Here’s How to Apply Toner On Your Skin Correctly

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Face toners are part of good skincare routines. They are products that cleanse the skin, remove soapy residues, leftover makeup, and hydrate the skin. This is why you have to know how to apply toner correctly.

Toners are easy to apply, and you can use different tools or techniques. Nevertheless, it takes a little expertise to apply toner without spilling any product or getting sticky fingers.

If you are clumsy with products, like me, then you need a little guide in applying toner correctly. Read on to get the step-by-step details.

How to Apply Toner on Face With Cotton Ball

1. Apply cleanser

A cleanser is the first step in your skincare. As a result, you cannot use a toner before a cleanser. Removing grime, residues, dead skin cells, and excess oil from your skin helps to unclog your pores.

Furthermore, it helps to refresh your skin, keeping it moist and supple. You can use an oil-based or water-based cleanser (both, if double cleansing) to wash the dirt and soap off your face. After applying the cleanser, rinse off and dry your face with a towel.

2. Apply toner

You can apply your toner with a cotton ball in the following simple steps:

  • After drying your face with a towel, take out your cotton ball.
  • Pour your toner on the cotton ball until damp. Do not over-soak. It drips and turns messy.
  • Tap the ball on your face lightly. Focus on areas you missed with your cleansers.
  • Work your cotton ball along your hairline, close to your ears, the corners of your nose, jawline, and under your chin.
  • You can pay extra attention to your T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin) if you have oily or combination skin.
  • Dispose cotton ball.
  • Wait for the toner to dry. Do not rinse off.
  • Move to the next step.

If you do not have a cotton ball, use a cotton pad. These cotton forms absorb and retain liquid formulas better, which is why they are ideal for skincare products.

3. Apply essence

After your toner, try applying essence to your face. Essence is not compulsory but they provide extra hydration and glow to your skin.

4. Apply serum

Serum comes next after applying your toner and essence. A serum provides targeted treatments for skin concerns like hydration, wrinkles, fine lines, hyperpigmentation, acne, and even to glow up your skin.

You should apply your serum after a toner or essence. This helps to boost hydration or control sebum on your skin.

5. Spot treatment

Spot treatments like serum include eye creams, acne gels, eczema creams, and others. These creams provide solutions to skin conditions. You need to layer your spot treatment and eye cream on your serum to let it effectively absorb into your skin.

6. Finish up with moisturizer and sunscreen

This comes last due to their heavy formulas. Moisturizers should not be skipped in any skincare routine. They provide moisture and protection against free radicals. Furthermore, moisturizers contain emollients that seal ingredients in the skin.

Meanwhile, sunscreen protects your skin from ultraviolet radiation and sunburns. Your daytime skincare routine is not complete without it.

How to Apply Toner With Hands

If you want a quick pat on your face, you can apply toner with your hands. It’s simpler; however, things can get sticky so measure correctly. To apply toner with your hands:

  • Cleanse your face.
  • Pour out a small amount of toner into one palm.
  • Rub both palms together.
  • Gently pat the toner on your face with your hands.
  • Leave the toner for a few minutes to absorb into the skin.

Note: This could get messy if you use too much toner at a time. Consequently, a little liquid toner is enough. And if not, repeat the routine until satisfied. You must also do this with freshly cleaned hands, and clean your hands after applying toner to avoid sticky hands.

How to Apply Toner at Night

You can apply your toner at night. The process is often the same as in your normal routine where you opt to use cotton balls or your hands. However, for your nighttime routine, opt for cotton pads or balls instead.

In addition, swap your sunscreen for a face oil to hydrate and seal in moisture on your skin. You do not need to apply sunscreen at night.

You need to apply toner at night to remove makeup residues and grime or pollutants still attached to your face after cleansing. Furthermore, it helps to shrink your pores and prep them for active ingredients like retinol that improve your skin rejuvenation while in a restive state.

How to Apply Spray Toner

Spray toner is also easy to use. The versatile toner fits your travel plans or even when outside. To use a spray toner, simply:

  • Cleanse your face (use wet wipes when outside).
  • Spray the toner on your face (the spray should be inches away from your face).
  • Let the toner absorb into your skin.

How to Apply Toner Mask

Toner mask is another skincare secret that is not exactly a secret. The routine is simple and doesn’t require getting new products; you can use the handy toner and cotton pads already at your disposal.

A toner mast, rather than a tool is a technique that implies soaking pads in toner and sticking it to your face for a few minutes. The pads cover essential parts of this skin like the cheeks and the forehead. This method benefits dry skin in need of extra hydration.

The technique allows the skin to absorb as much toner as possible in a little time. The process is simple and effective. To use the toner mask method, do the following:  

  • Soak compressed mask or cotton pads in a toner.
  • If using cotton pads, place the pads on your critical spots) forehead, cheeks, and chin). The wet pads should stick to your face thoroughly.
  • Let the toner absorb into your skin for three minutes.
  • Remove the pads and dab leftover areas on the face.
  • Let the toner absorb into your skin.
  • Move on to the next skincare product.

Note: This type usually takes time. As a result, do it when you have enough time for a robust skincare routine.

Is Toner Essence?

No, it is not. People often confuse toner and essence as the same thing. However, the products are far apart from each other. For instance, toner is used to remove leftover soap, makeup, and cleanser residue.

Furthermore, it is used to reduce the appearance of skin pores or open them up. It does this by balancing the skin’s pH level to an appropriate measure. Toner is also used to provide the skin with quick hydration, brighten the skin, or smoothen it out.

On the other hand, essences are products that provide lasting hydration to the skin but not as much as a serum.

Essences are known as lighter serums because they work to keep the skin in a refreshing and moisturized state. They are known to improve the softness and glow of your skin.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is toner worth it?

Yes, it is. While toner is not necessary, it is worth it in your skincare. Not only will your pores and skin pH level remain regulated, but a toner also improves the tone and glow of your skin.

How often should you apply face toner?

Twice a day. Use your toner in your morning and evening skincare routine.

Use a toner to slough off dead skin cells and residues from your night rejuvenation in your morning skincare routine. For your nighttime routine, use your toner to remove makeup residues, pollutants, and dirt from your face.  

Is toner good for oily skin?

Yes, it is. A face toner is best for oily skin because it balances skin pH levels, exfoliates the skin, and controls sebum on the face. Toner also reduces the appearance of skin pores, preventing clogged pores.

When should you apply toner to your face?

After cleanser. Always apply your toner after cleansing or washing your face off with soap. You cannot start your routine with a toner. Rather than clear leftover residue, it dissolves it into your pores, clogging it more.

Consequently, your toner should come after your cleanser or exfoliator.

Should you apply toner on a wet or dry face?  

Dry face. Apply your toner on a dry face. Toner needs to absorb faster but does not have concentrated actives. As a result, they need not be diluted with moisture to make the skin absorb them faster.

Moreover, toners are quick-drying formulas that get deeper into your skin in no time.


Toners provide extra hydration and cleansing to the skin. While it is not necessary, it is helpful. And one of the best ways to get added skin results is to use toner properly.

This involves cleansing your face before applying toner and hydrating your skin with a serum and moisturizer after. No matter what your routine is, moisture is essential.

Moreover, a toner is a forerunner for other products. It’ll only work fittingly if layered properly. Therefore, use your toner with the most suitable techniques highlighted here to get healthy glowing skin.

Thanks for reading.

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