Can I Use Toner Without Moisturizer?

FTC Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This post (paid) links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that was recommended. See full Disclosure and Disclaimer here.

Ladies, we understand that facial skincare is a never-ending routine and a constant concern due to specific skin types and the endless range of skincare products in the modern market. However, reassuringly, we can guarantee you that you’re not the only one constantly wondering if it’s necessary to apply a moisturizer after a toner-especially with naturally oily skin?

Although you can use toner without applying moisturizer afterward, it’s more beneficial to use both. Moisturizers help maintain the correct balance, reduce the likelihood of skin problems, and prevent premature aging; you’ll want to apply it shortly after using a toner to increase the absorption.

Will cutting too many corners on your skincare regime cost you your luminous glow? Well, today’s your lucky day; this article will provide an in-detail answer to why you should apply moisturizer after using a toner, including why both are equally important in your skincare routine. So, continue reading -I’m pretty sure your pores will thank you!

LANEIGE Cream Skin Toner & Moisturizer,2-in-1 Amino Acid Rich Hydrating Liquid with White Tea LeafWater Helps Strengthen Skin’s Moisture

Can I Use Toner Without Moisturizer?

Short and sweet, you can use toner without moisturizer, but it’s more beneficial to apply both products.  

Toner used to be on the beauty backburner due to excessively drying the skin; it was primarily made for teenagers who needed to obliterate zits and oily skin. However, toner has received a modern makeover, making it beneficial for your complexion despite your skin type or skin tone.

Post-cleanse, applying a toner helps set the stage for the following skincare steps (moisturizer or serum) by preparing the skin and increasing the absorption of moisturizers – toner helps the skin to soak up every ounce of cream!

More so, a moisturizer followed by applying the toner will help maintain the skin’s balance, further reducing the likelihood of skin problems like acne flare-ups, redness, and inflammation.

So, adding a toner to your daily skincare regimen can be a vital ingredient to ensure a radiant and refreshed appearance.

However, most toners consist of a water-based solution with various active ingredients differing in percentages, including plant extractions and essential oils. Additionally, many toners generally contain alcohol, which absorbs into the skin, speedily drying out the skin and causing irritations.

Therefore, if you skip the following step of applying moisturizer, your skin can dry out from the toner.

Why Is Toner Vital For Your Skincare Regimen?

While soapy facial cleansers have come a long way, it does not have the same effect as a toner as they cannot penetrate the skin pores to clean them properly. So, there can still be makeup or other impurities left behind, making a toner the best and easiest way to ensure a squeaky-clean complexion.

Toner is the “in-between” product you use after washing your face but before applying moisturizer.

It is a fast-penetrating liquid proven effective to clean the skin and pores, ensuring they are free of dirt or dust. It sweeps all the impurities away and brings your skin back to its natural, slightly acidic state, in turn providing better skin health and moisture absorption.

Additionally, it removes dead skin cells, leaving you with plump and glowing skin. Think of toner as a primer for your pores; it prepares your skin for the rest of your skincare routine, aka moisturizers, serums, or oils. More so, toner is packed with glycerin, acids, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatories that will balance, the skin’s pH, reduce puffiness, redness, and excess sebum [1].

For a better understanding, you can compare your skin to a dried-up sponge. If you apply a thick layer of cream on a dry, brittle sponge, it won’t absorb any of the moisture. However, if you first wet the sponge, the serum or moisturizer will absorb quickly.

A toner will also allow you to use less of the moisturizer as it aids in soaking up the product more readily.

Here are some of the Top Rated and Best Selling Toners on the market today.

THAYERS Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel Facial Toner with Aloe Vera Formula

Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel Pore Perfecting Toner

Heritage Store Rosewater Facial Toner w/Hyaluronic Acid | Tones, Refines Pores, Smooths Skin

The Benefits Of Using Toner After Washing Your Face

If you’re not only wondering whether you should apply moisturizer after using a toner but if toner is essential, here are the key reasons according to why toner can level up your self-care skin regimen in one easy step.

  • Toner’s formulation helps clean the pores by removing leftover makeup, dirt, and other impurities from your skin, allowing your skin to stay clean and undamaged by environmental stressors like dust and dirt.

Facial toners are notorious for removing excess sebum or oil, which primarily contributes to clogging the pores and causing blackheads in the first place.

  • Toner minimizes the appearance of pores, leaving your skin looking smoother with a more luminous appearance and making it more challenging for debris or impurities to penetrate the pores.
  • Toner temporarily tightens your skin, giving it a firmer and rejuvenated appearance.
  • Toners help to restore the pH balance to the skin after using a cleanser that can throw it off, preventing the skin from becoming too oily or dry after washing your face. Additionally, a normal pH is vital for protecting the skin from pollutants and bacteria.
  • Toners calm the skin and alleviate temporary inflammation and redness.
  • Toners increase the absorption of your moisturizer.

Should Everyone Use Toner?

Facial toner is beneficial for all of us thanks to its makeover as it is differently prepared for different skin types. So, everyone should preferably include toner in their daily routine and a list of essential cosmetics.

There are three primary types of toners, with each class providing varying benefits based on the type and percentage of the active ingredients.

Let’s briefly discuss each type to ensure you choose the right toner for your specific skin type and requirements.

  1. Bracers: Also known as refreshers, bracers are mild and alcohol-free toners that provide a hydrating and soothing effect for the skin. These bracer toners are best for sensitive and dry to normal skin types. For example, ingredients like rose water or chamomile are used in bracers to hydrate and calm the skin.
  2. Tonics: Tonic toners contain a low percentage of alcohol and generally have slightly higher concentrations of active ingredients. Tonic toners are suitable for normal to oily skin types.
  3. Astringents: Astringent toners are the strongest toners within the group; they contain a high percentage of alcohol and antiseptic ingredients. Astringents are designed to treat acne and can be harsh on the skin and cause irritations as they strip away the natural, protective sebum or oil layer. Therefore, unless you have acne-prone skin, it’s best to avoid using astringents. Instead, opt for a gentler option by using a bracer or tonic toner.

Is It Essential To Apply Moisturizer After Using Toner?

It is necessary to apply moisturizer after using toner and here’s why.

Before understanding how moisturizers benefit your skin, it helps clarify the mechanism by which they work. According to Harvard Health Publishing, the outer layer of skin, the stratum corneum, consists of corneocytes and lipids or fat substances between these cells.

Try thinking of the corneocytes as bricks and the lipids as mortar; together, they create the perfect barrier. Additionally, these cells absorb and hold water vital in allowing the skin to feel smooth and supple.

Moisturizers generally contain the following essential ingredients :

  • Large amounts of water that hydrate the skin.
  • Then moisturizers contain occlusives or oily substances that help lock in the moisture, preventing it from evaporating.
  • More so, moisturizers also have humectants that attract the water into the outer layer of the skin and into damaged, arid stratum corneum areas that don’t hold moisture well.
  • Moisturizers contain emollients that give the skin that highly sought-after smooth, supple texture.
  • Lastly, moisturizers can also host other ingredients, including vitamins and anti-aging components that address specific needs.

Here are some of the Top Rated and Best Selling Moisturizers on the market today.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer, Daily Moisturizer Face Cream with Ceramide and Niacinamide for All Skin Types

NIVEA Intense Healing Body Lotion, 72 Hour Moisture for Dry to Very Dry Skin

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream | Body and Face Moisturizer for Dry Skin | Body Cream with Hyaluronic Acid and Ceramides

After applying toner, your skin is in a state where it can better absorb and retain moisture, making it the best time to use your daily moisturizer or serum. Moisturizer does not only feel great on the skin; it is necessary if you’d like healthy, clear, smooth, and wrinkle-free skin.

Unfortunately, we are constantly exposed to harmful UV rays of the sun, dirt, dust, and other pollutants. These factors all contribute to the skin starting to age prematurely, leading to clogged pores, the appearance of fine lines or wrinkles, and dark spots on the skin’s surface.

In turn, moisturizers serve as an excellent solution to treat and possibly prevent uneven skin tone, fine lines, dry and dull skin, and various other skin concerns.

So, a moisturizer is a must whether you are prone to dry, oily, or combination skin type! The moisturizer provides much-needed hydration to ensure soft and supple skin. Moreover, the correct moisturizer will help to further prep your skin for the day ahead.

The Benefits Of Applying Moisturizer After Using Toner

If you’re still not indeed convinced about applying moisturizer after using toner, take a look at the top benefits [5].

  • The correct type of moisturizer will reduce the likelihood of skin problems. In addition, an appropriate moisturizer will help maintain the proper balance, preventing too oily skin or dryness that signals your skin to produce excess oils; both factors contribute to acne pop-ups.
  • Moisturizers can help reduce the appearance of other facial blemishes, mainly when the cream contains a slight tint.
  • Moisturizers help your skin stay young and healthy. The most sensitive skin areas are around the face, neck, and chest, making these spots vulnerable to dryness and spots. Therefore, moisturizers will help your skin by boosting it to repair itself.
  • Moisturizer helps minimize or fight premature aging lines and wrinkles, ensuring young and plump skin.

Should Individuals With Oily Skin Use Moisturizer After Using Toners?

Various toners contain humectants, substances that are key to attracting moisture and ensuring hydrated skin. So, individuals struggling with extremely oily skin and using a toner containing humectants can skip using moisturizer.

However, in the end, hydrated skin equals healthy skin. Without enough moisture, the skin’s protective function is compromised, increasing the risks of inflammation, wrinkles, and premature aging.

So, it’s vital to remember that moisturizers do not add extra water to your skin; instead, they hold the water in the skin’s outer layer to keep it hydrated. Additionally, they contain emollients that form a protective “film” that traps the water in the skin. So, instead of using an oil-based moisturizer, opt for a lightweight, water-or-gel-based moisturizer fit for oily skin that will help provide an additional protective layer or barrier.

Water-based moisturizers or gels are less likely to clog pores and aggravate oily and acne-prone skin.

How To Correctly Apply Moisturizer After Toner?

So, once you’ve chosen the right moisturizer to suit your skin type, the best time to apply it is right after using a toner to allow further the skin’s hydration to be restored.

Although you can wait for the toner to dry out completely before applying a moisturizer, experts tend to believe that hydration is better absorbed and preserved when using the moisturizer on slightly damp or dewy skin.

Toner tends to absorb into the skin swiftly, usually in less than a minute. So, after applying the toner, wait until your skin is almost dry (about 30 seconds), then use your moisturizer. While there isn’t anything wrong with applying the moisturizer once the toner is completely dry, damp skin will allow you to use the moisturizer more economically as you’ll need lesser amounts when compared to completely dry skin.


In a nutshell, a toner is designed to calm your skin, visibly reduce pores, tighten the skin temporarily, and remove dirt and excess oil or sebum – think of toner as an extra credit in your skincare routine that pays off for those who want healthy, luminous skin!

However, it is essential to remember that hydrated skin is healthy skin. So, apply a moisturizer shortly after using the toner to nourish the skin, reduce the likelihood of skin problems, and ensure that your skin stays healthy and plump.

So, no matter what your skin type, do a little research and find a toner and moisturizer combination with the perfect fit for your skin type and tone.