Skip to main content

BlissMark may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

Demystifying toner: The 411 on what it is and choosing the best one for you

Is washing your face at the end of the day enough? Should you be doing more for your skin to get it clean? If you feel like after you wash your face it still feels like it might not be completely clean, start looking for a great toner.

Even the best cleansers can leave behind clogged pores. If you find something is missing from your skincare routine, it could be toner. If you don’t use one or have stared at them in the beauty aisle and then given up because there were too many and you couldn’t figure out which one to grab, we will help you navigate how to find the right one for you.

A woman using a face toner.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

What it does

What is face toner? A toner is an additional cleanser that gets your pores and skin ready to better absorb your skincare products. It will make your serums and creams penetrate deeper into your skin and be able to work more aggressively. If these benefits sound like ones you’d love to see, then toner should be a product you should start using. With continuous use, you’ll see some awesome results. Here are a few benefits of using toner:

  • Restores skin’s pH balance
  • Evens out skin tone
  • Smooths out bumpy patches
  • Prevents further damage
  • Removes leftover makeup, dirt, and oil

Toners are used twice a day, after cleansing. It won’t interfere with your other serums, lotions, or creams. While you have to watch out when mixing your retinol and vitamin C serums, you won’t have to check anything when you use a toner.

Ingredients to look for

There are so many kinds of toners these days. It can be overwhelming to find the one that’s best suited for your skin. It’s also worth noting that most toners have multiple ingredients that overlap, so you’ll get a few beneficial ingredients no matter what kind you grab. Some of the most popular ingredients and what they do.

  • Vitamin E hydrates
  • Tea tree oil fights bacteria
  • Chamomile soothes
  • Aloe vera calms and tones down redness
  • Rosewater hydrates
  • Witch hazel reduces inflammation

Are there ingredients you want to stay away from? Yes! There is a particularly important one: alcohol. Alcohol is a drying agent that could leave your skin flaky and irritate it.

Face toner and cotton pads on a pink background.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Should anyone skip out on using a toner?

Toner can be used by almost anyone. We encourage it. But before you dive in and add it to your skincare routine, do a small patch test. If you are extremely prone to dry skin or have noticed some products irritate your skin and make it red, you want to know before you’ve committed.

But otherwise, use your toner after washing your face in the morning and before you go to bed. Once your face has dried you can use your serums and creams like normal. Oily, combination, normal, and dry skin types can all use toner. Young, old, and teens — no matter who you are, you should have a bottle of toner in your bathroom.

A woman holding up face toner and cotton pads.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

3 main types

While there can be countless ingredients amongst the types of toners, there are 3 main types.


Exfoliating toners will have glycolic and salicylic acids in them. These acids aid in exfoliating dead skin, dirt, oil, and other pollutants. They will take care of everything sitting on the top layer of skin. This type will scrub out and shrink pores, even out dullness, and smooth out bumps.

These toners are great for oily, combination, and normal skin. If you have sensitive skin or dry skin, you might want to opt for a different type of product. The additional exfoliation could be irritating. Try Summer Fridays Soft Reset AHA Exfoliating Solution to see clearer pores, brighter skin, and fewer lines.


If your cleanser leaves your skin feeling a bit tight, a hydrating toner can make it feel more relaxed. These types, however, won’t help remove extra dirt and oil that your cleanser leaves behind.

Though these are best for dry and sensitive skin types, any other skin type can see results from a hydrating toner. If you want a bit of extra radiance, try AHC Aqualuronic Hydrating Toner. It has three kinds of hyaluronic acids to make sure your skin has all the moisture it needs.


This is kind of a catch-all name. It could list anti-aging, brightening, or a whole host of other benefits. Treatment toners are marketed as treating a specific problem. But if you look at the ingredients, you could see hydrating vitamin E and calming tea tree oil. Speaking of calming, Burt’s Bees Calming Toner smells heavenly, doesn’t contain alcohol, and the witch hazel and rose will shrink pores while calming your skin.

The results are in — you need a face toner. No matter what you want for your skin, there is a toner type for you.

BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.

Dannielle Beardsley
Dannielle has written for various websites, online magazines, and blogs. She loves everything celebrity and her favorite…
Why you need to change your skincare routine this winter
Closeup of woman in winter snowstorm with hands on face

With winter firmly around us, you’ve likely switched up your wardrobe, home decor, and even your go-to meals and comfort foods. But have you changed your skincare routine?

Going from the frigid outdoors to the dry indoors where the heat is cranking can do a number on your face, which is why you want to give it a different type of TLC now than you do in the warmer months. Here is a primer on what you should add to your skincare regime as the temperatures dip.

Read more
This DIY lip mask is exactly what you need for chapped lips
make your own lip mask for chapped lips

Unless you're immune to the colder and drier air, your lips are probably crying for a little TLC right now. Chapped lips are never in style and they're severely uncomfortable, but the right products can help you keep them moist and supple no matter the weather.

Lips are technically skin, and while you're focusing on applying product to your t-zone, your lips are feeling a little left out. Lips crave moisture in the colder months, and products like lip masks can be the ideal way to provide your lips with proper hydration to avoid unwanted cracking or peeling.

Read more
What you need to know about ultraviolet light therapy for acne
A light therapy treatment mask.

There seems to be no end to the products on the market to treat whatever ails your skin — benzoyl peroxide, retinoids, salicylic acid, the list goes on. One of the newest acne treatments showing promise in the quest for clearer skin is ultraviolet light therapy.

Light therapy is said to help with acne, age spots, wrinkles, and fine lines. For now, we want to focus on how ultraviolet light therapy can help with your acne. What exactly is ultraviolet light therapy? Let’s dive in and find out.

Read more