Written By: UMA Editorial Team |

Published on: November 26, 2023

A couple of weeks ago, we broke down the benefits of serum and how it helps the skin absorb essential nutrients to provide targeted results. But even before applying serum, there’s another skincare essential that preps the skin for a glowing, healthy complexion: toner. 

When applied before a serum or moisturizer, a toner can go a long way toward helping the skin look even and radiant while also prepping the skin to better absorb the other elements of your routine. But while it’s a word that’s thrown around in the beauty world a lot, you might find yourself unsure of what it actually is. Does it dry skin out or hydrate it? Can I use it even if I have sensitive skin? Here, we break down the purpose and benefits of toner, and guidance on how to incorporate it into your routine.

What Is Toner?

In short, toner has the density and texture of water, allowing it to provide the skin with instant hydration. But it’s more than just water, of course—toners contain a number of additional targeted ingredients that, depending on your desired result, can have anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and brightening effects. While in the past toners were rough and drying, utilizing alcohol to remove oil from the skin, today’s toners are designed to gently nourish, hydrate and rejuvenate all skin types.

In addition to hydrating the skin, toners help slough off dead skin cells, bacteria and other impurities, leaving the skin prepped for a more effective, thorough absorption of other products.

“Your skin is like a dried-up sponge. If you put a thick cream on a brittle dry sponge, it won’t accept it and it isn’t ‘prepped’ for moisture. But if you wet the sponge, the cream will sink in more easily.”

Soko Glam co-founder and esthetician Charlotte Cho tells Allure.

Overall, toners help to remove impurities and restore nourishment and moisture to the skin after cleansing, which in turn helps to prime the skin for the rest of your routine. This simple step can ultimately make a big difference in promoting a healthy, hydrated glow.

What Are The Benefits Of Toner?

Gentle and nourishing, different toners are targeted toward different needs. However, their fundamental properties mean that they share the following benefits:

  • They Restore The Skin’s Ph Levels

After cleansing and/or exfoliating, the skin loses some of its natural oils and acidity, causing its pH levels to fluctuate. Toners help restore the skin’s acidic balance, replenishing and refreshing the skin with nutrients.

  • They Remove Impurities

While providing nutrients and hydration to the skin, toners also remove dead skin cells, bacteria, dirt and other impurities that may still linger on the skin after cleansing. 

  • They Prime The Skin For Other Products

Like serums, toners also help the skin absorb other products more deeply and effectively, making them great primers for the rest of your routine.

In addition to these benefits, you can choose toners that combat acne and inflammation; promote tightness, evenness and other anti-aging effects; brighten the skin for a natural glow and more.

How Can I Incorporate Toner Into My Routine?

You should apply toner after cleansing/exfoliating and before other serums, oils and moisturizers. If you haven’t used a toner before, start out by applying it once every few days or once every other day, and if it seems beneficial to your skin you can bump it up to once a day. If the toner is gentle and targeted at hydrating and soothing, you can use it twice a day. To apply, you can spray some into your hands or onto a cotton pad and rub gently into the skin in circular motions.

As mentioned before, different toner formulations target different skin types and conditions. At UMA, we have three hydrating, detoxifying toners designed to cover a variety of needs.

toner use


For dry, loose and aging skin

For dry, loose and aging skin, our UMA Absolute Anti Aging Aloe Rose Toner is formulated with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory botanicals like orange, turmeric, cinnamon and tomato, which combat free radical damage, tighten and brighten the skin and strengthen the skin’s protective barrier. Aloe and rose provide luxuriously soothing, brightening and moisturizing effects. The result is a complexion that is youthful, even and deeply hydrated.


For dull, uneven skin

For dull, uneven skin, our UMA Ultimate Brightening Rose Toner utilizes cleansing and detoxfiying papaya, toning and evening watermelon and tomato, hydrating rose water and revitalizing frankincense. This powerful combination helps to combat patchiness, unevenness and hyperpigmentation while promoting hydrated, naturally glowy skin.


For acne-prone, oily and inflamed skin

For acne-prone, oily and inflamed skin, our UMA Deeply Clarifying Aloe Alum Toner incorporates acne-banishing, anti-inflammatory tea tree, aloe and cinnamon along with hydrating, nourishing tomato and alum to create a formula that gently purifies and rejuvenates the skin. This toner cleanses and purifies the skin; combats acne, inflammation and other impurities; and heals and strengthens the skin for a stable, even, radiant complexion.

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