Which Step Should Face Toner Be In Your Skincare Routine?

You likely have a lot of steps in your skincare routine. You wash your face, moisturize your face, apply oils and masks, and it's easy to get mixed up about what order the whole routine should follow. Once you add in additional steps like exfoliating and toning, it's even more complicated to find the perfect order for your skincare routine.

A face toner is a lotion that's usually water-based, and they've gone through a revolution in terms of their ingredients in past decades. Director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital Joshua Zeichner tells Allure, "They used to contain high concentrations of alcohol to help remove oil from the skin. The newest generation of toners, however, have more than astringent properties, and many of them are alcohol-free." Different toners available have different ingredients, so be sure to check the label before using it. If you want to add toner to your skincare routine, you'll want to know when in your routine to apply it for the best results. 

Apply your toner while your skin is damp

Toners help cleanse your face of dirt and oils, but they're gentle so they don't harm your skin. There are different types of toners, but they should be applied at the same time in your routine. You should be applying your toner while your skin is still damp after washing your face in the morning. You can also apply toner at night, but you don't have to apply it twice a day in order to see results.

You don't need anything special in order to apply toner. Dermatologist Corey L. Hartman tells Byrdie, "One of the best ways to apply a toner is to pour some in a clean, dry hand, and then pat around your face with your other hand. You can use a cotton pad or a microfiber reusable pad, but oftentimes a lot of the product is absorbed into the pad and it doesn't transfer to the skin." Feel free to use your fingertips to apply toner. 

Follow your toner with your moisturizer and serums

After your toner, feel free to apply your serums, creams, and other moisturizers as well as any other step of your routine. If you're ever unsure, think about which of your products have the thickest consistency, and those will go on last. Things that are thinner like toners and serums would go first.

Dermatologist Alok Vij, MD, tells Cleveland Clinic that people can use toners twice a day if they want to. He shares, "You can fit it into your routine based on how your skin is tolerating the products or moisturizers you use. Some people only do their skincare routine once a day and don't need to necessarily add a second step or a second component of their routine." Ingredients can vary, so be sure you're choosing the right kind of toner for your skin. Stay away from alcohol-based toners for dry skin and choose ingredients like rosewater for hydration.