How to Use Facial Toner Effectively for Better Skin Results

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It is one thing to get all the right products for your skincare routine. It is another thing to know how to use them effectively. For instance, beyond buying yourself a facial toner, you should know how to use it to get results.

Although it seems like just a bottle of water, it is more than that. Facial toners are packed with active ingredients that balance your skin’s pH and deeply cleanse your pores. Also, they form a protective layer over your skin, protecting it from the damages that may be caused by environmental aggressors.

However, these benefits and more can only be beneficial to your skin if you use your facial toner appropriately. Here’s a detailed guide to help you use a facial toner to cleanse, moisturize and improve the appearance of your facial skin.

1. Choose a Facial Toner Based on Skin Type

While facial toners look like water and you just want to grab a bottle from the shelves in the store, you shouldn’t. Not every toner is suited for your skin and not every toner will address your skin concerns.

This means that you need to carefully pick a facial toner that suits your skin and its concerns.

Facial toner for dry skin

Dry skin comes with flaking, itchiness, dullness, cracks, and dry patches. In addition, you have small pores, and your skin always feels tight. If your skin checks this list, you need a hydrating facial toner.

This type of toner will moisturize your skin and keep flaking and itching at bay. A hydrating toner contains glycerin, glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid, and seed oils like jojoba oil.

These ingredients act as humectants; they attract water molecules to themselves and in turn hydrate your skin.

Facial toner for oily skin

If you have oily skin, you understand the struggle to maintain oil levels and avoid breakouts like acne. Oily skin is characterized by clogged and prominent pores. Therefore, a facial toner for oily skin will certainly not contain oils.

Meanwhile, you do not need an alcohol-based toner to wipe off the grease. You need a refreshing toner that penetrates your pores and clears excess sebum, dead skin cells, dirt, and makeup residue.

The toner should contain alpha- and beta- hydroxy acids (AHAs and BHAs) like glycolic acid and salicylic acid respectively. These acids have gentle exfoliating properties that also minimize the appearance of your pores and fight off acne.

Facial toner for sensitive skin

Sensitive skin is a very reactive skin type. This is the reason why people with this skin type are very cautious of what they eat and what they apply to their skin. Sensitive skin is prone to redness, itchiness, and tingling sensations.

For your sensitive skin, you need a soothing facial toner. It should be gentle on your skin and free of alcohol, acids, and botanical extracts like plant-based oils. Look out for ingredients like chamomile, aloe vera, rosewater, and humectants like glycerin and hyaluronic acid.   

All these ingredients have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They work in tandem to soothe your skin and reduce skin flares.

Facial toner for combination skin

Combination skin, as the name implies, means that you have two either oily, dry, or normal skin on your face.

Usually, your T-zone area (nose, forehead, and chin) produces more oils from enlarged pores. While your cheeks and other areas of your face are dry and have smaller pores.

So, if you have combination skin, you may be prone to acne breakouts and flakey skin at the same time. Therefore, you should use a fragrance-free facial toner that will also not dry out your skin.

Ingredients like salicylic acid, lactic acid, and witch hazel are key ingredients in facial toner for combination skin. Above all, use facial toners according to the demands of your skin.

Facial toner for normal skin

Normal skin does not have enlarged or small pores as seen in oily and dry skin respectively. It maintains regular sebum levels; it is well moisturized and has a healthy glow. For such a skin type, you should use a facial toner according to seasonal changes.

The toner you use during summer will be quite different from the toner you use in winter. And this will be according to the demands of your skin.

2. Cleanse Your Face

When you have picked a facial toner that works to address your skin concerns, you can proceed to use your toner. Facial toners come post-bath and post-cleansing.

After washing your face during your bath, a cleanser follows up to remove any soap, oil, and dirt residue. This cleansing is necessary to prep your face for a facial toner. Dampen a clean cotton ball with your facial cleanser and gently wipe it across your face.

Focus on areas like your nose, forehead, chin, and cheeks. Also, reach areas like your hairline, the sides of your ears, and your jawline. Afterward, do not rinse it off. Leave it on to absorb into your skin.

3. Follow Up With Your Facial Toner

Toner is necessary to clean off harsh chemical residues from cleansers. Furthermore, it deep cleanses your pores, and balances the pH of your skin after the drying effect of cleansers.

  • Dampen another clean cotton ball with your facial toner
  • Then, gently wipe your face and your neck. When you wipe, avoid your eye and lip areas
  • Make sure you reach the corners of your face like your hairline, sides of your ears, and under your jaw
  • Thereafter, allow your face to absorb the active ingredients. They prep your skin to receive the small molecules of skincare products like a face serum
  • And you can follow up with a misted toner to refresh your skin

4. Apply Your Face Serum

While your face is still damp with toner, apply your face serum. You should however note that your choice of face serum must be based on your skin type and skin concerns.

  • Pump out the serum and release 4-5 drops onto your palm
  • Gently rub both palms together
  • Tap the serum all over your face and neck
  • Also, apply serum to your eye area too
  • Allow the serum to absorb into your face for some minutes before you apply moisturizer and other creams

What Is Facial Toner Used For?

Facial toner cleanses your skin of oil, dirt, grime, and makeup just like a facial cleanser does. However, it cleanses deeper than a cleanser. Moreover, it balances your skin’s pH which may have been altered by harsh weather conditions, bath soap, or cleanser.

Also, as it cleanses your pores, it shrinks their size and prevents oil and dead skin cells from clogging them. As a result, you can successfully manage skin blemishes like acne.

Facial toners are good for maintaining moisturized skin. They contain hydrating ingredients that nourish your skin and keep it hydrated.

Although a facial toner has great cleansing properties, you cannot use it as a makeup remover. It lifts makeup residues that must have been previously cleaned with a makeup remover. And using a facial toner is a good way to prepare your skin for your skincare routine.

Should You Use a Spraying or Wiping Facial Toner?

Facial toner comes in bottles, and it could be a plastic bottle or a mist sprayer. Although it seems easier to rather mist facial toner all over your face, you should use the wiping method.

A misted toner will refresh your skin. However, it rather dissolves the oils and dirt that you are supposed to wipe off. It dissolves them and leaves them on your skin. Thus, the supposed cleansing becomes ineffective.

On the other hand, the wiping method dissolves and lifts off the impurities. It effectively removes impurities and opens your pores to receive the ingredients in your serum and moisturizer. These ingredients are necessary to seal the hydrating benefits of a toner.

Therefore, a wiping toner will produce more results than a misted toner. However, you can use both toners on your face. After using a wiping toner, you may spray a misted toner all over your face to enjoy the refreshing sensation.

How Often Should You Use Facial Toner?

Facial toner should be used twice a day after cleansing with a face cleanser. Sensitive skin may not accommodate a twice-a-day application of toner. So, you should watch out for your skin’s response to the toner.

On the other hand, dry and oily skin types may need midday refreshing during different seasons. In such cases, you can refresh with a misted toner. Above all, because toners may cause skin sensitivities, you should use them according to the needs of your skin.

Is Facial Toner Bad for You?

Facial toners are not necessarily bad for you unless you use an alcohol- or fragrance-based formula. Moreover, when you use the wrong formula for your sensitive skin, you may get skin irritations.

For instance, dry skin types should not use toners that contain astringents. While toner with fragrance may not cause so much harm to dry skin, oily and sensitive skin will break out with this type of toner.

In essence, before you use facial toner on your face, find out your skin type and use one that is suited to address your skin concerns.


Can you leave facial toner on your face overnight?

Yes, you can. After long hours of sweating, exposure to dirt, and wearing makeup, you should use a facial toner to complete your face cleansing step. It removes every other debris that your cleanser did not remove.

Also, it removes the residues of the harsh chemicals present in facial cleansers. And it allows your skin to bask in the ingredients while you sleep and your skin self-repairs. This way, you wake up with less oily and moisturized skin.

Should you use toner if you are not wearing makeup?

Yes, you should. When you are not wearing makeup, you should still use a facial toner to cleanse your face of oil, dirt, grime, and dead skin cells from exfoliation. Do this as part of your AM and PM routine.

Can you use facial toner as a moisturizer?

No, you can’t. A facial toner is not a moisturizer. Although it has moisturizing and hydrating benefits, it cannot fill in as a moisturizer.

Facial toners are cleansers that penetrate your skin, balance your skin pH, and prep your skin for skincare products like a moisturizer. Moisturizers, on the other hand, are occlusive. They help to seal and boost the hydrating benefits of facial toners and face serums.

Should you use a facial toner to remove makeup?

No, you should not. A facial toner is not a makeup remover. It rather helps to further cleanse your skin and remove makeup residues that your makeup remover and cleanser did not remove.


Facial toner is your skincare middleman. It comes after cleansing and preps your skin just before moisturizing. While it borders here, it performs a whole lot of functions.

From deep cleansing your skin to hydrating it; it also balances your skin’s pH. And this is one reason why it cannot be a cleanser. However, the only way to maximize the benefits of facial toners is to use them correctly.

The appropriate use of a facial toner begins with using a formula that is suited for your skin type and to meet its concerns. Additionally, there is a right way to apply facial toner despite its plain appearance.

Your skincare routine is only effective when you use the right products and use them the right way too.  

Thanks for reading.

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