Skincare involves many steps, and two important ones are exfoliating and applying toner. Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells to unclog pores, especially for those with oily or acne-prone skin.

It prepares your skin for the next step, which is toning. Toner helps to hydrate and soothe your skin after exfoliation or cleansing, making it ready for moisturizing. The order of these steps could change depending on whether you have oily, dry, sensitive, or combination skin. Some people might find their skin responds better to toning before exfoliating, especially if they have dry or sensitive skin types.

Choosing when to do each step can be tricky without knowing how they affect your specific type of skin and what benefits each provides. In this article, we will explain why you might want to exfoliate before using toner in some cases while doing the opposite in others.

We’ll also share tips on picking the best method for your skincare routine based on your personal needs and how often you should consider exfoliating no matter what kind of skin you have.

Key Takeaways
- Exfoliating before applying toner can help remove dead skin cells and unclog pores, especially for oily or acne-prone skin. This makes the skin ready for hydration from the toner.
- For dry or sensitive skin types, using a toner first may be better to soothe and hydrate the skin before gently exfoliating. It prevents over-stripping of the skin's natural oils.
- Decide whether to exfoliate before or after toning by considering your unique skin type and its needs. There is no one-size-fits-all answer; it depends on whether your skin is oily, dry, sensitive, or a combination.
- The frequency of exfoliation varies based on personal tolerance and skincare goals. Oily skins may handle daily exfoliation while sensitive types should limit it to 1-2 times per week.
- Incorporating both steps into your skincare routine enhances product absorption and effectiveness but requires adjusting based on how your skin reacts over time to find what works best for you.

The Ideal Skin care Routine Order

The Ideal Skin care Routine Order

In the morning, start with a gentle cleanser, followed by a toner to balance the aging skin, and then apply moisturizer with SPF. In the evening, begin with a double cleanse to remove makeup and impurities, then use an exfoliant if needed before applying toner and your nighttime skincare products.

Am Skincare Routine

  1. Start with a gentle cleanser to remove any impurities and oils accumulated overnight.
  2. Apply toner to balance the skin's pH levels, prepare it for better absorption of subsequent products, and provide hydration.
  3. Follow up with a serum designed to target specific skin concerns such as aging, pigmentation, or hydration.
  4. Moisturize to lock in all the goodness from the previous steps and keep your skin protected throughout the day.
  5. Finish off with sunscreen to shield your skin from harmful UV rays and prevent premature aging.

PM Skincare Routine

In the evening, the PM skincare routine is important for repairing and rejuvenating your skin after the day's exposure. Here are the essential steps to follow:

  1. Cleanse: Start by using a gentle cleanser to remove makeup, dirt, and oil from your face, preparing it for the upcoming steps. It also helps to unclog the clogged pores.
  2. Exfoliate: If you exfoliate in the evening, use a liquid exfoliant with salicylic acid or a gentle scrub to slough off dead skin cells and promote cell turnover.
  3. Tone: Apply toner to balance your skin's pH levels and remove any remaining traces of makeup or impurities.
  4. Serum: Use a targeted serum that addresses specific concerns like fine lines, dark spots, or hydration.
  5. Eye Cream: Gently tap on an eye cream to address any under-eye concerns such as puffiness or dark circles.
  6. Moisturize: Finish with a nourishing moisturizer suited to your skin type to lock in all the previous layers and provide overnight hydration.
  7. Treatments: If needed, apply any spot treatments for acne, hyperpigmentation, or other specific concerns based on your skin tone.

Do You Exfoliate Before or After Toner?

Do You Exfoliate Before or After Toner?

Exfoliate before or after using toner? Let's find out the ideal sequence for your skincare routine. Different approaches are tailored to different skin types.

Clarifying the Confusion

When it comes to the order of applying exfoliator and toner, remember that there's no one-size-fits-all approach. For oily skin types, using toner before exfoliating can help remove excess oil and prepare the skin for better exfoliation using glycolic acid as its ingredient.

On the other hand, those with dry or sensitive skin may find it more beneficial to exfoliate before applying toner to avoid over-stripping the skin. It's important to tailor your skincare routine toward your specific skin type and needs for optimal results.

Moving on from clarifying the confusion, let's delve into different approaches for different skincare routines.

Different Approaches for Different Skin Types

Different skin types require different approaches to exfoliation and toning. For oily or acne-prone skin, using a hyaluronic acid chemical exfoliant before toner can help with deeper cleaning and unclogging pores.

Dry or sensitive skin may benefit from applying toner first to soothe and hydrate the skin before using a gentle physical exfoliant. It's essential to tailor your skincare routine based on your specific skin type for optimal results.

The approach for each skin type varies based on its unique needs. Oily or dry, sensitive or combination – understanding your skin type is crucial in determining the most effective method of incorporating exfoliation and toning into your skincare routine.

Tips for Choosing the Right Approach for Your Skin

Tips for Choosing the Right Approach for Your Skin

Consider your skin type and its specific needs when deciding between exfoliating before or after toner. Adapt the frequency of exfoliation based on the sensitivity and resilience of your skin.

Skin Type Considerations

When considering your skin type, it's essential to tailor your exfoliation and toner routine to your specific needs. For oily or acne-prone skin, exfoliating before using toner can help remove excess oil and impurities, while applying toner after exfoliation can balance the skin's pH levels.

Sensitive or dry skin may benefit from using toner first to hydrate and protect the skin before gentle exfoliation. Combination skin might require a more balanced approach where different parts of the face are treated accordingly.

Understanding your skin type is crucial in determining the right order for exfoliation and toner application.

Frequency of Exfoliation

Exfoliation frequency depends on your skin type and tolerance. Oily or acne-prone skin can benefit from daily exfoliation, while sensitive skin might require 1-2 times a week. Regular exfoliation promotes cell turnover and enhances the absorption of skincare products, but overdoing it can lead to irritation and damage.

Gradually introduce exfoliation into your routine and observe how your skin responds before settling on a frequency. You can also get rid of uneven skin tone with time using chemical exfoliation.

Properly navigating the complexities of exfoliating frequencies is essential for tailored skincare routines. Clarifying how often to exfoliate based on your unique needs underpins an effective skincare regimen that yields results while avoiding potential issues like over-exfoliation.

Do You Exfoliate Before or After Toner - FAQs

Exfoliating and using toner are two key steps in many skincare routines, but knowing the proper order can be confusing. In this FAQ section, we'll address common questions and provide clear guidance on when to exfoliate and when to apply toner for healthy skin and radiance.

When should I exfoliate in my skincare routine?

You should exfoliate before using toner. This helps remove dead skin cells and allows the toner to better prepare your skin for moisturizing.

Can I use toner after exfoliating at night?

Yes, using toner after exfoliation in the evening is a good practice. It helps soothe and hydrate your skin after the exfoliation process.

Is it okay to apply serum after exfoliating but before toning?

No, you should first cleanse, then exfoliate, follow with a toner, and finally apply serum. This order ensures each product works well on your skin.

Will following the correct order of applying products help with oily skin?

Yes! For oily skin, properly layering skincare products like cleansing, then exfoliating, applying toner, and moisturizing can control oiliness and improve your skin’s health.

Are there different types of products for this routine?

Absolutely! There are specific exfoliating products designed to gently remove dead cells without harming your skin followed by various kinds of toners that suit different skincare needs such as hydration or controlling oil.


In crafting your skincare routine, consider the purpose of exfoliation and toner. Examine the ideal order for morning and evening skincare routines. Understand whether you should exfoliate before or after applying toner, tailored to different skin types.

Consider skin type and frequency when choosing your approach. These practical tips will lead to an efficient and impactful skincare routine, making a noticeable difference in your skin's health.

Let us know in the comments below if you exfoliate before or after toner.

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Author Mizzy

Mizzy, a beauty & fashion interested, has been sharing his expert knowledge for 4 years. He offers readers honest, grounded reviews on the latest trends.

Mizzy, a beauty & fashion interested, has been sharing his expert knowledge for 4 years. He offers readers honest, grounded reviews on the latest trends.