Looking for a simple apple cider vinegar toner? Here’s my tried and true recipe, plus benefits and my tips depending on your skin type!
In the past few years, I’ve seen radical improvements in my skin ever since I switched to natural products. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my clean beauty products and have many in my bathroom cabinet. But I also love incorporating natural products because they work and are way more affordable!
For example, I do an apple cider vinegar hair rinse regularly using raw apple cider vinegar, and I love my homemade aloe vera after sun lotion. When it comes to makeup, I only use safer cosmetic products. As a result, my skin has been clearer and brighter in my 30s that it was in my 20s!
Honestly, I wasn’t sold on putting apple cider vinegar on my face or hair in the beginning. While I use apple cider plenty in the kitchen, thinking of going to bed smelling like a salad wasn’t all that appealing. Plus, I didn’t think an apple cider vinegar toner could work as good as the store-bought stuff.
But, learning about the amount the number of harmful ingredients in makeup and skin care products, including endocrine disruptors and carcinogens, really took me by surprise. Once I became pregnant with my first kid, I really wanted to figure out how to reduce my overall exposure.
And the first place I started? This incredibly effective apple cider vinegar face toner. Apple cider vinegar has so many benefits for your skin, and making your own toner is a breeze!
What is a Face Toner?
A toner is simply a fast-penetrating liquid product that is applied after cleansing to help freshen and exfoliate skin. Toners are beneficial for skin because they help improve skin clarity, reduce pore size, and remove residual oil and impurities. This helps your skin absorb any serums or moisturizers you apply after your cleanser.
As history would have it, the act of cleansing, toning, and moisturizing dates back thousands of years. Evidence shows ancient cultures utilized avocado, palm oil, olive oils, and spices for moisturizing, animal fats and salts for cleansing, and botanical waters and natural astringents for “freshening” the skin.
In fact, in the early 1900s, women (our great great grandmothers!) were still making their own skin care products for toning and brightening skin from unprocessed milks, lemon juice, witch hazel, and even vinegar!
Why Your Skin Needs a Toner
Your skin has a very delicate acid mantle that normally has a pH of around 5, which is slightly acidic. Cleansers are typically more alkaline (have a pH above 7), which can disrupt the acid mantle on the skin. When the acid mantle is disrupted, it promotes abnormal bacteria growth, and our skin becomes more susceptible to disease, infection, and even wrinkles long term. Toners, which are more acidic (a pH of around 3-4), help restore your skin to its natural pH.
As beauty products have developed and evolved, most cleansers are now less alkaline and tailored to specific skin types. As a result, there is much controversy about whether toners are necessary for use among professionals.
But here’s the deal: Because your skin’s delicate pH can be disrupted by many factors, including stress, diet, lack of exercise, and not drinking enough water, a simple, natural toner like this one can be incredibly beneficial for balancing the skin and removing residual impurities.
Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar Toner
Raw apple cider vinegar is simply the by-product of the fermentation of apples. Apples are loaded with potassium, pectin, malic acid, and calcium, and fermentation fortifies it with even more beneficial acids and enzymes. While it may seem weird to put apple cider vinegar on your face, it’s antiseptic and antibacterial, which is an added bonus when dealing with skin infections and conditions like acne and eczema.
Apple cider vinegar makes a great face toner because it balances the natural pH of the skin and breaks up the bonds between dead skin cells to keep skin pores open. It also can diminish sun and age spots, and improve acne and acne scars. It’s also great for freshening and removing excess oils and make up that may have been left behind after cleansing. Make sure to use a raw apple cider vinegar when making a toner to get all these glorious benefits.
Best of all? It’s super-duper affordable and contains no added conventional chemical craziness.
Convention toners are typically a chemical soup of alcohol and conventional astringents, fragrances, parabens, hydrogenated oils, and additives like “RED” this and “BLUE” that. These aren’t even close to being necessary for anyone to have clear, beautiful skin.
When to Use a Toner
Toners come after cleansing, but before serums and moisturizers. You can also use toners throughout the day to freshen skin post-workout or when you’ve been exposed to a bit more sweat and grime. Here’s an example of how to use this acv toner in a 4-step skin care routine:
- Cleanse: Use a skin specific cleanser. I like to use a charcoal bar post-workout and during the summer when my skin is more blemish-prone, and a cream based cleanser in the winter when my skin is more dry.
- Tone: Moisten a cotton pad or cotton ball and wipe this apple cider vinegar toner all along your neck and face. Avoid using it close to your eyes.
- Serum: Serums are not moisturizers, they are like multivitamins for your skin! I like to get in Vitamin C and safe anti-aging ingredients during this step.
- Moisturize: Use a day or night cream specific to your skin type and skin care goals.
How to Make Apple Cider Vinegar Face Toner
Making your own apple cider vinegar face toner couldn’t be easier. All you really need is apple cider vinegar and water. I’ve included some additional ingredients below you can incorporate depending on your skin type.
- Raw apple cider vinegar
- Filtered water
- 1 teaspoon hydrosol (I like rose or orange)
- 1 teaspoon witch hazel (optional for oily skin)
Customize your toner to your skin type:
- For sensitive skin: Mix 3/4 cup filtered water with 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- For normal/dry skin: Mix 2/3 cup filtered water with 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- For oily skin: Mix 1/2 cup filtered water with 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
ACV Toner Directions:
- Pour the apple cider vinegar into a glass jar.
- Add the filtered water.
- Add essential oils, a hydrosol, or witch hazel. Shake to combine. This toner is shelf stable and can be stored in your bathroom cabinet.
To apply ACV toner to skin:
Using a cotton pad, lightly rub the toner on your face and neck. Avoid using close to the eyes. You can also store this toner in a spray bottle and spray a light mist directly on your skin to freshen your skin throughout the day. Do not rinse it off after use. You can apply this multiple times a day to freshen skin.
- When making this recipe, one “part” is any measurement you chose to use. So, if you’re following the sensitive skin ratio, you’ll mix 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar with 4 tablespoons water. I typically follow the oily skin ratio, and make 16 oz total. This means, I use 1 cup filtered water, and 1 cup apple cider vinegar. Update July 2022: Because I got many questions about parts, I went ahead and re-wrote the recipe so you know exactly what measurements to use for your skin type! 1 recipe will make 8 oz of toner.
- Adding hydrosols: Hydrosols are gentle “flower waters” that have nourishing properties. They are made during the process of making essential oils. During distillation, the essential oil is separated from the water, which leaves behind a nourishing, herbal water with small traces of essential oils. To add a hydrosol to your toner, use 1 tsp per 8 oz of toner. This will not be in place of your filtered water, rather as an addition.
- Adding essential oils: Essential oils are natural oils obtained through distillation which have the characteristic fragrance of the plant or other source from which it is extracted from. Adding essential oils increases the nourishing properties of your toner depending on which one you use. I recommend using tea tree oil for additional anti-inflammatory benefits, or lavender oil for a more aromatic, soothing experience. Use 2-3 drops per 8 oz of toner.
- Adding witch hazel: Witch hazel is an astringent that has anti-inflammatory properties. It’s best to add this if you have oily skin. Use 1 teaspoon per 8 oz of toner.
No matter what your skin type is, do a patch test on your skin to see how your skin responds. I also recommend using the sensitive skin ratio first before increasing the amount of apple cider vinegar you use. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the ratio to figure out what’s best for you skin. Overtime, if you feel the solution seems to be too weak, slowly increase the ratio of apple cider vinegar to water. Do not increase more than a 1:1 ratio of apple cider vinegar to water.
If you’re looking to improve your hair and scalp, check out how to make an apple cider vinegar hair rinse.
Will you be giving this apple cider vinegar toner a try? Let me know what your special “blend” is and how it works for you!
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