How Often Should You Use Toner? A Detailed Guide

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What’s your skincare routine like? Do you wash your face then apply some moisturizer? Or do you take extra steps like using a toner, serum, face mask, facial steam, or others? There are so many options when it comes to skincare! It’s dizzying.

Before you add a specific step to your skincare routine, one question that could come to mind is the frequency of use. In this case, for toners, you may be asking “How often should you use toner?”

You should typically use a toner on your face twice a day: once in the morning and once at night. 

Twice a day is the usual frequency, but there are some exceptions to this guidance. However, you should also take note of its effects on your skin and adjust as needed.

The frequency of use could also depend on what ingredients your toner has.

We’ll explain that further below but first, let’s clear out what a toner is.


What Is A Toner?

Facial Toner

Back in the day, toners  were mostly synonymous with astringents. These contain alcohol and are mostly used to help with acne.

Although it might have previously helped you with your acne problems, one side effect is dryness. 

Nowadays, toners have come back into popularity. But they are not the ones that we once knew. The older ones might be filled with alcohol and dry out the skin. However,  today’s toners are quite different.

Just like before, toners are still products that you use after washing your face and before adding serums like the Cellex-C Advance Serum  (which we reviewed here) or moisturizing creams. 

The main function of toners was to help bring the skin back to its natural pH after washing with an alkaline wash. However, modern cleansers tend not to be too alkaline. They now have a more balanced pH, which is gentler than the alkaline ones used to be. 

As cleansers have changed, toners have also evolved to be more useful.

The toners you will find today now come in a variety of formulations. Although there are some that still contain alcohol, many of them are usually alcohol-free .

What Does Toner Do?

We’ve mentioned that the previous function of a toner was to change the pH of newly washed skin. However, that may not be applicable for all. That’s why toners aren’t limited to that function.

Today, toners are now used to help prep the skin for the succeeding skin care products you are going to use. 

By first applying toner, the serums, moisturizers, creams, etc. you apply after will be better absorbed. At the same time, the toner also helps cleanse the face further. It can be a good idea to use your toner in combination with your moisturizer, or before your moisturizer.

If there is any stubborn dirt or makeup, toners can be used to gently remove them.

However, you should take note that toners aren’t a replacement for facial washes or makeup removers. You still have to do all those before you use a toner. 

Additionally, some toners are now specially formulated for various skin types. There are ones that target dry skin . Others may also add ingredients that help with aging skin  or oily skin .

Additionally, there are even toner and serum hybrids that are less watery and more viscous in texture. 

How Often Should You Use Toner?

The average frequency most people use their toners is twice a day: One during their morning skincare routine and once during their nighttime skincare routine. 

The frequency of how often you use your toner will depend on your purpose in using the toner. If you are using the toner to help correct the pH of your skin after washing, then you should use it every time you wash your face.

If you are using it to help prep your skin for other skincare products, then you should use it every time you do your skincare routine.

It is also possible that you are using different types of toners. Many people have various products in their skincare routine and use the ones that they think their skin currently needs.

If the formulation of one toner is too drying for your face but you love how helpful it is at cleansing, you may want to use it less often than your other toners. 

There is really no specific rule on how often you should use your toner. You should base it on your skincare routine and on what your skin really needs.

The average frequency most people use their toners is twice a day: One during their morning skincare routine and once during their nighttime skincare routine. 

You should find a routine that works for you, and there are exceptions to this guidance.

For example, when a face mask is involved, many people use toner both before and after applying their face mask. This has advantages and could result in you using the toner three times per day.

Some products may work well for you when you use them often. However, there are also some toners that could work for you better if you use them less often.

Observe your skin as you use your toner more or less frequently, and see what feels right. You can always modify the timing as needed.

Final Thoughts

Should you use toner twice per day?

Most people will find twice per day to be the best cadence. But you should still base the frequency on your skin’s needs and the formulation of your face toner. 

Using a toner is an essential part of your skincare routine. But how often you should use the toner will depend on what you want to get out of it. Older toners were used to restore pH of the skin after cleansing with an alkaline soap.

In that sense, toners should be used every time you wash your face so it can go back to the right pH.

However, nowadays, facial toners have far more uses than simply for pH balance. Toners can prep the skin so it can better receive the other skincare products that you are going to use. With that in mind, you should use it every time you apply skincare products. 

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).