What Is Skin Toner Used For? Here’s an Enlightening Guide for You

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Skin toners are often skipped in skincare routines, and that alone might be what is hindering your desired result. Even if you go ahead to follow the step-by-step routine by applying a toner, you may not understand why. What is skin toner used for? You ask

Skin toners are multipurpose skincare products used particularly for double cleansing your skin. Usually, skin toners are used after the initial cleansing of your skin in preparation for the application of your skincare products.

Even though they are not hyped, they do several benefits to the skin. Read ahead to find out what a skin toner does for your skin, why you should use it, and most importantly, how to use it correctly on your skin.

What Does a Skin Toner Do for Your Skin?

Skin toner is a skin cleanser that continues the cleansing phase from the moment you stop washing your face. It removes remnants of dirt that refused to come off while washing your face with your cleanser.

Using a skin toner to cleanse the skin will help to restore balance to your skin’s pH. This thereby improves the health condition of the skin and helps your skin to absorb skincare products easily to work on your skin.

Dr. Manjul Agarwal, a senior consultant and board-certified dermatologist at Fortis Hospital, says that “Toners are made to help finish up the cleansing work that most cleansers fail to do and also to improve the effectiveness of your moisturizer.”

Dr. Alicia Zalka, a board-certified dermatologist, says that she considers toner as the second step in a skincare routine, as it helps to finish up the cleansing phase. 

“Using a toner on your skin has several benefits attached especially when you use it correctly. It works to rid your skin of residue of dirt, as well as slough off dead skin cells from your skin,” she stated further. 

“skin toners also can also help to make the skin permeable enough for other skincare products to penetrate and work on the skin,” she stated. Originally, toners were introduced a couple of years back as a liquid formula to help teens treat their acne.

Toners with hydroxy acids such as Salicylic acid and glycolic acid exfoliate acne-prone skin, reduce acne breakouts and reduce acne scarring. With antioxidants like Vitamin C and witch hazel, toner protects the skin and acts as an anti-aging compound. 

Additionally, toner helps to shrink your pores and create a clearer path for better penetration of active ingredients. The pores-shrinking benefit of using toner extends to regulating oil production and controlling acne breakouts.

Is Toner Necessary in Skincare?

Dr. Nikoleta Brankov, a board-certified dermatologist, says that “Although not everyone needs it, tonics help solve many skin problems.” 

This means that toners are not a necessity in your skincare regime. However, using toner on your skin will help to address other skin issues. 

A board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Alicia Zalka, MD, also agrees that incorporating toners into a skincare routine is not necessary. 

“However, if you have oily and acne-prone skin, you stand to benefit a lot just by adding the product to your skincare routine. Toners are mostly used by acne-prone patients,” she adds. 

How to Use a Skin Toner

Choose a skin toner that suits your skin type and problem, and use it correctly in your daily life to fully enjoy the benefits of the product. Follow the instructions below to use a toner in your skincare routine.

Clean your skin 

Start your daily routine by cleaning your skin. Use a mild face and body wash to remove oil, dirt, grime, and makeup. Choose a cleanser that does not change the pH balance of your face. 

After cleansing, use a mild cleanser to remove oil, makeup, and even soap. Most importantly, the cleanser should be mild and not rob the face of its natural moisture. 

Applying skin toner 

Use a toner that suits your face and body. Facial toners are liquid toners while body toners can be serums, lotions, oils, and creams. The toner must be applied to the face with a cotton pad. Wet a cotton pad with toner and gently rub it on your face. 

When using the toner, find hidden areas such as the hairline, sideline of the face, and jawline. Then, we move on to toning the body. Apply the toning serum all over the body and focus on the problem area.  

Do not use toning lotions or creams at this stage. Otherwise, the body serum will not work. This is because the serum does not penetrate the cream or lotion. 

Layer any serum of your choice

Applying the serum to your face while your skin is still wet will open your pores and allow the active ingredients of other products to be absorbed. Serums also help deliver the active ingredients needed to hydrate the skin, increase moisture levels and address skin problems. 

For the body, apply another serum over the toning serum to help retain moisture and deliver the ingredients of the toning serum. 

Use your favorite moisturizer

Applying a moisturizer to your facial serum locks in the moisture and holds the serum ingredients in place. This helps to transfer the ingredients efficiently through your skin to address skin concerns. At this point, you can apply toning lotions, creams, and/or oils all over your body.

Finish this routine with sunscreen

Sunscreen is important for every morning skincare routine. This is because it helps to protect the skin from several damages.

Use a sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher to protect your skin from severe sun damage that can cause hyperpigmentation.

How Much Toner Should You Use?

A pump or two of skin toner into your cotton pad is enough to cover the whole area of your face or skin. Try as much as possible to avoid using too much skin toner, as this can over-exfoliate and irritate your skin. 

For every skincare product, little drops do more than too many drops. Using too much may even clog up your pores.

When to Use Toner on Your Skin?

You should use your toner right after washing your face. If you wash your face with cleanser only, you may have dirt still lingering around. 

The use of a toner double-cleanses your skin to remove heavy dirt that doesn’t come off your skin even after washing with a cleanser.

Another reason why it should always come after the cleansing step is to ensure that your skin is permeable enough to absorb other skincare products.

Therefore, after washing your face, prepare your skin texture with toner, apply a serum or moisturizer, and feel it gently soak into your skin.

How Often Should You Use a Toner?

Generally, you can use your toner as often as twice daily. However, the two things that determine your usage frequency are your skin type and the toner you use. 

It is important to purchase a toner that works well with your skin type. A chemical-based toner shouldn’t be used more than once daily, especially if you have sensitive skin. Using a chemical-based toner too often can irritate your skin massively.

However, a natural plant-based can be used twice daily–in the morning and evening skincare routine. This is the best option for you if you have sensitive or dry skin.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Is toner bad for your skin?

No, it isn’t. Toner does not harm the skin, rather it helps the skin by unclogging the pores, removing every last bit of dirt, and also hydrating the skin.  

However, to enjoy the benefits of a skin toner, ensure that you opt for one that is plant-based and free from all chemicals.

Is it okay to use skin toner every day?

Yes, it is. But only if your skin type can handle the toner components, it should be used daily as part of your morning and evening routine. 

In addition, if you are using a skin toner that’s designed to help tighten and rejuvenate your skin, you should use it as often as you can to improve your skin.

Can you use toner on your arms?

Yes, you can. Skin toner, either body or facial toners, can be used on any part of the skin aside from your pubic areas.  

You can use toner on your arm to help clear out and reduce breakouts on your arm. Likewise, you may apply it on your underarm to reduce the dirt and bacteria that cause a bad odor. It may as well help to brighten your underarm. 


Skin toners are a great addition to a skincare routine as they help to ensure that the skin is properly cleansed. This improves the appearance of the skin by unclogging the pores, tightening the pores, and also regulating sebum production in the skin. 

Using skin toner properly on your skin will help to give your skin appearance a boost and lessen the irritation. Learn the proper application process, as well as the proper usage frequency to be able to benefit from the serum.

Thanks for reading.

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