:

  • Face cleanser can’t always remove all traces of dirt and makeup. Even cleanser itself can leave some residue on your skin. But face toner can collect all those stubborn little bastards and remove them from your face.
  • It balances the pH of your skin, which can be disrupted after a cleanser.
  • Face toner creates a perfect base for a face serum or a moisturizer and helps your skin to absorb it better.
  • Most face toners have astringent properties. They tighten the skin and reduce the appearance of enlarged pores.
  • By shrinking the pores, toner prevents the dirt and bacteria to build up. That way, it can prevent and help you treat the existing acne and blackheads.
  • Some toners contain powerful humectants that can plump up dehydrated skin and get you rid of dull complexion.
  • Regular usage of face toner refreshes your face and evens out your complexion.
  • Toners are well adjusted to the skin type they are meant to treat. They are a great extra step in your skincare routine that can make a real difference in your skin’s appearance.

How to Use Face Toner Correctly

How often to use face toner?

You should be using a face toner after your face cleanser and before a moisturizer. (Here you can find more details on the exact order of skincare products.)

For normal or dry skin type, it is enough to use face toner once a day, but for oily skin type or acne prone skin, you can use it both in the morning and at night.

If you have problems with excess oil or enlarged pores, use your toner in the morning, to prepare your skin for makeup and make it look great throughout the day. If, on the other hand, your toner contains ingredients that can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun, better leave it for your nighttime routine.

How to use face toner?

So, now that you know when, let’s see how to use face toner:

First, wash your face and remove any makeup. Lightly press a clean towel to your face to collect excess water.

Then, using a cotton ball, apply a small amount of your face toner to your whole face (you can also apply it to your neck and décolletage). Pay a special attention to the problematic areas, which most often means your T-zone.

Then, while your skin is still damp from the toner, apply a moisturizer suitable for your skin type.

The two biggest misconceptions about applying a toner are that you could be using a face toner instead of a face cleanser and that after you apply a toner, you should wait for it to dry completely before applying a moisturizer.

However, even though it can collect some traces of dirt and makeup your cleanser has missed, face toner cannot replace a cleanser. And it is always better to apply a moisturizer to a slightly damp skin because it will be much better absorbed and used.

How to Choose the Right Face Toner for You

The most important thing is to make sure to use only alcohol-free toners. Other than that, choose a toner that suits your skin type.

For example, if you have sensitive skin prone to irritations, try to find a toner that contains aloe vera, chamomile, white tea extract, vitamin B derivatives and other soothing agents. Also, in the beginning, don’t use your toner every day. Start by using it once every other day and give your skin some time to get used to it.

Our recommendation: Eau Thermale Avène Gentle Toner

Aging skin will mostly benefit from hydrating toners packed with antioxidants, vitamin C and E.

Our recommendation: Origins A Perfect World Age-Defense Treatment Lotion 

Toners for dry skin are usually hydrating and soothing. They help your moisturizer sink deeper and better nourish your skin. What you want to see on the label are rose water, chamomile, green tea and humectants (hyaluronic acid, glycerin etc.)

Our recommendation: Clinique Clarifying Lotion 1 for Unisex, Very Dry to Dry Skin

Oily skin type and acne prone skin can also be very dehydrated and could definitely use humectants. You will also need your face toner to gently exfoliate your skin, remove excess oil and unclog your pores. AHAs or salicylic acid can help you with that but be careful not to overuse them. If, for example, your cleanser contains salicylic acid, you don’t need it in your toner as well.

Our recommendation: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Micro-Exfoliating Astringent Toner 

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