Facial Toners: Step-By-Step Guide

Facial toners, known also as tonics, lotions, astringents are solutions that remove surface skin cells, soap residue and oil from the skin. They are often heavy on water and alcohol and sometimes contain other ingredients like salicylic acid, witch hazel, benzoyl peroxide. A good toner will remove surface oils and debris which may be helpful for oily or acne-prone skin. A big misconception is that a toner will close enlarged pores, but actually it gives the appearance of minimizing pores as the toner irritate the skin and make it swell slightly. The toners remove excess oil from the skin, whisk away impurities that usually lead to blemishes and breakouts.

The benefits:

  1. Remove dirt and makeup residue
  2. Complement the cleansing process
  3. Refine pores and tighten pores temporarily
  4. Make skin feel fresh and clean
  5. Remove excess oil from the skin
  6. Refresh tired complexion
  7. Whisk away impurities
  8. Reduce the appearance of fine lines
  9. Increase blood circulation
  10. Restore your skin’s natural pH balance
  11. Improve skin tone
  12. Reduce oil secretion
  13. Improve the elimination of toxins
  14. Speed up cell turnover
  15. Promote sloughing of dead skin cells

Most of the dermatologists say that if you cleanse your face regularly twice a day with the appropriate skincare products you can go without a toner, but those with oily or acne-prone skin swear by toners as they keep their skin clean and fresh and remove the excess oil from the surface of the skin. Most of the people with problem skin look for a toner containing alcohol as it dry the pimples faster and there is nothing wrong in that. You should look for a product specifically designed for oily or acne-prone skin, containing salicylic acid, glycolic acid, hydroxyl acid. If the amount of alcohol is too much it can provoke production of more oils which in turn means more pimples, more blackheads, clogged pores.

Apply properly:

Step #1 Wash your face

Splash your face with warm water and make sure your hands are clean. Apply the cleanser to your face with circular motions. Make sure you cover all the areas – forehead, chin, nose, cheeks and neck then rinse with lukewarm water.

Step #2 Apply the toner

A toner should always be applied to a cleansed face. It should be applied with a cotton pad. Saturate the cotton pad and pat the toner gently over your face and neck area. Apply it to the forehead, cheeks, chin and nose, or to the whole face. Never rub your skin when applying toner.

Step #3 Apply moisturizer

After applying facial toner your skin may feel a little tight and dry and that’s why you need to apply a facial moisturizer after toning your skin.

Common ingredients in facial toners are:

Witch Hazel, Tea Tree Oil, Aloe Vera, Glycerin, Sodium hydroxide, fragrance, Methylparaben, Benzoyl Peroxide, Salicylic Acid, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide, Panthenol, Lactic Acid, Centella asiatica, rose geranium essential oil, chamomilla recutita.


  • When applying toner avoid the eye area
  • Some harsh ingredients in the toner may cause irritation characterized by redness, itching, burning, and peeling.
  • If your skin is sensitive look for a rosewater facial toner
  • Never rub your skin when applying facial toner
  • A toner containing alcohol can dry out your skin
  • Always apply the toner to a cleansed face.

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