4 Easy Steps to Use Korean Toners

Curious about how to use Korean toner the right way?

Like any new step in your skincare routine, it can be confusing at first, but don’t worry, I’ll help you out.

Below, we’ll walk through all of the steps together.

Let’s get started!

How to Use a Korean Toner the RIGHT Way

Everyone wants glass skin, especially after Korean pop culture continues to rapidly gain traction around the world.

Skincare enthusiasts have been disciplining themselves to follow a Korean skincare routine that has been reigning over the fashion and cosmetics industry for quite a while now. 

A secret part of the Korean skincare regime that many don’t know about is the Korean Toner.

A common mistake that many make is that they apply the toner incorrectly or even completely leave it out of their skincare routine. 

First and foremost, ensure that you have thoroughly cleaned your face, this entails either following your own routine or a Korean 10-step one.

Once you do that, you’re ready to get started with the following steps.

#1: Pat Your Face Dry

After cleaning your face thoroughly with a good cleanser, ensure that you pat it dry rather than roughly drying your face by scraping a face towel over it.

Patting your face rather than rubbing it with a towel will leave it slightly damp and not completely dry. This helps absorb the Korean Toner faster and better.

Also, note that the best time to use a cleanser is right after a face wash.

Washing the face not only gets rid of the dirt stuck in your pores but should also help strip the skin clean off of its essential oils.

So, using a toner here helps balance out the skin, replacing it with moisture which it recently lost. 

It also helps aid in getting rid of your cleanser’s residue and makeup while simultaneously soothing your skin from any form of irritation. 

The toner must be used twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. Also, ensure that you use the best Korean toner for your skincare routine and not any cheaper alternative.

#2 Watch the Medium Of Application

The medium used to apply the Korean Toner varies from each individual. The most common way of applying a skin toner is by soaking the skin toner into a soft cotton pad before applying it to the skin.

If you have acne-prone skin, definitely go with this method rather than using the next one below, which may cause cross-infection and breakouts. 

Some do not feel comfortable using a cotton pad as they prefer to use the Korean Toner in a more eco-friendly way.

For this reason, they use their hands to apply the skin toner. A few drops of the toner are poured into the palm of one’s hands.

The palms of the hands are then rubbed against each other before patting the toner onto the face and neck. 

It is important to note that before you use your hand or a cotton pad, ensure that it is clean.

At times, your hands- or even a brand-new cotton pad-may contain dirt. This in turn could clog your pores, basically completely reversing the positive effects that the toner would have on the skin.

READ MORE: Toner Vs Micellar Water: Which is Better?

#3 Don’t Forget to Layer it Up

A common question many ask about Korean skincare is how much toner to apply. This varies from one skin type to another, but we always talk about it in terms of layers.

Let’s break down how layer Korean Toner for your skin type. 

The first layer is the most important. Regardless of your skin type, you’ll always have at least one layer, right? I mean, you can’t exactly have zero unless you’re totally skipping toner!

Massage the first layer of Korean Toner deeply into your skin while also spreading out in equal amounts across your entire face and neck. In other words, leave no area unlayered. 

Now, you could stop there, but unless you have majorly sensitive skin, you’ll want to keep going.

The average number of layers of Korean Toner that most people apply is 7. You can start off with 3 layers, though, and slowly level up if you don’t break out.

The maximum number of layers of skin toner one can apply is around 15. This is usually the number of layers of skin toner a person with dry skin applies. 

The higher the level of hydration the skin gets, the bouncier your skin feels and looks. This will give the face an overall glow throughout the day. 

#4 Figuring Out the Direction to Apply

Think “in to out.” Korean Toner must first be applied to the inside region of your face.

After layering that region, push your fingers in the upward direction towards the nose and layer that area as well. Then progress onto the cheekbone region leading towards the outer region of the face.

Always apply the skin toner in the upward region. Maintain the same direction and motion while layering every time.

This helps aid in better absorption, which means it also helps your toner to perform its job in the most efficient way possible.

It’s also important to target the driest regions of the face the most. These regions must be repeatedly layered until moisturized by the skin toner. 

The video below gives some great tips:

Which Korean Toner Should You Use for Your Skin Type?

Just like other products in your Korean Skincare routine, your skin toner also comes in different types, pertaining to the needs of different types of skin.

Using the wrong type of toner could result in breakouts or extremely dry skin. Let us look at how one can pick out a suitable skin toner for their respective skin type

Dry Skin

Korean toner made with rosewater

If you have dry skin, the best Korean Toner for you would be a water-based toner sans alcohol.

If there is any alcohol present in the skin toner, the natural oils produced will be stripped off, leaving your skin even drier than before eventually resulting in discomfort and itchiness.

A few common ingredients you may find in such toners include rosewater, aloe vera, glycerin, and hyaluronic acid.

These aid in hydrating and moisturizing the skin and do not cause irritation, redness, or any sort of inflammation. 

To help you find the right products, check our list of the best Korean toner for dry skin.

Oily Skin

pretty girl putting essence on her bare face

Oily skin usually is often correlated to acne-prone skin. This is mainly due to the excessive amount of oil that is produced, which many assume is always the reason why acne breaks out.

This is not always true as breakouts can occur due to various reasons such as hormonal imbalance or maybe even using a new product that the skin is not accustomed to. 

The toners that are built for oily skin help control sebum production, act as an exfoliating agent, halt breakouts, and also help balance out the pH level of the skin. Furthermore, the hydrating properties give the skin a bright glow. 

Apart from that, these skin toners are known to penetrate deep into the pores. The skin toners clean out the pores and hydrate the skin. This helps improve complexion.

Combination Skin

This type of skin is often considered tricky to deal with, as they are a mix of both dry skins as well as oily skin.

It is hard to amalgamate toners specific to oily skin or dry skin together as they may result in the skin reacting badly to it.

Combination skin has zones where there is just oily skin and zones where there is just dry skin and hence separate toners must be used. 

toner with ceramides: how to use a Korean toner like this?

The best type of toners for combination skin include ingredients rich in hydrating ceramides and antioxidants.

The hydrating ceramides help out with moisturizing the dry areas while the antioxidants help clean out the skin’s pores and keep it glowing. 

Sensitive Skin

putting toner in a clean cotton pad

One must be very careful while choosing the best Korean toners for sensitive skin as it reacts quickly. The ingredients in your toner should have hydrating, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Some common ingredients that fall in this category include hyaluronic acid, witch hazel, and glycerin. 

A few potential irritants to sensitive skin are alcohol and synthetic fragrances. It is best to stay away from these two ingredients as they are known to cause inflammation and breakouts when used on sensitive skin. 

Check out this video from the experts:


Is a toner mandatory if a cleanser with a low pH level is used?

Mild or gentle cleansers also have the power to strip one’s skin of its natural oils. This would disrupt the skin barrier leaving it dry and unbalanced. The damaged barrier may also show certain visible signs such as tightness, inflammation, itching, and breakouts.

What is the difference between essence and toner?

Essence vs toner: both toners and essence help in the absorption of products into the skin. While toners are used to balance the skin, the essence is used to nourish it, keep it smooth and glowing. Hence essence is applied after layering the toner. 

Can skin toners cause acne breakouts?

No! As long as the toner is of high quality and low on its alcohol content, the skin toner does not cause acne. Only in the case where an individual is suffering from some sort of skin issue is this a possibility of happening. 


Following a routine can be quite hard but the first step to starting one is a little background research and the second is discipline.

Following this, you must come up with a skincare routine and especially know how to apply a facial Toner in the process.

With time, your skin will definitely start improving, as you come just another step closer to that dreamy glass skin you have always wanted!


  • 0. 2020. “Think Toners Are Pointless and Drying? You Might Want to Reconsider.” Healthline. Healthline Media. July 13, 2020. https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/what-does-toner-do#:~:text=Using%20a%20toner%20can%20also%20help%20your%20skin,effectively.%20How%20to%20add%20it%20to%20your%20routine.
  • “Charlotte Cho of SokoGlam Shares Her Favorite Skincare Ingredients.” 2014. Skin & Tonics : Skincare Guides & Product Reviews. August 7, 2014. http://skinandtonics.com/charlotte-cho-sokoglam-favorite-skin-care-ingredients/.
  • Craven, Hannah. 2019. “How to Use Toner: How to Apply It, When to Apply It, Do’s and Don’ts.” Derm Collective. May 21, 2019. https://dermcollective.com/how-to-use-toner/.
woman cleansing her face using a cloth pad with toner

Do you have more tips on how to use a Korean toner? We’d love to hear them below!

About Edith Russo

Edith is a self-made entrepreneur with a keen business sense that others admire and a total “can-do” attitude. She’s always coming up with new ideas to anticipate her readers’ needs and help solve all their toughest beauty and skincare problems. READ HER LATEST ARTICLES. FOLLOW HER on Linkedin and Twitter. Learn more about her HERE.

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