Toner Vs Moisturizer: Do I Need Both?

In the vast and ever-evolving world of skincare, understanding the role of various products can often feel like navigating a maze. Two essential components of any skincare routine are toner and moisturizer, yet they serve distinctly different purposes on the path to healthy, radiant skin.

While both play crucial roles in maintaining skin's vitality, they operate in unique ways and address specific concerns. Whether you're a skincare novice or an enthusiast looking to refine your routine, Dēpology is here to help you make informed decisions for your skincare needs.

Are skin toners necessary?

Skin toners are not strictly necessary for everyone, but they can be a valuable addition to a skincare routine depending on your skin type, concerns, and individual preferences. Whether or not you should use a toner depends on several factors:


Skin Type:

  • Oily Skin: Toners can help control excess oil and reduce the appearance of enlarged pores. Look for toners with active ingredients like salicylic acid or witch hazel.
  • Dry Skin: While not essential, hydrating toners with ingredients like hyaluronic acid can provide extra moisture before applying serums and moisturizers.
  • Combination Skin: Toners can help balance the skin's oil production, especially if you have an oily T-zone.

Specific Skin Concerns:

  • Acne-Prone Skin: Toners containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide can be beneficial for acne-prone skin.
  • Sensitive Skin: Some toners are formulated to be gentle and soothing, making them suitable for sensitive skin.
  • Aging Skin: Toners with antioxidants like vitamin C or niacinamide can help address signs of aging.

Individual Regimen:

  • Cleansing Routine: If your cleanser effectively removes makeup and cleanses your skin without causing dryness or irritation, you may feel less need for a toner to remove residue.
  • Preference: Some people enjoy the refreshing feeling of using a toner and consider it an essential step in their skincare routine.
  • Product Compatibility: If you use other skincare products (serums, creams, moisturizers) that work well when applied to damp skin, a toner can help create the ideal canvas by lightly dampening the skin before application.
  • Not all toners are created equal. Some toners contain alcohol and can be drying, while others are formulated to be hydrating and gentle. When choosing a toner, consider your skin's unique needs and look for one that aligns with your desired skincare goals.



Do you put moisturizer on after toner?

Yes, you should always apply moisturizer after using toner in your skincare routine. Here's a general guideline of layering for your skincare products:

  1. Cleanser: Start with a gentle cleanser to remove makeup, dirt, and impurities from your skin.

  2. Toner: Apply a toner to balance your skin's pH, remove any remaining traces of cleanser, and prepare your skin for the next steps in your skincare routine.

  3. Serum: If you use a serum to target specific skincare concerns (hydration, anti-aging, brightening, dark spots), apply it after toning. Serums contain concentrated active ingredients that penetrate deep beneath the skin.

  4. Moisturizer: After applying your serum, follow up with a moisturizer. Moisturizers help lock in hydration, maintain the skin's barrier, and prevent moisture loss. They are essential for keeping your skin hydrated and healthy, as well as ensuring those active ingredients do their job efficiently.

  5. Sunscreen (AM Routine): If it's your morning skincare routine, finish with sunscreen to protect your skin from UV damage. Sunscreen should always be the final step in your morning routine. The exception to this rule is for makeup application, which these products may be applicable after putting on sunscreen. This is due to sunscreen formulas working more effectively on clean skin.

  6. Optional Additional Products: Depending on your specific skincare needs, you may use additional products like eye creams or spot treatments. Apply these after your moisturizer.

    Always allow each product to fully absorb into your skin before moving on to the next step. This helps maximize the effectiveness of each product and ensures that they do not dilute or interfere with each other.

    In the evening, you can omit sunscreen and focus on products that are more suitable for nighttime, such as heavier moisturizers or anti-aging treatments like retinol. Your skincare routine may also vary depending on your skin type, concerns, and the specific products you use, but the general order mentioned above is a good guideline to follow for most skincare routines before diving into those with more rigorous steps.


How long to wait to apply moisturizer after toner?

The waiting time between applying toner and moisturizer in your skincare routine doesn't need to be very long. Ideally, you should apply your moisturizer while your skin is still slightly damp from the toner.

After applying your toner, wait for around 10-30 seconds to allow the toner to be absorbed by your skin. While your skin is slightly damp, apply your moisturizer. This helps lock in the moisture from the toner and ensures that your skin remains hydrated.

The key is not to let your skin dry completely after applying the toner before moving on to the moisturizer. Moisturizers work by trapping moisture in your skin, so applying them while your skin is damp enhances their effectiveness.

If you wait too long or let your skin dry completely, it's still beneficial to apply moisturizer, but it may not be as effective at locking in moisture. Additionally, waiting too long between steps can make your skincare routine less efficient, as the products might not layer as smoothly.

It's important to use a moisturizer that's suitable for your skin type and concerns. Whether you have oily, dry, combination, or sensitive skin, choosing the right moisturizer can help keep your skin hydrated and balanced.

Can I use toners instead of moisturizers?

Toners and moisturizers serve different purposes in a skincare routine, and they are not interchangeable. Using a toner instead of a moisturizer is not recommended because toners typically do not provide the level of hydration and moisture that the skin needs to remain healthy and balanced. While some toners may contain hydrating ingredients, they should never be substituted for moisturizers, especially if you are prone to dry and sensitive skin.

How often should you use toner?

The frequency of toner use in your skincare routine can depend on factors such as your skin type and the specific toner you're using. Here are some general guidelines to consider:

  • Twice a Day (Morning and Night)
    For many people, using a toner both in the morning and at night is a common routine. This helps maintain consistent pH levels and prepares the skin for other products.

    This frequency is especially beneficial if you have oily or combination skin, as it can help control excess sebum production.

  • Once a Day (Either Morning or Night)
    If your skin is on the drier side, or if you find that using a toner twice a day leads to dryness or irritation, you can opt to use it just once a day.

    You might choose to use toner in the morning to refresh your skin or in the evening to remove any remaining traces of makeup or impurities after cleansing.

  • As Needed (Targeted Use)
    Some people use toner on an as-needed basis. For example, you might use it when your skin feels oily or when you want to refresh your face during the day.

    This can be a good approach for those with sensitive or dry skin who want to avoid overusing toner.

  • Based on Skin Concerns
    If you're using a specific toner to address particular skin concerns, such as acne or redness, you might follow the usage instructions provided by the product or your dermatologist.

    When using toner, always apply it to clean skin, typically after cleansing but before applying serums, moisturizers, or other treatment products. You can use a cotton pad to apply the toner or simply pat it gently onto your skin with clean hands. Avoid rubbing it on the skin, as this can further aggravate the skin’s surface and lead to redness.

    Ultimately, the right frequency of toner use for you depends on your skin type and goals. Pay attention to how your skin responds and adjust your routine accordingly. If you're introducing a new toner into your skincare routine, it's a good idea to start with less frequent use and gradually increase it to assess how your skin reacts and builds up tolerance.



Final Verdict: Difference Between Toners Vs Moisturizer

The distinction between toners and moisturizers in skincare is fundamental for achieving your skin goals. Toners act as the support system, balancing your skin's pH, refining texture, and prepping it for subsequent products. Meanwhile, moisturizers lock in hydration, fortify the skin's barrier, and provide essential nourishment.

The secret to a successful skincare routine lies in synergy, with each product contributing its unique advantages. The next time you reach for your skincare arsenal, remember that a well-balanced combination of toner and moisturizer is your ticket to a complexion that not only looks good but also feels its very best. This way, you can confidently curate a regimen that empowers your skin to thrive at all hours of the day.

Frequently Asked Questions

What comes first toner or moisturizer?

We advise using toners first, followed by moisturisers, since toners assist in cleansing and toning the skin while moisturisers assist in hydrating and protecting the skin. The best benefits come from using both a toner and a moisturiser.

Is it fine if I don't use toner?

Toners aren't an essential step in a skincare routine, but they might be an excellent bonus that supports the other products by removing any lingering dead skin, enabling you to benefit more effectively from the other skincare products and their amazing advantages.

Does toner reduce pores on your skin?

However, the main objective of using a toner is to reduce the number of pores between skin cells and remove extra debris after cleansing. This may help to reduce pore size and make it harder for dirt and oil to adhere. (Which, as you know, causes pimples and acne.) You also have a more vibrant, healthier complexion as a result.