Can You Apply Toner with Your Fingers?

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Most people don’t know the importance of applying toner properly. But the reality is that it is as important as deciding on the right toner. Because depending on how you apply your toner to your skin, the benefits vary from one skin type to the other. Now, you must have questions like- can you apply toner with fingers instead of cotton pads.

If your hands are clean you can apply toner to your face by just using your fingers. There are also several other methods of applying toner to your skin besides using your fingers. You can choose any method for applying toner to your skin, but which method will be more beneficial for you depends upon your skin type.

For example, if your skin is normal or dry then you can use your hands to apply toner but if you have combination or oily skin then the cotton pad is the right choice for you. 

So, to learn more about this topic, we suggest you go through this article and we assure you it will help you understand the methods of applying toner and the benefits that come with them. 

We are also providing you some miscellaneous information on the topic that you should probably know. 

What Is A Toner? 

Toner is a wash or lotion that aims to improve your skin’s pH balance by cleansing and also hydrates, protects, and moisturizes the skin. 

Though it appears to be water-like, it not only contains oxygen and hydrogen but also glycerin, anti-inflammatories, antioxidants, acids, etc. depending on the type of toner. 

What Benefits Does A Toner Provide?

Most people don’t know the use of a toner or what a toner really is. They have a vague idea about it therefore, misunderstand many beauty products as toners. But it is important to know the use and benefits of using a toner as it does provide a wide range of beneficial things for our skin. Let’s talk about the benefits so that you can understand why you need a toner. 

  • Toner balances the pH level of our skin. By doing so it prevents the outbreak of acne and keeps our skin hydrated. The optimum pH level for your skin is around 5.5.
  • It doesn’t matter if you are using a powerful cleanser, it is not enough for removing dirt, makeup, excess oil, etc. This is why we need toner as it removes all these gently, besides improving the quality of our skin. 
  • Toner helps to open our pores and when moisturizer is applied our skin can therefore absorb it properly and get moisturized correctly. So, toner plays an important role here. 
  • Toner also gives our skin a refreshing feeling that makes us feel good in our own skin. 
  • One study suggests that just adding an over the counter skin toner to your skin regimen is beneficial in the treatment of acne.

It is also believed that applying it is the second most important step in your skincare routine. Also, a clinical study has shown that if you have acne-prone skin by performing these three steps cleanse, apply toner, and then apply your acne treatment showed significant improvements. 

How To Apply Toner?

Applying toner is an uncomplicated task. It doesn’t require much of your time yet provides you with the benefits. To apply toner, you can use your hands or a cotton pad or even a cloth. But as mentioned earlier, which method will be beneficial for you depends upon your skin type. 

The way of applying also depends upon which toner you plan on using. Because not all the toners can be applied using your hands due to its consistency. This is why the manufacturers usually provide the users with the proper way by their labels or solution consistency. 

So, before applying your toner, make sure you check the type of your toner. The video below will give you the different methods that you can apply toner with your hands to your face.

Here are some very highly rated toners that you can find online at Amazon.

KLAIRS Supple Preparation Facial Toner, with Hyaluronic Acid, moisturizer, paraben and alcohol free.

Neutrogena Rapid Clear Acne Face Pads with Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment Medicine to Fight Face Breakouts, Oil Free Pads with Maximum Strength Salicylic Acid Acne Medicine

Face Toner, L’Oreal Paris Skincare HydraFresh Toner for Face, Alcohol Free Toner with Pro-Vitamin B5 for a Smoother, Brighter Complexion

Neutrogena Pore Refining Toner with Witch Hazel, Alpha Hydroxy Acid & Beta Hydroxy Acid, Oil-Free & Hypoallergenic Facial Pore Cleansing Tone

Can You Apply Toner Using Hands? 

You can use both hands and cotton pads while applying toner. There is no hard and fast rule that you cannot apply toner with your hands. In fact, using hands is quite trouble-free and it also gives you instant hydration. But to decide on which method you want to use, you’ll have to be sure of your purpose.

If balancing pH is your only aim for applying toner then you can use your hands for it. Simply take a few drops on your hand and pat it on your skin and that’s it. But if you aim to observe whether your skin still has any of the residues left, then you’ll need to use cotton pads as the pads will clearly show them which your hands can’t. So, depending on your requirement you’ll have to choose.

Again, in the case of gel and cream toners, it is considered to be an easier way to use your hands for application. Now, the next question what about applying hair toner?

In the case of hair toner, it is possible to apply hair toner with hands. But still for a better application using hands should be avoided as it is not considered to be an effective way. Because it is not possible to apply toner on all parts of your scalp just by using hands. So, we recommend you use a brush for applying hair toner.

So, whether you want to apply toner on your skin with your hands or a cotton ball completely depends upon the purpose of applying it and also the type of toner you plan on using. But it is absolutely okay to apply toner using hands. 

How to Apply Toner with Hands and Cotton Pads? 

If you decide on using your hands for applying toner, take your palm and put a few droplets of toner on it, and then gently press your face with your palm and fingers. This way you can get rid of impurities such as pollution, makeup, etc. 

But if you plan on using a cotton pad or even a cloth, first you will have to soak some toner with the pad and then rub the cotton on the skin gently. And this will not only help you get rid of your impurities like using your hands would but it will also give you the smooth skin you desire as it will exfoliate your skin more gently. Cotton pads also help you avoid wastage of toner. 

Now as there are a few options of how you can apply your toner, you must be wondering which will be the better and easier way for you. As we have already covered how you can apply toner using hands and cotton balls, let us cover why you should choose one over the other. 

Here are some highly-rated applicator pads for toner.

The Body Shop Round Cotton Pads

  • Organic cotton rounds come complete with 2 fluff-free surfaces
  • 100 pieces double-sided
  • Use with cleanser or toner

Reusable Makeup Remover Pads – Organic Cotton Rounds Soft Bamboo Toner Pads with Laundry Bag, 18 Pcs

  • Organic cotton rounds reusable bamboo makeup remover pads 18PCS per pack with one washable laundry bag.
  • Remove your makeup away with some cleanser or toner.
  • 100% GUARANTEE&RISK FREE-We guarantee to provide 100% satisfaction.

Simply Soft Cotton Rounds, 100% Cotton, Absorbent and Textured Cotton Pads are Lint Free, 300 Count

  • Cotton pads feature a unique 4-layer design that offers ultimate uniformity and absorbency.
  • The smooth outer layer is perfect for applying cosmetics, creams, oils, lotions, and astringents.

There are other very highly rated applicator pads for applying toner online at Amazon. So, CLICK HERE and go check them out.

Why Choose A Cotton Pad or Cotton Ball Over Using Hands? 

As mentioned earlier, the way of applying toner depends upon your skin type, but if you are still confused then go for cotton pads. Because it is the most approved way of applying, it doesn’t matter what your skin type is.

These cotton pads tenderly exfoliate your skin making it softer and smoother. It also does the job of getting rid of impurities and excess oil from your skin. 

To see the advantages of using cotton pads for applying toner, you can use them and apply toner on the sections where you have flakiness and pores and observe the improvement it shows with continuity. 

This is why we recommend using cotton pads for applying toner than hands or cloth or any other way because of it being the most sanitary way of toner application.

But it is important to make sure that you get hold of the right cotton pad. Because not all cotton pads are good for your skin. Especially if you have sensitive skin as the wrong cotton pad can irritate your skin and also can be harsh on it due to having a rough texture. 

So, for toner application, using cotton pads is highly recommended, if the ones you choose are of good texture and appropriate for your skin. Now, let’s talk a bit more about using cotton pads as the way of applying toner.

Cotton Pad Uses

We have already gone through the basic uses of cotton pads like how it exfoliates the skin, removes excess oils and impurities, etc. But the use of this product does not end with these. There are a lot of other uses of cotton pads besides these. 

Cotton pads can be used for day outs or trips as it is possible to pre-soak them in toners and pack them in small bags. This way whenever you feel the need for hydrating or cleaning your skin, you can just get it out from the bag and use it.

Cotton pads can also be used for removing makeup instead of cleansing oils. You can also easily use cotton pads to apply a face mask or eye masks without any hassle as they can absorb a great amount of product and provide hydration for a long time. 

So, as you can see, cotton pads can be used for multiple purposes. And as it is very easily available and reusable, it is gaining popularity and becoming one of the most required items, especially for women.

Which Side of The Cotton Pad Should You Use?

Cotton pads are designed with multiple layers in order to provide users with strength, softness, and absorbency. Depending on your purpose of using the cotton pad, it has two sides. One side is soft and the other side is smooth. 

The soft side is used for makeup removal and cleansing. But for toner, you need to use the smooth side for better application as it provides you with a smooth texture. 

Are Cotton Pads Reusable? 

Some of you might be skeptical about reusing cotton pads as the sole purpose of cotton pads are to remove bacteria and dirt off of your skin. But once you do your research, you’ll see that it is perfectly alright to reuse cotton pads if you wash them accurately and every now and then. 

If the cotton pads are rinsed correctly, then there’s no need to worry about reusing them. Reusing cotton pads is not only great for saving money, but it is also beneficial for the environment as it will help to preserve the earth. 

So, think of cotton pads as washcloth or towels and reuse them without being hesitant as we assure you it is completely safe and hygienic. 

What to Use Instead of Cotton Pads for Toner? 

Nowadays there are several options available that can be used instead of cotton pads or cotton balls. One of these alternatives to cotton pads for toner application is the Konjac sponges. These sponges are increasingly gaining popularity over time. You can find a great selection of Konjac sponges online at Amazon.

Konjac sponges are used as facial cleansers as they are not only good at removing makeup but also an excellent choice for exfoliating the skin. 

You can also use microfiber pads and reusable bamboo pads instead of cotton pads or cotton balls. But if you are searching for application techniques that are easily available at home then you can use muslin or flannels for facial cleansing as they are great alternatives as well.

 A Few Other Considered Ways of Applying Toner

As we have mentioned earlier there are several ways of applying toner. Among which hands and cotton pads are the most famously considered ways. 

But there are also some other options that people often use depending on the time they have in their hands and the availability of other products. So, let’s talk about some other options.

Apply Toner with a Cloth

Using a cloth to apply toner may seem to be the easiest and the most convenient way because of its availability at our homes, but we still recommend not to use any cloth for this purpose. Because a cloth will absorb way too much product and it will result in a waste of your toner. 

So, in order to save your toner from getting wasted, avoid applying toner directly to any washcloth. 

Applying Toner with Toilet Paper 

You can certainly use toilet paper to apply toner to your face. In fact, to apply gel or cream toners, toilet paper is considered to be a great choice even though it should be avoided in the case of liquid toners. But before settling on using toilet paper for applying, make sure you know that it is quite harsh on your skin. 

So, if you have sensitive skin, then we recommend you to avoid using it. 

Applying Toner by Spraying

Some toners out there come in spray form making it easier to apply on the skin simply by spraying it directly for 2/3 times. These toners are mostly runny as they are in liquid form. 

So, applying more than 2/3 times is not the proper way. In order to apply toner by spraying, all you need to do is close your eyes and mouth and simply spray it on the skin. 

Toner Application According to Skin Type

We have already talked about different ways of application and the benefits that each method provides. But we haven’t yet given you information on which way to choose keeping your skin type in mind. 

As we have different skin types such as- dry skin, normal skin, oily skin, sensitive skin, combination skin, etc. So now let us know which way is good for which skin types. 

Sensitive Skin & Dry Skin

If you have dry skin then applying toner should be done using your hands for better results. Just take a few drops of toner in your hands and tap it on your skin gently. This way it will not only provide hydration for dry skin, but it will also help your skin absorb the toner better. 

And if you have very dry skin, then you should definitely use sheet masks for applying toner as it hydrates the most. 

Using hands is also great for sensitive skin types as this type often faces difficulty using cotton pads or cotton balls, cloth, etc. Because not all cotton pads are of good quality and might have a rough texture resulting in an uncomfortable feeling on your skin. 

Combination & Oily Skin 

If you have a combination & oily skin then using cotton pads to apply toner is highly recommended. Cotton pads are extremely useful for these skin types as they are good for exfoliating and removing excess oil from your skin. 

It can be easily applied to the sections where you have flakiness and pores as well. So, for these skin types, we recommend using cotton pads for fruitful application. 


Taking care of oneself is an important step towards confidence and satisfaction. So, it is also important to feel good in your own skin. This is why toner application is an essential measure to take. But many people don’t know what a toner really does to their skin and how it should be applied depending on the outcome they expect as there are many ways of applying toner. 

In this article, “Can you apply toner with your hands”, we have not only talked about if hands are an appropriate way of applying toner but also given you enough information on other ways as well. We have also tried to make the process of selecting a specific way of application easier for you by letting you know which method is good for which skin type. 

We hope this article was of help to you and wish you the best of luck with your upcoming challenge of making the right decision for your skin.