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

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How you use your products is just as important as how many products you have in your routine. With your skincare products, what you put in is what you get. Therefore, you should know how to use products like toners, serums, moisturizers, and even sunscreen correctly.

There is an order to apply products; that is, from the thinnest to the thickest. This order is to keep the absorption of each ingredient uninterrupted. If you follow the right sequence, better skin days are close by.

Continue reading to see how to use toner and moisturizer correctly, from picking the right formula to incorporating them into your routine.

1. Pick Products That Work for Your Skin

Before you get to apply your products, you must pick formulas that work perfectly well for your skin.

People with dry skin should go for super hydrating toners like those that contain humectants like hyaluronic acid and glycerin.

Also, oils are necessary to help boost moisture and prevent moisture loss. Moreover, a cream moisturizer that contains more oil than water is a better pick for dry skin.

If you have oily skin, you’re staying away from more oils and looking to free your pores from oil clogs. You should rather use a toner that contains exfoliating acids like any of the BHAs/AHAs, based on your skin’s tolerance.

Additionally, stay away from toner and moisturizer that contains fragrance to avoid skin irritations. A lightweight, water-based, and non-comedogenic moisturizer, like a lotion or gel, will better benefit oily skin. It will better absorb into your skin and leave no residues.

Sensitive skin gets quickly irritated by certain ingredients; if you have this skin type, you should carefully pick your products.

Therefore, you should pick a soothing toner that contains aloe vera, chamomile, rosewater, and hyaluronic acid. Stay away from moisturizers that contain acids, oils, and fragrances.

Use moisturizers that contain hyaluronic acid, hydrocortisone (if you have eczema), and green tea to help soothe your skin.

The best toners and moisturizers for combination skin leave out oils and replace them with mattifying ingredients like salicylic acid, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin to help balance moisture.

When you have picked your products, you can go ahead to incorporate them into your daily AM and PM routine.

2. Cleanse

Begin your skincare routine with a clean face. After a bath, you still need to cleanse your face to remove any residue that can interrupt the action of the products you want to apply. Use a mild cleanser that will not dry out your skin or cause irritations.

Moreover, if your toner or moisturizer contains salicylic acid or any other AHA/BHA, it is better to leave any of these acids out of your cleanser. You can replace it with one that contains hyaluronic acid.

Dampen a clean cotton pad with the cleanser and gently wipe the pad across your face and neck. Make sure you cover areas like your hairline, the sides of your face, and your nose. Keep the cleanser away from your eye area.

Cleansers are leave-on products. Therefore, you do not have to rinse it off and move on to the other products.

3. Apply Toner

Further on cleansing and prepping up your skin for active ingredients, apply toner to your face. Take a clean cotton ball and dampen it with toner.

Wipe across your face and neck to remove stubborn residues of soap, makeup, oil, and unclog your pores of dead skin cells.

Toner also helps to balance the pH of your skin to create a better canvas for the penetration of actives. It keeps your skin hydrated for better absorption of products to make them more effective.

Just like a cleanser, toner is a leave-on product. Allow it to absorb into your skin while you bask in the refreshing feeling. However, you should not wait until your skin is dry before you carry on with the next product.

4. Treat Your Skin With Serum

If you aren’t treating any major skin concerns, you may not want to use a serum. Nonetheless, serums are the best mediators between a toner and a moisturizer.

The molecules in the serum will penetrate on a cellular level and deliver active ingredients that will address skin concerns from the roots.

Additionally, these ingredients may be present in the toner but the molecules in the toner do not penetrate so deep. Pick a serum that soothes your skin type and concerns. Pump out the serum and release a few drops onto your palm.

Gently tap the serum all over your face and neck until you have even coverage. Wait for a minute so the serum absorbs into your skin.

5. Layer on Moisturizer

Follow up serum with a face moisturizer that works perfectly well with your skin. Take a pea-sized amount of moisturizer in your palms and rub it on your skin. Apply the cream, lotion, or gel to your cheeks, undereye area, nose, forehead, chin, and jaw.

The moisturizer will seal in moisture, boost hydration levels, and keep the active ingredients trapped. Moisturizers contain humectant, occlusive, and emollient ingredients that help to attract and retain moisture and soften your skin.

6. Seal in Ingredients With Oil

Apply a non-comedogenic oil all over your face and neck to create a protective seal over your skin. Gently massage the oil into your skin to seal in all previously applied ingredients. The oil protects the outer layer of your skin, preventing moisture loss.

It also adds a natural glow to your skin while nourishing it and enhancing the hydrating and moisturizing benefits of serum and moisturizer.  

7. Finish off With Sunscreen

The last step of your routine is to apply sunscreen lotion to your face before you step out. This serves as a protective shield from the harsh UV rays that can affect the action of the actives and make your skin photosensitive.

Layer on a dime-size amount of a broad-spectrum SPF all over your face and neck. Then, you can go ahead to apply your makeup, if need be. If you’re using toner and moisturizer as part of your PM routine, you can skip sunscreen.

Should You Use Toner Without Moisturizer?

No, you should not. Toner alone is not sufficient to hydrate and moisturize your skin. A moisturizer should follow toner to boost hydration. More so, toner does not contain the active ingredients that moisturizers contain.

Moisturizing your skin after applying toner will seal in moisture, prevent moisture loss, and soften your skin. Also, it can help to address signs of aging and improve the appearance of your skin.

Should You Use Toner and Moisturizer for Oily Skin?

Yes, you should. Oily skin naturally produces at least two times the amount of oil other skin types produce. Regardless of this, oily skin needs toner and moisturizer.

The ingredients in the products help to regulate oil production, unclog your pores, and seal in moisture. When you use toner and moisturizer in your routine, they help to mattify your skin, maintain the glow and reduce excessive shine.

Use products that contain non-comedogenic ingredients, salicylic acid, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin. Toners and moisturizers on your oily skin care routine can help to regulate acne breakouts, fade scars, and even your skin tone.

Should You Use Toner and Moisturizer for Dry Skin?

Yes, you should. Use toner and moisturizer to boost hydration levels and soften your skin. Moreover, they work together to improve the appearance and texture of your skin.

During dry weather conditions, your skin demands extra moisture to look its best. And if you naturally have dry skin, you may experience fine lines and wrinkles on your skin.

Layering moisturizer after toner will help seal in moisture and keep your skin looking plump in adverse weather conditions.

The right ingredients like products that contain hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and vitamin E will best cater to your dry skin. These humectants will attract water molecules to the outer layer of your skin and retain moisture.

Also, they strengthen your natural barrier and prevent moisture loss which can lead to worse cases of dry skin.

How Often Should You Use Toner and Moisturizer?

Use toner and moisturizer on your skin twice every day, as part of your morning and evening routine. During the day, they help to hydrate your skin, keeping it plump and glowing.

Also, the antioxidant ingredients keep your skin protected from free radical damage. A moisturizer that contains SPF will protect your skin from harsh sun damage.

At night, when skin repair is at its peak, they work to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, slowing down the signs of aging.


Can you leave toner on your face overnight?

Yes, you can. Face toner is a leave-on product; you should leave it on your face after application. Allow it to absorb into your skin before you moisturize to boost hydration levels and improve the appearance and texture of your skin.

As it absorbs into your skin, it refines your pores, balances pH, and creates a better canvas for the efficacy of other products.

Should you use toner with moisturizer at night?

Yes, you should. Always apply moisturizer over toner to hydrate your skin and create a seal that prevents moisture loss. At night, your skin enters a state of self-repair.

So, when you apply moisturizer at night, it not only moisturizes your skin but also helps to address issues like aging skin.

When is the best time to use toner?

Use toner two times a day, as part of your morning and evening routine, after cleansing your skin with a cleanser. It helps to remove stubborn dirt and oil residues and even residues of the harsh chemicals contained in soaps and cleansers.

Must you apply moisturizer after toner?

You should apply moisturizer after using toner on your skin. Toner cannot prevent moisture loss or boost hydration levels the way moisturizer does. Therefore, you need to apply a moisturizer after toner to seal in moisture, soften and smoothen your skin.

More so, toners do not contain the concentration of active ingredients found in moisturizers. These ingredients are necessary to treat skin concerns. Moreover, toners do not last as long as moisturizers do on the skin.


While the application of some products may not seem like a big deal, you cannot be too careful. Toners and moisturizers are two products that boost hydration levels, improve your complexion and help to treat acne and signs of aging.

How you use your products correctly largely determines the results you’ll get. Proper and correct use of products starts with picking the right formula. Then, it progresses to how much of it you use, and the frequency at which you use them.  

Most importantly, after the application of your products, always layer on sunscreen to shield your skin from sun damage and photosensitivity.

Thanks for reading.

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