What Does a Skin Toner Do? Find Out if You Need One

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Just as the name implies, skin toner tones your skin. Skin toner is a skincare product that works just like your regular facial toner which comes in after using a facial cleanser.

However, because there are different skin types, products are formulated to cater to their peculiarities.

Although skin experts say you are at liberty to use a toner or not, you’ll love the outcome if you dare to use one. Toners have gone past the regular alcohol-based formula that was used to remove soap scum.

Recent modifications incorporate ingredients that work together to improve the overall appearance and texture of your skin. Skin toners come in different formulations that suit the need of your skin and its peculiar concerns.

Continue reading to see what skin toner does for your skin type.

Does Skin Toner Work?

Yes, skin toner works. Skin toner used for the face helps to cleanse your face an extra step after using a facial cleanser. Moreover, skin toners balance your skin’s pH and refine your pores, adding texture to your skin.

Some skin toners like body toners are highly concentrated with actives that carry out functions like skin firming, rejuvenation, and pores refining. Certain skin changes are inevitable as they come with age, weather, and climate changes.

Therefore, you need skincare products to keep your skin looking its best. Skin toner is a hydrating skincare product that prepares your skin to receive active ingredients in serums, moisturizers, and other creams

More so, it prepares a pathway for these ingredients to penetrate your skin and improve the appearance, texture, and complexion of your skin.

What Does Skin Toner Do for Oily Skin?

Skin toner deep cleanses oily skin and gets rid of excess sebum that your cleanser could not take off. The molecules in a toner formulated for oily skin deeply penetrate your skin and unclog your pores of oil and dead skin cell residues.

Furthermore, it helps to refine your pores; tighten and minimize their appearance. Consequently, it controls sebum production and cuts down on grease and excess shine.

Skin toner on oily skin helps to manage acne breakouts. Also, it dissolves stubborn makeup residues that stick to oily skin.

Skin toner for oily skin may contain oils if they are lightweight and hydrating like tea tree oil which assists in regulating oil levels. Hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid, and glycolic acid are vital ingredients that oily skin needs.

While salicylic acid and glycolic acid are exfoliators, hyaluronic acid hydrates your skin and replenishes lost moisture which may be due to the drying effect of cleansers.

What Does Skin Toner Do for Dry Skin?

Dry skin is characterized by a constant need for moisture and skin toners are very hydrating. You may have genetically inherited dry skin, or it may be due to constant and excessive dehydration.

And this dehydration may be caused by climate changes, too frequent exposure to sunlight, and the production of little or no sebum.

Whichever the case, dry skin is associated with the development of wrinkles, fine lines, and a dull complexion.

A skin toner that is richly concentrated with humectants like glycerin and hyaluronic acid, non-comedogenic multi-purpose oils like jojoba oil can help alleviate dryness.

While it cleanses your skin, the humectant ingredients pull moisture in the form of water molecules from the atmosphere and attract them to the outer layer of your skin.

They retain this moisture, plump your skin and help to improve the appearance of the aging signs.

What Does Skin Toner Do for Acne-prone Skin?

Acne-prone skin; oily or dry also needs a skin toner. Acne breakouts are more like unwanted guests that come anyway. These breakouts are not associated with dirt and that is why a cleanser cannot completely help with acne.

Skin toner balances your pH and makes it inhabitable for acne-causing bacteria. Additionally, acne is a result of pores clogged with oils and debris. Toners unclog your pores and expose the bacteria to oxygen, rendering it inactive.

As a result, toners can effectively manage current and future breakouts. Oily and acne-prone skin should use toners that contain exfoliating acids like salicylic acid. Also, antiseptic and antibacterial ingredients like green tea should be present in the toner.

What Does Skin Toner Do for Combination Skin?

The combination skin type needs a toner with hydrating ingredients like glycerin, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid.

Antioxidants like vitamin E help to fight off the environmental aggressors that are responsible for the several concerns that bother this skin type.

Moreover, ingredients like lactic acid, salicylic acid, and witch hazel are essential for combination skin. This peculiar skin type has a combination of two of the following skin types; oily skin, dry skin, or normal skin.

While one part of your skin needs exfoliating, the other parts may not tolerate exfoliation well. Skin toner for combination skin helps to enhance your skin’s natural barrier which helps to keep irritants out and lock in moisture and vital ingredients.  

What Does Skin Toner Do for Sensitive Skin?

Skin toners are very soothing. They can help to calm inflammation which is one common characteristic of sensitive skin.

Toners that contain chamomile, rosewater, aloe vera, and hyaluronic acid (for moisture) are good picks for sensitive skin types. These ingredients help to soothe your skin with their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Skin toner does not irritate or dry out your skin. The molecules penetrate your pores and balance your skin’s pH so it can receive other skincare products.

If you have sensitive skin, you are most likely very cautious about what goes onto your skin and what does not. Toners aren’t skincare products to get worried over. Rather than that, they help you enjoy your skin better.

What Does Skin Toner Do for Mature Skin?

Body toners are most beneficial for mature skin; facial toners are also good for mature skin. They contain anti-aging ingredients that enhance skin rejuvenation, revitalization and make your skin firmer against the signs of aging.

Aging is sometimes accompanied by sagging skin and other developments that you cannot completely avoid. Toners for aging skin contain exfoliating acids that slough off dead skin cells and reveal a better complexion.

Also, these acids encourage cell turnover which consequently improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Witch hazel in your toner can help shield your skin from the formation of free radicals that can cause premature aging.

Is Skin Toner for Face and Body?

Some skin toners work for the entire body while some work for just the face. A major difference between both toners is that body toners are usually more concentrated than facial toners. And this is because of the difference in the thickness of the skin.

Facial skin may not be able to tolerate the ingredients in body toners and the ingredients in facial toners may not suffice for the need of your body.

However, facial toner has found a use for body parts other than your face. You can use facial toner on your chest, shoulders, arms, and underarms. On the other hand, you cannot apply body toner to your face.

How to Use Skin Toner

After picking a skin toner that works for your skin type and concern, you should use it correctly in your routine to reap the benefits of the product. This is the way to go:

Cleanse your skin

Begin your routine by cleaning your skin. Use mild face and body wash to get rid of oil, dirt, grime, and makeup residue. Pick a face wash that will not alter the pH balance of your face.

After washing your face, use a mild cleanser to remove any residues of oil, makeup, and even soap residue. Most importantly, the cleanser should be mild and not strip your face of its natural moisture.

Apply skin toner

Use respective toners for your face and body. Facial toners are liquid-based toners while body toners may be serums, lotions, oils, and creams.

Therefore, you should apply your face toner with a cotton pad. Moisten the pad with toner and gently sweep it across your face.

When you sweep, reach for hidden areas like your hairline, sides of your face, and jawline. Then, move on to your body toner. Use toning serum all over your body and focus on the areas of concern.

Do not use toning lotion or cream at this stage, otherwise, your body serum will be ineffective. This is because serums cannot penetrate creams or lotions.

Follow up with serum

While your skin is still damp, apply serum to your face to open your pores to receive the active ingredients in other products.

Moreover, the serum helps to moisturize your skin, boost hydration levels and deliver active ingredients that are necessary to address skin concerns.

For your body, you may layer on another serum over toning serum to seal in moisture and help deliver the ingredients in the toning serum.

Layer on moisturizer

Layer on moisturizer over your facial serum to seal in moisture and lock in the ingredients of the serum. This will help to deliver the ingredients effectively. At this stage, you can apply body toning lotions, creams, and/or oils all over your body.

Finish off this routine with a sunscreen lotion to shield your skin from harsh sun damage that can alter the action of the ingredients or cause hyperpigmentation.


Is it okay to use skin toner every day?

Yes, you can. If your skin type tolerates the ingredients in your toner, you should use it every day as part of your morning and evening routine.

Also, specific toners like those tailored for skin rejuvenation and firming should be used every day according to skin demands.

Can you use toner on your arms?

Yes, you can. Skin toner, either body or facial toners, can help manage arm acne and clear dark spots that appear on acne-prone skin.

You may apply facial toner to your arms (underarms) to lower the pH of the skin around that area to prevent the breeding of bacteria that causes bad odor. Also, it may help to lighten your underarms.

Does skin toner remove dark spots?

Skin toner helps to improve the appearance of dark spots and may over time enhance their fading. Moisturizing your skin, it puts your skin in a good place to communicate cell regeneration to the necessary receptors.

Consequently, consistent use of skin toner will even your skin tone and brighten your complexion.

Do skin toners shrink pores?

Yes, it does. Skin toner helps to minimize the appearance of your skin pores by unclogging and refining your pores. As a result, it helps to prevent sebum overproduction and acne breakouts. Also, this helps to tighten your skin. 


Toners can sound quite unnecessary especially if you are a minimalist or you could be quite skeptical about what goes on your skin. However, they are not your fancy skincare products.

Skin toners help to balance your skin and welcome the actives contained in the other products down your routine. For every skin type, there isn’t just a specific formula, but also a peculiar line action that helps to improve the appearance of your skin.

When you go shopping for a skin toner, pick a product that is formulated to address your skin concerns.

Thanks for reading.

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