5 Benefits of Toner (PLUS: An Ingredient Breakdown)

Toners have a bad reputation. With a heavy scent of alcohol and serious drying effect, they used to be known for stripping all the oil from your skin, along with all the moisture. But luckily, we have science. And there have been many advances in skincare, and toners, over the years. 

With new ingredients, compounds and vitamins, today’s facial toners are like a splash of heaven for your skin. They offer a range of benefits and can even treat specific concerns like acne or sun damage. Modern toners aren’t only used to remove excess oil or leftover makeup, they now help lock in moisture and provide nourishing vitamins for a smooth, even complexion. So, it may be time to consider working this vital step back into your skincare routine. 

Below, we’ll go over all the benefits of modern facial toners and how to find the right ingredients for your skin type. 

First, let’s answer the age-old question: What does toner actually do?

Toners are used right after cleansing to restore balance to your skin and can be the key to a radiant, refreshed complexion. A lot of cleansers/soaps are alkaline in nature, which can throw off the pH balance of your skin. That balance will naturally right itself in a few hours, but the extra effort can lead to excess oil, redness, puffiness and irritation. Toners are used to restore pH balance immediately, soothing the skin and leading to a smoother, more even complexion. 

Using toner after an initial cleanse also helps rid the skin of any leftover makeup, dust or residual imperfections that washing may have missed. Facial cleansers can strip essential nutrients from the skin, which toner helps to replenish. While toners of the past were mainly formulated as an astringent for oily or acne-prone skin, today’s toners cleanse while providing an extra layer of defense against environmental stressors, plus an extra burst of nutrients and hydration. They also minimize the appearance of pores and prime the skin so it’s ready for the rest of your skincare routine.

Benefits Breakdown

Still not sure about adding a facial toner into your routine? Let’s break down the 5 main benefits to show how this simple step can level up your skincare and leave you feeling luxuriously pampered. 


  • Provide a deeper cleanse.
  • To recap from above, using toner after washing your face is a great way to unclog pores and ensure that all traces of dirt, bacteria, oil and makeup are removed — leaving you with a fresh, clean complexion that’s primed and ready to absorb your other skincare products. 


  • Restore balance to your complexion.
  • A lot of things can upset the natural balance of your skin, including cleansers. When your skin is unbalanced, it works overtime to get back to normal, causing excess oil, dryness, redness or irritation. The right toner will immediately reset your natural pH balance and replenish the nutrients that cleansing often removes. 


  • Shrink pores and protect from environmental stressors.
  • Once you clear and purify pores, it helps to defend them so dust and dirt can’t get right back in. Toners work to tighten the skin and close the gaps between cells, creating a barrier against impurities and everyday environmental stressors. As an added benefit, this also makes pores appear smaller and skin smoother. 


  • Provide an extra burst of hydration and nutrients.
  • Today’s toners offer a range of natural ingredients that can make an essential difference in restoring deep hydration to all skin types. Instead of the typical heavy astringent, toners are now infused with botanicals to soothe, hydrate and restore radiance. Some are even humectants, which means they pull moisture from the air and bind it to your skin, while others employ antioxidants to help fight signs of aging. (More on this below)


  • Improve absorption and prime for other products. 
  • Skin is better ready for absorption when it’s clean and moisturized. Using a toner puts your skin at ease and allows other products to penetrate deeper than they would normally. 

    What ingredients to look for (and stay away from)

    As with any new addition to your regular beauty routine, you’ll want to be careful when incorporating a toner. Be vigilant when it comes to ingredients and pay attention to how your skin reacts. Modern toners are more gentle than their predecessors, but it’s important to find one that’s right for your skin type. Below, we’ve listed out a few of the best ingredients for specific concerns and complexions:

    • NO Alcohol - No matter your skin type, stay away from alcohol-based toners. They have a serious drying effect and can cause major irritation to sensitive skin. 
    • Salicylic & Glycolic Acids - Be wary of these as well, especially if you have dry or sensitive skin. Salicylic acid is well known for it’s acne-fighting properties, but it’s also harsh and drying. Glycolic acid is a bit more gentle and can be a good alternative for salicylic acid if trying to clear up troublesome skin. 
    • Witch Hazel - For oily or combination skin, witch hazel helps balance natural oils and promote an even skin tone.
    • Aloe Vera - Always a good ingredient to have, even in a toner. With it’s powerful soothing ability, aloe helps calm skin and relieve redness while providing a natural boost of hydration. 
    • Hyaluronic Acid - For dry or combination skin, this humectant acts as a magnet attracting moisture and binding it to your skin. 
    • Vitamins C & E - Antioxidants are used in toners to fight signs of aging and protect your skin from environmental damage. They gently exfoliate while moisturizing and plumping skin for a smooth, even complexion. 
    • Lactic Acid - Another gentle exfoliator, lactic acid is known for improving both the tone and texture of your skin. It’s also great at keeping moisture inside your skin’s protective barrier. 

    Insider Tip: Check out one of our favorite and most versatile products, the Dew pH Perfector. Great for all skin types, this multitasking toner/serum combines lactic acid, aloe, witch hazel and other luxurious botanicals to create skin that’s in perfect harmony — balancing pH, refining pores, and restoring brilliance for an enviably fresh and radiant complexion. 

    One of the real highlights of our Dew is that it contains amino acids, which are the building blocks of cells. Together with arnica, which is known for its powerful healing properties, the Dew pH Perfector is your everyday solution to transforming troubled skin. 

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