The Difference Between Tonic and Toner

Tonic VS Toner

Tonics and Toners look very similar on the surface and even those in the beauty industry sometimes struggle to tell the products apart. In the traditional sense, toners were created as an extra “cleansing” step to remove any residue, act as an astringent for oily or inflamed skin and add extra nutrients to the skin to help prepare the skin for hydration. This is why Witch Hazel and Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA) are common ingredients in toners, as they help strip away any oily residues and clear out pores to thoroughly prime the skin for the next steps. Tonics, on the other hand, are an extra “hydrating” step which focuses on conditioning the skin and adding a moisture boost to one’s skin care routine.



Tonics tend to be heavier with humectants and moisturizing ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid and rose water. In Asia, Tonics are sometimes referred to as “essences” but the key idea remains the same – while Toners are for clearing and toning, Tonics are for moisture boosting and conditioning.


Which one should I use?

While both can be included in a single skin care routine, most people would pick one or the other depending on their skin type. Normally, those with oily or blemish prone skin would stick to skin refining Toners, while dry or mature skin types find themselves more suited for hydrating Tonics as these provide the extra nutrients and moisture that they need. People living in dry climates may also benefit from a Tonic rather than Toners and vice versa for those living in high humidity locations.



Why does Snow Fox have two Tonics and no Toner?

The Cucumber Recovery Tonic and the Herbal Youth Lotus Tonic have very different functions. Like all Snow Fox formulas, they are designed with specific skin care goals in mind and are therefore structured very differently depending on skin types and needs.


The Cucumber Recovery Tonic is a light, cooling Rose Water based Tonic that targets the rebalancing of the skin’s natural PH levels for Combination and Normal skin types. It is careful to hydrate without clogging pores and each bottle maintains an exact PH balance of 5.5 (the skin’s natural acidity) to help normalize PH, which helps to regulate oil production evenly across the face. Passionflower and Cucumber Fruit extracts offer nutrients without being too heavy for those who struggle with oily patches, yet need some hydration for their dry areas. It’s also light enough to transfer to a misting bottle for travel if needed.



The Herbal Youth Tonic is a silky, emollient texture that almost feels like it could be a serum itself. It’s richer than the Cucumber Recovery Tonic and incredibly dense in hydrating and nourishing herbal ingredients, such as Olive Fruit Glycolipids, Chlorella Algae and contains several weights of Hyaluronic acid to intensively boost hydration while plumping the texture of skin. Due to its thicker, denser texture, we do not recommend transferring to a misting bottle as it won’t mist well.

Finally, we are definitely working on a Toner! Toners are more complicated for sensitive skin types. As a brand founded by a Rosacea patient, we are extremely cautious of formulas that could possibly strip the skin of its natural moisture or risk causing irritations. Snow Fox formulas can take up to two years to refine (because we’re that crazy about perfecting the right balance of potent and sensitive skin friendliness) but we are close to finalizing our very first Toner that can help clear up dead skin cell residue, brighten up skin tone and minimize pores by gently exfoliating the skin.
We hope the above was helpful and keep an eye out for our new Toner!