August 19, 2022 5 min read


In recent years, skincare shelves have been filled with CBD products of their own. Before, there were just toners, cleansers, and moisturizers. There are now serums, ampules, floral waters, essences, and many more. It leads to asking questions like the difference between these products, and if you are using some, do you need to use the other? And in case of usage, apply two of them, do you enjoy the benefits. The basic skincare routine is a serum, cleanser, and moisturizer as it is three simple steps. Some people add a toner after the cleanse or use it to skip the serum step. You don't need to complicate your skin's needs as long as you understand the products you need. The article provides a wide comparison between Serum and toner and what should guide you in choosing any of the two.

Is There a Difference between a Toner and a Serum?

Once you visually compare a tone and a Serum, their difference is consistent. The toning products tend to be waterlike and usually come in jumbo containers. The serums tend to be thicker but still lightweight and come in small bottles. The serums are more costly than the toners.

The modern toning products are formulated to:

  • Balance the skin’s naturally acidic PH to dry, uncomfortable, and irritated skin.
  • Providing lightweight hydration. It is perfect for dehydrated, oily, and combination skin types.
  • Provide exfoliation, which helps decrease pores' visibility while treating blackheads and pimples.

The benefits of Serum are formulated to:

  • Provide a concentrated dose of actives like herbal extracts, vitamins, humectants, and chemical exfoliants.
  • Provide intense and lightweight hydration and conditioning
  • Target and treat skincare concerns like hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, and fine lines.

A General Overview of Toners

Fleet et al. (2021) explained that toners are liquid products that are packed in plastic bottles. Sometimes they come with a spray applicator that enables you to apply them directly to the face. Some toners require to be dispensed onto a cotton pad before use. They are intended to be applied after washing the face. The purpose of your skincare routine depends upon the formulation of the toner. Some of the toners are astringents that help dry up oily acne spots as they encourage large pores to contract temporarily. It may lead to the appearance of a smoother and firmer face. The benefit is temporary and comes at the expense of drawing moisture out of the skin. If you have oily skin, you can feel tempted to use an astringent toner. As it might seem to work, you also risk encouraging your skin to produce more oil as a response, and these can send you into a un endless circle. Acid toners help to exfoliate the skin cells from the skin's surface.

People with dry skin or patches can benefit from using these toners on occasion because they help prevent flaky or dull buildup on the skin's surface. Some toners are designed to moisturize. They are made with floral extracts and some ingredients like hyaluronic acid. The toners usually leave behind more moisture than they take away, thus making them a better option for dry skin and normal skin.

General Overview of Serums

Salvioni et al. (2021) explained that serums are potent skincare products that deliver active ingredients such as botanicals through the skin's surface. Many of the ingredients in an expertly formulated serum are absorbed into the skin to hydrate and nourish the skin from the outside. Many of the serums are marketed to some specific skin concern. You will see some products like brightening serums, dark spot serums, anti-aging serums, and skin firming serums. Some serums provide a wealth of benefits in each bottle.

Choosing a multifunctional serum simplifies your routine for people with multiple skin concerns. There is no need to change products throughout the week or attempt layering serums if everything you need is bundled together. Serums are usually watery or thinner in consistency to properly hydrate the skin. Because of their high concentration of skin-healthy ingredients, serums are applied with a dropper. You don't liberally coat yourself with Serum. A few drops of Serum are enough to benefit the entire face.

Do I Need Both CBD Serum and a Toner?

For those wishing to keep things simple, toners can be good. Applying a serum, cleansing, topping the serum off with a moisturizer, and using SPF during the day are the only must-do things in a skincare routine to address the skin’s aesthetic and basic health needs. The toners may provide additional cleansing and hydration. Jin, & Laopanupong (2021) explained that people with acne-prone skin or very dry skin can choose to use a toner after cleansing their face. If you are uninterested in an extra step, apply a well-balanced cleanser designed to work with the natural skin microbiome.

Some men apply hydrating, fragrance-free, and alcohol-free toner as a substitute for aftershave. In most cases, aftershave can irritate and dry the skin, exacerbating the symptoms of a razor burn and making sensitive skin red and angry. A gentle toner is a great alternative, mostly for men with sensitive skin.

How Can One Use Toner and Serum Together?

Once you choose to use a toner, ensure you incorporate it after cleansing but before Serum. Toners tend to be leave-on products. After applying both of them, allow them to evaporate or let the skin absorb their water before applying the Serum. If the face feels a little wet, gently bottling it using a towel will prepare it for the Serum. Budiasih et al. (2018) stated that apply the Serum and finish with a moisturizer.

How to Find the Right Serum

Messaraa et al. (2022) stated that the Serum is the most important part of your skincare routine, especially if you are using the Serum to address a certain skincare concern. Instead of choosing and picking which benefits are important to you. Just choose a serum that is formulated for addressing multiple skincare concerns.


Both the CBD serum and toners are valuable skin care products. But they work differently. It is not easy to substitute one for the other. If you have to choose between the two, the Serum provides more benefits to your skin than a toner. Once you decide to apply both of them, they still work well.


Budiasih, S., Masyitah, I., Jiyauddin, K., Kaleemullah, M., Samer, A. D., Fadli, A. M., & Yusuf, E. (2018). Formulation and Characterization of Cosmetic Serum Containing Argan Oil as Moisturizing Agent. In Proceedings of BROMO Conference (BROMO 2018) (pp. 297-304).

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Jin, C. Y., & Laopanupong, T. (2021). Protecting and Resolving Facial Skin from UV Rays and Air Pollution. Journal of Clinical and Laboratory Research2(1).

Messaraa, C., Drevet, J., Jameson, D., Zuanazzi, G., & De Ponti, I. (2022). Can Performance and Gentleness Be Reconciled? A Skin Care Approach for Sensitive Skin. Cosmetics9(2), 34.

Salvioni, L., Morelli, L., Ochoa, E., Labra, M., Fiandra, L., Palugan, L., ... & Colombo, M. (2021). The emerging role of nanotechnology in skincare. Advances in colloid and interface science293, 102437.