What is the Difference Between Toner and Serum

The main difference between toner and serum is that toners cleanse the skin and restores the skin’s pH balance while serums provide a high concentration of active ingredients to your skin.

Both toners and serums are skincare products we apply on face after cleansing. Toners can restore skin’s PH level to a normal level, hydrate and refresh the skin while serums deliver a high dose of active ingredients, hydrate the skin and address skincare concerns such as wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. Both these products are water-like in appearance, but serums have a thicker consistency than toners. If you are using both these products, make sure you use the serum after the toner, but before moisturizer.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is a Toner 
     – Definition, Benefits, Purpose
2. What is a Serum
     – Definition, Ingredients, Purpose
3. What is the Difference Between Toner and Serum
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Serum, TonerDifference Between Toner and Serum - Comparison Summary

What is a Toner

Toner is a liquid skincare product for cleansing the skin and restoring the skin’s pH balance. It’s usually applied on the face after cleansing. Toners also can to moisturize, refresh and protect the skin. Most importantly, toners have the ability to gently refresh skin without removing the natural moisture in your skin. This is why they won’t irritate sensitive skin or cause dryness.  

They are especially useful for people with oily or acne-prone skin or those who need extra cleansing after wearing makeup. When compared to most other skincare products, toners have a water-like consistency. They are applied by using a cotton pad and sweeping it across your skin. Moreover, there are different types of toners like skin toners, acid toners, skin bracers/fresheners, and astringents.

Main Difference - Toner vs Serum

Benefits of a Toner

  • Shrinks pores on the skin
  • Restores the skin’s pH balance
  • Acts as a moisturizer
  • Adds a layer of protection to the skin
  • Refreshes the skin
  • Prevent ingrown hairs

What is a Serum    

A serum is a skincare product having a highly concentrated formula with active ingredients designed to penetrate your skin. You have to apply serum to your skin after cleansing, but before moisturizing. Serums are made up of tiny molecules that can go deep into your skin and deliver active ingredients like herbal extracts, vitamins, and chemical exfoliants to your skin. There are various types of serums on the market, with different functions, ranging from hydration, wrinkle-treatment to skin brightening.

Difference Between Toner and Serum

Serums often tend to be clear, gel-based or liquid. Due to their watery consistency, they tend to be less thick than moisturizers. We usually apply serums before moisturizers because serums help to lock in the moisture. Before applying a serum to your face, cleanse your face thoroughly, making sure there is no residual makeup or oil and dirt. Then, apply a few drops on your face and massage gently using fingertips so that it can go deep into the skin.

Difference Between Toner and Serum

Definition

A toner is a liquid skincare product for cleansing the skin and restoring the skin’s pH balance while a serum is a skincare product having a highly concentrated formula with active ingredients designed to penetrate your skin.

Function

Toners can restore skin’s PH levels to a normal level, hydrate, and refresh the skin. Serums, on the other hand, provide a high concentration of active ingredients to the skin, hydrate and deal with skincare concerns like wrinkles and fine lines.

Application

Toners are applied by using a cotton pad and sweeping it across your skin while serum should be gently massaged into the skin.

Consistency

Serums have a thicker consistency than toners.

Packaging

Moreover, toners usually come in larger bottles while serums come in in smaller bottles with a dropper or pump.

Price

Toners are usually less costly than serums.

Conclusion

Toner is a liquid skincare product for cleansing the skin and restoring the skin’s pH balance while a serum is a skincare product having a highly concentrated formula with active ingredients designed to penetrate your skin. Serums usually have a thicker consistency than toners. This is the difference between toner and serum.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Tonic for the face with a cotton disc in the female hand” By Marco Verch (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr
2. “Woman With Pink Lipstick” (CC0) via Pexels

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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