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How to Use a Toner on the Face

by Lisa S. Kramer, studioD

Facial toner is a skin care product that offers different benefits depending on the specific type of toner used. Facial toner can soak up excess oil and remove dirt, makeup and dead skin cells from your face; restore your face's pH balance; condition and moisturize your skin; and prepare your skin for better absorption of skin care products that are applied to the face immediately after the toner. Toner typically comes in a liquid form, although some toners are formulated as gels or mists. A toner can be used on its own or as part of a multistep skin care regimen as the step in between washing the face and applying facial moisturizers.

Select an appropriate facial toner for your skin type and budget. If you suffer from acne, select a toner specifically indicated for this condition. If you need help finding the right toner, consult with a dermatologist, skin care esthetician or an experienced skin care product sales associate.

Read the manufacturer's instructions for your facial toner and follow any instructions, indications or warnings. If the manufacturer's instructions differ from the instructions given in this article, always follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Wash your face with your regular facial cleanser and pat your face dry with a clean towel. This step is optional, as some people prefer to use facial toner on its own.

Apply a small amount of liquid facial toner to a cotton ball or pad. Take care not to saturate the cotton ball or pad with the facial toner but put enough facial toner on the cotton ball or pad so that it glides easily over your face.

Move the cotton ball or pad gently in small circles across your face, paying special attention to your chin, nose, cheeks and hairline. Avoid your eyes and mouth.

Repeat the process with a fresh cotton ball or pad until you no longer see dirt and debris on the cotton ball or pad. This step is optional; sometimes using just one cotton ball or pad is sufficient.

Wait at least one minute for the toner to dry on your face. Toner is not meant to be washed off your face. Then, if desired, apply moisturizer or serum to your face.

Items you will need
  •  Cotton ball or pad
  •  Face wash (optional)
  •  Facial toner
  •  Face mousturizer (optional)


  • Replace the cap on the bottle of toner immediately after use to prevent the toner from evaporating.


  • It can be dangerous to ingest facial toner or get it in your eye. If ingestion or eye contact occurs, follow the manufacturer's instructions for these situations and -- if necessary -- call the poison control hotline or visit your local emergency room.
  • If irritation or an adverse reaction occurs after using a facial toner, immediately discontinue use and consult a doctor.
  • Keep facial toner out of reach of children and pets.

About the Author

Lisa S. Kramer is a licensed attorney practicing civil litigation and estates and trusts law in southern Florida. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Florida, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and cum laude. Kramer earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Florida Levin College of Law.

Photo Credits

  • Liquidlibrary/liquidlibrary/Getty Images