While research suggests there are health benefits, the FDA doesn’t monitor or regulate the purity or quality of essential oils. It’s important to talk with your healthcare provider before you begin using essential oils and be sure to research the quality of a brand’s products. Always do a patch test before trying a new essential oil.

Toner is sort of like a second cleansing — a few swipes can break down leftover soap residue and grime, balance your skin’s pH levels, and prime your face to absorb the rest of your routine.

Depending on your skin needs du jour, a toner can lend a helping hand by boosting nutrients and hydration. And the best way to customize it? Make your own, honey!

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Witch hazel is the OG toner. This natural astringent is lauded for its anti-inflammatory and acne-fighting powers and is a mainstay for people with oily and acne-prone skin. But beware: this powerful astringent is so good at tackling excess oil, it could totally dry you out and make acne worse.

Try this toner recipe from Eco Living Mama

What you’ll need:

  • 4 tablespoons witch hazel (choose alcohol-free if dryness is a concern)
  • 2 tablespoons aloe vera
  • A few drops of your favorite essential oil (be sure they’re safe for skin application)

What to do:

  1. Pour into a spray bottle, or dispense onto cotton pads.
  2. Gently pat your face and let skin dry.

We can’t turn back time, but antioxidants are the next best thing for helping skin stay youthful. Vitamin C reigns supreme in skin care because it helps protect and correct environmental and sun-related skin damage while promoting a brighter, more glowy look. (P.S. It’s also great for lightening dark spots.)

Want more vitamin C in your life? Wellness Mama has you covered with a simple DIY solution

What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 teaspoon natural vitamin C powder
  • 1/4 cup witch hazel (again, watch the alcohol concentration if you have dry skin)
  • 8 drops lavender essential oil (optional)

What to do:

  • Combine ingredients in a spray bottle or a lidded jar.

FYI: Vitamin C can lose its effectiveness when exposed to light, so store this elixir in a dark bottle in a cabinet, drawer, or bag.

Most astringents are formulated with alcohol (botanical or chemical) or with acids (like salicylic acid) which can wreak havoc on dry skin.

Remember: a toner is often used for balance. So if your skin is dry, swap an alcohol-based formula for this two-step DIY from Honestly Homemade Beauty featuring fresh cucumbers, which are naturally anti-inflammatory and high in vitamin C.

Try this DIY toner to moisturize and give your skin a vitamin C glow-up

What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 a cucumber, peeled & sliced
  • 1 teaspoon aloe vera gel

What to do:

  1. Add the cucumber to a food processor or blender and blend until liquified.
  2. Add aloe vera.
  3. Strain mixture, then add 2 tablespoons of water.
  4. Store in the fridge between uses.

Aloe vera is so much more than a sunburn solution. It’s full of skin-happy vitamins, anti-inflammatory compounds and has even been shown to fight acne. If you have sensitive skin or are worried about a toner drying you out, aloe vera has your back.

The addition of rose water in this toner recipe from HUDA Beauty adds to the anti-inflammatory effects and makes it even more sensitive-skin friendly.

Try this toner recipe for sensitive-skin

What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup of rose water
  • 1/2 cup of aloe vera

What to do:

  • Combine in a spray bottle or lidded jar.

Rice water might feel like a beauty trend, but it has a long and storied history in Ayurvedic and Japanese cultures, and also in Korean beauty. Now it’s lauded for its brightening effects.

Even though there’s limited evidence of its anti-aging properties, we do know this water is rich in B vitamins and amino acids from the rice itself.

Here’s a DIY toner recipe from Artifact Girl to get you glowing

What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup of rice
  • 1 1/2 cups of water

What to do:

  1. Pour rice into a bowl and cover with water.
  2. Let soak for a few minutes until the water turns cloudy.
  3. Pour into a glass jar and store it in the refrigerator for 4–5 days.

Vitamin C is super effective in diminishing dark spots caused by acne, and lemon juice is a natural way to get a megadose of the stuff.

Try this super simple toner from hello glow to fade hyperpigmentation and even out your skin tone

What you’ll need:

  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 cup witch hazel

What to do:

  • Pour into a lidded jar and dispense onto cotton pads.

Essential oils will make a DIY toner smell ~incredible~ and they can also give it an extra boost of nutrition or acne-fighting powers, depending on your choice. Remember: these little guys are super concentrated, so avoid potential irritation and dilute them with a carrier oil, like jojoba, argan, or coconut oil (or in this case, witch hazel).

Here’s a toner recipe from The Sunshine Suitcase to put your favorite essential oils to work

What you’ll need:

  • 12 drops lavender essential oil
  • 2 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 4 drops frankincense essential oil
  • 1/2 ounce witch hazel
  • distilled water to fill the bottle
  • a pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt (optional)
  • a pinch of lavender flower buds (optional)

What to do:

  • Combine all ingredients in a brown glass spray bottle.

Okay, this is one of those DIY things that’s actually easy. Simply add cotton rounds to a jar and soak in your favorite toner recipe for an even quicker skin care step.

These witch hazel toning pads from Living Well Mom are great for a post-workout refresh

What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup witch hazel (alcohol-free if you’re oily)
  • 1 1/2 cups Water
  • 1 tablespoon vitamin E oil
  • 20–30 drops essential oil of choice (we suggest tea tree oil for acne-prone skin)
  • cotton rounds
  • 8-ounce mason jar

What to do:

  1. Add water and witch hazel to a glass measuring cup.
  2. Then add vitamin E oil.
  3. Next, add your essential oils and stir.
  4. Grab an 8-ounce mason jar and fill it halfway with dry cotton rounds.
  5. Pour in toner until cotton rounds are covered.
  6. Fill the rest of the jar with dry rounds and press down until the liquid reaches all the rounds.
  7. Cover and store.

Chamomile does more than just keep you from counting sheep. When applied to the skin, chamomile fights bacteria without changing your pH too drastically (which can wreak havoc!).

In this DIY option from Mary Makes Good, the addition of honey adds hydration and an antimicrobial boost

This isn’t too drying and is super nourishing — perfect for normal and acne-prone skin.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon chamomile flowers (or 1 bag of chamomile tea)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2–6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

What to do:

  1. Allow tea to steep in boiling water for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove the tea bag or strain the solids.
  3. Add the honey and vinegar and stir until honey is dissolved.
  4. Pour into a clean bottle.

Some research suggests darker skin tones tend to lose moisture more quickly than lighter skin tones, so it’s important to mix up a toner that won’t strip all your natural oils away.

This toner from hello glow features cranberries, which have been shown to lock in moisture while adding antioxidants to the party

What you’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons cranberry juice
  • 2 tablespoons rose water or lavender hydrosol
  • 1/2 cup witch hazel

What to do:

  1. Measure the witch hazel and add cranberry juice and rose water or lavender hydrosol to the liquid and stir.
  2. Pour into a spray bottle and shake before each use.

Hear us out: your spice cabinet is where it’s at for anti-aging (ahem, as we like to say: pro-aging) skin care. Topical applications of cinnamon have been found to increase blood flow and promote collagen production — important for maintaining that youthful-looking elasticity. Pair that with tannin-rich anise and you’ve got a combination for more mature skin that’s hard to beat.

Try it out in this toner from Modern Vintageville

What you’ll need:

  • 1 liter water
  • 5 anise stars
  • 2 cinnamon sticks

What to do:

  1. Bring water to boil and add anise and cinnamon sticks.
  2. Reduce heat and slowly boil for 20 minutes.
  3. Once cooled (3–5 hours), pour into a glass jar.

Feeling flushed? Reach for rose water. In addition to its sweet smell, the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties have been found to reduce skin redness. Plus, that scent isn’t just for show: a recent study suggests rose water activates an olfactory response that helps protect your skin from the effects of stress.

Try it in toner form, like this DIY one from Root and Revel

What you’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons organic raw apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons rose water
  • 4 tablespoons witch hazel

What to do:

  • Combine all ingredients and pour into a glass jar or spritz bottle

Honey is another skin care superstar and a natural humectant, which means it helps lock in moisture.

This honey and mint toner from Optimistic Girls will help balance you out without drying you out

What you’ll need:

  • A handful of fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon honey

What to do:

  1. Add a handful of mint to boiling water.
  2. After 20–25 minutes, add the honey.
  3. Strain the leaves and store.

Green tea is a rich source of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which helps improve acne and excess oil by blocking or slowing sebum production.

This toner recipe from hello glow adds anti-aging pomegranate juice to the mix for a double benefit

What you’ll need:

  1. 1/4 cup green tea, cooled
  2. 1/8 cup pure pomegranate juice
  3. 1/8 cup filtered water

What to do:

  1. Steep a green tea bag in hot water.
  2. Dilute pure pomegranate juice with the water.
  3. Once cooled, combine the tea and the diluted juice and shake.

If large pores are bugging you, chemical exfoliation is a great way to slough off the dirt and debris that could clog pores and make them appear large and in charge. Alpha hydroxy acids, or AHAs, are one solid solution.

Hibiscus is a natural source featured in this simple toner from Hello Glow

What you’ll need:

  • 1/4 cup witch hazel
  • 1/4 cup cooled hibiscus tea
  • 1/2 teaspoon vitamin C powder (optional)

What to do:

  • Combine ingredients into a lidded jar or spray bottle.

A little dry, a little oily? Good thing toner’s main job is to bring ~balance~ to your skin’s fickle landscape. You’ll need something that mixes the oil-slaying power of an astringent paired with something deeply moisturizing.

This recipe from Oh My Skin achieves just that with witch hazel, aloe, and glycerin

What you’ll need:

  • 1 ounce mineral water
  • 2 tablespoon organic rose water
  • 1 tablespoon organic witch hazel
  • 1 teaspoon organic aloe vera
  • 1/2 teaspoon glycerin
  • Organic hibiscus flower petals (optional)

What to do:

  1. Steep the hibiscus flower in warmed mineral water until a light pink color is achieved.
  2. Once cooled, add the rest of the ingredients into a bowl and pour into a spray bottle.