Moisturizer or Toner First: Understand The Basics

moisturizer or toner first

Moisturizer or Toner First?

When it comes to skincare, the order of application can be as crucial as the products themselves. One common question that often arises is whether to apply moisturizer or toner first. Let’s unravel this mystery and understand the reasoning behind each step.

Understanding Moisturizer and Toner

Moisturizer is like a drink of water for your skin. It hydrates and locks in moisture, keeping your skin supple and soft. On the other hand, toner is like a prepping step for your skin. It helps to balance pH levels, removes any leftover dirt or makeup, and prepares your skin for better absorption of subsequent products.

The Order of Application

So, which one should you apply first? The general rule of thumb is to start with the thinnest consistency and work your way up to the thickest. Following this logic, toner typically comes first. By applying toner before moisturizer, you ensure that your skin is clean and ready to absorb all the goodness of your moisturizer.

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Applying Toner First

When you apply toner first, it helps to remove any traces of impurities lingering on your skin after cleansing. This step primes your skin, allowing the moisturizer to penetrate deeper and work more effectively. Think of it as laying down a clean canvas before painting a masterpiece.

Choosing the Right Toner

Not all toners are created equal. Look for toners that are alcohol-free and contain hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid or glycerin. These ingredients help to replenish moisture and soothe your skin, prepping it for the next steps in your routine.

Applying Moisturizer Second

Once you’ve applied your toner and let it sink in for a few moments, it’s time to reach for your moisturizer. Gently massage a pea-sized amount onto your skin in upward motions, focusing on areas that tend to be drier, like your cheeks or forehead.

Tips for Application

Regardless of the order, here are some tips to optimize your skincare routine:

1. Patch Test: Always patch-test new products to avoid potential irritation or allergic reactions.

2. Consistency is Key: Stick to a consistent skincare routine to see the best results.

3. Listen to Your Skin: Pay attention to how your skin reacts to different products and adjust accordingly.

4. Layer Wisely: Apply products from thinnest to thickest consistency to ensure maximum absorption.

Frequently Asked Questions On Moisturizer or Toner First?

1. Should I apply moisturizer or toner first in my skincare routine?

The order in which you apply moisturizer and toner depends on your skincare goals and the specific products you’re using. However, a general rule of thumb is to apply toner first, followed by moisturizer.

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2. What is the purpose of toner in a skincare routine?

Toner helps to balance the skin’s pH levels, remove any remaining traces of dirt or makeup after cleansing, and prep the skin for subsequent skincare products. It can also provide additional hydration and deliver specific active ingredients to the skin.

3. Why should I apply moisturizer after toner?

Moisturizer helps to lock in the moisture provided by the toner and create a protective barrier on the skin to prevent moisture loss throughout the day. By applying moisturizer after toner, you ensure that your skin stays hydrated and nourished.

4. Can applying moisturizer before toner have any benefits?

While it’s less common, some individuals with very dry or sensitive skin may choose to apply moisturizer before toner to provide an extra layer of hydration and minimize potential irritation from the toner. However, this is not typically recommended for most skin types.

5. What if I use multiple toners or moisturizers in my routine?

If you use multiple toners or moisturizers with different formulations or purposes, layer them based on their consistency and the specific needs of your skin. Start with the thinnest, most watery products and work your way up to thicker creams or oils.

6. Is there a specific type of toner or moisturizer that should be used first?

There isn’t a strict rule about which type of toner or moisturizer should be applied first. However, if you’re using both a hydrating toner and an exfoliating toner, it’s generally recommended to apply the hydrating toner first to replenish moisture before using the exfoliating toner.

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7. Should I wait for one product to absorb before applying the other?

It’s generally a good idea to allow each product to absorb fully into the skin before applying the next one. This ensures that each product can work effectively without interference from other layers.

8. Can I skip toner or moisturizer in my skincare routine?

While toner and moisturizer are not strictly necessary for everyone, they can provide significant benefits for most skin types. Toners help to balance and prep the skin, while moisturizers help to hydrate and protect. If you choose to skip either step, make sure to adjust your routine accordingly to meet your skin’s needs.

9. Should I use toner and moisturizer both in my morning and evening routines?

Yes, incorporating both into your morning and evening skincare routines can help maintain the health and hydration of your skin throughout the day and night. Adjust the specific products you use based on your skin’s needs and the time of day.


The order of application via moisturizer or toner first depends on the type of toner and its intended purpose. By understanding the role of each product and listening to your skin’s needs, you can create a skincare routine that effectively nourishes and protects your skin.

Remember, skincare is not one-size-fits-all, so feel free to experiment and tailor your routine to suit your unique skin concerns and preferences.

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