Skin Toner Basics

Using Skin Toner

After learning about skin toner's benefits, you might think using it is a bit of a no-brainer; however, depending on your existing skin care regimen, incorporating skin toner requires a bit of thought.

No matter what, you'll want to start by washing your face with a cleanser. This cleanser should work with your particular skin type, so pay attention to whether your skin is dry, oily or a combination of both. Also, if your skin is particularly sensitive, you should be sure to use only products marked for sensitive skin. You should also stay away from bar soap (the kind you use on your body) because it can be too harsh for the soft skin of the face.

Use a towel that's soft and clean to dry your face. It's a good idea to have a particular towel devoted just to your face, as bacteria can thrive in towels. Next, you'll want to have some cotton balls, cotton rounds or facial tissues on hand to apply your astringent or liquid-based toner. Start swiping toner across your t-zone, or your forehead and nose. These are the oiliest spots and will benefit most from the astringent. You can then lightly brush it on your cheeks as well as other areas that may be oily. Stay away from any dry areas, as the alcohol in astringent can dry them out even further. (If you find your skin very dry, stay away from astringent-type toners all together.) Let your skin dry before applying any lotion or makeup. If you're using a creamy moisturizing toner, you can apply it with your fingers. Start with your cheeks, and gently massage it in throughout your face. Concentrate on any dry areas and only lightly cover your t-zone.

You're now an expert on the various types of toner and how to use it, so you can bring the spa to your own bathroom. To learn more, check out the links on the following page.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • The Beauty Brains. "The Truth About Skin Toners." July 30, 2008. (July 21, 2009).
  • Cote, Ryan. "How to Use an Astringent Skin Toner." Free Library. 2007. (July 21, 2009).
  • Jenkins, John. "How to Use an Astringent Skin Toner in Your Skin Care Routine." Ezine Articles. Nov. 15, 2006. (July 21, 2009).
  • Kaylor, Annalise. "How to Tone Your Skin." Suite 101. Jan. 17, 2008. (July 21, 2009).
  • Madison School District. "Staph Skin Infections Fact Sheet." (July 21, 2009).
  • Makeup Diva. "What is a toner, what does it do and when should I use it?" (July 21, 2009).
  • Smart Skin Care. "Basic steps of facial skin care routine: Toning." (July 21, 2009).
  • WiseGeek. "What is Skin Toner?" (July 21, 2009).