How to apply toner & where it fits into your skincare routine

Facial toners may seem like just another step in your skincare routine, but they can make a huge difference in the health and appearance of your skin. 

If you’ve just bought your first bottle of face toner or are unsure where it fits into your skincare regime and how to use it (or need reassurance that this product is actually doing your skin any good), fear not. We’ve got a short and simple guide to help you understand how to apply toner to your face, how to layer it as part of your overall routine, and how often you should use it.

So, let’s dive in and discover the wonders of facial toners!

What is facial toner?

But first, what actually is toner? Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just fancy water for your face…

Toner is a water-based liquid infused with skin-loving ingredients that soothe, hydrate, cleanse and balance your skin.

Think of it as a second line of defence for your skin after cleansing. The particles in toner penetrate deep into your pores, removing any impurities that your face wash may have missed.

Types of facial toner

There certainly isn’t just one toner product out there. Facial toner comes in many different forms, with different ingredients and benefits for each. In our skincare collection, we have two types of toner:

  • gösta Facial tonic – Our invigorating spray-on toner. A water-based toner infused with witch hazel, chamomile, rosemary, aloe vera and orange, which work to unclog, soothe and hydrate.
  • essens Botanical Water – Our naturally toning facial toner. Available in 3 types: Calm & Soothe (infused with essence of rose geranium), Brighten & Illuminate (infused with essence of orange blossom) and Clear & Purify (infused with essence of tea tree). Our Botanical Water toners hold the same therapeutic properties as essential oils but are gentle enough to apply directly onto your skin.

The best toner for your skin types

We’ve formulated our toners with specific ingredients to target different skin concerns and types. Unsure of which toner is right for you? Here’s a quick rundown:

Type of facial toner… The good stuff… Suited to skin types…

gösta Facial tonic

Witch hazel
Aloe vera

All skin types

essens Botanical Water – Calm & Soothe

Rose Geranium

Dry skin
Oily skin

essens Botanical Water – Brighten & Illuminate

Orange blossom

Sensitive skin

essens Botanical Water – Clear & Purify

Tea tree

Acne-prone skin

The ‘big 5’ benefits of face toner

There are lots of skin wins that come with using a face toner, and we could create an entire list, but here are what we consider to be ‘the big 5’:

  1. Deeply cleanses your pores: As we touched on above, toner gets to work deep down in your pores, removing any leftover dirt or oil that may have survived the first cleanse.
  2. Balances your skin’s pH levels: Toners contain ingredients that balance your skin’s natural pH level. Throughout the day, our skin is exposed to various elements that can throw off this balance, so using a toner helps restore this, aiding in a clean, clear complexion.
  3. Helps to remove makeup residue: For those of us who wear makeup, toner is a great way to ensure that all of our makeup has been removed. Often, a face wash alone won’t remove every trace of makeup, so using toner ensures that your skin is fully clean before moving on to the next step of your routine.
  4. Brightens your complexion: If you have dull, uneven or ageing skin, a toner loaded with antioxidants can help to revitalise and brighten your complexion. It’ll also even your skin tone and help to reduce any dark spots or hyperpigmentation.
  5. Hydrates your skin: Similarly, if you have a dry skin type, using a toner that contains hydrating ingredients can help to give your skin an extra boost of moisture. Plus, it acts as a ‘base’ for your moisturiser, helping it to penetrate deeper for softer, plumper and more hydrated skin.

Where does facial toner fit into your skincare routine?

Now you know what face toner is and why you should use it, but where does it fit into your skincare routine?

It really depends on how complex your skincare routine is and how many steps you already have. The straightforward answer is after cleansing. If you follow a simple, stripped-back skin regime, here’s where we would place face toner in your routine:

Step 1) Cleanse with a face wash or cleanser

Step 2) Tone with our gösta Facial Tonic or essens Botanical Water

Step 3) Apply treatments and/or serums

Step 4) Moisturise

Step 5) SPF

Toner should always come after washing your face and before applying moisturiser. It’s an in-between step that helps prepare your skin for the other products in your routine.

Our skincare regime essentials:

  • Face
    SPF50 5* UVA Face Sunscreen | 100ml

    SPF50 5* UVA Face Sunscreen | 100ml

    £13.00 available on subscription from £10.50 every month
  • Sensitive skin
    öka Gel Serum - Radiance Boost | 30ml

    öka Gel Serum – Radiance Boost | 30ml

    Original price was: £13.00.Current price is: £8.00. available on subscription from £10.00 every month
  • Sale
    essens Botanical Water - Calm & Soothe | 100ml

    essens Botanical Water – Calm & Soothe | 100ml

    Original price was: £11.00.Current price is: £6.00. available on subscription from £7.50 every month
  • Bestseller
    kÿra Gentle Face Wash | 120ml

    kÿra Gentle Face Wash | 120ml

    Original price was: £9.00.Current price is: £5.00. available on subscription from £4.50 every month
  • Sale
    gösta Facial Tonic | 50ml

    gösta Facial Tonic | 50ml

    Original price was: £8.00.Current price is: £5.00. available on subscription from £4.00 every month
  • Niacinamide
    kåre Daily Moisturiser | 50ml

    kåre Daily Moisturiser | 50ml

    Original price was: £9.00.Current price is: £5.00. available on subscription from £4.50 every month

How long after toner should you moisturise?

Ideally, you should apply your moisturiser as soon as possible after your toner. Of course, go in with your serums and any treatments before you moisturise, but don’t wait around too long.

Your moisturiser will be most effective when applied directly after using toner and will help lock all the good stuff in from your previous steps.

How to apply toner

If you’re using our gösta Facial Tonic, or another spray-on toner, then it’s really simple. Lightly pat your face with a face towel after washing and give your face a light spritz, closing your eyes and mouth. Let the toner naturally dry before going in with your next skincare steps.

When using our essens Botanical Waters or other topical toners, the best way to apply is with a cotton pad. We always recommend using reusable face pads, like our tvä Reusable Face Pads, which are made from biodegradable bamboo and cotton. 

Add a few drops of the toner to the cotton pad and gently wipe over your face. Again, leave to dry before moving on to your next steps.

How often should you use a toner?

Everyday! You should incorporate face toners into your daily skincare routine – morning and night.

In the morning, toners will help to rid your pores of excess oil and dead skin cells that accumulate overnight, and in the evening, they will remove impurities from the day.

Summary: How to use facial toner as part of your daily skincare regime

Toners should be a staple in everyone’s skincare routine. They’re a simple and quick solution to lots of skin concerns, including sensitive skin and uneven skin tone, and provide an abundance of benefits.

Take your pick from our face toners collection and build up the ultimate skincare routine with the rest of our cruelty-free and naturally powered skin care.

Love, grüum.

Instagram | @gruum_hq

Facebook | @gruumHQ


Which type of face toner is best?

Our gösta Facial Tonic is the best universal choice. It’s formulated to suit all skin types and effectively cleanse, soothe and hydrate. Our essens Botanical Water – Calm & Soothe is most suited to dry and oily skin, essens Botanical Water – Brighten & Illuminate is most effective for sensitive skin and anti-redness, and essens Botanical Water – Clear & Purify is best for acne-prone skin.

Does the type of toner matter?

If you want to target a specific skin concern, then the type of toner you use will matter. Or, you can opt for an all-round toner, like our gösta Facial Tonic, that will benefit all skin types and concerns.

Do you put toner on wet or dry skin?

It’s best to apply toner on slightly damp skin. After washing your wash, lightly pat with a face towel, but don’t thoroughly dry your skin before applying toner. Toner will penetrate your skin better when applied to damp skin.

Is it better to apply toner with your hands or a cotton pad?

Applying toner with your hands can leave a residue on your skin, so we recommend applying with reusable cotton pads. Cotton pads will help the toner absorb into your skin better, ensuring maximum benefits.

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