How Is Toner Used? Here’s the ABC Guide

Gone are the days you run away from face toners. The stuff could zap the moisture from your skin rather than enhance it. However, it’s been refined and reformulated, and here you are, searching how is toner used to get the best face uplift.

A face toner is a skincare product that opens your skin pores for products with active ingredients. It’s used to remove leftover residue in the skin. Due to their extra cleansing and balancing features, toners are essential parts of skincare.

You do not need technical knowledge to get you to the results you want in your skincare. Nonetheless, finesse is required to properly use a toner. If you have a tough time trying to get your toner application right, here is a guide on how toner is used.

How Is Toner Used for Face

1. Cleanse Your Skin

Washing your face comes first in any skincare routine or regimen you practice. You need to remove dirt and grime properly off your face to allow your pores to breathe, remove bacteria, and avoid skin breakout caused by dirty or clogged pores. Moreover cleansing your face helps to maintain fresh skin.

All you have to do is use a good cleanser (oil, water-based, or both), massage it gently into your skin with your hands or a cotton pad, and then rinse off with water.

After rinsing off, dab your face lightly with a clean towel to dry.

2. Use Toner

As mentioned, you do not need advanced knowledge in applying your toner. All you have to do is:

  • Take a cotton pad or ball out
  • Pour out your toner into the pad or ball until damp (avoid oversoaking and spilling into your hands)
  • With the pad or ball, lightly work the soaked cotton on your face
  • Wipe thoroughly at all the edges and corners between your nose and cheek areas, the corners of your forehead, your T-zone (for oily and combination skin), your eyebrows (be careful not to let it get to your eyes), and close to your ears
  • You can apply the toner again for clearer measure
  • Let the toner dry on your face (do not wash it off)
  • After completely drying off, apply your next skincare product

Toners also provide quick hydration. It provides a way to feel refreshed and opens your pores to let active products in.

SEE: DIY Toner: How to Make Your Own at Home

3. Apply Essence, Serum, or Spot Treatment

Depending on what regimen you are practicing, your next product should be a serum. However, if you have a detailed skincare routine, your essence or face mist comes next. These products treat specific to simple skin concerns.

Essences or face mists provide extra hydration and moisture to the skin. Meanwhile, serums are targeted products that provide your skin treatment for specific conditions like aging, hyperpigmentation, breakouts, lightening, or hydration.

Spot treatments are specific creams like eye creams, acne creams, eczema gels, and others that treat skin conditions or reactions.

4. Moisturize and Layer With Sunscreen

After applying your spot treatments and serum, moisturize your skin. You are sealing the active ingredients with emollient ingredients in a moisturizer. Furthermore, the moisturizer keeps your skin soft and supple.

Meanwhile, sunscreen protects your skin from external aggressors and ultraviolet radiation that darkens or breakdown skin cells.

How to Use Toner Spray

Using a spray toner is easy and more versatile. You can also take it with you wherever you go. A spray toner comes in handy when you need to clear and clean your face for quick hydration. To use your toner spray, you simply have to:

  • Cleanse your face. If you are outside, use a wet wipe to clear dirt on your face
  • Set the toner a couple of inches away from your face
  • With your eyes closed, spritz the spray across your face
  • Let the toner sip into your skin before opening your eyes

Spray toners are more mobile than liquid toners. They are also not time-bound; you can apply whenever you need them. This makes them the perfect travel partners. However, do not confuse essence for toner. They have different functions.

How Is Toner Used on Body

Yes, body/skin toners are a thing. They provide your skin way out of overhydrating or under hydration skin texture. To use your body toners:

  • Dry off your skin lightly after shower
  • Spread the toner generously on your body
  • As you would a moisturizer or lotion, massage the toner over your body
  • Let it dry off before layering your moisturizer or body lotion

A body/skin toner provides your skin with smooth and soft skin. It provides your skin the needed.

SEE: How to Use Skin Toner – When and How to Apply It

Is Toner Cleanser?

No, it is not. A toner and cleanser are different. A cleanser is either a soapy or a water solution used to remove dirt, makeup, and grime from the skin. It can come in an oily or water-based formula.

On the other hand, a toner removes what a cleanser left behind; it exfoliates the skin. Furthermore, it regulates the skin’s acid level that a cleanser raised.

Moreover, a toner reduces the appearance of skin pores, helping to control breakouts on the face. You need a cleanser to purely cleanse your pores and skin surface, while a toner regulates the moisture on the face.

A cleanser always comes before toner. Additionally, cleansers are usually washed or rinsed off, while toners are absorbed into the skin. So a toner and cleanser are different due to their functions in your skincare regimen.

Is Toner Serum?                  

No, it is not. A toner is not a serum. A toner cleans soap and cleanser remnants, residues, and makeup grime left from cleansing or washing your face. It also reduces the appearance of your pores, regulating the acid level (pH) of your skin.

Meanwhile, a serum is a targeted product that treats specific skin concerns like hyperpigmentation, acne, dryness, wrinkles, fine lines, and others. While a toner can hydrate, it doesn’t provide long-lasting hydration as a serum would.

In addition, you use a toner to prep your skin to take in the active ingredients in a serum. It always comes before a serum, not after.

Can You Use Toner Without Moisturizer?

No, you should not. Avoid using toners without layering a moisturizing product on your face. Toners, while they balance your skin’s pH level, would need moisture or hydrating ingredients to fill your skin pores.

As a result, layer your toner with a serum or moisturizer. Even in humid climates, use a moisturizer to balance the moisture in your skin. A moisturizer is essential in your skincare and should not be skipped.

SEE: How to Use Toner and Moisturizer: A Detailed Guide for Better Skin Care Routine


Is astringent toner?

No, it is not. A toner and astringent are different. They both cleanse the pores and open them. However, they have different formulas. A toner can be alcohol-based or alcohol-free. However, an astringent is solvent alcohol formula.

Moreover, an astringent is more drying than a toner. Toner works to balance your pH level, while astringent raises it, drying your skin.  

Is toner necessary in your skincare routine?

No, it is not. You can skip a toner if you have normal to less irritated skin. Toners are designed to remove soap, dirt, and makeup residue. However, it does balances the skin’s pH level and improves hydration.

Consequently, a toner is not necessary, but also skin enhancing. Using a toner for your skin would improve the moisture level and supple feel of your skin.

Can toner whiten your skin?

No, it cannot. Toners cannot whiten your skin. A toner is a hydrating product at most. It can brighten your skin by exfoliating and removing dirt and skin residue, thereby improving the tone of your skin. Nevertheless, it cannot whiten your skin.

Can you use toner daily?

Yes, you can. You can use toners in your daily skincare routine. You apply toner in the morning to remove soap remnants and prep your skin for the active ingredients of other products. And at night you use toner to remove makeup residue, grime, and pollutants from the day.


Toners are used simply and effectively to remove residues, leftover soap and help reduce the appearance of skin pores. In a simple dab-massage-dry technique, you can apply your toner with ease. You can also aim to reach for a spray toner if you want something fresh and versatile.

However, do not swap your toner for other skincare products like cleanser, serum, or moisturizer. Even though it provides a simple form of hydration, it does not last long. Topping it off with good products is the best way to get your toner working.

When all products in your skincare are aligned, you have mastered the best skincare suited for you.  

Thanks for reading.

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