Astringent vs Toner: Which One Should You Choose for Your Skin?

Many people mistakenly believe astringent and toner are interchangeable, but they are actually different skincare products. Although they work in some of the same ways, astringent adds the benefit of oil removal. Knowing the differences between the two and the types will allow you to choose the perfect addition to your skincare routine. 

Understanding Astringents and Toners

Speaking of astringent vs toner, some key differences make each one work in slightly contrasting ways. Knowing these differences will help you to better understand when and how to use each one, to improve the health of your skin. 


The astringent definition, in its simplest form, is that it is a water-based skin care formula that is used to help remove traces of makeup and dirt from your face. Although astringents are often considered a type of toner, they perform further actions than most water-based toners. 

Astringents contain higher levels of regular alcohol or denatured alcohol. Many astringents contain ingredients, such as salicylic acid, which can help to fight pimples and blackheads. 

Types of Astringents

There are multiple types of astringents, and the differences in each are often the ingredients. Consider the following when choosing an astringent. 

  • Natural astringent products contain ingredients such as witch hazel, rose water, and hyaluronic acids. These are typically used to remove excess oils without over-drying. 
  • Acne astringents contain ingredients like citric acid and salicylic acid, which help to clear the pores of dirt and oils that can lead to pimples and blackheads. They can be used as both a preventative and a mild treatment for existing acne. Those with a stronger astringency can cause skin irritation, so choose wisely. 

Now, you know the answer to what is an astringent, and it is time to dive into the subject of toners. Once you have a full grasp of each type, you can make the right decision. 


What is toner for skin? Toner is a water-based skin care formula that can be used to cleanse and even hydrate the skin. Although some toners have astringent ingredients, they are typically not as strong as a full astringent. 

Toners are primarily made of water but may contain some cleansing ingredients, including glycerin, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatories. Generally, toners are going to be gentler to the skin than astringents. What does toner do? It cleanses and hydrates your skin for a healthier glow. 

Types of Toners

There are a couple of types of toners and many formulas that are available. Consider the following if you are thinking about adding a toner to your skincare routine. 

  • Skin refreshers are toners that are typically sprayed on the face. As the name suggests, they refresh the face with a cooling shot of moisture. These often contain essential oils and moisturizers that refresh without clogging the pores. 
  • Some toners cleanse the skin. Wondering about the best toner for oily skin? If you have oily skin, it is important to choose a toner that cleanses excess oil and creates a matte finish, for less shine and better glow. 

How to Know Which One Is Best for Your Skin

With so many toner and astringent products on the market, it can often be difficult to choose which one is best for your skin. Regarding toner vs astringent, there is no clear-cut answer for every person. Consider the following skin issues to see which skin product will offer the best treatment. 

Dry Skin

If you have dry skin, it is wise to choose a toner that has moisturizing ingredients for skin hydration. Look for ingredients such as glycerin, sodium lactate, propylene glycol, and aloe because these are all humectants that will help bring moisture to your face. 

Oily Skin

If you suffer from oily skin, an astringent is the best product to use. Astringents help to remove excess oil from the skin, which helps to protect against blocked pores and pimples. For the best results, stick with an alcohol-free astringent that will offer oil removal without stripping the skin, which can make acne breakouts increase. 


If you have acne, even minor breakouts, it is important to choose an astringent that offers ingredients that help to soothe breakouts and keep pimple production at bay. Ingredients like salicylic acid will help to fight acne at the source. 

Sensitive Skin

Those who have sensitive skin need to make sure they purchase an astringent or toner that is specially made for delicate skin. Avoid fragrances, menthol, colorants, and alcohol, which can all aggravate sensitive skin and cause adverse reactions. It is important to learn how to hydrate skin without using products that bring on irritation. 

How to Apply Astringents and Toners

For most people, it is important to choose between an astringent or toner. If you have oily skin, it is possible to use both products, but they should not be used at the same time. You can use the astringent in the morning and the toner at night. No matter which you choose, they are applied in much the same way, using the following steps. 

  • First, you will want to make sure your face is clean and dry. Use a cleanser that is made for your skin type. Make sure to rinse and dry carefully. 
  • Pour a small amount of astringent vs toner on a cotton ball. If you use a face refresher, you may spray it on your face. 
  • Apply the toner or astringent using soft dabbing motions. Be careful to avoid the eyes and use extra in oily areas. There is no need to rinse the astringent or toner away because it is meant to stay on your skin. 
  • If you are using an astringent, make sure to follow up with an oil-free moisturizer. 

If at any time, while applying the astringent or toner, you feel burning or a hot sensation in your face, stop use immediately. It is normal to feel some tingling and tightening, but you should not feel burning. Before using any new product, always do an allergy test 24 hours in advance. 


Here at Briut Essentials we offer a range of products that can help take back control of your skin health. Our skincare starter bundle is the perfect purchase to get started on improving your skin. Take a look today to learn more about our amazing products.