What Does Toner Do? Everything Your Need to Know About This Skincare Step

By Tara | Updated: 26/08/2023

Depending on ingredients and skin type, facial toner can serve several benefits when it comes to skincare. Toner can:

Facial toner is one of the skincare products that some swear by and are not used by others. I have always associated toner with being of a 3-step Clean & Clear skincare “regime” from my teens years. It stung, and I definitely had no idea what it was meant to do — but that was early 2000’s skincare.

A lot has changed since and there are now so many amazing toners on the market that are suited to all skin types from acne-prone skin to sensitive skin.

In this article, I will explain what exactly toner does, answer all your toner related questions and provide some recommendations.

When Do I Use It?

Facial toner should be used as a second step in your skincare routine — after cleansing. It can be used in your morning and evening skincare routine.

Depending on your skin type and concerns and the face toner ingredients, the frequency of how much you use it in your skincare routine will vary. It may not be necessary to use it every day.

How Do I Use It?

Using a toner is very straightforward. Facial toner can be applied with a cotton pad or on clean fingers or sprayed on (if in a spray bottle). Apply the toner by padding the face, neck and décolletage.

Those who are environmentally conscious should consider spray face toners or invest in a reusable cotton pad.

What ingredients should I look for?

Finding a toner suitable to your skin type will really depend on the ingredients used in the product. Those with oily skin will want to choose a toner that offers antibacterial and exfoliating properties to remove dead skin cells and oil build up. Many toners today are alcohol free and formulated with nourishing, anti-ageing, hydrating and protective ingredients to complement and combat your skin concerns.

Read on below to see some of the ingredients worth looking out for:

Rose Water Oil:
Rosewater is essentially rose petals soaked in distilled or purified water. This is easily one of my favourite ingredients in any skincare product. Beyond its beautiful smell, it has several benefits when it comes to skincare.

This can be a really beneficial ingredient for those with sensitive skin, as it works to calm and soothe the skin, alleviate redness and relieves inflammation. Chamomile is highly compatible with water-based skincare products, which is what makes a great ingredient for face toner.

Tea tree oil:
This is an ingredient those with acne prone skin or oily skin will want to look out for. Tea tree is effective in tackling oily skin and bacteria build up that is experienced by acne sufferers.

Aloe vera:
If you are spending money on skincare, hopefully, you avoid the sun at all costs. But like Aloe Vera gel is used to treat sunburn, the soothing properties of Aloe Vera is what makes it a popular skincare ingredient. Those who experience redness or inflammation will find this a beneficial ingredient for face toner to alleviate redness and discomfort.

Witch Hazel:
This is another face toner ingredient those with acne-prone and inflamed skin will want to consider. Witch hazel works to dry out your acne blemishes, fights bacteria and infuse antioxidants onto the skin.

Hyaluronic Acid:
Hyaluronic acid is a staple skin care ingredient found in many types of products. It works as a humectant – a substance that helps the skin retain water and provide maximum hydration. It’s an amazing face toner ingredient to lock in hydration from the skin care products that follow.

Salicylic Acid:
This is a common ingredient found in face toners for treating acne. It works to combat an acne outbreak by dissolving excess oil in pores and aiding the skins natural exfoliation process. Further, it can be really effective in fading red acne scarring.

What should I avoid in a facial toner?

Facial Toners for Your Skin Type

For Sensitive Skin

Kiehl’s Since 1851 – Cucumber Herbal Alcohol-Free Toner

Kiehl's Cucumber Herbal Alcohol-Free Toner

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For Oily Skin

OLE HENRIKSEN – Balancing Force Oil Control Toner

OLE HENRIKSEN - Balancing Force Oil Control Toner

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For Combination Skin

Aesop – In Two Minds Facial Toner

Aesop In Two Minds Facial Toner

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For Anti-Ageing

SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion

SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion

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Tara Lusk is the founder and creator of Beauty Space
Tara Lusk is a Sydney-based beauty enthusiast and the founder of Beauty Space. She launched the blog in 2018 to showcase the best beauty and skincare brands emerging from Australia, while also providing insider tips and tricks for hair and skincare. With a focus on tried-and-true products, Tara puts the latest cult products to the test to separate hype from substance.

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