Astringent vs Toner

Astringent vs Toner – Which One Is Right for My Skin Type?

Astringent vs Toner

Today we’re going to discuss Astringent vs Toner. Just like how difficult it is to tell the difference between a horse and a zebra without stripes, astringents and toners are two skincare products that work similarly albeit, with some distinct features you may have encountered in your journey towards perfect beauty.

In skincare, while some people prefer to make use of astringents, others may opt for toners. So, what’s the deal with the astringent vs toner? Why do some people choose one over the other and which one is right for your skin type?

Ready? Let’s go!

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What is an Astringent?

Mainly water-based, astringents are used for cleaning up left-over makeup and cleansers from skin surfaces after bathing or washing. You must be wondering what’s the point of using an astringent when you’ve just used a cleanser.

Well, unlike the cleanser, the astringent has been formulated to take out excess oil from the skin. Usually, astringents are expected to have a much higher SD alcohol or denatured alcohol concentration including salicylic acid to suppress the appearance of blackheads and pimples.

However, it is not all astringents that have alcohol-based ingredients, and though, they may not be as active as the alcohol-based ones, they still do a good job of wiping off oily particles on the skin.

Since the main job of an astringent is to clear the skin of excess oil, then it is an ideal skincare product for African Americans that have oily or acne-prone skin.

What is a Toner?

Also a mainly water-based product, the toner, just like the astringent, is tasked with yanking off the residue of makeup and cleansers still taking up space on your skin after bathing or washing.

What makes toners special is that they are built with a unique formula that helps in hydrating the skin, leaving it feeling smooth and soft. Unlike the astringent that is alcohol-based, the toner is made up of glycerin and other humectants along with other cosmeceutical ingredients to smoothen skin texture, lighten the complexion and even skin tone.

In addition, toners can be used by almost anyone but are best used by people with dry or sensitive skin.

What Ingredients Are Used in Toner vs Astringent?

Typically, both astringents and toners are used to take off any remnant of makeup and cleansers on the skin. However, both contain different components tailored to specific skin surfaces.

Astringents, for instance, are composed of active ingredients that include 2% salicylic acid as well as water. Other notable ingredients include isopropyl alcohol and glycerin. Based on different brands, each astringent formula may include natural ingredients like lemon balm, peppermint, chamomile, lavender, or menthol.

Toners, on the other hand, may specify water as the major ingredient and certain products might even go further to highlight what type of water – spring, deionized or purified – was used in its formulation. Toners usually contain moisturizing agents so it’s common to see ingredients like essential oils, aloe vera, vitamin E or other plant extracts.

You should probably not be surprised if you see other ingredients like witch hazel, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, rose water, and fragrance, or even alcohol! True. Some toners may contain alcohol, however, they usually come in a milder form when compared to that used in astringents.

Which One Is Right for My Skin Type?

As hinted earlier, both astringents and toners have been formulated to act on the skin in separate ways depending on your skin type. For instance, if you have oily skin, astringents are the perfect formula to help you cleanse the skin, tighten up the pores, and instantly dry out the excess oil. Thus said, those people with dry skin should do all they can to avoid astringents.

According to Healthline, using alcohol-based products on dry skin can dehydrate skin surfaces and even worsen acne, leading to irritation, peeling, and additional redness.

Toners are gentle on the skin and thus, can be used on all skin types. People with dry skin who are unable to make use of astringents will find toners a fitting substitute.

How Do I Use Them on My Skin?

Typically, toners and astringents are used on freshly washed skin surfaces, so the routine should be wash first, tone next, then moisturize last. Since their job is to get the skin set for moisturizing, astringents and toners can be applied with the use of a cotton ball.

Remember that astringents, with their alcohol-based formula, are best used on oily skin surfaces, so ensure that you use it twice daily (morning and night). Toners are ideal for those with dry skin.

Those with a mix of both oily and dry skin can alternate between using toners or astringents on the oily areas of their skin. Toners can also make the skin contract so be sure to use them twice daily as well.

What Effects Can I Expect?

Although both astringents and toners are notable for tightening pores after evicting residue from the skin’s surface, their active ingredients might cause you to feel certain sensations. Astringents, for example, after removing oil from the skin, tend to tingle and cause the skin to feel taut. Toners, on the other hand, might tingle occasionally but are bound to leave the skin feeling refreshed.

One thing both have in common is that they keep the skin feeling smooth. Some toners have been formulated to deliver a pH-balance effect on the epidermis. This causes the skin to revert to its base after cleansing. Astringents are acidic in nature and proper care needs to be taken to ensure it doesn’t end up stripping the skin or leaving it dry or irritated after use. Unlike astringents, toners hardly ever have any negative effect of note.

Which One Is Right for Me?

This might sound like some sort of skincare taboo but medically or scientifically, one is really not required to make use of astringents or toners. So, if you’re probably not thinking about getting anyone one of them, it’s perfectly alright. You won’t be doing any harm to your skin if you don’t make use of anyone. Although it is highly unlikely that a dermatologist would recommend using toners and astringents together, one or the other would suffice depending on your skin type.

For skin types of the normal, dry, mature, or sensitive variety, the gentle properties of toners are just right. The chances of developing irritation from the use of toners are highly improbable as they are generally made to be milder and gentler. Their glycolic or glycerin content assists in water retention within the skin cells. They can also help cut down the overproduction of sebum while deeply soothing the skin.

The oily skin types are best fitted to a routine with astringents because the formula involved in creating them tends to be drying on skin surfaces than toners.

Furthermore, its inclusion of alcohol-based ingredients can be favorable to the skin because of its tendency to effectively rid the epidermis of bacteria. Some people may find the use of alcohol on their skin unappealing but the good thing is that there are some astringent products that are alcohol-free yet still retain the active benefits of taking oil residue off the skin and keeping it looking taut and smooth.

If you have oily skin yet still want to enjoy the fantastic benefits of toners while removing excess oil from your skin, you can try this process in your routine – Make use of astringents in the morning and by night, switch to toners.

Another way to use both toners and astringents is by first applying the astringent using a cotton ball then allow it to dry for about a minute then apply your toner over it.

Although there is no particular reason for you to combine both skincare products, there’s really no harm in using both, especially if you adore the way they make your skin feel.

1. Clear Essence Exclusive Glow Tonic (8 oz.)

When it comes to choosing a toner, it can get quite overwhelming to pick a favorite as there are a plethora of similar products out there. But here is one you can consider – Clear Essence Exclusive Glow Tonic.

It is an ideal toner you can use regularly after cleansing your skin to evict all remnants of makeup, greasiness, and bacteria. The Glow Tonic contains zero alcohol-based ingredients but is capable of wiping your skin clean while leaving it clear and evidently refreshed.

If it’s a toned and refined appearance you’re after with a glowing complexion, then stick with Clear Essence Glow Tonic. Aside from banishing residue from your skin, it can help lessen the emergence of dark spots and hyperpigmentation.

2. Clear Essence Anti Aging Toner Astringent with Alpha Hydroxy Acid (8 oz.)

While discussing toners vs astringents, it is important to point out that there are people who would prefer the use of both skincare products but due to the limitations of skin types, they have to settle for one. For instance, those with dry skin types are discouraged from using astringents to avoid irritating their skin.

However, with Clear Essence Anti Aging Line Toner Astringent with Alpha Hydroxy Acid, dry skin types can get the best of these iconic skincare formulas. Clear Essence Toner Astringent is a combination of both ingredients to help evict any leftover makeup, oiliness, and bacteria after washing or cleansing the skin’s surface.

Its Alpha Hydroxy Acid ingredient ensures that this hydrating toner is particularly active against oily skin surfaces. In addition, it can go as far as removing dead skin cells with each use. If what you crave for is a refreshing feel with a radiant glow, then make it a routine to use the toner astringent after cleansing your skin.

Toner vs Astringent for Oily Skin – Which One is Better

Generally, both toners and astringents are key in managing certain skin issues like irritation and greasiness usually after using regular skin cleansers. Although they both have some things in common, what sets them apart is that astringents deliver a unique drying effect to the skin which toners do not.

This makes astringents the perfect formula for treating oily skin surfaces. That said, if people with dry or sensitive skin decide to make use of astringents, it could have detrimental effects on their skin that may lead to irritation or flare-ups. The bottom line here is that astringents are better used on oily skin surfaces.

Astringent vs Toner for Acne – Which One is Better

Oily skin tends to be more prone to acne breakouts. That is why astringents are best used to remove surface oil on these skin types but they may not be enough to clear off acne.

This is because the oil that triggers the appearance of acne in the skin lies deeper in the pores thus, to tackle these oil plugs lying deep in the pores, an anti-blemish agent like salicylic acid or glycolic acid needs to be infused into the astringent as active ingredients.

However, it is vital to understand that simply because you want to treat acne doesn’t mean you should make an astringent your major remedy. So, if you already have an acne treatment medication, then you should keep the astringent aside and focus your after-cleanse skincare routine on toners.

Also, if you do not have oily skin, stick with a mild toner. Besides, while making use of either toners or astringents, if you experience any unusual stings or burns, or your face reacts by turning red or feels tightly squeezed, you’d best stop using it. Feel free to try a different product or just avoid both toners and astringents altogether.


Astringents and toners are two skincare products that work similarly in cleaning off leftover makeup and cleansers on the skin but react differently based on skin types.

They both contain active ingredients that help rid the skin of debris but astringents tend to contain more alcohol-based ingredients. As a result of this, oily skin types are encouraged to use astringents while people with dry or sensitive skin are better off making use of toners.

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