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What does toner do for your face?

Discover the benefits of adding a toner to your skincare routine


Many consider toner an essential part of their daily skincare routine, but what does toner do for your face? What’s in it, when should you use toner, and how does it work? Thankfully NIVEA is well-served to answer all of these questions and more.

What is toner?

In its simplest form, toner is a liquid moisturiser. The watery substance is jam-packed with goodness, making it a bit of a superfood for your skin. Like water, toner contains Oxygen and Hydrogen (but a lot more), as well as important vitamins, acids (like Salicylic Acid and Niacinamide), antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. When all these ingredients are combined, they work wonders to make your skin look its best.

What does toner do?

Although the name suggests its main job is to tone your skin, toner can do much more than that. When used regularly, toner is great for keeping your skin hydrated, clearing out and tightening pores, rebalancing pH levels, and washing away excess oils. And if your favourite toner has anti-inflammatory qualities, it’ll help reduce redness caused by acne or blemishes, too. 

Top benefits of using toner for your face include:

- Helps balance skin after using a cleanser
- Adds an extra level of hydration and removes excess oils
- Tightens pores
- Potentially reducing or preventing signs of ageing
- Introduces important nutrients and vitamins for healthier, happier skin


Now we know what toner does for your face, let’s take a look at when you should be using it. Toner should be the second step in your morning and evening skincare routines after a cleanser. These two work as the base layer before you do, or apply, anything else, to help prep and prime your skin for what’s to come. 

By toning your skin before you exfoliate or apply a treatment, you’re introducing additional nourishment and vitamins, for longer-lasting results. The following is recommended to give your skin everything it needs.
·          Make sure you remove any makeup before starting to cleanse your face
·          Apply toner
·          Exfoliate (no more than two to three times per week) and rinse
·          Apply treatment, if you’re using one

·          Moisturise and leave to soak in

Do you wash toner off?

There is no need to rinse toner off of your face, instead you can let it sink in and allow skin to absorb its nourishing ingredients.

woman holding a Nivea toner


Sometimes cleanser and toner come as one single product, but if you’re using a separate cleanser, it should be applied before you apply toner. The main difference is that a cleanser starts the cleaning process, opening pores and invigorating top-layer skin cells. Toner can then be applied to tighten your pores and remove any dead skin cells.   

NIVEA Refreshing Toner is a great all-rounder when it comes to figuring out which toner is going to be best for you, designed for cleansing, moisturising, balancing skin pH and invigorating with vitamin E. If you haven’t used toner as part of your skincare routine before, this is a great place to start.


Toner application is a bit of a hot topic in the cosmetics world, but it doesn’t need to be. Now that we know toner goes on your face after a cleanser and doesn’t need to be washed away, this is how it’s done. 
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To start your toner ritual, put a few drops on two cotton pads. You can always add a little bit more if needed, but there’s no need to soak. For best results, lightly dab and gently massage the skin instead of swiping or tugging.
1. Wash your face with a cleanser and remove any makeup
2. Start by dabbing the pads under the chin, and gently moving up the face, through the temples and towards the forehead, lightly applying pressure as you go

3. Move towards the centre of your brows, continuing light pats and massages down either side of the nose, and outwards, under the eyes and along your cheekbones

4.  Be careful not to get too close to the lips or eyelids, which can be more delicate
5. Continue a second round on areas where you’d likely find extra dead skin cells, like common wrinkles areas – either side of the eyes, under brows, and on the forehead

6.  Give the toner a couple of minutes to soak in and do its job before you move on to the next stage of your skincare routine. There’s no need to rinse or wash toner off your face.

Is toner necessary?

Although toner affords your skin an extra degree of love and care, it’s not an absolute necessity. But all skin types are different. If you’d like to tighten your pores, or you’ve noticed that your face becomes quite oily (which is very common, especially for teens going through puberty), introducing toner to your routine could be a rewarding experiment.

If you often find yourself with frustrating bouts of acne or breakouts and want some gentle relief, take a look at NIVEA Derma Skin Clear Toner, which includes clever ingredients to keep blemishes at bay, including Niacinamide and Salicylic Acid. 

Which toner should I use?

NIVEA offers a range of toners, to suit different tastes and skin types. Whether you’d like something that has an uplifting scent attached to it, like the NIVEA Rose Care 2-in-1 Cleanser & Toner with Organic Rose Water, or you’re looking for a double-action cleanser, combing toner and milk, like the NIVEA 2-in-1 Cleanser & Toner, you’re in the right place.