What Is A Toner And How To Use It In Your Routine?

What Is A Toner And How To Use It In Your Routine?

If you’ve heard about the importance of using a toner in your skin care routine but are still confused about how, when, why, look no more. We’re detailing for you what exactly a toner is, what it does to your skin, the different types of toner and when to use it as part of your skin care routine. 

What exactly is a toner?

For many, toners have become a valuable asset to their beauty regimen. Also referred to as toniques, mists or essences, toners have the consistency of water and can target different skin types and concerns. Historically, toners were used to remove excess oil and often happened to dry out the skin. Luckily for us all, they have come a long way and very rarely contain alcohol. In addition to astringent properties, the newest generation of toners and facial mists provide hydration, balance skin and treat a wide range of skin concerns and conditions, making them a must in your skin care routine.  Eminence Organics lead skin care trainer, Rae Williams, says “toners can add hydration or balance shine so it’s a great way to boost the results from your skin care routine in one easy step!”.

The benefits of toner for your skin: what does it do?

Balances PH levels

Toner is often applied after the cleansing step to ensure that the skin’s pH levels are balanced out. A skin’s pH level refers to the acidity of your skin’s acid mantle. If your skin is too acidic you may break out. That’s where toner comes in as it serves to provide equilibrium to your skin. As Healthline states: “ … some soaps and cleansers are alkaline in nature. Using a product with a very different pH level to your skin can disrupt its usual functions, potentially leading to dryness, oiliness, or irritation.”

Treats concerns

Some toners help to restore and balance the pH levels of your skin while others provide nutrients to the skin and focus on treating specific concerns. “Historically, toners were used as a way to balance the pH of the skin after using an alkaline soap product for cleansing,” Rebecca Kazin, MD, a dermatologist in Washington, DC told Women’s Health magazine. Today, however, toners can also provide nutrients to the skin with ingredients like chamomile, lavender and comfrey root.

Helps absorbs products to come

Whether a toner balances the skin’s pH levels or provides nutrients, the toner step preps your skin to absorb products you put on after. Eminence Organics lead skin care trainer, Rae Williams, refers to toning as the “conditioning” step of your skin care routine. The right toner provides a base layer of hydration foundation to prep your skin for the following steps.

The different types of toners

There are hundreds of toners on the market, and choosing the right one for you can be a bit of a mission. That’s why we’re here to help! 

Toners can be categorised by their purposes as either hydrating, exfoliating or astringent. Different toners are suited to different skin types, so be mindful of your skin type and concerns when deciding which toner to use. 


It’s no surprise that hydrating toners contain humectants (water-attracting) ingredients like glycerin and hyaluronic acid. Humectant ingredients are great at holding onto water and make it harder for water to evaporate. You might typically find this type of toner in the form of a refreshing mist or spray. One example is our Stone Crop Hydrating Mist that’s designed for dry skin. This gentle facial mist is formulated with lavender and nourishing stone crop juice to improve hydration in the skin and leave it revitalised.


Exfoliating toners contain a small percentage of AHA or BHA ingredients to brighten the complexion and improve a dull skin tone. Typically, these toners help clear away dead cells from the skin’s surface, leaving the skin’s appearance softer and smoother. 


Astringents are better described as the cousin of a toner. If you have oily skin, astringents can also help get rid of excess oil. The main difference is that an astringent typically contains solvent alcohols or higher alcohol content than a regular toner. However, toners have come a long way since the 90s. Luckily for us, astringent toners don’t contain high amounts of alcohol like they used to. You’re more likely to see formulations with ingredients like witch hazel that is gentler on the skin. Eminence Organics’ toners are modern-day toners, meaning they’re designed to focus on nourishing the skin with hydrating ingredients or providing gentle exfoliation benefits.

When should I use a toner?

In addition to using toners as part of your daily and nightly skin care routine, Eminence Organics International Trainer Jude Herrera says toners can also be used throughout the day to hydrate skin, soothe dryness or set your makeup. 

If you’re wondering when to apply toner during your skin care routine, it should be applied immediately after cleansing your skin, morning and night. In terms of application, toner is typically applied by spritzing it on your face. You can also apply toner with clean hands and swipe it on. Using a toner when your skin is still slightly damp allows its active ingredients to absorb more efficiently. This should help prep your skin for the rest of your products.

To find out about the right toners or ingredients to suit your needs, use our Spa Locator to find a spa for in-person consultations, or connect with us on social media!

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