What Is a Skin Toner? The Ultimate Guide for Skincare Beginners

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Skin toner encompasses body toner and facial toner. This skincare product comes after cleansing and just before you apply moisturizing products.

Moreover, skin toner can be applied on the face or all over the body, that is, arms and legs inclusive.

Skincare products are very important if you’ll maintain glowing, firm, and youthful skin. Skin toners are just as important in any skincare routine, although they aren’t talked about in mainstream beauty.

And, yes, there is a difference between a body toner and a face toner, although they tend to perform similar functions.

Ahead, this post explains everything you need to know about skin toner, where and how it is applied to achieve maximum results.

What Is a Skin Toner?

Skin toner is a skincare product that is usually liquid- or oil-based. It could be as a lotion, cream, serum, oil, or even a water-based formula. Skin toners are tailored for the face, legs, arms, and underarms.

Just as the name implies, these skincare products tone your skin and give you an even-toned complexion. Skin toners are modified based on different formulas to suit different skin types and concerns.

Skin toners work at a pH level (usually 5.5) that does not fall too far from the pH value of your skin. Therefore, they help to restore skin pH and keep it steady which is essential for healthy skin.

What Is Skin Toner Good For?

Skin toners penetrate deep into your pores to refine and tighten them, minimizing their appearance and therefore regulating sebum production. Skin toners used on the face double cleanse your face of oil, dirt, and makeup.

Body toners are good for revitalizing and retexturizing your skin. Facial toners do this as well, but they do not all contain as many ingredients as body toners contain.

Toning your skin helps to balance your skin pH which may be altered by the chemicals in other skincare products, environmental aggressors, and chlorine in bathwater.

A skin toner contains ingredients that help to fade discolorations that may be a result of acne, sun damage, and hyperpigmentation. It also contains hydrating ingredients that replenish skin moisture levels, soothe your skin, and improve your natural barrier.

As a result, your skin becomes resilient to the toxic effect of environmental irritants and bacteria that can cause inflammation and infections.

Skin toners make a good addition to any skincare routine only if you get the right formula and apply it correctly.

What Is a Good Toner for Oily Skin?

Toner is especially good for oily skin. The major menace of oily skin is the overproduction of oil which makes the skin look greasy and most times breakout with blemishes.

Using toner for oily skin will help control and regulate sebum production. Skin toner that contains hyaluronic acid and tea tree oil is exceptionally hydrating.

Oily skin maximizes this hydration boost and communicates sufficient moisture levels to your skin cells.

Furthermore, tea tree oil helps to regulate sebum production. Alpha and beta hydroxy acids (AHAs and BHAs) like glycolic acid and salicylic acid respectively are exfoliating acids that unclog your pores of excess oil and dead skin cells buildup.

These ingredients work in tandem to cleanse your skin and brighten your complexion. Additionally, these AHAs and BHAs can dry out your skin. So, you should get a toner that contains these acids and hyaluronic acid to cancel out this drying effect.

What Is a Good Toner for Dry Skin?

Dry skin is associated with flaking, dull complexion, and dehydration which may come with fine lines and wrinkles.

This dryness is usually because of the underproduction of sebum and other factors like over-exfoliation, genetics, and the harsh effects of UV rays.

If you have dry skin, what you need essentially is a hydrating toner. A skin toner that contains high concentrations of hyaluronic acid, glycerin perfectly fills in the requirement for hydration.

These ingredients are strong humectants; they attract moisture from the environment and retain it in the layers of your skin. On application, your skin plumps and feels moisturized.

In addition, toners that contain lipids like ceramides are great picks for dry skin. These lipids help to maintain and repair your skin’s natural lipid barrier and prevent trans epidermal water loss.

While you shop for a skin toner that contains these ingredients, be wary of those that contain alcohol.

What Is a Good Toner for Sensitive Skin?

Sensitive skin is very prone to skin flares and irritations. And for this reason, people with this skin type are very wary when it comes to what they apply to their skin. Like earlier mentioned, there is a toner for every skin type.

Toners for sensitive skin should not contain ingredients like alcohol and witch hazel. Rather than that, look for a toner with ingredients like chamomile, aloe, hyaluronic acid, and rose water.

These ingredients make the toner soothing. They use their anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antibacterial properties to calm your skin and prevent inflammation.

Moreover, because of the sensitivity of this skin type, you can begin with not too frequent application. For instance, you can tone your skin two to three times a week before you progress according to increased tolerance.

What Is a Good Toner for Combination Skin?

Combination skin can make skincare quite cumbersome. You have two different skin types to cater to on the same body. It could be a combination of dry and oily or normal and dry or oily.

While the oily areas need exfoliating products and astringents, the dry areas cannot stand these ingredients. To create a balance, you should use a toner that contains both hydrating and antioxidant ingredients.

The antioxidants like vitamin A, vitamin E, and green tea extract work to protect your skin from oxidative stress which can lead to acne breakouts.

The hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, ceramides, and glycerin will hydrate both skin types present and regulate sebum production.

The ceramides, a lipid, will help to improve the skin’s natural barrier and prevent moisture loss which can be the onset of blemishes.

What Is a Good Toner for Acne-Prone Skin?

Acne-prone skin is usually associated with oily skin. However, you can have dry acne-prone skin as well. Your choice of toner will also be based on the ingredients in the formula.

To start with, toner for acne-prone skin should contain AHAs or BHAs. These exfoliating acids unclog your pores of debris that cause acne breakouts.

Also, pick a toner that contains ingredients like aloe, a hydrating ingredient with anti-inflammatory properties.

In addition, plant-based extracts like green tea and tea tree oil have antiseptic and antimicrobial properties that guard your skin against infections.

Toners for acne-prone skin should not contain alcohol and witch hazel which can worsen existing breakouts and lead to the formation of new breakouts.

Can You Use Facial Toner on Your Body?

Body toners and face toners are not the same. Body toners can be in the form of creams, lotions, and body oils while face toners are liquid-based skincare products.

You can use facial toner on upper body parts like your neck and chest. Applying body toner to your face may not suit every skin type. A major reason is body toners are usually thicker and the ingredients may be too heavy for the face.

In addition, you’ll find face toners with labels that identify them as facial toners. Body toners, on the other hand, commonly come with labels of “restorative”, “sculpting”, “skin firming”, “toning solution” and “retexturizing”.

For more effective results, get a face toner for your face and a body toner for other areas of your skin.

Can You Use Toner for Your Underarms?

Yes, you can. There are skin toners that are tailored to suit the skin on the underarms and address issues like dark underarms and bad odors.

For a quick fix, you may use your facial toners to clean your underarms to get rid of the bacteria that mix with your sweat. This reaction is the root cause of smelly underarms and skin discoloration around that area.

But to address these skin concerns with precision, there are skin-toning solutions and body glow tonics that perfectly tone the skin in your underarm, give you an even-toned complexion, and get rid of the bacteria that cause armpit odors.

How to Use Skin Toner

Using skin toner is not a herculean task. Toning comes post-bathe and just before you apply a serum and moisturizer.

  • Start with cleansing. Use a mild facial cleanser to clean your face and neck
  • Afterward, dampen a clean cotton pad with facial toner and wipe your face, neck, and chest
  • You can go over the previous step one more time if you feel the need to
  • Then, apply your body toning lotion, oil, cream, or serum on the areas of concern
  • If you use a serum, remember to apply moisturizer after
  • If you’re using an oil, it should be the last thing you apply to your body
  • Most importantly, layer sunscreen on your face and exposed body areas. You may apply it all over your body too (depending on the demands of your skin)


Is toner for the face and body?

Skin toners include body toner and face toner. Each is formulated to address these different skin parts. However, sometimes, you may use a face toner on your chest and shoulders (if you’re dealing with acne in these areas).

On the other hand, a body toner may not always work for your face because it may contain heavy ingredients like oils which may not suit your skin.

Is skin toner necessary?

Toners help to improve the texture and complexion of your skin. These products come after cleansing your skin and before moisturizing.

Skin toners become necessary if you’re looking to address issues like pores refining, hydration boost, and smoothening fine lines and wrinkles.

However, if you use mild soaps or cleansers and you have serums that address these concerns, a toner may not be necessary for your skin.

Can you use skin toner every day?

Yes, you can use toner on your skin every day. If your skin does not flare upon the application of toners, you should use it every day, during your morning and evening routine.

But if you have sensitive skin and toner irritates your skin, you should use it once a day or every other day.

Can you use toner as a deodorant?

You may use a facial toner or a suitable toning solution for your underarms. It will help lower the pH of your skin and make it inhabitable for the bacteria that act on sweat and cause a bad odor.


A skincare routine can be as comprehensive as you want it to be. Moreover, the details depend on what you’re looking to address. Skin toners are an extra cleansing step that can also boost your skin’s hydration levels.

Body toners and facial toners are types of skin toner, and they differ from each other in consistency and formulation. Overall, what they both address is giving you an even skin tone and improving the texture of your skin.

Furthermore, they help to balance your skin’s pH. But not all skin types find toning necessary. If your skin type and concerns need a toner, ensure you get the right formula and apply it correctly.

Thanks for reading.

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