Cleanser vs Toner: Do you know the difference?

Looking after your skin is important and we are told using facial cleansers and toners is an important way to do this. Finding out which one is better for the skin is an important first step in deciding which one to choose.

What’s the difference between cleansers and toners? A cleanser will clean your face, whilst a toner will not only control acne and dry skin but will ensure the PH balance of your skin is maintained. A toner is an addition to your cleansing routine. A cleanser removes daily dirt, makeup, oil, dead skin cells and other impurities whilst the toner not only offers additional step to cleansing your skin but, also helps to contract the size of your pores.

It is important for women to look after their skin. Most young girls are told to wash their face every morning and evening. This is a great start initially to a skin care routine. In the past, parents would encourage you to simply wash your face to not only remove the days dirt at the end of the day but, is a great way to start your day and wake up. This in turn will help maintain a healthy looking skin and encourage women to develop a proper skin care routine.

Cleanser and Toner: What is the difference?

A cleanser and a toner are two different products, with each having different jobs but working together to clean and help to maintain skin looking healthy. Cleansers will clean your face by removing the daily build up of dirt, makeup, oil, dead skin cells and other impurities.

Toners help controlling acne as well as dry skin and ensuring the PH balance of the skin is maintained. A toner is an addition to your cleansing routine.

Do you really need a cleanser?

Regular cleansing of your skin is necessary to ensure that the days dirt is removed. All day your face is collecting dirt from your surrounding environment, pollution, viruses, dirt, oil, grease and old dead skin cells. To obtain and keep a fresh looking skin, daily washing is required, as this will ensure the days debris are taken off.

The removal of daily build up is a very important routine as it will aid your facial products being absorbing into your skin. Products will not penetrate into the skin unless it is cleaned properly. Your products will just be sitting on top of your skins surface and you will not notice any benefits or see any results from using your products. Cleansing your skin has the added benefit of ensuring that the natural PH levels of your skin are maintained.

Encouraging Hydration

Facial hydration is just as important as cleansing your skin. A good moisturizer is required to ensure your skin stays clean and clear. A good moisturizer hydrates your skin and stops it from drying out. Lack of hydration could lead to your skin feeling dry and tight. This could age your skin, make it look older and more wrinkly.

Reasons to Maintain Clear Skin

To protect your skin from daily environment, tiny glands which are under your skin, produce oil called sebum. The oil sebum acts as a barrier which in turn prevents any bacteria getting onto the outer layer of the skin. The oil sebum travels using the hair follicles of the glands.

Without keeping your skin clean your face will not only have a build up of daily dirt and grime but,the surface will block the follicles. The blocked follicles will in turn trap the daily dead skin cells, trap sebum and sweat which could then lead to inflammation, which could cause acne/spots.

To decrease your chances of getting acne/spots, you need to ensure that the sebum oil reaches the skin surface so it is imperative that cleansing becomes a daily routine which not only clears your pores of all debris but will also stop any buildup of dirt. Spots or acne occur when your pores are blocked so to avoid spots you need to ensure you clean your face daily and ideally in the morning and last thing in the evening.

Affects of not washing/cleansing your face

Serious acne could occur if you stop cleansing or washing your face as this results in your pores getting clogged. Without taking off the daily grime and dirt, your skin will hold onto to all the daily debris resulting in your skin actually looking dirty, greasy, oily and will in general make your skin look aged. Due to the lack of hydration, your skin may experience severe dryness, redness and in some cases irritation may also occur.

If your skin does experience irrational, which could develop in the form of itchiness, this will then result in infections due to the constant scratching of your face. Scratching your skin makes small breaks in your skin and thus you are likely to be more prone to infections.

Advantages of Cleansing

  • The size of your pores are maintained
  • This is an integral part of your routine to ensure your skin not only looks radiant but remains healthy too
  • Anti-aging products and treatments will penetrate better into clean skin and therefore allow
  • them to work harder on your skin
  • Regular cleansing will not only prevent access oil being formed but, maintain your skins natural hydration

How to decide upon the most appropriate cleanser?

When you start to look for a cleanser you will notice that there are a vast number of cleansers available on the market and can vary quite considerably in prices too. The amount you pay for a cleanser does not necessarily reflect its quality or the fact it will work better for you. Some ‘cheaper’ cleansers on the market can work just as well as the more expensive ones. You really have to find the right cleanser which suits your skin type.

It is important to know your skin type before choosing your cleanser. Cleansers specifically suited to your skin type will work better on your skin.

  • Avoid alcohol in products if you have dry skin
  • Low PH levels are great if you have oily skin
  • Sensitive skin should use products that are fragrance and chemical free. You can also get cleansers that are targeted for sensitive skin.
  • There are variations in the form cleanser come in. You can get cleansers which work by foaming-up and they are best suited to oil skin as are gel cleansers. If you have dry skin, then aim for a cream based cleansers.
  • Cleansers can also be targeted to specific needs. For example, if you wear a lot of makeup then you really should be going for cleansers which are able to remove makeup as well as cleanse your skin thoroughly.
  • If your skin gets sweaty a lot then aim for a cleanser which will not clog your pores.
  • PH in cleansers will ensure that the natural balances are maintained in your skin

Finding the correct cleanser is important so always do your research and read customers reviews. It may take you a little while but, once you find the right cleanser for your skin type you will notice how well your skin is maintained.

Are toners really necessary?

Once you have cleansed your skin, you don’t, technically, need to use a toner. However, the right toner is an additional step to ensure your skin is looks it’s best. It not only helps to remove dead skin cells but prepares your skin for moisturizing and helps to maintain the natural PH balance. Thus, aiding in controlling acne and dry skin too.

IMAGE_TAG|toners.jpg|Bottle of different toners|Toners

You cannot use a toner without cleansing your skin first. A cleanser and a toner are two separate products and step but, both help to clean your skin by removing daily dirt.Cleansers and toners are not just for people who wear makeup daily or only for mature skin. Having said that, there are some products targeted for mature skins and some especially for young/teenage skin. A cleanser and toner should be used every day, twice a day.

Usage of a Cleanser

A cleanser is a little like using soap on your body, it takes off the build of daily grime, oil, dirt, basically anything that gets on your skin due to the environment you are in. It also helps to remove the dead skin cells. When using the right cleanser this will ensure that your skin is kept clean every day and thus ensuring your pores are kept clear and therefore reduce the possibility of getting acne.

Choosing the right cleanser can be a bit of a battle as there are a vast number available on the market but, once you find the right one for your skin, your skin will benefit from it immensely. You will find there is a variation on prices too and cleansers can come in different forms. Knowing the variations could help you when deciding upon the type of cleanser you choose.


Form cleansers are in liquid form but, when you dispense them using a pump mechanism the outcome of the cleanser is lightweight and foamy. This is great for oily skin, as are gel cleansers, as it is suitable for combination skin. It works as if you are using soap and lathers really well, giving you that fresh and clean feeling.


The gel cleansers are great if your skin is prone to acne or you have oily skin. As the name suggests, these cleansers have a gel-like consistency and are clear. They do have exfoliating properties and offer a deeper clean to your skin.


The cream cleansers are best suited if your skin is very dry or sensitive. Their thicker consistency offers you additional moisturizing qualities as it cleanses your skin without stripping out any of the natural skins’ oils.

Cleansers should ideally be used twice a day. First thing in the morning and last thing at night. Always remove your make before going to bed, an old cliché but one definitely to remember. You have to be aware that some cleansers, maybe drying out your skin or giving you more moisturizer qualities than your skin actually needs.

This could result in finding your skin has increased break outs or your skin is showing dry patches. That is why it is important to opt for the best cleanser to suit your skins’ needs and requirements.

If your skin is drying out, then select a cleanser which is creamy or lotion like. If you already have acne prone skin then you should be avoiding cleansers which contain ingredients such as, salicylic acid or any forms of sodium lauryl sulfates.

Avoid purchasing a cleanser just because it has more ingredients/chemicals or costs more, the slightly cheaper cleansers will work just as affectively. It is more important to work out your skins’ needs first prior to purchasing a cleanser, that way your cleanser will work best depending on your skins’ needs and ensure your skin is not only cleansed but, retains the natural moisture of your skin.

Are toners good for acne?

Using toners is a very important second step for your face and to your daily cleansing routine, especially if you have oily or acne prone skin. This is normally in a liquid form and one of its jobs is to contract the size of your pores as well as offering additional cleansing. It is always applied after using a cleanser. Its a great way of ensuring your makeup is thoroughly removed.

It not only tones your skin but, also offers some moisturizing qualities and therefore stop your face from feeling too dry or have that tight feel. You will get a refreshing feeling whilst protecting your skin at the same time.

Toners are mainly applied by using cotton wool however, there a number of different ways to apply a toner now as well. Some toners can be just sprayed on or they come in the form of a gauze facial mask. They carry out a variety of tasks, such as:

  • contracting pores
  • offer some additional moisturizer
  • balancing the natural pH levels of your skin
  • hinders ingrowing hair

After toning you will find your skin feels refreshed and clean. It also aids better absorption of your moisturizer or serum into your skin.

Benefits of using a Toner

The main benefits of using a toner is that your skin will feel fresh and clean. It gets your skin ready for your moisturizer or serum as it aids better absorption into your skin.It is water based and comes in a variety of forms to suit a number of skin types. Toners do not strip your natural moisture and will only give you that refreshed and clean feel. Some toners can be infused with aloe, peppermint or even eucalyptus and these ingredients can be very soothing to your skin.

Whilst toners do not contain alcohol, you may find some products labelled as ‘astringents’ and these are different to toners as they do contain alcohol. Having said that, astringents are more suitable for oily skin as it helps to control oil.

To Summarize

Toners are a second step to be followed after using cleansers. They will remove excess dirt, oil and makeup. They come in a variety of forms, from gel-based to forming when using a pump dispenser. You will find a toner suitable for your own individual skins needs. They will not only contract your pore size but, will give you that clean and fresh feeling without drying out your skin.

Toners are a great way to aid your moisturizers or serums being absorbed better into the skin. A great step towards achieving the best skin possible. When choosing your cleanser or toner, ensure you are aware of your skins’ needs and bear in mind that you may have to try different types of cleansers or toners or even different brands until you find the right one that suits your skins’ needs and requirements.

You might find it useful reading other peoples reviews and comments prior to purchasing a particular product. To have and maintain a healthy looking skin, it is vital a good skin care routine is carried out on a daily basis. You should apply this twice a day, first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Remember never go to sleep whilst still wearing make-up. The right routine and products will keep your skin looking young and healthy.

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