Woman-Applying-Toner

Toners are like the extra credit assignments of skin care. 

They aren’t as foundational to a skincare as cleansing or moisturizing…but if your personal skincare routine is pulling a B-, you might consider adding in a  toner to get it up to an A! 

And, as a bonus, toner are skincare steps for essential oil inclusion. 

Of course, whether or not toner (with or without essential oils) becomes the missing golden piece to your skincare routine depends on you—your skin type, your budget, and your preferences!

Why Use a Toner?

The main job of a toner is pretty much to support the use of other skincare products. 

On its own, it’s unlikely to outperform or replace any of your other skincare products. But, what it can do help balance out your skin acidity if your cleanser was too harsh, help get a little more makeup and grime off your skin, or prepare your skin to more  effectively take in  the beneficial ingredients of serums and/or moisturizers.  

On top of that, a toner can especially formulated to help resolve specific skin issues—like unbalanced pH levels, acne, excess dryness, etc. 

What Kind of Toner is Good for My Skin Type?

If you have… You may favor a commercial toner with… You may favor a homemade toner made with…
Dry Skin Hyaluronic Acid

Vitamin E

Coconut water

Algae extract

Aloe Vera Juice

Steeped Green Tea

Oily Skin Niacinamide

Glycolic acid

Salicylic acid 

Argan Oil

Grapeseed Oil

Normal Skin:

Hempseed Oil

Combination Skin Niacinamide

Glycolic acid

Salicylic acid

Glycerin

Aloe Leaf Juice

Argan Oil

Grapeseed Oil

Normal Skin:

Hempseed Oil

Sensitive Skin Niacinamide

Vitamin C

Rose Water

Aloe Vera Juice

*Note that treatment toners can be found for specific conditions such as acne, large pores, hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, and more.  *Note: Other popular ingredients for homemade toners also include witch hazel, apple cider vinegar, aloe vera, lemon juice, rose water, vitamin e oil, & green tea.

How Do I Use A Toner? 

Skincare enthusiasts tend to disagree on whether it is best to use a toner before or after exfoliating one’s face. 

As a general rule however—we recommend using your toner before your exfoliator if you are wanting to enhance the action of your cleanser and after your exfoliator if you want more pH balancing, hydrating, or serum-prep benefits.

How to Apply Your Toner

The first thing to do is to spray or pour a small amount of your toning solution onto a cotton ball or cotton round. 

Use the cotton round to swipe the toner across your face—paying special attention to the T-zone of your face (above your eyebrows, down and around your nose, and on your chin). 

After covering the T-Zone, you can go on to pass the toner-laden cotton over the rest of your face, neck, and (if you wish) your upper chest. 

Once you’re done, there’s no need to clean your toner off your skin. You can apply the next step of your skincare routine right over it—though you might want to give the toner a minute to sink into your skin before you continue your skincare routine.  

Can I Use Essential Oils in My Toner?

Some oils, yes. If you use them safely. 

See our Blogpost: The Basics of Skincare & Essential Oils for general safety considerations and read on to learn about essential oils in facial toners specifically. 

Again, the oil you choose for your facial toner will depend on your skin’s needs and sensitivities. 

To find the essential oils that work for YOU in a toner, you must:

  1. Do your research
  2. Do patch tests
  3. Be willing, while still following safety protocols, to experiment. 

To get you started, check out this breakdown of the top-rated oils for use in toners:

Essential Oil Pros Cons
Tea Tree Oil
  • Strong antibacterial properties
  • Popular in cleansers and moisturizers
  • Recommended by HealthLine for both dry and oily skin
  • Recommended against acne
  • May be too strong (use in low dilution rates <1%)
  • May or may not do well with combination skin types
Helichrysum Oil
  • Traditionally known for its skin benefits, anti-inflammatory properties, and ability to promote wound healing
  • Expensive compared to many other essential oils
Bergamot
  • Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties
  • May help even out skin tone
  • May provide anti-stress effects
  • May be especially useful for combination skin types
  • Not recommended for especially sensitive skin
  • May increase skin photosensitivity for several hours, which makes it best used at night. 
Rosemary Oil
  • Antibacterial, antioxidant, and astringent properties
  • Often recommended against acne and for dry skin
  • More often recommended for toners
Frankincense oil
  • Expensive compared to many other essential oils
  • More often recommended for moisturizers and toners
Roman Chamomile
  • Anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties
  • May be especially helpful for dry and combination skin types
  • Not recommended for those with seasonal allergies of asthmatic conditions
Rose
  • Antibacterial, antifungal, analgesic, antiseptic, astringent, and antidepressant properties
  • May help against acne, inflammation, and skin redness
  • Potential respiratory irritation, so use and inhale only with due caution.
Ylang Ylang
  • antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties
  • May reduce breakouts, diminish blemishes, and boost cell regeneration
  • Potential allergic reaction so be sure to patch test
Learn more about specific essential oils, their benefits, contraindications, and more here. 

Conclusion

Toners can be great additions to skincare routines—especially for those who are targeting specific skin issues or those you are just looking to be extra thorough. 

They can’t replace cleansing or moisturizing. But they add a nice, extra layer of support to your skin that helps create that even, glowing skin tone that we love.

If you liked this review on essential oils and facial toners, feel free to leave a comment below and check our other blog posts: 

Essential Oils & Facial Cleansers

Essential Oils & Facial Exfoliation

Essential Oils & Facial Toners

Essential Oils & Facial Serums

Essential Oils & Facial Moisturizers