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  5. Face Toners: Why & How They Are A Boon For Your Skin

Remember how you used to remove excess oil from your face with alcohol-based toners? Well, modern day toners are more than just astringents and have huge benefits for the skin. They are also available in the market with names like essences and tonics. Let’s find out their benefits. 

1. What Is A Toner?

Toner is a skin care product that is used after a cleanser and before a moisturizer or serum. It is used to balance the skin’s pH levels. When the sebum on your skin mixes with the sweat, it forms a layer called the acid mantle. This layer is slightly acidic and has a pH of 4-5.5. Harsh soaps or cleansers mess with this pH and make it alkaline. Toner helps in neutralizing this pH. 

2. Benefits Of Face Toners

Even though a toner looks like water, it is so much more than just hydrogen and oxygen. Here are some of its benefits:

  • A toner can restore the pH levels of your skin, keeping it soft and healthy.
  • No matter how well you cleanse your skin, there can be traces of makeup and stubborn dirt. Toner comes to your rescue in removing all the grime after cleansing.
  • It can shrink pores and remove all the excess oil from your face, making it extremely beneficial for acne-prone skin.
  • It forms an additional protective layer, reducing risk of environmental contaminants entering your skin.
  • A toner can function like a moisturiser. Some have humectants, which are skin care ingredients that attract moisture from the air and provide it to the skin. 

3. How To Use Face Toner?

  • Put a few drops of the toner on a cotton pad.
  • Apply it all over the face and neck.
  • You could also take a few drops in your hands instead of a cotton pad and apply it over your face.
  • Allow it to dry.
  • Follow it up with a serum or moisturizer. 


Use a toner right after cleansing when the skin is still damp, in your morning and evening skin care routines. It helps in better penetration of the ingredients. In case your skin feels too dry after the use of a toner, limit its use to once per day. 

4. Choosing A Toner For Your Skin Type

Toners come with different ingredients based on the requirements of your skin. Do check the ingredients before buying a toner as some may contain potent ingredients.

  • Look for ingredients like vitamin C, coenzyme Q10, hyaluronic acid and glycerin if you have normal to combination skin.
  • If you have acne-prone skin, look for alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic acid in your toner. This can reduce the appearance of pores. A salicylic acid is a good option,
  • but it can irritate the skin in case you have sensitive skin.
  • For sensitive skin, look for soothing ingredients like aloe vera and cucumbers.
  • If you are in your 30s and 40s, you may want to consider a toner with antioxidants and hydrating ingredients.
  • Witch hazel, aloe vera, grapefruit seed extract, cucumber and vitamin E are some of the soothing ingredients if you have dry skin.
  • If you have oily skin, sandalwood, willow bark, lavender, clary sage and tea tree are your best bet.

5. Who Should Use A Toner?

Anyone can use a toner. Toners are no longer meant only for acne. Their true purpose is to balance your skin’s pH, besides addressing skin concerns. Avoid toners that contain alcohol, menthols and fragrances as these can mess with the skin’s barrier. 

6. Side Effects Of Using Toner On Face

Toners do not have any adverse side effects, as long as you avoid alcohol-based ones which may irritate your skin. Overusing a toner (more than twice a day) can also cause skin irritation. 

7. Can I Skip Toner?

You may not want to skip a toner because of its ability to restore the acidic nature of the skin and wipe off the remaining dirt and oil. You can skip using a toner in case your cleanser is already pH balanced and gives you a squeaky clean look. 

8. Difference Between Toner Vs Astringent

The basic difference between a toner and astringent is the composition. Astringent contains alcohol, while toner may or may not contain alcohol. Most toners are alcohol free and are milder. 

Astringents, if used regularly, can dry out the skin and are harsh for sensitive skin types. They are commonly used for skin cuts, insect bites and fungal infections. Examples of astringents include calamine solution, silver nitrate, witch hazel and distilled vinegar. 

9. How Many Times A Day Should I Use Toner On My Face?

You can use toner twice a day after cleansing your face. In case you have dry or sensitive skin, restrict the use of a toner to once a day or alternate days. 

10. How Do You Know Your Skin Toner Is Working?

Your skin feels smoother and plumper. It is glowing and clean as the traces of makeup are no longer there. Pores appear smaller after using toners religiously for 1 to 2 weeks. 

11. How Long Does Toner Last?

Toners last up to one year when stored in a cool place. Discard if you notice any change in color or scent of the toner.

Begin By Knowing Your Skin

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