Do Guys Need to Use Toner?

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When it comes to skincare products, a lot of guys may get overwhelmed with all the choices out there or simply not know where to start. The world of cosmetics, for many dudes, is foreign territory, but, with some brief scientific explanations, this article will explain why people use toners as a part of their daily skincare regimen in the first place.

Toners are often used to help cleanse oily or blemish-prone skin. If your goal is to achieve a supple matte-like appearance in your skin, you should definitely consider using toner. Of its many benefits, the most impactful is balancing skin pH.

So, if you’d rather not ask your roommates or your girlfriend for pointers and you’re secretly Googling toners on your phone, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to find out more about your skin and how you can take care of it better using toner.

Men’s Skin Care – Using Toner

The Science of the Male Epidermis

According to one Endocrinology and Metabolic Syndrome article, the male epidermis is “20% thicker than the female epidermis, being able to bind a larger amount of moisture, and containing more collagen in all ages, thus, making male skin more dense and vigorous.”

Thicker skin contains a denser distribution of sebaceous glands, located near hair follicles. Through a process of programmed cell death, special epithelial cells called sebocytes collect lipids in sebum until they disrupt and send their loads to nearby glands for secretion.

Sebum’s fatty acid content fights bacteria and directly affects skin pH. While sebum helps the skin form a protective moisture-lock layer, overstimulation of these glands causes them to over-secrete the oily substance and clog pores with dead cells, bacteria, and other gunk leading to pimples, blackheads, and acne.

The highest concentration of these glands is found in the face. So guys, yes, you may be able to pull off the hot rugged look in later years, but while young you’re at a much higher risk of acne. Toners combat this by:

  • Giving your skin a pH-balancing boost
  • Helping maintain skin absorbency so serums
    and moisturizers have more effect
  • Unclogging pores so annoying pimples disappear

Now, let’s take a look at how often men should use toner.

How Often Should Men Use Toner?

Using toner one to two times a day is typically recommended. However, its use should always be balanced with the application of other skincare products. It’s meant to supplement the more heavy-duty cleansing agents like face washes and scrubs while not conflicting with the skin’s ability to absorb moisturizers or serums.

In the old days, toners were mostly alcohol-based, harsh astringents. Today, it is generally advised to avoid toners with alcohol content because they strip the skin of needed moisture. Most modern toners exclude alcohol and leave your face feeling refreshed. The goal is less oily skin, not dry skin. The moderate application ensures the toner is having just the right effect.

But, you may ask, how do I know which to choose? Let’s narrow the selection down.

How to Apply Toner

When you purchase your toner, make sure you buy some cotton pads. You’ll soak the pads in the fluid and rub your face and neck areas in circular motions. This step comes after a facial wash and before the serum or moisturizer phase. Self-care isn’t just a girl thing. It actually feels amazing, especially right before bed.

What Is the Best Toner for Men?

There are two main categories: exfoliating and hydrating. The exfoliating kind is for skin that’s too oily. The lactic acid breaks up dead skin cells so a healthy complexion can beam through. It grants a fuller, smoother, and more even appearance with the added benefit of minimizing wrinkle lines.

Hydrating toner contains glycerin, glycols, and plant extracts. Glycerin and glycols aid in the skin’s water retention abilities while plant extracts serve various other purposes.

For example, witch hazel, acting as an astringent, reduces the size of your pores while rose water, also an astringent, helps even out the natural oils in the skin. It smells nice too. Don’t worry – not pretty, just nice.

If your skin is particularly sensitive and you break out easily, it may be better to seek out some professional advice for a specially formulated product. One cool online company that does this is Curology. They customize your skincare ingredients to suit your needs. Just snap a few selfies, send them to your Curology dermatology provider, and get a kit sent in the mail.

Best Toner for Men’s Oily Skin

Exfoliating toners are going to be most beneficial for oily skin cleansing. If you have oily skin, you’ve got very busy sebaceous glands pumping out sebum and stopping up your pores. These toners contain those lactic acids that get rid of dead skin cell buildup and work against clog formation.

Below are a few examples of the most popular toners that men consistently rate highly:

  • Anthony Astringent Toner pads
    • A little on the pricey side but well worth it. It’s toner and cotton pad in one. Aloe, witch hazel, and mint essential oils are among the ingredients.

  • DTRT So Fine Toner for Men
    • This product especially addresses excessive sebum production. Pine resin and charcoal powder give off a manly scent while the myristic and stearic acids contained fight pimple-producing bacteria. 
  • InstaNatural Vitamin C Facial Toner
    • To get even more sciencey, vitamin C protects your skin from the damages caused by UV exposure and mitigates the effects of hyperpigmentation. So, it’s definitely a great ingredient to include. This toner also contains tea tree oil and, our favorite astringent, witch hazel.


In this day and age it is about new norms so why not normalize men’s skincare too. Devote a few minutes in the morning and at night for yourself. Regular and consistent care leads to amazing results. Toners with the right ingredients can take your skin from looking alright to looking more refreshed and rejuvenated.

So, if your roommates walk in on you using toner and want to poke fun, just tell them you’ve been producing way too much testosterone lately and you’re doing damage control. Real men use toner.