Do You Really Need to Use Toner? — Yes, Here’s Why

importance of toning

Toner is one of those products that many of us have in our cabinets, but you still might be asking yourself, what does toner do? Is it really necessary?

Here’s the scoop on toner, and why it’s really beneficial for some skin types.

What is Toner?

A toner is a skin care product, usually water-based, that’s meant to shrink the appearance of large pores and further cleanse the skin, picking up any makeup or debris that may have been left behind.

pH balance and your toner

Toners were originally designed to help restore skin’s pH balance, because old styles of cleansing (with soap bars and harsh cleansers) disrupted that balance, leaving skin more vulnerable to bacteria and other microorganisms.

Many cleansers on the shelves now still alter the skin’s pH. Over time, disrupting pH could lead to inflammation, dryness, and accelerated aging.

find a toner suited for your skin

If you wash your face with a balanced, organic cleanser, your toner might not need the pH-balancing properties of toners. The truth is that different toners have slightly different benefits (and some can actually be bad for skin). So it all depends on your skin type and the toner that you use.

Do I Still Need to Use Toner?

If you’re talking about the old-style, alcohol-based toners—no, you don’t want to continue using these, because they’re not good for your skin!

If you have oily skin, you know what we’re talking about. Many toners targeted at reducing oil and clogged pores use alcohol which also dries out the skin, which disrupts the outer layer and could lead to signs of aging. Here's more info on why alcohol and your skin don't get along.

Others are basically glycerin and fragrance, and function more like perfume than skin care.

Find a natural toner!

Fortunately, there are increasingly better options than these. The right toner has ingredients that create a number of benefits, giving you a quick and refreshing lift that helps repair, restore, and renew your skin. For all these reasons and more, we highly recommend you continue to make toning the second step in your skin care routine.

What Does Toner Do? Here are 7 Reasons to Use It

Choose your toner carefully, and you’ll have a hard-working product that will do the following:

1. Complete cleansing

This is still an important part of a toner’s job. A toner helps sweep away impurities, leaving pores clean and less noticeable, and protecting skin.

2. Minimize the appearance of large pores

Most toners contain a cleansing ingredient, which helps to minimize the appearance of pores, giving skin a smoother appearance. It’s important to be cautious in which one you choose, though. What you need is an ingredient that minimizes the look of pores without drying.

3. Hydrates 

Some toners contain hydrating ingredients, which are important immediately after cleansing to set the stage for moisturization. Your favorite moisturizer will penetrate skin much more effectively if it’s hydrated.

If skin is dry and tight after cleansing, you will not get all the benefits from your moisturizer. Aloe vera is a great hydrating ingredient found some natural toners, like our Neroli Toning Mist.

4. Helps with Oily Skin

If you have oily skin, you do want a toner that is going to help you keep your skin clean and your pores unclogged. The trick is to use toners with ingredients like rosemary or neem. These herbs can be steeped in water to create a sort of tea that acts as a natural toner.

5. Protects

Your skin has to “face” a lot of assaults during the day from environmental stressors. A quality toner will include antioxidants that help.

Our Toning Solutions for You

Think all that is too much to expect from your toner? It’s not. In fact, we have two stellar toners that perform all seven steps for you, and are also tailored to your skin type.

Normal to Oily Skin

Our Rosemary Toning Mist is pure rosemary, a natural ingredient with a number of benefits.

One of the main ones is that it helps control excess oil production without drying. It also has cleansing properties.

Natural antioxidants like caronosic and rosmarinic acid protect from environmental stressors. Rosemary is even reputed to help the skin look firmer.

Normal to Dry Skin

For those who like a more floral, soothing toner, we recommend our Neroli Toning Mist.

Neroli is an amazing ingredient on its own, with cleansing properties that help minimize the appearance of pores. It has a tightening effect that helps tired skin look livelier.

Meanwhile, the aloe vera juice provides antioxidant protection, vitamins and minerals, and moisturizing fatty acids. The aspen bark is a natural preservative.

Is toner an important part of your skin care routine? Please share your thoughts.

comments (6 and counting)


Reader Interactions


  1. Kendra says

    I love the Neroli Toner, how it makes my skin feel, and I use it religiously after every cleansing. However, after reading about how the toner is to finish the cleansing process, I’m not sure I’m applying it the correct way. After cleansing, I just spritz on the toner. In the beginning of trying out your products, I applied it to my face with a cotton swab. Reading the above article makes me think, maybe I should still be using the cotton, instead of the spritzing? However, every time I use the cotton, I felt like more of the toner sticks to the cotton than to my face. What is the proper application of the toner?

    • Annmarie Skin Care says

      Hi Kendra!

      The awesome thing about the Neroli Toning Mist is that there’s no wrong way to use it! It sounds like you have a routine down that’s working really beautifully for you, so there’s no need to change it up. If you’d like to use the cotton ball, that’s great but it certainly isn’t necessary.

    • Geri says

      I like to spray the Neroli Toning Mist into my palm, press my palms together, then press it into my face. That way I use less and it gets distributed more evenly on my face. Then I immediately follow with my face oil.

  2. serena says

    information given regarding which type of skin should be applied with which tonner is good it is creating an awareness.

  3. Becca. Mayer says

    I’ve been using Witch Hazel for years and have told my daughters NOT to use Alcohol. If I can infuse it with some of my Rosemary ( from my garden, will this work better for their Acne? I am now using your Neroli Toner and ABSOLUTELY ADORE it! I keep a bottle in my pocketbook.

  4. Renewing Serum says

    Definitely yes, toner must be part of our beauty regimen. And you already explained here in your post why its a big advantage. Personally, I have my own choice of toner and it’s always been a part of my daily beauty routine. Thanks for your post, you gave us more reasons to use it.

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