What Does a Face Toner Do?

Beautiful young asian woman with healthy skin posing naked isolated over white wall background holding cotton pads.

Between your cleansers, moisturizers, night creams, and face masks lies a juicy skin care product that deserves a little more love in the skincare world: toners.

A face toner is a water-based solution that can help to soak up excess oil, rebalance your skin’s barrier, hydrate the skin and bring energy back to dull skin. Suffice to say, today’s nourishing toners seem to be making a comeback in a big way. But what do toners do?

From deep-cleaning to evening the appearance of your skin tone, there are exceptional benefits to using a toner, making it a must-have in your skin care routine.

What Does Toner Do For Your Face?

Modern toners use gentle formulas that still pack a punch when it comes to fostering resilient, luminous skin.

To further explain what is toner for the skin, this product is built to offer your skin the full package by:

  • Using milder astringents like willow bark and denatured alcohol to balance oily skin
  • Using hydrating ingredients that help the skin retain moisture1
  • Combating skin complaints like blemishes, dry skin, aging skin, or dull skin

Whether your skincare routine is three, seven, or eleven steps, a facial toner should be one of them. But when it comes down to it, what kind of difference can toner make for your skin?

How Toners Can Benefit Your Routine

From setting skin aglow to turbocharging your skincare products, as long as you know how to use face toner, toners have a lot to offer.

#1. Brightening the Look of Your Complexion

The key to a luminous complexion isn’t dusting highlighter on your cheekbones, nose, and browbone—truly incandescent skin comes from brightening the skin from within, starting with exfoliation.

Physical exfoliants are one way to exfoliate dead skin on the surface, but they may contain abrasive ingredients that can rough up the skin in the long term.2

The key to proper exfoliation is a toner composed of active ingredients that are both gentle and soothing to the skin. REN’s Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic strikes the perfect balance, with:

  • Lactic acid, a compound that gently breaks up dead skin on the skin’s surface
  • Willow bark extract, which absorbs excess oil and gives dead skin the final boot
  • Citrus oils like tangerine, grapefruit, and orange flower to drench the skin in moisture

The result? Good riddance, dead skin—and good morning, brighter complexion.

#2. Cleaner Pores

While washing your face is paramount in the skincare rulebook, a simple wash-and-rinse doesn’t always catch every culprit that can lead to blemishes.

Facial pores tend to accumulate oil, dirt, and debris which can exaggerate their appearance and lead to breakouts if neglected. Fortunately, your facial cleanser has a trusty sidekick to help keep them clean: toner.3

Skin toners can help your cleanser fulfill its dirt-busting role. The cleaner your pores are, the less likely it is that dead skin or oil will team up to break you break out—and who doesn’t want an extra line of defense against the occasional pimple?

#3. Improve the Look of Your Skin Tone

Uneven skin tone can be caused by a variety of factors, but fortunately, certain toners are specially formulated to reduce any blotchiness and hyperpigmentation your skin may present. Look for ingredients like:

  • Azelaic acid precursor, which promotes an even tone and brightness in one
  • Lactic acid, which gently exfoliates skin for a smoother surface
  • Salicin, to absorb excess oil and help reduce the appearance of pores

REN’s Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic calls on all three ingredients to help with the look of unbalanced and dehydrated skin. With consistent, daily use, toners like this can help diminish the appearance of dark spots, revealing a smoother-looking complexion.

#4. A Boost To Your Skincare Regimen

Many of us invest plenty of time, energy, and funds fine-tuning a skincare regimen that works for us. One of the best features of toner is that it puts our products into overdrive, helping them do the job they pledge on the back of that label.

Toners can increase the efficacy of other products in your skin care routine. By protecting the skin barrier and sloughing off stubborn dead skin, toner helps refresh the look of your skin and prepare it for the other products you have in tow.

Reap Toner’s Benefits with REN Clean Skincare

Before you express order your skincare routine’s newest skincare product, remember: toners can be finicky, and choosing one that keeps your skin’s best interests close to the heart is key.

REN Clean Skincare’s toners are specifically formulated to be gentle, with no compromises in care made along the way. Our toners help to keep excess oil at bay without stripping the face, using hydrating compounds that nourish the skin.

For high-performing toners that are effective for your specific skin type, shop REN’s complete range today.

About the Author:

Camille Poggi is a doctor in Pharmacy (PharmD.) and is passionate about skincare and how the skin works in general. She specializes in the cosmetic industry and worked for renowned companies in France like L’Oréal and Chanel before moving to London. After being a training manager for 4 years, Camille is at ease with explaining how products work in the skin and how to adapt her speech according to the audience.

She joined REN in January 2020 as International Training Manager and moved to the Research & Development team earlier this year to be the new Scientific Education Manager. A tailored-made role where she assesses and leads all technical communication and ensures scientific compliance is always met. She’s also involved in new product development from the earliest stages. Finding a way to create sustainable skincare products and making sure the message is properly delivered and understood is definitely a big challenge but also her favorite part working for REN.


  1. National Institute of Health. Natural skin surface pH is on average below 5, which is beneficial for its resident flora. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18489300/
  2. The Cut. Are You Exfoliating Your Face Wrong? https://www.thecut.com/2015/07/your-scrub-giving-you-wrinkles.html
  3. Healthline. A Beginner’s Guide to Double Cleansing. https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/double-cleansing