Should I Apply Toner With My Fingers or Cotton?

The way you apply skincare products is just as important as choosing the right products. Some treatments are intended to be applied at night only, whereas others are best for morning use. Some products are meant be left on for only 10 to 15 minutes, whereas others are formulated to fully absorb.

So, how do you know if you should apply your toner with your fingers or cotton? First, answer these two questions:

  1. Is your toner a thin fluid?

  2. Do you use an effective cleanser to fully remove impurities?

Firstly, there are many types of toners. Evaluating the product you're using will help you determine how best to apply it.



How To Apply Different Types Of Toner

Traditional toners are waterlike fluids, often inhabiting large, easy-to-use bottles. However, the newer toner breeds range from products that come in spray bottles to products with a serumlike consistency.

How you apply your toner should depend on how the manufacturer has designed that product to work. This is usually hinted at on the label and by the consistency of the solution. Let's take a look at a couple of examples.

The popular Skinstitut Multi-Active Mist is packaged with a convenient misting applicator. This product has the watery consistency of a traditional toner. However, unlike conventional bottles, Skinstitut spray nozzle indicates a direct application from package to face. Other popular toners we stock include.

Dermalogica Clear Start Breakout Clearing All Over Toner

Acne on the face is frustrating enough, but all-over body acne can be equally embarrassing. Face and body acne can be tough to get rid of, which is why Dermalogica went a step further than your classic acne-fighting products with Clear Start Breakout Clearing All-Over Toner. This easy-to-use, mist-on formula fights even the toughest face and body acne to help soothe and clear skin in just a few spritzes. This unique toner features not just potent acne-fighting ingredients but a host of skin soothers to minimise inflammation and visibly reduce acne fast. Get a clear start with this acne-busting all-over toner.

Dermalogica Clear Start Breakout Clearing All Over Toner


Protect and refresh your skin with Cosmedix Benefit Balance Antioxidant Prep, a powerful antioxidant and environmental protection solution. Suitable for all skin types, even hypersensitive skins or those with sun damage or hyperpigmentation. Cosmedix Benefit Balance Antioxidant Prep contains a number of antioxidants that protect vital cell components and membrane lipids from free radicals. Natural chamomile and aloe vera soothe, hydrate and calm the skin, whilst shea butter and D-Glucurnic hydrate and protect.

Pixi Glow Tonic 250ml comes with the usual lid. As this product has waterlike consistency, it's best applied with a cotton pad. Other great bottled toners include.

The Kiehl's Ultra Facial Oil-Free Toner is a refreshing liquid that works to banish remaining surface dirt, oil and makeup after cleansing, while simultaneously helping to balance the complexion. This unique alcohol-free toning lotion is made specifically for normal to oily skin types, helping to refine skin texture while hydrating and refreshing skin. Created with Imperata Cylindrica Root Extract and Antarcticine to soothe and moisturise skin, this face toner will leave skin feeling comfortable, clean and ready for moisturiser.

Clinique Clarifying Lotion 3 suitable for Skin Type 3: Combination Oily. Helps clear away pollution, excess oil, dulling flakes for clear, glowing skin. Helps block a blemish. Purifies pores to look cleaner, smaller. Skin grows stronger, stays clearer, healthier. Dermatologist-reformulated to be comfortable, non-drying.

Mesoestetic Hydratonic Toning Lotion

Mesoestetic Hydratonic Toning Lotion is a facial tonic lotion with an astringent effect for all types of skin. It removes residual impurities and decongests the skin, leaving it fresh.soft and smooth. The absence of alcohol in its composi­tion respects skin pH and prevents dehydration. Mesoestetic Hydratonic Toning Lotion aids the absorption of active ingredients applied after the toner.

Mesoestetic Hydratonic Toning Lotion

Leave your skin looking luminous and revitalised with Intraceuticals Opulence Brightening Mist. This invigorating face mist can be used as necessary throughout the day to give a moisture boost, or can be used to take away the powdery finish of makeup. Intraceuticals Opulence Brightening Mist contains hyaluronic acid to lock in moisture to the skin, leaving your skin looking plump and toned.

PRO TIP: Pre-dampen your cotton pad with water. Squeeze out the excess, and then apply your chosen toner. Wetting the cotton first stops it from absorbing your product and keeps the toner on the surface of the pad. You waste less product and gain maximum skincare benefits.

Thicker toners usually offer serum-like benefits and are intended to be applied similarly to serums. However, your application method in this case really depends on your answer to our second question.

Toner Application Depends on Your Cleanser

Products that are applied to your skin directly—that is, with your fingers—will also pull any remaining impurities, such as makeup and pollution, into your skin. This effect is scientifically referred to as 'washing-in'.

Conversely, products that are applied with a cotton pad will help remove those residues. Therefore, whether you choose to apply a toner with your fingers or a cotton pad should depend on how effective your cleansing step is.

You can test this out by using a cotton pad to apply your toner and checking the amount of impurities that collect after application. If you see minimal traces of makeup and oil remaining, you'd be safe to use your fingers for application.

To find a toner that's perfect for your skin type, head to our virtual aisle of toners. We're also available to help if you're unsure which product is perfect for your skin type just email us at


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