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What Are Skin Toners & Do I Really Need One?


In skincare, a ‘toner’ refers to a water-based liquid that mildly cleanses the skin and reduces the appearance of large pores. A toner is also used to hydrate and prep the skin to soak in moisturizer or any other treatments that follow in a skincare routine.

A Brief Background on Skin Toners

Toners aren’t a new phenomenon. They’ve existed for a long time and are an important part of the widely followed CTM skincare routine. Traditionally, toners (also known as astringents) were packed with high concentrations of alcohol to help get rid of excess oil from the skin, which is why they became popular amongst people who dealt with acne. On the other hand, these astringents proved to be extremely drying on the skin.

Toners were also of great help back when people washed their faces with harsh soaps or facial cleansers. This stripped away moisture from the face and wrecked the pH balance of the skin. To counteract this, toners were formulated to bring back hydration and balance the skin’s pH level.

Over the years, toning products have evolved significantly from being just hydrating and balancing solutions to offering soothing, brightening, exfoliating and even clarifying benefits to the skin.

Benefits of Using a Skin Toner

Should You Use a Skin Toner?

Toning is the hydrating step of a skincare routine. It is a great way to quench thirsty, aka dehydrated skin. Between your cleansing and moisturizing step, you want to replenish your skin with a burst of hydration so that it feels plump, dewy, and supple after you’ve completed your routine.

If your cleanser Is not gentle enough, It can cause mild dryness and dehydration. If your moisturizer is moisturizing but not hydrating enough, It will soothe dryness but not dehydration. A toner not only hydrates the skin but also prepares it to soak in the goodness of the moisturizer that follows.

How to Use a Skin Toner

How to Find the Perfect Toner

When choosing a toner, it’s very important to keep your skin type in mind. Folks with oily skin would benefit most from a toner that lightly exfoliates the skin whereas those with dry skin would get the best results with a toner that’s loaded with humectants. If you have sensitive skin, a soothing toner with calming ingredients would work best for you.

To make it easier for you, we’ve curated a list of our favorite alcohol-free toners that provide targeted action against a slew of skin concerns:

To Combat Acne

The Green Tea Alcohol-free Toner is enriched with skin-renewing glycolic acid that gently exfoliates the skin and removes dead skin cells. The star of this toner, however, is the main ingredient – green tea. Green tea is an excellent antioxidant that helps combat acne and prevent breakouts. With a non-drying formula, this toner effectively hydrates the skin, shrinks pores and clarifies the skin.

  • Suitable for people with oily, acne-prone, and combination skin
  • Not suitable for people with extremely dry skin

To Enhance Your Natural Glow

If you're looking to get your glow on, this refreshing and lightweight Vitamin C Toner should be your go-to. It is powered by glow-boosting Ethyl Ascorbic Acid (1.5%), rejuvenating Kakadu Plum and brightening Japanese Mandarin to refresh dull skin, maximize hydration and tighten pores. It is suitable for all skin types.

To Clarify Your Skin

The 3% Niacinamide and Rice Water Toner is a superhero that clears pores and fights blemishes. Niacinamide (a water-soluble form of Vitamin B3) when applied to the skin is proven to act on blemishes and acne marks, boost the functioning of the skin barrier, soothe acne and protect against sun damage. This toner also contains rice ferment filtrate (Japanese Sake) which minimizes pores and oat extracts that nourish and hydrate the skin. This multi-tasking toner is suitable for all skin types and is non-comedogenic.

To Gently Exfoliate 

The 3% PHA Toner with Blueberry effectively clears the top layer of the skin, busts breakouts and refines pores. PHAs (Poly Hydroxy Acids) are gentle exfoliants that help refine and clear pores, leaving skin smooth and breakout-free. This is a beginner-friendly toner that is suitable for all skin types.

To Soothe and Hydrate  

This toner contains timeless skincare ingredients such as rose extracts, hyaluronic acid, calendula extracts, and glycerin. Together they make the perfect blend that we call the Bulgarian Valley Rose Water Toner. This toner provides multiple benefits – it hydrates, plumps, nourishes and soothes the skin. It is also suitable for all skin types.

To Nourish Dry Skin

The E-Luminence Nourishing Toning Water contains edelweiss extract which is an antioxidant that protects the skin from free radical damage and calendula extracts that soothe the skin. It calms and soothes dry, flaky skin and maintains the skin’s pH levels for a healthy glow.

  • Suitable for normal, dry, very dry, and sensitive skin
  • Not suitable for oily and acne-prone skin

To Cool and Calm Your Skin

The Chamomile and White Tea Toner is perfect for use before and after sun exposure. It is packed with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to protect skin from sun damage and fight oxidative damage. It also contains aloe vera leaf juice that cools, calms and soothes the skin.

  • Suitable for dry and combination skin
  • Not suitable for people with very dry, oily, and acne-prone skin


Q1. How often should I use a skin toner?

Ideally, toners should be used every time you cleanse your skin. So, toners can be used twice daily, in the morning and at night.

Q2. Should a toner be washed or wiped off after application?

A toner works best when it is left on the skin. So, you don’t need to wash or wipe it off after application.

Q3. Can I use a toner as a facial mist through the day?

If you use a toner that does not include any active ingredients, you can use it as a facial mist through the day.

Q4. Is it ok to use a toner without a moisturizer?

You definitely need to apply moisturizer after toner. A moisturizer is necessary to seal the hydration provided by the toner.


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