Toner Vs. Serum: What’s The Difference?

People who want to step up their skincare regimen to achieve the appearance of a more youthful, radiant complexion can benefit from a multitude of concern-specific toners and serums. But how do you know which of these similar-sounding products is right for your specific skin type and skin tone? For example, if you have oily skin, you may be wondering which is better for oily skin types. Toner and serum are both crucial skincare steps that can address many different skin conditions and achieve healthy looking skin. Let’s find out by comparing toner vs serum, the correct order to apply them, and how to best use them in your skincare routine.

What is a Face Toner?

Toners are skincare products designed to accomplish a variety of tasks depending on the specific formula. Most toners help cleanse pores by exfoliating dead skin cells, ensuring the work started by your cleanser is fully performed. Toners are great to use before applying moisturizer because they help prepare the skin for other products to be applied. Certain types of hydrating toners can also provide deep hydration for dry skin or sensitive skin. You can apply toner both during your morning and nightly routine as well as throughout the day whenever you want a quick refresher for your complexion.

Benefits of Face Toners

Toners are great at conditioning the skin and establishing a neutral environment for the skin to thrive. They also help create the appearance of a natural and youthful look when used throughout the day. Epicuren Discovery’s toners offer added benefits, such as promoting the appearance of hydration and minimizing  the look of irritated skin while leaving the skin feeling refreshed. An alcohol free toner is also a great way to remove excess oil or leftover dirt, preventing clogged pores that can cause breakouts. Hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid have both a moisturizing and skin-brightening effect on dry skin and dull skin. And ingredients like witch hazel have been known to have anti-inflammatory properties.

What is a Face Serum?

Face serums are typically water-based formulas packed with a higher concentration of active ingredients to provide various benefits for multiple types of skin problems and skin types. They can be effective ways to boost an anti-aging skincare routine by reducing the appearance of large pores and skin texture - while at the same time, keeping the skin looking radiant and bright. A serum’s ingredients (such as vitamin C for dark spots or acne fighting ingredients to visibly unclog pores) are designed to penetrate on the surface of the skin in a way that toners or heavier products don't. Often, a hydrating serum has the natural benefit of adding hydration in a subtle way without giving the appearance of oily skin. This is especially beneficial for combination skin or acne-prone skin types. Hydrating serums can also help address dry patches and achieve a more even skin tone.

The Difference Between Toner vs Serum

Applying toner and serum are both beneficial for a variety of skincare concerns and can be combined together in your skincare routine. Toners are thinner products than serums, which means they can be applied as a mist or spray, rather than a product that you gently massage onto your entire face with your fingers or a cotton pad or cotton ball. They serve similar but distinct functions, with toners refreshing the skin and serums delivering potent active ingredients. There are many varieties of both toners and serums that are designed with active ingredients to be used for specific skin concerns and skin types, even sensitive skin types.

How to Use Toner and Serum 

Order matters when it comes to toner and serum. If you opt to have both a serum and toner in your skincare routine, you should first cleanse your skin, then apply toner, and then apply serum. Finally, you can complete your skincare regimen with moisturizer, face creams, and sunscreen. As a general rule, it's best to apply skincare products from thinnest to thickest, meaning toner comes before face serum.

High Quality Face Serums From Epicuren Discovery 

If you’re concerned about the appearance of your fine lines or wrinkles, both a toner and serum can be great additions to your daily anti-aging skincare routine. Both serums and toners can take a routine that focuses only on cleansing and promoting hydration to the next level. For example, try our Pro Collagen + Serum Amplifier to reap the benefits of active ingredients like peptides and minerals to help fight the signs of aging and improve its overall appearance.

Browse our site to find both a serum and toner for your specific skin concern or take our Skin Quiz to get personalized toner and serum recommendations based on your unique skin type.

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