Friday, August 24, 2012

Homemade Facial Toner

Skincare companies love to tell us their over-priced toner is a necessary part of a proper skincare regimen. One more thing to buy, right? I personally don't think it is a must-have skincare item, but a lot of people love the clean, tight feeling a toner can give. Unfortunately that clean, tight feeling means your skin is dry. All the natural protective oils are wiped away, which I'm not sure is a good thing. Those toners usually consist mostly of alcohol, which is way too harsh and drying. If you are a toner enthusiast, check out these natural ingredients you can use to make homemade toner that is less expensive, better for your skin, and customized to your skin type.

Natural Ingredients

  • Rose Water
    For all skin types, especially dry. Gentle, moisturizing antiseptic. You can find rose water at health food stores, Amazon, and Mountain Rose Herbs. Make homemade rose water with rose essential oil or with rose petals using this tutorial.
  • Milk
    For all skin types, especially dry. Add to harsher ingredients (ACV, lemon juice, witch hazel) to make them more moisturizing.
  • Chamomile Tea
    For all skin types, especially dry. Anti-inflammatory. Soothes irritated, dry skin.
  • Cold Water
    For all skin types. The cold temperature closes pores.
  • Green Tea**
    For all skin types. Loaded with antioxidants.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
    For all skin types, especially acne-prone skin. Antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. Strong smell. Needs to be diluted. I use Bragg's ACV and lavender essential oil when my face breaks out. Zits are noticeably smaller by morning.
  • Lemon Juice
    For all skin types, especially acne-prone skin. Exfoliates. Antibacterial. Reduces oiliness. Needs to be diluted.
  • Witch Hazel
    For all skin types, especially oily or acne-prone skin. An astringent made from the leaves and bark of a shrub. Contains alcohol, so it might be drying. You can find witch hazel at pharmacies, health food stores, Amazon, and Mountain Rose Herbs.

**If you are sensitive to caffeine, there are decaffeinated versions of green tea available. Make sure you get decaffeinated tea made by a natural process of “effervescence” using only water and carbon dioxide, as it retains 95 per cent of the antioxidants. The solvent method of decaffeination, using ethyl acetate, retains only 30 per cent of them. (Source: Beauty Benefits of Green Tea)

Customize with Essential Oils

You can make your homemade toner even more luxurious and customized to your individual skin type by adding essential oils. Essential oils are natural compounds extracted from parts of plants, flowers, and trees. They have been used throughout history for their medicinal and therapeutic benefits. They are extremely concentrated so you only need to add a drop to your cotton ball. Never use undiluted essential oils on your skin, except lavender or tea tree oil. Click here for more essential oil safety. You can find essential oils at your local health food store, Amazon, or Mountain Rose Herbs.

  • Mature Skin/Wrinkles: frankincense, helichrysum, geranium, lavender, myrrh, sandalwood, carrot seed
  • Dry Skin: rose, lavender, geranium, sandalwood, rosewood, ylang-ylang, chamomile
  • Oily Skin: lemon, cedarwood, cypress, juniper, lavender, lemongrass, grapefruit
  • Acne-Prone Skin: tea tree, lemongrass, lavender, geranium, peppermint, rosemary, sandalwood

Toner Recipes

Use one ingredient or mix and match to create the perfect formula for your skin. If you dilute with water or use ingredients that spoil (tea, milk, lemon juice, fresh rose water made with petals), I suggest keeping it in the fridge or making fresh toner daily. It's not as hard as it sounds. Pour a little apple cider vinegar on a cotton ball and then put it under running water to dilute. Or make a cup of chamomile tea to drink before bed and save a little to use on your face. Here are some more ways to use homemade toner based on your skin type.

Dry/Mature Skin

  • Add rose water, chamomile tea, or green tea to a cotton ball and apply to face.

Normal Skin

  • Add green tea to a cotton ball and apply to face.
  • Or add a little apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to a cotton ball. Dilute with water, rose water, milk, or tea. (Start with a ratio of 1:10 and adjust as needed.) Apply to face.
  • Or splash cold water on your face.

Oily or Acne-Prone Skin

  • Add some apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, or witch hazel to a cotton ball. Dilute with water, rose water, milk, or tea. (Start with a ratio of 1:5 and adjust as needed) Apply to face.

Saves Money

By switching to homemade toner, I save money AND stop worrying about all the chemicals in commercial toner.

$1.94/oz. Clinique Clarifying Lotion Toner ($13/6.7 oz.)
$0.76/oz. Bragg's Raw ACV ($3/16 oz) & Lavender Essential Oil ($9.50/.5 oz.)
$0.31/oz. Mountain Rose Herbs Witch Hazel Extract ($5/16 oz.)

How do you feel about toner? What natural ingredients do you use?

This post was shared at: Tiny Tip Tuesday, Living Green Tuesdays, Simple Lives Thursday, Natural Living Link-Up, The 36th Avenue, Piece O' Cake Linky Party, Catch a Glimpse Thursday, Real Food Forager Fat Tuesday, Penny Pinching Party, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways, Works For Me Wednesday, Healthy 2day Wednesday, Anti-Procrastination Tuesday, Teach Me Tuesday, Too Cute Tuesday, Domestically Divine Tuesday, Show Me What Ya Got Tuesday, The Inspiration Board, Tuesday Time Out, Marvelous Mondays, Morristribe's Homesteader Blog Carnival, Homestead Barn Hop, Monday Mania, Homemaker on a Dime, Motivate Me Monday, More the Merrier Monday, Sumo's Sweet Stuff, Alderberry Hill, Simply Natural Saturdays, Country Momma Cooks Saturday, Saturday Show & Tell, Strut Your Stuff Saturday, Get Schooled Saturday, Tatertots & Jello, Show & Tell Saturday, Once Upon a Weekend, Frugal Friday, Little House in the Suburbs, Thirty Handmade Days, Simply Sweet Home Friday Favorites, Happy Hour Friday, Whipperberry Friday Flair


  1. I am so glad I found your website! Earlier this week, I committed to living more of a natural lifestyle (I already have natural hair, I might as well do it with the products I put on my skin). I want to have a natural face wash, natural body lotion, I just simply want to stop buying commercialized products that promise the world and eat away at my pocket book.

    Last night I read 5 of your posts and I couldn't put my phone down. Thank you, you have given me inspiration and the know-how to make my commitment a reality. Can't wait for future posts.

  2. I'm stopping for a visit from Six Sisters' Stuff today!
    I'm having so much fun visiting the participants of this blog linky party.
    So many wonderful and creative ideas.
    Since Sunday I've been slowly removing chemicals and processed foods from our home. I'll have to bookmark this post for future reference.

    1. Doesn't it feel good to get rid of chemicals? Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Thank you SO much for this post!! I usually have to use a toner and haven't seen a home made one until now! I can't WAIT to try it out :)

  4. Thank you for sharing at Saturday Show and Tell. I hope you'll be back this week to link up again! Have a great weekend!

  5. I love making my own deodorant, bug spray, sunscreen and more using essential oils! I love my oils too! Thank you for sharing with us at Healthy 2Day Wednesdays!

  6. I have oily skin and use witch hazel as a toner every day. I don't bother to water it down - I just wash my face and spray it on while my skin is still damp. My teenage girls use it as well. Followed by a little calendula/coconut oil lotion, my skin feels much better than ever.

    1. Thanks for sharing! I've been using witch hazel (also undiluted) this week and I'm really happy with the results so far.

  7. I made a toner with green tea, lemon and apple cider today!

  8. How would rose water and mint leaves be for acne prone skin?

  9. I've been experimenting with different types of toners in an effort to ditch my expensive Clinique. Straight rose water caused me to break out a bit more than normal and straight witch hazel is drying out my cheeks. I wonder if your ACV and witch hazel with lavender will be just want I need? I've replaced all my lotions and creams with Bio Oil and I've loved it but I'm still experiencing more break outs than normal on my chin (main area I get acne). Figured it was just a bit of detox going on but it's been two months. Hoping to figure it out soon because I hate breakouts.


    1. The lemon juice will make the milk curdle. If you have witch hazel in the toner you probably don't need the lemon juice. I would just use it like a normal toner and not wash it off until you wash your face again. Have fun experimenting!


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