What Is a Toner & What Does It Do for You?

A great skincare routine will use several key products, ranging from cleansers to moisturizers to exfoliators and more. But many people find that a regular cleanser just doesn't do the trick. Others have naturally oily or acne-prone skin and need something a little more robust to dig deep into their pores and clear away extra dirt.

For those folks and more, face toner is the answer. Face toner is an effective and very useful product that fits right into most holistic skincare routines.

What Is Face Toner?

In a nutshell, a face toner can be thought of as a more intense cleanser. A regular facial cleanser will clean away the top level of dirt and debris from your skin’s pores, plus get rid of some amount of dead skin cells.

On the other hand, exfoliating products are meant to clean away dead skin cells even more thoroughly. They do such a good job that you may only want to use them once or twice per week.

Toners can penetrate deeper into the skin’s pores to clean away even more dirt and debris, as well as get rid of excess facial oil and makeup. They tend to be full of nutrients to brighten your skin's appearance and prepare your skin for the other products in your lineup, like a face serum or moisturizer.

In short, you can use toners either in place of facial cleansers or in addition to them. Face toners are primarily useful for people who find that a regular cleanser doesn't do quite enough work for their needs.

What Are Some Face Toner Benefits?

Still feeling unsure whether you need to add face toner to your skincare routine? Let’s look at some specific potential benefits you could see when you start applying face toner regularly.

Skin Protection

First, a toner may help protect your skin, particularly if used with other products, like moisturizers. Because toner can close gaps between skin cells, impurities or toxins will have a harder time entering the lower layers of your skin.

As a side benefit, this will make your skin’s pores appear smaller, which may smoothen or improve your appearance. Of course, by providing certain nutrients to your skin, toner might also protect your skin by helping it build up strong, healthy skin cells over time.

If your skin doesn’t get the right nutrients, it will be more vulnerable to sun damage, general wear and tear, and other problems.

Improved Cleansing

Naturally, face toner is especially beneficial because it improves the cleansing experience you’ll get with each wash. A cleanser is enough for many people, but a toner penetrates even deeper into your pores and cleans out even more dirt and debris.

This can be especially nice if you have naturally oily skin or acne-prone skin. Toner neutralizes sebum and may help lower the likelihood of blemishes as a result.

However, note that if you use a very high-powered toner that cleans out extra oil, you need to use a great moisturizer afterward. If you fail to do this, the toner could dry out your skin, starting a chain reaction where your skin makes even more sebum to compensate.

Keep this in mind when adding any toner product to your skincare routine.

pH Support

Certain toner products include special ingredients that can balance the pH level of your skin. For most people, balanced skin pH is 4.7, but it can become imbalanced because of your diet, environmental toxins, or even how much sunlight you get each day.

By balancing your skin's pH level, your skin's microbiome will also be healthier, and your skin barrier will be supported. Your skin may be less likely to feel dry or irritated if you have a healthy skin barrier. Simply put, a balanced pH for your skin is nothing to sneeze at!

Even Skin Tone Appearance

Lastly, toner can help even out the appearance of your skin tone by soothing blemishes and hyperpigmentation. Many toners also contain vitamin C, making your skin look brighter and more radiant than before.

In many cases, a toner may make your skin look similar to how it appears after exfoliating it. Exfoliation scrapes away dead skin cells and boosts blood flow to your skin, making your skin appear younger and more vibrant than before.


If your skin has redness or dark spots, the right toner could help balance the appearance of your skin tone. When used in conjunction with a face serum, toner might be even more effective in this regard.

When Should You Use Face Toner?

As noted above, face toners occupy a similar space as face cleansers when used in a holistic skincare regimen. You may want to use a face toner before an exfoliating product, face serum, or moisturizer for the best results.

Toners can help cleanse your skin with ingredients that can wash away dirt and the oils or clay ingredients in makeup.

However, toner can also accidentally dry out your skin in many cases. It can feel harsh to sensitive skin as an astringent, just like salicylic acid, glycerin, or other acidic ingredients. Speak to your dermatologist if you aren't sure whether face toner is right for your skincare routine.

The following order is generally recommended for skincare:

  • Cleanser
  • Toner. Apply the toner liquid using a cotton ball. If you have skin concerns, dab a bit on your skin first before applying a bunch to your dry skin.
  • Face serum, when your pores are most exposed. This allows the ingredients in serums to penetrate as deep as possible into your facial skin.
  • Moisturizer, which seals in moisture and helps soothe any irritated or inflamed areas. This step is especially important for people with high skin sensitivity. Moisturizers containing hyaluronic acid, witch hazel, alpha hydroxy acids can benefit various skin concerns.

It’s best to use toner when your body will be better able to take advantage of it: when you’re resting and not exposing your skin to new toxins or debris.

Because toner can be very intense, you may wish to replace it with an exfoliating product once or twice per week. You should only use a toner and exfoliator if you have a normal or combination skin type that isn’t likely to get irritated or inflamed from intense stimulation.


Ultimately, toner can do a lot to cleanse your skin’s pores and ensure your skincare routine is as robust and well-rounded as possible. But you can also significantly boost your skin health by ensuring you don’t have vitamin deficiencies.

Hope Health is the go-to resource for organic, helpful supplements, like our Organic Greens + Gummies. Packed with superfood ingredients and nutritious vitamins, these gummies, and our other offerings, are perfect for those wanting to maximize their skin and bodily health. Check out our online store today!


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Ferulic acid stabilizes a solution of vitamins C and E and doubles its photoprotection of skin | NCBI

Ferulic acid photoprotective properties in association with UV filters: multifunctional sunscreen with improved SPF and UVA-PF | NCBI