“Toners can have many different functions depending on their active ingredients,” board-certified dermatologist Rebecca Marcus, M.D., FAAD, tells mbg. Think of the word toner as an umbrella term encompassing many different, more targeted formulas.
“Traditionally, toners have been used to remove excess makeup residue and dirt after cleansing,” Marcus explains. “Toners may be formulated with ingredients that serve to soothe, calm, exfoliate, or fight acne, for example,” she continues.
That said, putting a hard label on the term toner doesn’t exactly make sense in the vast world of modern skin care. However, if you’d like a basic definition, just know that toner typically comes in a liquid form and that you can apply it with your hands or a cotton round (opt for reusable rounds to keep your routine eco-friendly). From there, each toner can have a few basic functions.