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Toner Guide: What Is a Toner & How to Use Face Toner

Lancôme’s Guide to the Benefits of a Face Toner

Skin is exposed to dirt, oil, air pollutants and other impurities on a regular basis. Cleansing is important to your skincare routine for that reason, but toner can go a long way, too. By incorporating a face toner into your skincare routine, you can help ensure that facial skin is thoroughly cleansed and feels fresh.

What you should know about toners:
• Face toners work for a variety of skin types
• Face toners can hydrate, exfoliate or remove oil
• Face toners balance pH levels in skin and maintain the skin barrier
• Use a cotton round or ball to apply face toner
• Apply face toner after cleansing skin

What is a face toner and what does it do?

Toners refer to a face lotion or type of cleanser or wash designed to cleanse skin thoroughly. They are meant to be used after one’s skincare cleansing routine to gently refresh skin without removing natural moisture, help smooth skin texture, even and tone complexion and leave skin feeling softer. Plus, toners prepare skin to receive the benefits of skincare essences, face serums, and moisturizers that are often applied immediately after.

Generally speaking, toners come in a variety of different formulations, which are designed to address the appearance of one’s skin based on their concerns. Keeping this in mind, toners are also commonly mistaken for astringents, but they’re not actually interchangeable. Astringents are formulated to remove excess oil from the skin’s surface and are frequently considered a type of toner. They’re often used to target acne-prone and excessively oily skin.

On the other hand, toners on average tend to be more versatile and can be used by all skin types to help balance pH levels, while removing any excess dirt lingering on skin’s surface after cleansing. And they offer more benefits and variety than just oil removal. For instance, toners may also contain hydrating ingredients and moisturize skin. Toners can also aid in makeup removal to pick up any stubborn grime or residue may not have been thoroughly washed away with a cleanser.

The best toner for you often depends on your skin type and what your skin needs on any given day.

Why are pH levels important?

Skin is an organ, the largest in the human body, and maintaining a protective skin barrier is important. Part of that involves lowering skin’s pH, which is naturally acidic. Balanced pH levels, together with skin’s natural oils and ‘good bacteria,’ work together as a true defense against external aggressors and environmental pollutants that can damage skin’s surface.

How to apply toner?

Face toners can be applied to skin in a variety of ways, typically with a cotton round or cotton ball and then directly onto skin. After application, simply sit back, relax and let the toner air dry before moving onto your next step. Learn how to use toner:

Step 1:
Wash face with your favorite face cleanser or face wash.

Step 2:
Place desired amount of face toner into cotton round or cotton ball.

Step 3:
Wipe cotton around face, and neck if desired.

Step 4:
Wait at least one-minute for toner to dry before applying face serum or moisturizer.
Toners can be used twice daily – mornings and nighttime before bed – for best results.

What Ingredients Should I Look for In Toner?

There are a variety of skincare ingredients which can help to give different results to the skin. When it comes to a toner, you can look for additional added ingredients for different effects. Some ingredients to try:
Hyaluronic Acid: Known for its potent ability to enhance skin’s water retention and improve skin elasticity
Salicylic Acid: A well-known exfoliator that helps smooth skin texture and balance the pH of the formula. It’s a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that is known as an exfoliating agent, used to remove dead cells from skin surface to reveal visible smoother, softer, more radiant skin.
• Tocopherol (Vitamin E): Acts as an antioxidant and can help protect the skin from free radical damages. It also has moisturizing properties.
Vitamin C: An antioxidant known to help neutralize free radicals, brighten, and smooth the skin.
• Vitamin CG: Stable form of vitamin C used to help brighten and even the skin tone. It also has antioxidant properties.
• Glycolic Acid: A naturally occurring alpha hydroxy acid known to exfoliate the skin’s outer surface.


In order to remove excess dirt and residues from skin’s surface, it’s best to apply face toner with a cotton round or cotton ball and not with one’s fingers. This helps to ensure that facial skin is extra clean, since the cotton can better absorb and remove grime than your fingers can.

Look at it this way: The excess residue ends up on the cotton piece, whereas if you apply with your fingers, dirt and excess residues are not being wiped away. Instead, they are being rubbed back into skin.

Types of Lancôme Toners:

As your mom may have told you time and time again, it’s of utmost importance to cleanse your skin before bed. Otherwise, the combination of makeup, oil, and grime that’s collected throughout the day could potentially clog pores, which in turn may lead to breakouts. Use a gentle cleanser like Crème Mousse Confort that leaves skin soft and soothed as it cleanses. To remove stubborn eye makeup, use Bi-Facil Eye Makeup Remover.

Tonique Confort Face Toner
• Rehydrating, comforting toner with acacia honey
• Dry skin types
• Leaves skin feeling hydrated and comforted

Tonique Douceur Face Toner
• Softening, hydrating toner with rose water
• All skin types
• Leaves skin feeling comfortable and refreshed
• Alcohol-free

Absolue Rose 80 Face Toner
• Luxurious face toner which revitalizes and brightens the skin
• Suitable for all skin types, including oily skin and sensitive skin
• Silky, water-like texture that is absorbed quickly and does not leave skin feeling oily or sticky
• Formulated with a blend of 80% skin-soothing rosewater, sodium hyaluronate, and salicylic acid

From normal to oily skin, combination to dry skin, toners are a great skincare product for all skin types. They are especially great for those who wear makeup regularly and/or are outdoors regularly exposing skin to damaging environmental aggressors.

They are one of the best products to own for your skincare routine and are best used after washing your face or using your favorite face cleanser, and before using your face serum or daily moisturizer.

Discover the difference between facial toner and facial essence.

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