The Difference Between Serums and Toners
By Rachel Jones - May 16, 2023

Skincare routine essentials are said to include toners or serums. And while both share the same steps in typical routines, they are not necessarily replacements as they perform entirely different functions asides from hydrating a newly cleansed face.

Serums are highly concentrated yet tiny molecules capable of penetrating deep into the epidermis. The serum is a skincare product applied to the skin after cleansing but before moisturizing to deliver potent antioxidants straight into the skin. Hyaluronic acid is an example of such an ingredient. Retinol, Hyaluronic Acid, and Vitamin C or E Serums are other examples.

Skin toner, also known as toner, is a lotion, tonic, or wash used on the face to cleanse the skin and reduce the appearance of pores. It is a fast-penetrating liquid that hydrates the skin quickly and helps eliminate dead cells from the skin’s surface. It also hydrates, protects, and revitalizes the skin.

The consistency of the product is the immediately distinguishing feature. Toning products are usually watery and come in large (typically plastic) bottles. Serums are thicker but lightweight and come in little (likely glass or heavier plastic) bottles. Serums are often more expensive than toners.

The most crucial difference, however, is how they function. Toners will assist in balancing and moisturizing the skin, but they are insufficiently concentrated to deliver advantages beyond the surface. Serums give enough moisture to fill the skin’s surface, but the vast bulk of their effects stem from their ability to permeate that layer.

There is also a difference in how they are applied. Serums are often applied to the face using a dropper and rubbed in. Toners can occasionally be applied straight to your face using a spray sprayer. Alternatively, they are administered onto a cotton pad before usage.

In summary, serums target and address skin issues like hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and wrinkles, and your skin receives a high concentration of active ingredients like herbal extracts, vitamins, chemical exfoliants, or humectants, whereas toners provide lightweight hydration while balancing the skin’s naturally acidic pH and skin exfoliation by astringents helps to reduce the appearance of pores while treating blackheads and pimples