What Does Toner Do For Your Face?

girl removing makeup straight

Our nightly skin-care routine goes a little something like this: Remove makeup, cleanse, apply toner, moisturize and say a little prayer that we’ll wake up as glowy as Jennifer Aniston in a SmartWater commercial. But unlike the cleansing and moisturizing steps, we’re not always sure about the purpose of toner—we just swipe it on. So in the interest of skin-care schooling, here’s what toner does and why everyone needs it.

What Does Toner Do For Your Face? 

Basically, even after washing your face, dust and other impurities (like pollution) can linger on your skin. By using a toner, you’re getting rid of those last remnants of grossness. But you’re also restoring hydration after cleansing and rebalancing your skin’s pH levels, making it easier to absorb serums and creams.

When should I use toner? 

Toner serves as the final step in the cleansing process, but also as the preparatory step before moisturizing.

And how should I use it? 

Well, that depends on your skin type. Those with oily skin: Soak a cotton round in toner and swipe over your face, so the impurities lift up. Those with dry skin: Pour a little toner into your hands and, with your palms, gently tap it into your skin, so the product seeps in and moisturizes.

Which Ones Should I Try?

Again, that hinges on your skin type. If you have dry or normal skin, look for a toner with rosewater or chamomile, which hydrates and soothes, respectively. (We like Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir and Clarins’s Toning Lotion.) If you have combination or oily skin that tends to break out, try one with a small percentage of alcohol. Known as astringent toners, these formulas (like The Body Shop Tea Tree Toner and Laneige’s Essential Power Toner) are antibacterial and dry out the skin.

Makes way more sense now, right? Aniston glow, we’re comin’ for ya.

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sarah stiefvater

Wellness Director

Sarah Stiefvater is PureWow's Wellness Director. She's been at PureWow for ten years, and in that time has written and edited stories across all categories, but currently focuses...