If you've previously dismissed toner as an unnecessary step in your skin care routine, you may want to think again. Toner is a water-based product that can be spritzed or gently pressed onto the skin, usually after cleansing. While facial toners have gained a bit of a bad reputation in the past for causing irritation and dryness, they've come a long way in recent years and can play a vital role in your daily regimen. But what is toner used for, exactly?

Here's a look at why you should use toner and what you can expect with regular use.

What Is Toner Used for?

Toner is designed to replenish the skin barrier and tackle a number of concerns, such as acne, rosacea, and even eczema, while leaving your complexion feeling fresher, smoother, and more comfortable. Thanks to their active ingredient-packed formulas of soothing agents and antioxidants, toners hydrate the skin, minimize the look of pores, reduce redness, and remove excess oil—making your skin glow. If your current skin care routine isn't quite hitting the mark, a toner could be the missing step you've been looking for.

Choosing a Toner for Your Skin Type

If you've found that toners have irritated your skin in the past, it may be because the ingredients weren't suited to your skin type. Alcohol-based toners, for example, or those that include ingredients such as witch hazel, can cause reactions in more sensitive skin types. Additionally, fragranced toners aren't right for everyone.

So, what should you look for when choosing a toner? If you have sensitive skin, get to know the ingredients that can help combat dryness or redness. Milkier formulas containing hydrating ingredients like glycerin are ideal for aging skin and dryness, while gel textures with skin-soothing allantoin are excellent at calming redness and rosacea. Toners that include ingredients such as niacinamide and vitamin B3 are generally used for reducing pore size and an uneven skin tone.

How to Introduce a Toner Into Your Skin Care Routine

To start reaping the benefits of using toner, you should apply it after cleansing and before your usual serum and moisturizer. Most toners or tonics are designed to be gently pressed onto the skin with a cotton pad or spritzed directly onto the face to prepare the skin for the products that follow. Take care not to scrub or rub the skin as the ingredients your toner contains may irritate if applied in this way. It's also important to remember that toners shouldn't be used as a replacement for a cleanser or relied upon to remove makeup.

The EltaMD Three-Step Regimen

EltaMD's four-step Skin Recovery System Regimen is an easy way to enjoy the benefits of a toner, especially if you have sensitive or acne-prone skin. The Skin Recovery Toner is a crucial step in the regimen that contains malachite extract, detoxifying mineral-rich copper complex, and antioxidants to help defend the skin against free radicals. When used alongside the Skin Recovery Serum and Skin Recovery Light Moisturizer, it's proven to repair the skin barrier and moisturize the skin.

Now that you know the benefits of using toner, you can confidently incorporate one into your daily routine. Don't forget to do your research to find the formula that addresses your personal skin concerns and is right for you. Toner is a sure-fire way to reach your skin care goals in record time.


  • Catherine Hufton

    Catherine Hufton is a UK-based freelance journalist and writer who has worked for some of fashion's most iconic companies and written for the world's best known magazines and newspapers. Beginning her career at Net-a-Porter and Matches Fashion over 12 years ago, she has created content for L'Oréal, Elle, Harper's Bazaar, The Telegraph and more.

    View all posts