This article was co-authored by Yuka Arora. Yuka Arora is a self-taught makeup artist who specializes in abstract eye art. She has been experimenting with makeup art for over 5 years, and has amassed over 5.6K Instagram followers in just 5 months. Her colorful and abstract looks have been noticed by Jeffree Star Cosmetics, Kat Von D Beauty, Sephora Collection, among others.
wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, several readers have written to tell us that this article was helpful to them, earning it our reader-approved status.
This article has been viewed 294,351 times.
A skin toner, also called an astringent, clarifier, or freshener, is a product that is used to clean, refresh, smooth, control oil, and moisturize the face. A skin toner is often used after cleansing the face, but before applying moisturizer or makeup. By identifying which skin type you have, you will be able to chose a toner that works best for you. In general, however, avoid toners that contain alcohol and fragrances which can cause any skin type to become irritated.
Method 1Method 1 of 3:Identifying Your Skin Type Download Article
- 1Determine if you have a dry skin type. Dry skin is often characterized as skin that has small pores, feels tight, and has a dull and rough complexion. You will also know if you have dry skin if your skin becomes very dry and even flakey during the winter months. This skin type is also prone to cracking, peeling, irritation, redness/dry patches, and itchiness.XResearch source
- 2Find out if you have an oily skin type. Oily skin is often characterized as skin that has enlarged pores, looks shiny from excess oil, and, when blotted with a tissue, significant oil residue is visible.XResearch sourceAdvertisement
- 3Learn if you have a combination skin type. Combination skin is a little more complicated because, as the name suggests, you tend to have both oily and dry or normal skin. Combination skin is often characterized as skin that has larger pores and more oil in the T-zone area, i.e., your forehead, nose, and chin. However, the other areas of your skin, like your cheeks and the sides of your face, have smaller pores and less oil.XResearch source
- 4Establish if you have a sensitive skin type. Sensitive skin is often characterized as skin that is easily irritated. Sensitive skin can become irritated from beauty products, being touched, hot water, alcohol consumption, or spicy foods. Because many things can irritate this skin type, redness, itching, and burning are characteristic of this skin type.
Method 2Method 2 of 3:Matching a Toner to Your Skin Type Download Article
- 1Select a hydrating toner. If you have a dry skin type, choose toners that are hydrating and moisturizing. Look for products that have peptides, glycolipids, rose hips seed oil or jojoba oil, dimethicone, and glycolic acid. Avoid products that contain alcohol (SD 40, denatured, ethanol, and isopropyl), sodium or ammonium lauryl sulfate, mineral oil, and pertrolatum.XResearch source
- 2Pick a refreshing toner. If you have an oily skin type, choose toners that are refreshing and gentle for the skin. Do not punish your oily skin by buying toners saturated with alcohol. These toners will dry out your skin causing your skin to produce even more oil. Use products that contain oil-free ingredients, sodium hyaluronate, sodium PCA, and AHA. Avoid products that contain alcohol (SD 40, denatured, ethanol, and isopropyl), sodium or ammonium lauryl sulfate, mineral oil, and pertrolatum.XResearch source
- 3Opt for two different toners. If you have a combination skin type, you will need to purchase two different kinds of toners: one for the summer months and one for the winter months. For the summer months, use a refreshing toner with oil-free ingredients. For the winter months, use a hydrating toner with ingredients that will moisturize your skin, like rose hips or jojoba oil.
- 4Choose a gentle toner. If you have a sensitive skin type, pick mild toners that are completely free of alcohol and acids, like salicylic acid or paraben. Use products that contain beta glucans, sea whip, white tea extract, and glycerin, i.e., ingredients that are anti-inflammatory and that have antioxidants. Avoid products that contain synthetic dyes and fragrances, alcohol (SD 40, denatured, ethanol, and isopropyl), and sodium or ammonium lauryl sulfate.XResearch source
Method 3Method 3 of 3:Buying Your Toner Download Article
- 1Check the toner's ingredients. When buying your toner, always check the toner's ingredients so that you can find a toner that fits your skin type. Depending on your skin type, check the label for ingredients that you want to avoid.
- 2Do not buy toners with tough astringents. No matter what kind of skin type you have, you generally want to avoid toners that have tough astringents like alcohol, menthol, and witch hazel. These ingredients will irritate your skin and deplete your skin’s natural oils.XResearch source
- Also try to avoid toners with fragrance, such as rose water or citrus fruits. Fragrances can cause your skin to become irritated. These toners are usually labeled "fresheners" or "clarifiers" and are simply eau de cologne for your face.XResearch source
- 3Buy a toner at your local beauty retailer or department store. When investing in a toner, try not to go too cheap. Visit your local beauty supply store or a department store to buy a toner. Avoid buying toners at drugstores. These toners usually contain high amounts of alcohol and/or astringents in them, which will irritate your skin.XResearch source
- QuestionIs a toner bad for your skin?Yuka AroraYuka Arora is a self-taught makeup artist who specializes in abstract eye art. She has been experimenting with makeup art for over 5 years, and has amassed over 5.6K Instagram followers in just 5 months. Her colorful and abstract looks have been noticed by Jeffree Star Cosmetics, Kat Von D Beauty, Sephora Collection, among others.
Makeup ArtistMakeup ArtistExpert AnswerNot at all! Washing your face strips your skin of natural oils and good bacteria, which can mess up your skin's pH. Toner helps rebalance pH to get your skin back to normal and also removes dirt and leftover makeup, all of which are great for your skin's health!
- QuestionCan I use a toner made from green tea extracts for acne?Community AnswerYes. Green tea is full of antioxidants and is anti-inflammatory. It will reduce the redness and irritation in your skin without worsening your acne.
- QuestionWhat facial toner is best for combination skin?Community AnswerIt is recommend that you buy two different toners depending on the season. During the winter months, choose a toner that is moisturizing, i.e., a toner that is recommended for dry skin types. During the summer months, choose a refreshing toner, i.e., a toner that is recommended for oily skin types.
- Determine your skin type first, then match it with the subsequent toner.
About This Article
To choose a skin toner, you’ll want to match it to your skin. If you generally have dry skin, look for a toner labelled as hydrating and that contains ingredients like peptides, glycolipids, jojoba oil, and glycolic acid. If your skin is often oily, choose toners that are labelled as refreshing or gentle with no alcohol in them. If you have sensitive skin, choose a product that's free from alcohol, dyes, and artificial fragrances, and look for gentler ingredients like beta glucans, sea whip, white tea extract, and glycerin. Try to avoid toners with tough astringents like alcohol, menthol, and witch hazel, which can irritate your skin and deplete its natural oils. For more tips from our Beauty co-author, including which toners to buy if your skin is sometimes oily and sometimes dry, keep reading!