Is a toner necessary for your skin?
This question often pops up in our head while going through skin care regimes. Almost all of these regimes recommend using toners. However, its purpose isn’t well understood by many.
What exactly does a toner do to your skin? Why is toning such an important step? How to use toner and when should a toner be used? In this article, we picked up and answered many such questions about skin toner from across the web and from our customers.
This guide to skin toners will help you understand which toner is best suited to your skin and how you can make it a part of your skincare regime.
Let’s get started with the basics.
A toner is usually water-based skin care product that includes plant extracts and essential oils, tailored to address a variety of skin types.
Earlier, many toners used to be alcohol-based, but they had a reputation of being bad for the skin as they cause excessive dryness. Recently, natural water-based toners have become an essential part of skin care regimes. They are derived through the steam distillation of flowers and other ingredients known to be good for your skin.
For instance, Kama’s range of natural toners include distillations of Rose, Lavender, Vetiver & Mogra that keep the skin hydrated and lightly fragranced.
The functions of a toner vary significantly based on its composition. However, there are some benefits that almost all of them provide. Let’s discover what they are.
Regular use of toner can really change your skin for the better. If you are thinking of including toner in your skin care routine, here is a list of proven benefits to motivate your further.
Does your skin feel dry after cleansing? Some cleansers are harsh on the skin. They contain ingredients that disrupt the skin's natural pH balance, making it more prone to bacterial infection, inflammation, or dryness.
The skin's optimal pH is 5.5. When you use toner on your face regularly, the optimum pH level (acid mantle) is maintained. This acid mantle acts as a barrier to germs and bacteria while keeping the skin moisturized and healthy.
More dirt and oil enters the skin when the pores are large. These impurities makes the skin more prone to acne and infections. Regular use of toner tightens the pores and shrinks their overall size. Hence, less oil and toxins settle in the skin creating a fresher and cleaner look. By toning, the skin becomes visibly smoother, and it becomes harder for the debris to penetrate it.
When sweat, oil, and dirt become clogged in the pores, it results in skin breakouts. Oily skin is more prone to acne and pimples for this reason. Toners are helpful in treating this situation. By removing oil buildup, residue, and dead skin cells, facial toners control acne and other skin breakouts.
There is a reason why toning is done right after cleansing and just before moisturizing. The hydrating ingredients present in the toner prep the skin to absorb the moisture better. The skin is usually tight and dry right after cleansing. Moist skin can better absorb topical products than dry skin. Hence, toning ensures that your favorite moisturizer can nourish your skin deeply.
Even after cleansing, some of the impurities remain on the skin. This might be the residual makeup or some of the oil content left behind by the cleansers. An essential purpose of a toner is to get rid of them and to clean the pores from within. Toners also remove environmental toxins and chemical residues from your skin, revealing a brighter and healthier complexion.
What experts say -
"Think of toner as the second line of defense in your cleansing routine. After washing away impurities, a toner swoops in to capture any stragglers and to prepare the skin for hydration." - Dr Kanchan Kachroo
The short answer to this question is "it goes after cleansing." A toner is used as the second part of the cleansing process, preferably once in the morning and once at night.
Now that you know the many benefits of using a toner let’s move on to understanding how to use toner and when to use it. Here are the steps that you need to follow to tone your skin well.
Step 1 - Wash your face with a mild natural cleanser. Gently massage the cleanser on your face to get rid of makeup and dirt.
Step 2 - Pour some toner on a cotton pad or cotton ball until it feels damp but not overly soaked. Gently wipe it on your face and neck to remove the remaining impurities.
Alternatively, you can even spray the toner on your face for a refreshing feeling and an extra dose of hydration.
Step 3 - After using the toner, your skin is ready to absorb skin care products. You can now apply your moisturizer or your skin treatment products.
While this is the most basic way to use the toner, it can also be used in combination with face packs and masks to help them penetrate deeper into the skin and get the best results.Toning is also an essential part of cleaning the face and used in facial clean-ups.
Also read - How To Clean Face Like A Pro - 6 Simple Steps
Now, you might be wondering which skin toner is most suited to your skin type. With a large number of options that exist, it can be challenging to choose the most suitable one.
Different toners target different, specific skin concerns, like dehydration, skin aging, sensitivity, and acne. Here, we have talked in detail about a few natural toners and the skin types they are best suited for.
In the next section, we have discussed a few natural toners and the skin types they are best suited for.
Let’s start with looking at the best toner for oily skin type.
Suppose you have oily skin that is more prone to acne and skin breakouts. In that case, you require a toner that can relieve the skin from stickiness without leaving behind any residues stuck in the pores.
Pure Lavender Water is a suitable toner for oily skin type. Lavender is a natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial ingredient that cools and refreshes in hot and humid weather. Refrigerating Lavender Water further amplifies its soothing properties and makes it even more useful for oily skin during summers. It serves as a natural astringent and doesn’t dry out the skin too much. 
However, to ensure the best results, use only water-based alcohol-free lavender water. Kama’s Pure Lavender Water is prepared through steam distillation of lavender flowers sourced from the Himalayas. It is 100% pure, alcohol-free, and well-suited toner for oily skin. Well suited for tropical climatic conditions, it’s the best toner for oily skin in India.
Now, you might be wondering how to use toner for oily skin?
Are there any specific things that you should keep in mind? How often should you use toner on your skin? Should you avoid certain types of toners? So, below we’ve mentioned some tips for using toner for oily skin.
For dry and sensitive skin, toners made from jasmine flowers are well suited. Jasmine is beneficial for dry skin as it provides natural moisture without clogging the pores. It efficiently replenishes lost moisture reserves, and restores lost radiance to the skin, smoothening any dehydration-induced early fine lines and wrinkles.
Kama’s Pure Mogra Water made from steam distillation of jasmine flowers sourced from Madurai is 100% pure, natural and highly recommended toner for sensitive skin and dry skin. Well suited for tropical climatic conditions, it’s the best toner for dry skin in India.
Rose water is a natural astringent that balances and restores skin's PH level, helps tighten pores and acts as the perfect alcohol-free toner for oily or acne-prone skin. The antiseptic and antimicrobial properties of rose make it an effective anti-acne ingredient.
Rose also has cooling properties and is exceptionally gentle on the skin. Using rose water as toner prevents future breakouts and helps in healing of existing pimples and acne.
Also read - 5 Secrets About Kama Ayurveda Rose Water
For best results, only 100% pure and natural rose water must be used. It’s suitable for all skin types and has a host of benefits for the skin. Kama’s Pure Rose Water is made from the roses of Kannauj - a region in North India, through a steam distillation process that ensures a high level of hygiene and unmatched purity.
If you’re wondering whether toners are essential for men as well, then the answer is yes! If you’re looking for natural toners for men, then Vetiver water is the most suitable option. Vetiver grass (Khus) has roots that are bittersweet and aromatic in nature.
It is a refreshing face and body mist that is highly cooling, earthy and rejuvenating. Due to its earthy and woody scent, it’s well-suited toner for men and can also be used as an aftershave astringent.
Kama’s Pure Vetiver Water is steam distilled from the roots of perennial Vetiver grass native to Aligarh Region in north India. It’s a 100% pure natural toner and suitable for men. Women with combination skin type can also use Vetiver water. Suitable for tropical climate, it’s the best toner for combination skin in India.
There are numerous ways to start using a toner to get its benefits for your skin. The most common one is the simple Cleanse, Tone and Moisturize routine in the morning and day time. In this section, we’ve highlighted some other ways to use a toner.
5. Relax And Soothe Your Eyes - Spraying or applying refrigerated toner to your under eye area and over your eyelids will provide you with a soothing feeling.
Yes, you can apply toner both in the morning and at night after cleansing. Using it at night helps remove any residual makeup or impurities and preps your skin for nighttime skincare products.
Possible side effects of toner include:
You can use a toner both day and night after cleansing. In the morning, it can help to remove any oils produced overnight and prepare the skin for makeup. At night, it assists in removing any remaining impurities and prepping the skin for your nighttime skincare routine.
Yes, most toners are designed for daily use. However, how often you should use a toner depends on its formulation and your skin type. If you find your skin becoming dry or irritated, you might want to reduce the frequency or try a gentler toner. Always follow the product's recommendations and pay attention to how your skin reacts.
Toners have become a necessary part of skin care regime for women as well as men. However, every skin type is unique and has different requirements. Understanding the needs of your skin is vital for finding the right toner for yourself. Start by identifying your skin type and then pick a natural plant-derived water-based cleanser that is most suited for you. Make sure that your toner does not contain harmful chemicals.
Also read - How to build your own skincare routine?
Regular use of toner will ensure that your skin remains hydrated. The purpose of the toner is to keep your skin hydrated. Do not go for alcohol-based toners as they have a terrible reputation for drying out the skin too much. Plant-based toners that are derived through steam distillation process have unmatched purity, can be used regularly without any side effects and are highly recommended for the skin.
1. Commercial Essential Oils as Potential Antimicrobials to Treat Skin Diseases
2. Acne and Rosacea - American Academy of Dermatology
3. Cultivation and Utilization of Aromatic Plants. National Institute Of Industrial Research. p. 220. ISBN 978-81-7833-027-3.
4. "Technical Bulletin No. 2001/1" (PDF). Pacific Rim Vetiver Network. September 2001.
Shreya Dalela is a certified Yoga instructor and a professional dancer trained at The Danceworx. She’s passionate about Ayurveda and holistic living with over 6 years of experience in doing extensive research and content creation in the domain.
Certified Ayurvedic Doctor (Central Council of Indian Medicine) working in Kama Ayurveda as an Assistant Training Manager.