Here's Why You Actually *Do* Need to Use Toner

Once and for all.

Atmospheric phenomenon, Peach, Grey, Circle, Beige, Sphere, Ball,
Atmospheric phenomenon, Peach, Grey, Circle, Beige, Sphere, Ball,
(Image credit: Design by Katja Cho)

Ah, toners—they're equal parts essential and mystifying, But are they really a crucial part of taking care of your skin? Short answer: Yes. So, to put a stop to the confusion once and for all, here's exactly why you need to be toning your skin daily, plain and simple.

"Toners were originally devised as an extra cleansing step to remove dirt and impurities from makeup and environmental pollution," explains Dr. Donna Bilu Martin, a Miami-based dermatologist and consultant to Clark's Botanicals. While cleansers have come a long way, there may still be makeup that's left behind, so it's the best and easiest way to ensure you complexion is squeaky clean.  

Toners are notorious for removing excess oil, which is what clogs pores and causes blackheads in the first place. "If you have acne or oil-prone skin, look for a toner that contains  glycolic acid or salicylic acid, as it will cut down on oil and shine," advises Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, founder and director of Capital Laser and Skin Care and assistant clinical professor at the department of dermatology at the George Washington University Medical Center.

"Toners are specifically designed to restore pH balance to the skin," says Joanna Vargas, celebrity facialist and founder of Joanna Vargas Salon and Skincare Collection. Skin's optimal pH is 5.5 and can be thrown off  by a cleanser, so basically it keeps your skin from becoming too dry or oily after you wash your face. Translation? Glow-y perfection.

It's not a secret that you simply sweat a lot more during summer. And when it mixes with excess oil, dirt, and bacteria, it agitates the skin and leads to more breakouts. (Ugh, no!) That's why it's important to take this extra step in cleansing.

Toners clean and tighten pores, which not only makes the skin visibly smoother, but makes it harder for debris to penetrate it. A total win-win.

"Hydrating toners can boost your skin when you need it," says Vargas. This is why a toner is especially great to have on tap when you're traveling. In-flight air is suuuper drying, so a quick pat of toner with a cotton pad will clean your skin and moisturize it, no water necessary.

"I always recommend that people switch from a drying toner to something like rosewater," explains Vargas. "Rose is hydrating, very light, and good for circulation. Lime is a great ingredient for oily skin because it tightens pores and acts as an astringent without over-drying the skin's surface. Plum and strawberry are good for super dry skin. And last but not least, chamomile is great for soothing."

Liquid, Fluid, Product, Text, White, Bottle, Beauty, Font, Cosmetics, Tints and shades,

(Image credit: Getty Images)

1. Thayers Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel in Rose Petal, $9.49;

2. Beauty Rx Clarifying Toner, $30;

3. Henriksen Grease Relief Face Tonic, $24;

Follow Marie Claire on Instagram for the latest celeb news, pretty pics, funny stuff, and an insider POV.

Lauren Valenti
Beauty Editor

Lauren is the former beauty editor at Marie Claire. She love to while away the hours at coffee shops, hunt for vintage clothes, and bask in the rough-and-tumble beauty of NYC. She firmly believes that solitude can be a luxury if you’ve got the right soundtrack—that being the Rolling Stones, of course.