What Do Toners Do?

Skin care products categorized as "toners" have been around for a long time. For many of us, the term may bring back teenage memories of applying harsh astringents to our face to help clear acne. While we may have thought that the burning feeling they left behind was a sign they were helping our skin to heal, these products were actually causing damage. Thankfully, today's toners are generally formulated to help your skin. (There are exceptions, of course. Read on for what to avoid when shopping for a toner.)

So what do toners do? All of the following:

Restore Skin Balance

Toners were originally formulated to bring skin back to its appropriate pH after the use of soaps, which tended to be alkaline. Today, most facial cleanser are formulated to be much gentler on the skin so this is less of an issue than it once was. However, pollution, use of harsh products that strip the skin and even seasonal changes can affect your skin's pH adversely. Applying a gentle toner to your face after cleansing helps to bring it back into balance. 

Read more: What Does pH-Balanced Mean?

Remove Last Traces of Dirt and Makeup from Skin

While it's easy to find a gentle but effective facial cleanser, the challenge is ensuring that you wash your skin properly to thoroughly remove makeup, dirt and debris. By applying facial toner after washing your face and removing it with a cotton or gauze pad, you can easily catch anything remaining on your face. On the topic of face washing, toner can be used in a pinch when you cannot wash your face. 

Read more: How to Properly Wash Your Face


Most toners are formulated with humectants that draw moisture to the skin and hold it there, as well as emollients, which help to smooth the skin and keep it lubricated. This makes toners an excellent way to provide skin with extra hydration while helping to prevent transepidermal water loss (TEWL). Apply it to skin before use of serums and/or moisturizers for an extra dose of hydration and apply throughout the day to keep skin feeling comfortable. 

Read more: To Treat Dry or Dehydrated Skin, Start by Understanding TEWL

Calm Inflammation

Some toners, including Lexli Tone & Balance  aloe vera toner, are formulated with ingredients that help to reduce skin inflammation, making them great for use as an aftershave, after exfoliating and on rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, sensitive skin and acne. Not only do these toners help to reduce discomfort and redness, they also aid in the skin's natural healing.

Read more: Five Benefits of Aloe Vera Skin Care

When buying a toner it's important to evaluate its ingredients to ensure it contains nothing harsh. Avoid products that include alcohol, which harms the skin's acid mantle and can cause dryness and damage. You'll know it's there if you see ingredients such as ethanol, ethyl alcohol, benzyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol. These alcohols shouldn't be confused with cetyl alcohol, which is a beneficial ingredient that acts as an emollient to soothe the skin.

With regular use, toners can make a positive difference in the appearance of your skin while helping it to feel more comfortable. Give it a try and leave us a comment on  Facebook telling us your results.