What Is A Toner—Its Benefits, Cons And Side effects

What Is A Toner—Its Benefits And Side Effects

Shalu B

Updated At  26 Mar 24

Do you want to know what is a toner? Do you have an oily or acne prone skin and are looking for options to cleanse your face? Do you want to know skin toner benefits? Do you want to know the side effects of toner on face?

Thanks to the 10-step Korean beauty ritual, skin toners are back with a bang. And we are here to answer all your toner-related questions including what is a toner, how to use face toner, skin toner benefits, side effects of toner on face, how to use toner for oily skin, does toner remove makeup among others.

Our guide on toner specifically covers the following:

  • What Is A Toner
  • Skin Toner Benefits
  • Disadvantages And Side Effects Of Toner On Face
  • How To Choose Facial Toner
  • How To Use Face Toner
  • FAQs On Toner


What Is A Toner?
It might look and feel like water, but a toner is not actually water. What is a toner is often one of the most frequently asked questions to dermatologists worldwide.


A toner is a water based liquid which contains active ingredients to cleanse the skin, shrink pores, maintain skins pH balance and provide an instant glow.


It targets a variety of skin issues. It is a good source of antioxidants and gives skin an extra boost of hydration.
Previously, toners were used after cleansing with alkaline products including soaps to maintain the balance of ph levels of the facial skin. Later on even when the cleansers became pH balanced in themselves, toners stayed as a separate step of the beauty ritual. Even though it is not a necessary step, according to dermatologists, it surely gives your skin some added benefits. An extra step daily and your skin will thank you for times to come.


Skin Toner Benefits, Disadvantages And Side Effects Of Toner On Face

Knowing what is a toner is not enough. In order to make an intelligent decision, you should also be aware of skin toner benefits, its disadvantages as well as side effects of toner on face.


Skin Toner Benefits

There are various skin toner benefits that you must be aware.

  • Extra Cleansing - Sometimes stubborn dirt, dust, grime and makeup particles stay behind even after cleansing. Toners get rid of such lingering impurities to give your face an additional and complete cleanse.
  • Minimizes Appearance Of Pores - Regular use of toners can minimize the appearance of pores.
  • Restores Skin’s pH Balance - Toners antioxidant-rich soothing formula is known to restore the pH balance of facial skin.
  • Hydrates And Replenishes - Ask the experts and they will tell you hydration is the key to god healthy skin. Toners do just that. They get absorbed inti the skin very quickly to give it an instant boost of hydration.
  • Preps Skin - Toners contain ingredients such as glycerin which makes them excellent humectants. This means they help the skin to absorb moisture better. They prepare the skin so that it can readily absorb the creams and serums you will apply next.
  • Refreshes Skin - Toners can give your skin an instant refreshing feel.
  • Prevents Infections And Breakouts - Toners are water-based liquids known for their soothing and anti-inflammatory properties. They play a major role in preventing skin infections. Consequently, toners are also very effective in preventing breakouts as well as reducing the existing ones.
  • Adds A Protective Layer - A toner forms a protective layer on your skin. It acts as a barrier against all kinds of environmental stressors including dirt, dust, pollution and sun.
  • Provides Essential Ingredients - Toners consist of a variety of ingredients to target many different skin issues.
  • Boon For Oily Skin - Toners are extremely useful for oily and acne prone skin. They have the ability to control the production of excess oil.




Disadvantages And Side Effects Of Toner On Face

Toners don’t have any particular disadvantages or side effects. If your skin gets dry or irritated after using a toner, it is advised that you should switch to some other brand.


The only thing that you need to be worried about while using a toner is its alcohol content. Alcohol is usually not bad for skin unless used in high concentrations. Be vigilant about the alcohol content of your toner if you are using one which is alcohol-based. Otherwise it can lead to dry and damaged skin. If used excessively, the side effects of toner on face can be irritation and skin issues.



How To Choose Facial Toner

Today the market is flooded with tons of different toners which claim to target specific skin concerns. When buying a toner you must keep in mind your skin type and specific concerns. Follow our guide to choose the right toner for you:

  • To give your skin an extra boost of hydration choose a toner with rosewater and vitamin E
  • If you are looking for soothing benefits get one with chamomile
  • Fight excess oil and bacteria with tea tree oil enriched toner
  • Calm inflammation and redness by using a toner with aloe vera extracts
  • For oily skin choose a toner which comes with glycolic or salicylic acid
  • Treat large pores with Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) rich toner
  • Dull skin would benefit from a toner with natural exfoliators like papaya extracts and lactic acid


How To Use Face Toner?

Anybody can use a facial toner. It is very easy to use. You can apply face toner by either of the two methods:

  • Soak a cotton pad with toner and dab over freshly cleansed face.
  • You can skip cotton and directly apply toner with hands. Add a few drops of toner in your palms and press onto your skin. Ensure that your hands are clean.


Precautions While Using A Toner

Keep in mind these additional points before using a toner:

  • Ascertain your skin type and skin issues. Seek professional help if required.
  • Avoid a toner which lists alcohol in its top 5 ingredients. Also pay attention to the percentage of alcohol used.






Frequently Asked Questions


Q- Does toner remove makeup?

Toner ideally should not be used as a makeup remover. The main function of a toner is to balance skin’s pH and to unclog the pores. It hence is very effective for oily skin beauties or people who face acne issues.
Using a makeup remover is always a better option than using a toner for makeup removal.


Q- When to use toner day or night?

Toner can be applied on freshly cleansed skin twice a day. If you have sensitive skin you can use it once a day or every other day.

Q- What is the best time to use toner?

The best time to use toner is both in the morning and at night after cleansing face.

Q- Can a toner be used daily?

Yes, a toner can be used daily. Ensure it is not alcohol-based.

Q- How to use toner for oily skin?

For oily skin, choose a toner with salicylic or glycolic acid.

Q- What is the best way to apply toner?

The best way to apply toner is by simply dabbing it onto tour skin with your hands. However, do it with clean hands to avoid any skin infections.


Q- What are the side effects of toner on face for oily skin?

One can experience increase in breakouts while using a toner for oily skin. Additionally, the toner contains alcohol which can increase the dryness of your skin. Increased usage can increase dryness leading to skin irritations. Also, if you have cystic acne then the toner might not help sometimes and can give a burning sensation.

Q- How to use toner with a moisturizer?

A toner preps the skin for the application of moisturizer. Thus, it has to be applied before using a moisturizer.

Q- What is the best sequence to apply a toner?

Always remember CTM that is, cleansing, toning and moisturizing. Cleanse your skin first then apply a toner followed by a moisturizer and SPF.


Q- Is toner different from astringent?

Due to similar consistency and almost same usage, toners are often mistakenly considered same as astringents. Though they have similar looks and use, a toner is different from an astringent in many aspects:

  • Toner is water based while astringent is an alcohol-based liquid.
  • Astringents are used to tackle oily skin only but toners address a variety of skin issues based on their specific formulation.
  • Regular use of astringent can lead to dry skin. Toners are safe for daily use.

Q- Can a toner be made at home?

DIY face toner at home using natural ingredients is always a good option.

  • For All Skin Types
    Mix one cup of green tea with ½ tablespoon of honey. On cooling, add a few drops of jojoba oil. Mix well and store in a container.
  • For Oily Skin
    Mix 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and one lemon’s juice in 200 ml of mineral water. Mix well and store. This toner is only to be used at night as it includes lemon.

Check the diy natural toner home remedies to find out 7 amazing ways to make a natural toner.


Q- Is toner really necessary?

Toner is not really a necessity but it helps all those oily skin beauties which face acne issues or have a tendency to get pores clogged often. A favourite of many dermatologists for treating acne, toners are used to cleanse the skin and remove dirt as well. One just needs to be careful though as when used too many times, the side effects of toner on face can be irritation, dryness and other skin issues.


Q- Can we use rose water as a toner? If yes, what are rose water toner benefits?

Yes, rose water can be used as a toner. Infact, it is a good substitute for chemical based toners.
There are various rose water toner benefits like:

  • 100% natural with no chemicals
  • Soothes and cleanses your skin
  • A gentle effective facial clenser with no side effects
  • Restores moisture balance of the skin
  • Also has anti aging properties


Q- Which is the best toner?

Neutrogena toner is often rated as the best toner. Depending upon your requirement, one can go for Pore Refining Face Toner or Rapid Clear 2-in-1 Fight & Fade Salicylic & Glycolic Acid Toner for Acne & Marks. Both of these Neutrogena toners are bestsellers.


Q- When to use toner on your face?

The best time to use a toner is after you cleanse your face. You can use it both in the morning or in the night. usually, most of the people prefer using it twice daily after face cleansing.


Q- Is toner bad for skin?

Toner is usually not bad for skin. It is mainly used to balance skin’s pH and to unclog the pores. It is especially very effective for oily skin beauties or people who face acne issues as it helps to unclog pores. However, too much of any product is always bad. While using a toner, always use it in moderation. Also, make sure to pick the right toner which goes well with your skin. Selecting a toner with too much alcohol content might not go well with your skin.


Q- How many times to use toner a day?

There is no fixed answer to the number of times one can use a toner in a day as it  depends on the skin type and personal preferences. Usually poeple with sensitive skin can use it once a day or every alternate day. Normal skin beauties can use it daily 1-2 times depending upon personal preferences.


Q- What are the side effects of toner on face?

There are no specific side effects of toner on face. However, one can get dry or irritated skin after using a toner. If this happens, it is best advised to switch your toner.

Also, make sure to go for a toner with no or minimal alcohol content as it can lead to dry and damaged skin. 




Related Articles