Face Toner Before or After a Mask?

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The Korean skincare routine isn’t just a trend. It is here to stay. And many have already adapted to the multiple steps in the Korean skincare world. However, with those multiple steps and multiple products, it can be confusing on which one to use first!

So do you use a face toner before or after a mask? You might be surprised to learn that the answer to that is both. You can use face toner before and after using a mask. We’ll provide you with the details on that plus the importance of applying skincare products in the proper order below.

Importance Of Applying Skincare Products In The Right Order

Are you putting skincare products on your face and not seeing the results that you want? It may not necessarily be due to the products you are applying. The order you are applying them matters a lot, too. Does the toner go before the mask, or after? What about toners and exfoliation?

It’s so confusing!

Although you add all those good ingredients to your skin when you use skincare products, you might not be doing it in the most efficient way. There may be a better way to make sure that all those ingredients are properly absorbed and used by the skin. That is by applying them in the right order. 

Here is a simplified order on how your skincare products should be used:

Step 1: Cleanse

Makeup Remover

Cleansing the face doesn’t just involve washing it with a cleanser. This step will also include the use of makeup remover . See our article on makeup removers here.

Some people take cleansing to a whole new level by double-cleansing. In this process, the first use cleansing oil  to remove all the dirt and makeup.

Afterward, they’d also use a gentler facial cleanser  and water.

Step 2: Toner

Face Toner

Toners  have various uses. They can help you bring back the pH of your skin to the more acidic one after using alkaline cleaners.

Furthermore, they also help hydrate the skin and prepare it to receive the products that come after. Through the toners, the skin can better absorb the ingredients of the succeeding products. They are typically used twice per day.

Sometimes, toners could also be known as toning essences. These also help prep the skin.

Step 3: Masks

Face Mask

Masks  aren’t usually used daily. Many use them 2-3 times a week and get the results that they want.

Sheet masks  are also available and they can be used every day to boost hydration.

Like other skincare products, masks come in different formulations and can be homemade. They are also made for different skin needs, and there are even “smart” masks like the Foreo UFO , which we looked at here.

Typically, masks will be applied to the skin when it is already cleaned. Some people may interchange the use of toners before masks and that is okay as long as the skin is already cleansed. 

Step 4: Treatments

Vitamin C Serum

The next step in the skincare routine is the application of treatments that you feel your skin needs. Some people may choose to skip this step but others who feel their skin drive some more pampering do this step as well.

Skincare products that fall under this would include your facial serums, oils, ampoules , as well as other treatments that have Vitamin C , acids , or retinol .

Step 5: Moisturizers


The last step in the skincare routine is to seal it all. You can do that with any moisturizer. Although other steps could already be moisturizing, the moisturizer used here is a bit thicker in consistency than the other fluids in the previous steps. It may come in the form of a cream .

However, those who have oily skin may also choose moisturizers that are lighter or those that are water-based . See this article for those with combination skin.

They’ll still work well in sealing all the other skincare products that you used in the previous steps. 

Effect Of Face Toner Before Or After a Mask

The order of using the toner and face mask can be interchanged depending on preference. Some prefer to use a toner before the mask because it can help prep the skin. With properly prepped skin, it can better absorb the ingredients on the mask. 

Toner Before a Mask

The toner could help ensure that the face is thoroughly cleansed before you apply the mask. This can help with the uptake on the mask. Additionally, using a toner can also help soothe the skin before the mask is applied.

Most people prefer to use the toner before the mask, but some like to go the other way.

Toner After a Mask

You can always try using the toner again after your mask, and see how your skin feels. Although some interchange the steps, most find that using the toner twice, before and after the mask, is the most efficient way to do it.

There are benefits to this as well. A toner used after the mask can help the skin stay hydrated, soothe any irritation, prevent aging, and once again prepare the skin for the succeeding skincare products. 

Although there are benefits to applying the toner before and after the mask, it is really up to your preference as well as your skin’s needs.

Just remember to use a high-quality toner and carefully choose the right formula for your skin. Micellar water functions somewhat similarly to a toner in this case.


The right order of applying skincare products to your face matters. It can help the products to work more efficiently. With regards to facial toners and masks. It can be confusing whether you’d need to apply the toner before or after the mask. 

Applying the toner before the mask is helpful in preparing the skin for whatever ingredients the mask has. It also helps soothe the skin better, in preparation for the mask.

However, many find benefits to using the toner after you apply your mask. It can help rehydrate the skin and prep it once again for the other subsequent products. 

The choice between applying the toner before, after, or before and after the mask is a personal preference, and we suggest experimenting to see what works best.

Whatever your choice is, just make sure that the toner you use is of good quality and well suited for your skin. 

Written by Kayla Young

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