Differences Between Astringents And Toners: Which Is Better For Your Skin?

Written by Monomita Chakraborty

You might believe that an astringent and a toner are the same. However, they are different skin care products. While both help remove excess oil, dirt, and residues, their benefits vary. Depending on your skin type, one will work better than the other.

What is the difference between a toner and an astringent? How should you use them? Why should you pick one over the other? Read this article to explore everything about them.

Toner Vs. Astringent

Both toners and astringents have liquid-based formulas and are applied after cleansing your skin to remove excess oil, dirt, and residues. However, their impact on the skin might be different. Let’s find out how.

Toner

A toner is a water-based solution applied after cleansing the skin. It is usually an additional cleansing step to remove traces of makeup, oil, and debris and balance your skin’s pH. A toner is crucial for better absorption of potent ingredients and preparing your skin for other skin care products. It is suitable for all skin types and can be used throughout the day to keep your skin looking fresh.

Rose water, cucumber juice, green tea, and chamomile tea are some examples of natural toners. They may also contain humectants like glycerin and hyaluronic acid, anti-aging ingredients like niacinamide, and herbal extracts. Toners can also help hydrate the skin when used regularly, making it softer and smoother (1).

Astringent

An astringent tightens pores and reduces oil production. It is usually alcohol-based and helps remove grease and dirt from the skin. Astringents may also contain salicylic acid, witch hazel, or citric acid. Witch hazel, apple cider vinegar, green tea, orange blossom water, calendula flowers, lemon, or mint, can be used to prepare homemade astringents.

If you have oily or acne-prone skin, astringents are for you. They are applied after cleansing as an additional degreasing procedure. Anecdotal evidence suggests that astringents exhibit antibacterial properties that help combat acne-causing germs.

Note: Astringents may cause redness and irritation if applied to dry or sensitive skin.

A toner or astringent can be used by anyone. However, the product you choose depends on your skin type.

What Skin Types Can Use Them?

Astringents are effective for acne-prone, oily, and combination skin types. Using them on other skin types can lead to dryness, itching, and inflammation. Also, since astringents tend to be potent, it is important not to overuse them. Applying too much astringent on oily skin might cause dryness or excessive oil production.

On the other hand, toners are suitable for dry, normal, combination, and sensitive skin types. You can use mild toners up to twice a day.

The following table will give you a clear idea:

Skin TypeWhat To UseWhat Ingredients To Look For
NormalTonerRose water
SensitiveTonerChamomile, Aloe vera
Acne-ProneAstringentWitch hazel, Salicylic acid, Ascorbic acid, and Glycolic acid
OilyAstringentWitch hazel, Ascorbic acid, and Green tea
CombinationToner or AstringentAloe vera, Witch hazel, and Lactic acid
DryTonerHyaluronic acid, Glycerin, and Sodium lactate

Note: Pay attention to your skin type and condition. If you are new to toners or astringents, do a patch test. Always follow the usage instructions of your product for the best results.

Wondering how to use a toner or an astringent? Read the next section.

How To Use A Toner And Astringent

You use both toners and astringents if you have oily skin, but they should not be used simultaneously. Instead, use the astringent in the morning and the toner at night. Whichever option you choose, you can apply them in the same way by following this procedure.

  1. Wash your face with a cleanser and pat it dry.
  2. Pour a little amount of astringent or toner on a cotton ball.
  3. Softly dab the toner or astringent onto the skin in a circular motion. Avoid contact with the eyes, and apply more in oily areas, such as the T-zone and chin. Since these are supposed to stay on your skin, you don’t have to rinse them off.
  4. Apply anti-acne treatments, topical creams, sunscreen, under-eye gels, or serums only after the toner or astringent have completely absorbed into your skin.

Note: If you experience a stinging or burning sensation on your face while using an astringent or a toner, stop using it right away. It is common to experience some tingling and tightening but not burning. Always do an allergy test 24 hours before using any new product.

Scroll down for some expert tips about applying toners and astringents for best results.

Pro Tips For Using Toners And Astringents

  • You can apply lemon or lemon juice and water solution to your face and neck as it acts as a natural astringent.
  • If you have run out of toner, rub a piece of cucumber on your face to erase cleanser or makeup residue.
  • Do not use an astringent if you are using a physician-recommended anti-acne cream. A gentle toner with green tea, chamomile extracts, or cucumber is preferred.
  • Astringents usually contain alcohol, which can induce a tingling sensation. Use a toner or an alcohol-free astringent instead if your skin gets irritated or dry.
  • Do not use astringents more than once a day.
  • Toners with alcohol and astringent ingredients like witch hazel and apple cider vinegar might dry out your skin. Therefore, read the ingredients before choosing an ideal product for your skin.

Summing It Up

Toners and astringents are different skin care products that should not be used interchangeably. There is a risk of skin damage, irritation, and inflammation if you use the wrong product for your skin type. You need to understand what goes into the product and pick one that is best for your skin.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Can I use an astringent and a toner together?

No, there is no compelling need to use both an astringent and a toner. However, if you have oily skin, you can apply an astringent in the morning and a toner at night. Avoid using them at the same time.

Which is better – toner or astringent?

Although both the products benefit your skin similarly, they are not meant for the same skin type. Use an astringent only if you have pimples and oily or combination skin types.

Can toner cause pimples?

No, toners should not cause pimples on dry, normal, or sensitive skin types. However, if your toner contains alcohol or drying ingredients, it can lead to breakouts. Also, if you have moderate to severe acne, harsh toners may exacerbate your breakouts and cause a stinging or burning sensation.

Can I use rose water as a toner daily?

Yes, rose water can be used regularly as an all-natural skin toner.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Comparison of skin hydration in combination and single use of common moisturizers (cream, toner and spray water)
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29394018/
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Monomita holds a master’s degree in journalism and mass communication. Her passion for and understanding of all things related to skin, hair, and beauty propelled her to pursue a career in writing. She wants to travel the world and taste all kinds of food, preferably with a cat as her companion. She is a trained film director, and her eclectic taste in cinema ranges from anime to horror movies.