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10 Benefits of Facial Toners: The Purpose of Face Toners

June 07, 2023

10 Benefits of Facial Toners: The Purpose of Face Toners

Ah, the great facial toner controversy! Is it a pointless, unnecessary step in elaborate skincare routines — or the secret to flawless skin?

The answer might surprise you. Read on to find out how this great beauty debate was settled once and for all.


Traditionally, toners were astringent products formulated to remove excess oil from skin. They were particularly useful for people who had acne, but often contained high concentrations of alcohol and could be drying.

These days, there’s a new generation of toners that still remove oil and dirt, but they’re also meant to nourish and replenish freshly cleansed skin. Bonus: they also act as a primer for serums, moisturizers, and the rest of your skincare products.

Made with a variety of brightening, hydrating, and anti-aging ingredients, today’s toners are very different from their traditional counterparts.

When choosing the right face toner, your best bet is to steer clear of formulas with harsh ingredients that can irritate your skin or cause existing issues to flare up. Here’s a short list of ingredients to avoid:

Avoid Alcohol

Skip any personal care products with alcohol as a main ingredient. While alcohol can give products a quick-drying finish and feel weightless on skin, the long term consequences aren’t pretty. Alcohol can have a serious drying effect and it depletes vital substances needed for healthy skin.

There is one exception here: hand sanitizers. These products require at least 60% alcohol (ethanol) to kill illness-causing viruses and germs. Soap and water is preferred when possible, but when it’s not, hand sanitizer is the next best thing.

Avoid Heavy Fragrance

The term “fragrance” is often used on product labels to represent an undisclosed mixture of various scent chemicals and ingredients. This is a problem, since it doesn’t actually tell you what’s in the product.

Another problem: fragrance formulas have been associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress and potential negative effects on the reproductive system.

Steer clear of products with high amounts of “fragrance,” “parfum” or “perfume” on the ingredient list. There are many amazing natural ingredients for skin that smell great (think rose, cucumber, shea butter). 

Avoid Phthalates

Phthalates are low-cost preservatives that are generally used to extend shelf life and help ingredients penetrate the skin. The problem? These chemicals have been linked to obesityinfertility, reduced sperm count, reproductive malformation, breast cancer, and cardiovascular events. If you are using a product with fragrance, do make sure the fragrance is phthalate-free.

Luckily, there are plenty of natural toners for face care that are ideal for a radiant, refreshed look — without the toxins. 


Years ago, toners were limited to treating acne and oily skin. Those products contained high concentrations of alcohol and developed a bad rap as being too astringent, overly drying, and generally unnecessary. 

These days, the purpose of facial toners is very different. There are toners on the market to help address almost any skin concern, whether you’re dealing with oil, wrinkles, dark spots, or even dryness. 

The benefits of toner are vast, but it’s all about finding the right one for your skin type and skincare concerns. Here are some top natural toner ingredients to look out for:

  • Rose Water: Rose water is an amazingly effective skincare ingredient known for its ability to revive and nourish skin. Thanks to the power of natural botanicals, a rosewater toner mist helps heal, hydrate, and maintain your skin’s pH balance. 

  • Hyaluronic Acid: Hyaluronic acid reigns supreme in the skincare world for its *almost* magical ability to retain moisture (except it’s not magic — it’s science!). Since one purpose of facial toners is to help bind moisture to the skin, toners with hyaluronic acid help deliver deep, lasting hydration without feeling heavy or greasy. 

  • Green Tea: Known (and loved) for its antioxidant properties, green tea can help with everything from acne to anti-aging. A facial toner with green tea can help replenish and renew the surface of the skin after cleansing. 

  • Aloe Vera: This naturally derived ingredient is known for its soothing and moisturizing properties. Natural toners for face often use aloe vera to provide a boost of non-greasy hydration and reduce the appearance of red, irritated skin. 

  • Witch HazelWitch hazel is great for removing excess oils to unclog pores and promote an even skin tone. When paired with a moisturizing ingredient like aloe, witch hazel creates a well-balanced toner that can be used on freshly cleansed skin (before serums and moisturizer) and anytime throughout the day for refreshing hydration. 

  • Chamomile: Sensitive skin types, this one’s for you! Organic chamomile extract is ultra soothing and helps calm inflammation and redness. A facial toner with chamomile can help heal and cleanse sensitive skin without irritating any existing conditions. 

  • Tea Tree Oil: The well-known soothing and antimicrobial properties of the tea tree plant can help reduce redness and irritation. As a toner ingredient, tea tree oil can also help unclog pores and remove build up for a calm, even complexion. Some studies even show that products containing tea tree oil can treat acne more effectively than antibiotics. 

    Most facial toners are designed to work by removing oil and dirt to minimize the appearance of pores. Skin is temporarily tightened to create a smoother overall appearance, leaving skin refreshed and perfectly prepped for the rest of your skincare routine. 

    How to Use Toner:

    • After cleansing, dispense toner onto a cotton ball or pad and swipe it over your face, neck, and chest. 
    • Alternately, you can sprinkle toner onto your hands and tap it gently into your skin. 
    • Many toners are also available in spray form, which minimizes waste (bonus points) and makes application quick and easy. 


    Botanical beauty buffs, listen up: the benefits of toner can make a significant difference in how your skin looks and feels. Plus, adding a facial toner to your daily routine is quick, easy, and affordable. 

    It might not have as much clout as a cleanser or moisturizer (yet!), but facial toner has proven staying power when it comes to skincare — and it could be the one product standing between you and clear skin. 

    So what does face toner do, exactly? Here are 10 reasons it can bring your skincare game to the next level:

    1. SHRINKS PORES: Facial toner helps minimize the appearance of pores for a smoother, more even complexion. By unclogging pores to remove dead skin cells, dirt, makeup, and excess oil, toner leaves skin looking smooth, soft, and clear. 

    2. ADDS A LAYER OF PROTECTION: Using a facial toner can help keep your skin barrier strong and protected from environmental stressors. Because dull, damaged skin is never a good look. 

    3. BALANCES THE PH LEVEL OF SKIN: Our skin is naturally acidic, but some soaps and cleansers are alkaline in nature which can disrupt the skin’s natural pH balance. Toner can be used to quickly reset skin to its normal levels. 

    4. DELIVERS A QUICK HIT OF HIDRATION: Facial toner — particularly one made of rose water  or aloe — is naturally hydrating and calming. This boosts the skin’s ability to absorb moisture and actives from the serums and creams you apply after. 

    5. TEMPORARILY TIGHTENS SKIN: When used twice a day, facial toner with a mild astringent like witch hazel is an amazing rejuvenator that leaves skin looking tighter and more firm. 

    6. HELPS REMOVE OIL AND MAKEUP: Facial toners can deliver a second cleanse that gets rid of any leftover makeup your regular cleanser left behind. Plus, they’re great for removing excess oil that’s built up during the day (or overnight!). 

    7. IMPROVES EFFICACY OF OTHER PRODUCTS: When skin is prepped with a toner, other skincare products can penetrate deeper into the skin and work more effectively. A well-formulated toner can also work to restore skin with the nutrients that cleansers often remove, resulting in a smoother, more balanced complexion. 

    8. INSTANTLY REFRESHES SKIN: One major purpose of facial toners is to keep skin hydrated and refreshed. Keep a toning mist in your bag so you can spritz on the go! 

    9. HELPS PREVENT INGROWN HAIRS: Toners with alpha hydroxy acids (or AHAs) can help remove built-up layers of dead skin and prevent ingrown hairs. The result is smoother, firmer-looking skin. 

    10. ACTS AS A MOISTURIZER: Some toners are humectants, which help your skin draw in and retain moisture. So when you apply your actual moisturizer, your skin will soak it up! 

  • If you’re looking to add a natural facial toner to your routine, check out our lineup of natural toners for face! And stay tuned to our Botanical Blog for the latest on non-toxic ingredients and clean skincare trends.

    Explore Natural Toners from Herbal Dynamics Beauty