How to Apply Toner: Is There a Wrong Way?

How to Apply Toner: Is There a Wrong Way?

Skincare can be confusing. It seems as if a new beauty trend emerges every week, with waves of novelty products hitting the shelves shortly thereafter. If you don’t pay close attention, keeping track of all these new fads feels impossible.

One such product that has experienced this treatment is toner. This product has surged in popularity in recent years, and it seems like every beauty guru and TikTok influencer includes it in their skincare routine. But what is toner, precisely? Does anyone really know?

We’re here to help. 

Toner, also called face or facial toner, is a water-based skincare product that serves any number of goals—it all depends on the type of toner. Many toners include ingredients like glycerin, antioxidants, acids, and anti-inflammatories, each of which produces slightly different results. So, toner itself is actually pretty tough to define.

Put simply, toner provides a boost of hydration to the face, while also protecting and refreshing the skin. Moreover, it removes any excess dirt and dead skin leftover after an initial facial cleanse. 

This brings us to our next point—where should facial toner land in your skincare routine order? This one’s easy: you should apply toner after washing your face but before applying moisturizer and serums. 

In this sense, applying toner lets you prepare your pores for any other products still to come by removing any unwanted makeup, dirt, and oil. It also helps to restore your skin’s pH balance (or return your face to its natural state of acidity). In this way, toner equips your skin and pores to better absorb those forthcoming products.

That being said, toner comes in many shapes and sizes. The type of toner that’s best for you will vary based on your skin type and skincare goals. 


Choosing A Toner 


Facial toner is hugely popular right now, which means there are tons of toner options currently on the market. Where should you even begin?

If we can offer you one piece of advice, it’s this: figure out your skin type before choosing a toner. Knowing whether you have dry, oily, or combination skin will help you determine which type of toner to buy.

People with dry skin should look for a toner that contains hydrating ingredients, like Glycerin, Rosewater, Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin E, or Aloe. Likewise, you all should avoid harsh substances that could dry out your skin even further (alcohol is a prime example).

Oily skin is a different story. Anyone with this skin type should seek out a toner that will reduce excess oil on their face. Ingredients like Salicylic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Niacinamide, and Tea Tree Oil should do the trick. 

Finally, combination skin requires a gentle, balanced formula that caters to both the dry and the oily. Basically, people with this skin type should use a toner that hydrates and deals with extra oil. Looking for mild acids, like Hyaluronic, Lactic, and Salicylic Acid, is a great bet.

To really go above and beyond, you could even try using two different toners—one for the dry patches of skin, and one for the oily areas. 

If you have a specific skin issue you’re looking to address, there’s probably a toner out there that will get the job done. For example, if you’re looking to reduce signs of aging, a toner containing antioxidants, Vitamin C, or Vitamin E would be a perfect fit. 

As you can see, there’s almost nothing that toner can’t do—that’s the magic of it. Go forth and pick out the perfect toner for your skin!

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How To Apply Toner The Right Way 


Once you’ve chosen a toner, it’s time to get down to business and actually use the stuff. 

But wait—How do you apply toner? Is there a wrong way?

The short answer is yes—there is a wrong way. However, that doesn’t mean that doing it the right way is difficult. With the right information, using toner should be a breeze. 

Here are a few tips for handling toner correctly:

  • Apply toner right after you wash your face. Yes, we mentioned this once before, but it’s really important. To achieve the full effect of whatever toner you choose, you need to apply it before you move on with the rest of your skincare routine.

  • However, there is one exception to the rule that should be noted. If you’re planning to put on a face mask, you should do so after cleansing but before applying toner.

  • Use a cotton pad, cotton ball, or your (clean) hands to apply toner. It seems as though everyone has a differing opinion on this subject, but we believe that any one of these three methods is totally acceptable.

  • Putting on toner should be quick and easy. No matter which tool you use, all you have to do is gently wipe it around your entire face, starting in the T-zone and moving outwards. 

    Again, every toner is different, so the amount of product you’ll need varies from case to case. Read the instructions on your toner to determine how much to use. When in doubt, start with a small amount. If you’re not feeling the effects, you can always apply a bit more.

    That’s about it! There’s not much to it, really. After toner, continue with the rest of your regimen as per usual. With any luck, after introducing toner to your routine, your skin will begin to feel more hydrated, plumper, and healthier than ever.


    What Not To Do With Toner 


    Yes, applying toner is pretty simple—including it in your skincare routine only takes a minute or two, at most. And yet, we’d be remiss not to discuss a few of the most common toner mistakes.

    Here’s what to avoid when it comes to toner:

  • Don’t use it too often. It’s true that many toners should be used each and every day (some, twice a day). If you use a mild toner, applying it daily is probably the right move. However, toners with harsher ingredients are another story. 

  • If your toner contains strong substances like AHAs and BHAs, it should likely be applied only two or three times a week. Consult the product information for exact instructions.

  • Don’t overdo it—a little goes a long way. This tip is especially important for first-time toner users. When you try out your product for the first time, start off small. You may find that you only need a few drops to cover your entire face.

  • Moreover, if your toner is on the stronger side, using too much can actually damage your skin. Be sure to use a moderate amount to avoid drying out your face.

  • Don’t skip the rest of your routine. These days, there are tons of toner options out there. Whether you’re looking for vegan, cruelty-free, organic, or conventional products, you’ll be able to find a toner that leaves your skin feeling amazing.

  • However, be sure not to skip your moisturizer, serums, etc. Even if your toner makes your skin feel incredibly hydrated, moisturizing is still a vital step in any skincare regimen.

    Follow these three tips, and you’ll be good to go.


    And That’s a Wrap on Toner 


    Your skin deserves the very best, and if there’s one product that will help you get there, it’s toner. Hopefully, we’ve cleared up some of the confusion surrounding this mystical product, and you feel fully prepared to add it to your beauty routine.


    What Does Toner Do? Plus, How to Choose One | Healthline

    What Is Toner? Our Guide to the Benefits of Toner in Your Skin-Care Routine | Allure

    The Best Toner for Your Complexion: A How-To Guide | Review This 

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