Difference Between Cleanser and Toner

With the continuous changes in time, a good skincare routine has become a must for many people.

However, skincare differs from person to person as per the preferences and the requirements of the skin, but there is a certain product that remains the same in almost every skincare routine, such as the cleanser, toner, moisturizer, etc.  

Cleanser and Toner are two such products that are really crucial for skincare but become really confusing for many people, and people tend to use them interchangeably in many situations.

However, they should not be used in the place of one another because they carry a lot of differences.

Cleanser vs Toner 

The main difference between Cleanser and Toner is that the former cleanses the skin as the name itself suggests and comes before the latter in the skincare routine. But on the contrary, the latter not only cleanses but also aids in maintaining a proper balance of the skin while helping with dry skin, etc. too and comes after the former. However, this is not the only difference, and there are many other things that categorize these two in two different blocks. 

Cleanser vs Toner

A Cleanser does not need a specific definition and can easily be understood by its name only.

Basically, it is a product in your skincare routine that the experts recommend should be used in the very first place before doing anything else.

The job of a cleanser is to clean the skin off any possible impurities that are there on the outer layer of the skin. It can be in the form of a face wash, an exfoliator, or a scrub, etc.

And it prepares the skin for further skincare routine. 

But on the contrary, a Toner might sound like a cleanser, but it has additional duties to perform.

As a cleanser, a toner also helps in getting rid of impurities, but it does other things too that include maintaining a balance of moisture in the skin, soothing the dry skin, etc.

So basically, the research shows that a Toner should follow a cleanser in an ideal skincare routine and should not be skipped. 

Comparison Table Between Cleanser and Toner 

Parameters of Comparison Cleanser  Toner  
Meaning  A skincare product that cleans the skin and gets rid of any impurity. A skincare product that not only cleans but tones as well and balances the dryness of the skin. 
Function performed The functions of this product are as follows-  Cleaning the skin, getting rid of dirt, Getting rid of impurities, etc. Functions of this product are as follows- Cleaning the skin of any impurities, Balancing the pH Opening the pores Toning dry skin. 
Order of application It is the first step in any ideal skincare routine. It comes after a Cleanser in the skincare routine. 
Most suitable for People with any type of skin need something to clean off their skin. People with acne-prone or oily skin. 
Texture  It can be in the form of a liquid, foam, or exfoliator. Mostly found in liquid texture. 

What is Cleanser? 

A cleanser can be well defined by its name only. In simple words, a cleanser is any product included in the skincare routine of a person that happens to be the primary step and cleans the person’s skin so that other products may be applied. 

It can be a face wash, face foam, face washing gel, or exfoliator, etc.

So, it can be said that the variety of a cleanser is unlimited, but almost all of these perform a similar kind of duty. It not only cleans the skin but also gets rid of any kind of impurity that may exist.

It also helps in opening the pores of the skin so that a perfect cleaning could be done.  

As per the experts in the related industry, a cleanser should be used at least two times a day that is one in the evening and one in the morning.

Apart from the frequency of its use, it should be the very first step in a skincare routine, and the other things should follow it. 

What is Toner? 

A toner can be explained as a particular skincare product that usually comes in a liquid form with a pleasant smell and works as a double cleanser, in simple words.

There are a few people who require extra cleansing due to the conditions with their skin or due to wearing makeup and cosmetics for so long.  

A toner works really well on such types of skin and cleanses it deeply to get rid of any possible impurity that may exist.

Some people get confused between a toner and a cleanser, but the unique feature that differentiates a toner from a cleanser primarily is that it not only cleanses the skin but also soothes it in case it gets dry. 

It provides a firm base to the skin after it has been washed thoroughly. This allows the user to apply further layers of skincare products.

Not only this but a toner can also be used to balance the pH of the skin in case it gets disturbed due to any reason.  

Main Differences Between Cleanser and Toner 

  1. A Cleanser is any skincare product that helps to clean the skin and get rid of any impurity, but a Toner performs these functions as well along with certain additional functions. 
  2. A cleaner cleans the skin and removes dirt, etc. But a Toner also balances the pH and soothes the dryness.  
  3. Cleanser happens to be the first step in the skincare routine while toner follows it. 
  4. The cleanser is ideal for any type of skin, while Toner is suitable for people with acne
  5. Cleanser can be in the form of a foam, liquid, or an exfoliator, while a Toner happens to be in the form of a liquid in most cases. 
Difference Between Cleanser and Toner


Looking at all the comparisons and differences, it can be ascertained that cleanser and toner are two completely different things.

While these two contribute to the well-being of the skin of a person, they still differentiate a lot due to their attributes and the purposes they serve. I

t totally depends on a person’s preference and the needs of his skin that which of these or both of these he would like to use. 

When it comes to using a cleanser or a toner, it is not a ‘one for all thing.’

A person should be aware of the product which is suitable for his particular skin and know the qualities and purposes of each product.

One should be aware of the differences that lie between them. 


  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jocd.13252
  2. https://journals.co.za/doi/pdf/10.10520/EJC-f1ea3e069
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