The Often Forgotten Step in Facial Cleansing – DIY Moisturizing Facial Toner

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Let me be real for just a moment. I honestly spent around 28 years of my life ONLY washing my face and forgetting all of the other important facial care steps. That's it. No toner, no moisturizer, just face wash. I really had no idea that to get clear and beautiful skin, I needed to do more than just wash my face. I needed to tone my face after washing and then follow with a moisturizer, but these were not steps I was taking and my face was trying to tell me so.

What is facial toner and why do I need it?

One of the most often forgotten steps in facial cleansing, toning is the second step after cleansing your face with a cleanser of choice (You can choose to make your own Creamy Soapwort Facial Cleanser, or my personal favorite, my  Facial Cleansing Grains). The purpose of using an astringent or toner (interchangeable words here), is to help remove excess oils and dead skin cells that may have been left behind after washing.  Toning also helps to restore your face's pH, and most importantly, to close the pores and to help your moisturizer penetrate your skin even better. Moist skin is much better able to absorb nutrients than dry skin. By toning, before you moisturize, you are making your moisturizer more effective in the long run. I like to use a toner on my face after cleansing, using a face mask, or for a refreshing pick-me-up when my skin is looking dry and tired.

Natural ingredients for toning, moisturizing, and healing

It's important to pick ingredients that are ph balanced for the skin. If the pH is off it may cause you to break out or dry out your skin. This isn't the only factor in clear skin, what you wash your face with, your diet, your water intake, and your habits can all affect your skin's health. These are some of the most common natural ingredients you can use to make your own toner at home:

  • Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar Though this makes a great toner for some, others (myself included) have issues with ACV being just a little bit too acidic and causes my skin to break out. If it works for you, great! Just dilute it 1 Tbsp. per 1 cup of water. The great thing about apple cider vinegar is that you can infuse skin nourishing herbs into the vinegar before using it as a toner! Just like alcohol, vinegar is good at extracting many of the healing properties from the herbs, very easily.
  • Aloe Vera Gel – Naturally close to our skin's pH, and totally moisturizing to the skin, aloe vera gel is a great cleanser and toner all by itself. I always add aloe vera gel to pretty much any concoction I am making for the skin.
  • Hydrosols – Made during the process of making essential oils, these herbal “flower” waters are gentle and nourishing, and safe for everyone from babies to animals. During distillation, the essential oil is separated from the water leaving behind an herbally enhanced water and trace amounts of the essential oil. These gentle healing waters are great for toners and give your face a drink in the healing herbal properties of the herbs they are made from! I love to keep hydrosols of lavender, chamomile, calendula, and peppermint around for all of my cosmetic making needs!
  • Witch Hazel – A fabulous astringent and naturally anti-inflammatory, witch hazel has been used for just about forever, for skin healing and facial care. Witch hazel helps to shrink the pores, banish blackheads, kill acne, and tighten skin. It's one of the main ingredients in my toners! You can steep herbs in witch hazel first before using in your toners, for an herbal boost to the toner.
  • Herbal Tea/Infusions – You can use all sorts of wonderful teas for a great toner to your face! Green tea is one of my favorites to keep on hand because of its high amount of antioxidants and its natural anti-inflammatory properties. Study the herbal benefits of different herbs and try adding them into your facial care routine, including your toners.


The Often Forgotten Step in Facial Cleansing DIY Moisturizing Facial Toner -

The Hippy Homemaker's Moisturizing Facial Toner

This is pretty much the recipes I use in the Hippy Homemaker Etsy shoppe! You can substitute the hydrosol in this recipe with distilled or filtered water. I have also provided essential oil blends for each skin type so that you can customize your toner to your own face's needs. While I give exact toner suggestions for each skin type, you can essential use any of them for any skin type. I have just paired up the hydrosols that will give the most healing benefit for that skin type!






  1. 10 drops MRH petitgrain essential oil or PT petitgrain eo
  2. 5 drops MRH frankincense essential oil or PT frankincense eo
  3. 2 drops MRH geranium essential oil or PT geranium eo
  4. 2 drops MRH carrot seed essential oil or PT carrot seed eo (or 3 drops PT roman chamomile eo if you don't like the carrot seed scent)
  5. hibiscus hydrosol to fill


  1. Combine ingredients in the 4 oz. spray bottle.
  2. Keep in a cool dark location when not in use. You can keep this in the fridge for a longer shelf life but I have yet to have a toner go bad on me even over a 6 month period of time. The essential oils and witch hazel (because it's processed with alcohol) do help to preserve this toner.

TO USE: The second step in the facial cleansing process, spray onto clean face after cleansing. Follow with a moisturizer.

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