DIY Apple Cider Vinegar Facial Toner For Beautiful Skin Ramona Sinha Hyderabd040-395603080 May 6, 2019

Did you know that in 450 BC, Hippocrates used apple cider vinegar (ACV) for healing wounds (1)? Astonishing, right?

ACV has been used medicinally by civilizations throughout history. And it also has a long history of cosmetic use. The Romans used ACV as a face toner, Cleopatra used it to clean her face – if you turn the pages of history, you will be amazed to find how people preferred ACV for its restorative properties. And now, it’s time for you to embrace this amazing ingredient (if you still haven’t). There’s a super-easy way to include ACV in your skin care routine. Keep reading to know more about it.


Table Of Contents

Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar For Your Skin
DIY Apple Cider Vinegar Facial Toner: Step By Step Process
Points To Remember

Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar For Your Skin

Here are a few science-backed benefits of apple cider vinegar:

1. Apple Cider Vinegar Has Antimicrobial Properties

Apple cider vinegar is very effective in inhibiting the growth of several strains of bacteria. It is an extremely potent antimicrobial. A study found that it was especially effective on bacteria such as E. coli and S. aureus (the bacteria that cause acne). The study concluded that ACV could be used for therapeutic benefits (2).

2. It Can Zap Your Acne

Apple cider vinegar contains citric acid, succinic acid, and lactic acid. All these compounds can prevent the growth of Propionibacterium acnes or P. acnes, the bacteria responsible for acne (3), (4). Moreover, it also inhibits the growth of S. aureus, which automatically keeps your skin healthy and free of acne and pimples.

3. It Has Antifungal Properties

Apple cider vinegar is especially very effective in preventing the growth of Candida species, especially Candida albicans (5). This fungus is responsible for causing extreme dry skin, atopic dermatitis, and eczema. Usually, these conditions are caused when your skin’s protective barrier is compromised, making it vulnerable to the fungus. Apple cider vinegar not only prevents infection but also helps in stabilizing the pH balance of your skin.

The easiest way to use apple cider vinegar for your face is by turning it into your daily facial toner. It’s a simple and no-fuss recipe that you can easily prepare at home.

Back To TOC

DIY Apple Cider Vinegar Facial Toner: Step By Step Process

Before you make an apple cider vinegar facial toner at home, you need to consider the uniqueness of your skin. So, before using any DIY recipe, it is best to customize it to the needs of your skin.

You may follow this measurement ratio for your facial toner:

  • 1:4 Ratio (Perfect For Sensitive Skin)

Use one part ACV and four parts distilled water (or hydrosol). If you are using a tablespoon of ACV, dilute it with four tablespoons of distilled water. This ratio is extremely mild and gentle on the skin.

  • 1:3 Ratio (Perfect For Normal And Dry Skin)

Use one part ACV and three parts distilled water (or hydrosol).

  • 1:1 Ratio (Perfect For Oily Skin)

Use one part ACV and one part distilled water (or hydrosol). Follow this ratio if you are using essential oils in your facial toner.

If you are using ACV on your skin for the first time, start with the milder version first, and once your skin gets used to it, you may try other proportions. Stick to whatever keeps your skin happy.

Let’s see how to make apple cider vinegar facial toner at home.

  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Distilled water
Optional Ingredients
  • Hydrosol (1 teaspoon per cup of toner)
  • Essential oils (2-3 drops per cup of toner)
  1. Mix the apple cider vinegar with distilled water (mix it in the ratios mentioned above).
  2. If you are adding hydrosol, add it according to the mentioned ratio.
  3. Add the essential oil.
  4. Mix well and transfer the mixture to a spray bottle.
  5. Store it in the refrigerator.
How To Use
  1. Take a cotton pad and spray a bit of toner on it.
  2. Dab it all over your face gently. Avoid the eye area.
  3. Do not rinse or wash.
  4. You can also directly spray it on your face.
  5. Apply it multiple times, especially after washing your face.

There are several important points you should be aware of before preparing and using the apple cider vinegar facial toner.

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Points To Remember

  • It is better to use organic apple cider vinegar with the mother. The mother is nothing but the enzymes, proteins, and the skin-friendly bacteria that impart a muddy and murky appearance to the vinegar. Even if you don’t have the one with the mother, you can use it on your skin.
  • Apple cider vinegar has a foul smell. If you are using ACV for the first time, it’s normal to find the smell disgusting. When you apply it, it will stink a bit, but the smell will fade away in a few minutes.
  • Avoid using ACV on broken skin. If you have scratches, wounds, and open wounds, avoid using it. It might sting a bit when used on acne, pimples, open pores, and dry skin. But don’t worry. This means it is fighting the infection and bacteria and cleaning your skin.
  • If you are using ACV for the first time, do a patch test. Always dilute it before applying. Start with a milder version, and then as per your skin’s tolerance, increase the amount of ACV.

Apple cider vinegar can be your key to healthy and glowing skin and not just a kitchen ingredient. So, if that bottle of apple cider vinegar is gathering dust in your kitchen cupboard, take it out today and make this easy-to-use and extremely handy facial toner. Don’t forget to share your experience with us.

Back To TOC

1. “Vinegar: Medicinal Uses..”, Medscape General Medicine, US National Library of Medicine
2. “ Antimicrobial Activity of Apple Cider Vinegar..”, Scientific Reports, ResearchGate
3. “Staphylococcus epidermidis in the..”, Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, US National Library of Medicine
4. “Evaluation of anti-microbial activities..”, Internationa Journal of Cosmetic Science, US National Library of Medicine
5. “Antifungal Activity of Apple Cider Vinegar..”, Journal of Prosthodontics, US National Library of Medicine

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Ramona Sinha

Ramona has a Master’s degree in English Literature. She believes that beauty begins with a good skin care regimen and is on a mission to eliminate all toxins from her routine. She helps readers select products and ingredients specific to their skin type and gives out tips to keep their skin healthy in a natural way. When Ramona is not working or experimenting with a new skin care product or ingredient, her books and a passion for music, good food, and traveling keep her busy.

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Really Work As A Toner? I Tried It & I’m Actually Impressed

Apple cider vinegar has received its fair share of buzz over the past few years, thanks to the supposed health benefits of drinking it. But recently, a trendy new way to use the stuff has people testing its benefits in a more, well, surface-level way — on their skin. And as someone who will try just about anything once in the name of skin care research, I saw it as my sworn duty to find out: Does apple cider vinegar really work as a toner?

It can, according to Laura and Diana Palmisano (fondly known as the Derm Duo) of Schweiger Dermatology in NYC. “Because of the acidity of the ACV, it can help balance the skin’s pH and restore a better environment, aiding in better skin function, prevention of bacterial growth, and exfoliation of dead skin cells,” they tell me. “It may also help with acne by reducing oil and helping to unclog pores.”

Sounds like a no-lose situation, right? Well, not exactly. Yes, its antibacterial and antiseptic properties can be be beneficial for a whole host of skin issues, but it’s not for everyone. ACV is a pretty harsh ingredient, so if you have super sensitive skin, acne problems, or you’re using an intense skin care ingredient on the reg (like retinoids, glycolic or salicylic acid, or benzoyl peroxide), use extra caution before trying ACV as a toner.

As for me, my skin is pretty dry and sensitive, so I admit that I was a little nervous going into it. To my surprise, though, I was pretty impressed with the effects of ACV as a toner.

Here’s how I did it:

I Diluted The ACV With Water

This is probably the most crucial step in the whole process: Dilute the ACV with water. I repeat, dilute the ACV with water. On its own, it’s way too strong for skin.

How much you dilute it depends on your skin type. You can play with what works for you, but these are the Derm Duo’s reccomended starting points (in parts ACV to parts water).

  • Sensitive skin: 1:4
  • Dry skin: 1:3
  • Normal Skin: 1:2
  • Oily Skin: 1:1

For the first time you try it, though, they recommend starting with at least a 1:3 ratio (even if you’re normal or oily) and gradually building up until your skin gets used to it. Since I have dry skin anyway, I went with their guidance and used one part ACV to three parts water.

After Washing My Face, I Applied The ACV Toner With A Cotton Pad

If you’ve never gotten a whiff of ACV before, just know that this ish is pungent, so putting it on your face isn’t the most appealing thing ever. (Hey, better than drinking it though, I guess.)

Nevertheless, I persisted. I started by washing my face with a gentle cleanser and drying it off (as most good skin care practices start, with clean skin). I dipped a cotton pad into my ACV/water concoction and squeezed out the excess, then wiped down my face with it (avoiding my eye area to avoid irritation, per the Palmisanos’ advice). I admit, it burned a little bit, but nothing too intense.

Finally, I Followed Up With Moisturizer For A Super-Smooth Result

I noticed instant results from my little experiment — the texture of my skin felt way more even, and it looked a little brighter. Overall, my face just felt so, so clean.

Now, oils are a natural part of healthy skin, so it’s not a great thing for your face to feel that matte and squeaky all the time. But it was insanely satisfying in this case.

Because ACV is drying to the skin, I followed up my toner with a gel moisturizer with hyaluronic acid. And I have to say, after all was said and done, it was one of the smoothest skin nights of my life. (Plus, the moisturizer helped cover up the ACV smell, so there’s that.)

The Final Verdict

Overall, I’d absolutely try using ACV as a toner again. The Derm Duo suggests easing it into your routine by using it once or twice a week because it is such an intense ingredient, so I’ll start there (and maybe stick to just doing it a couple of times a week, since I do have dry skin). It was an unexpected surprise to like it as much as I did, but I’m not questioning it.

DIY Apple Cider Vinegar Facial Toner

In the past few years, I’ve seen radical improvements in my skin ever since I switched to natural skin care. My routine is now painfully simple. At night, I clean my face with coconut oil and apply this apple cider vinegar facial toner (using raw apple cider vinegar). During the day, I only use safer cosmetic products (which are the bomb) for makeup. And that’s it.

To tell you the truth, I wasn’t sold on natural skincare (or putting apple cider vinegar on my face) in the beginning. For years, I was practically married to my four step cleansing process I thought I had to do to get clear, beautiful skin. How could you expect to treat acne and pimples without exfoliating, cleansing, toning, and moisturizing with the most expensive products? Clearly, an apple cider vinegar toner wasn’t as sophisticated as my expensive store-bought one.

Then, it hit me. Why would adding more synthetic (and expensive!) chemicals to my skin somehow be better for me?

If like me, you’ve seen huge improvements in how you feel when you eat less processed foods and more whole foods without additives, you’ve probably already started to wonder about the concoctions you put on your face, skin, and hair.

To help you navigate natural skin care, here’s why apple cider vinegar can be great for your skin, and how to make your own DIY apple cider vinegar facial toner.


The act of cleansing, toning and moisturizing dates back thousands of years. Evidence shows ancient cultures utilized avocado, palm oil, olive oils, and spices for moisturizing, animal fats and salts for cleansing, and botanical waters and natural astringents for “freshening” the skin.

In fact, in the early 1900s, women (our great grandmothers!) were still making their own skin care products for toning and brightening skin from unprocessed milks, lemon juice, witch hazel, and vinegar.

Are toners a must?

Toners were originally introduced as a way to restore the skins natural pH after using conventional cleanser products, which became popular in the 1930s.

The skin has a very delicate acid mantle that normally has a pH of around 5. Soap-based cleansers are typically more alkaline (have a pH above 7), which can disrupt the acid mantle on the skin. When the acid mantle is disrupted, it promotes abnormal bacteria growth, and our skin becomes more susceptible to diseases, infections, and even wrinkles long-term. Toners, which are more acidic (a pH of around 3-4), restore the skin to its natural pH.

As beauty products have developed and evolved, most cleansers are now less alkaline and tailored to specific “types” of skin. As a result, there is much controversy about whether toners are necessary for use among professionals. Claims of conventional toners to “tighten” and “soothe and soften” skin can be far-fetched and inaccurate.

Here’s the low-down. Convention toners are typically a chemical soup of alcohol and conventional astringents, fragrances, parabens, hydrogenated oils (seriously?), and additives like “RED” this and “BLUE” that. These aren’t even close to being necessary for anyone to have clear, beautiful skin.

Because our skin’s delicate pH can be disrupted by many factors including stress, our diet, lack of exercise, and not drinking enough water, a simple, natural toner like this DIY apple cider vinegar facial toner, can be very beneficial for balancing the skin.

Why use an apple cider vinegar facial toner?

Raw apple cider vinegar is simply the by-product of the fermentation of apples. Apples are loaded with potassium, pectin, malic acid and calcium, and fermentation fortifies it with even more beneficial acids and enzymes. While it may seem weird to put apple cider vinegar on your face, it’s antiseptic and antibacterial, which is an added bonus when dealing with skin infections and conditions like acne and eczema.

Apple cider vinegar facial toner made from raw apple cider vinegar balances the natural pH of the skin, and breaks up the bonds between dead skin cells (exfoliating) to keep skin pores open. It also can lighten sun and age spots, and can improve acne and acne scars. And lastly, it’s great for freshening and removing excess oils and make up that may have been left behind after performing natural techniques like the oil cleansing method for cleansing skin.

Best of all? It’s super-duper affordable and contains no added conventional chemical craziness. Now that’s what’s up.


Raw apple cider vinegar
Filtered water

Brewed herbal tea
Hydrosols (Like rose or orange)
Essential oils (Like lavender or tea tree)


For sensitive skin: Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar with 4 parts water

For normal/dry skin: Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar with 2 parts water

For oily skin: Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar with 1 part water

Note: One “part” is any measurement you chose to use. So, if you’re following the sensitive skin ratio, you’ll mix 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar with 4 tbsp water. I typically follow the oily skin ratio, and make 16 oz total. This means, I use 1 cup filtered water, and 1 cup apple cider vinegar.

Using brewed tea: Brew your favorite organic herbal tea like green tea and use it in place of filtered water. If you do this, you will need to store your toner in the refrigerator.

Adding hydrosols: Hydrosols are gentle “flower waters” that have nourishing properties. They are made during the process of making essential oils. During distillation, the essential oil is separated from the water, which leaves behind a nourishing, herbal water with small traces of essential oils. To add a hydrosol to your toner, use 1 tsp per 8 oz of toner. This will not be in place of your filtered water, rather as an addition.

Adding essential oils: Essential oils are natural oils obtained through distillation which have the characteristic fragrance of the plant or other source from which it is extracted from. Adding essential oils increases the nourishing properties of your toner depending on which one you use. I recommend using tea tree oil for additional anti-inflammatory benefits, or lavender oil for a more aromatic, soothing experience. Use 2-3 drops per 8 oz of toner.


Mix the ingredients together and store in a glass or plastic container. This toner is shelf stable and does not need to be put in the fridge.

To apply: Using a cotton square, lightly rub the toner on your face and neck. You can also store this apple cider vinegar toner in a spray bottle and spray a light mist directly on your skin to freshen your skin throughout the day. Do not rinse it off after use. You can apply this multiple times a day to freshen skin. As a reminder, this should come AFTER you clean your face.

IMPORTANT: No matter what your skin type is, do a patch test on your skin to see how your skin responds. I also recommend using the sensitive skin ratio first before increasing the amount of apple cider vinegar you use. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the ratio to figure out whats best for you skin. Overtime, if you feel the solution seems to be too weak, slowly increase the ratio of apple cider vinegar to water. Do not increase more than a 1:1 ratio of apple cider vinegar to water.

If you’re looking to improve your hair and scalp, check out how to make an apple cider vinegar hair rinse.

Will you be giving this apple cider vinegar facial toner a try? Let me know what your special “blend” is and how it works for you!

Live empowered,

Acne has always been a problem for me. My middle school days were filled with envy of the girls who, unlike me, didn’t have faces covered with tons of angry red bumps.

I distinctly remember a boy (I won’t name names, but I do remember the scum bag who said this) telling me that my acne was so bad that he could connect the dots on my forehead. Nice, right?

Although high school and college brought nicer, clearer skin, acne is still something that I suffer from. I’m always eager to try new skincare solutions, especially because nothing that I’ve tried so far has actually wiped out my acne entirely.

I find myself disappointed again and again with the skin products that are available. The products that work are completely unaffordable, and the products that are affordable don’t seem to work as well (read: at all).

Because I’ve grown SO TIRED of spending my hard-earned money on products that don’t work for me, I decided to take matters into my own hands. Making your own skin products is intimidating, I will admit, but I put my big girl pants on, I buckled in, and I made an apple cider vinegar toner that kicks ProActiv’s sorry ass to the curb.

If you’re doubting the effectiveness of a homemade apple cider vinegar toner versus a pretty-packaged, $90 kit that contains the smallest bottle of toner you’ve ever seen, let me answer a few questions that you may have.

What exactly is a toner?

Great question! Facial toners are used to cleanse skin, shrink pores, and remove any stubborn, lingering oil and gunk that is clinging to your face.

Are pre-made toners actually that expensive?

Yeah, pal, they are if you want something that actually works. A 6-ounce bottle of Proactiv toner costs $30, a 6-ounce bottle of Murad toner costs $24, and an 8-ounce bottle of Mario Badescu toner, a brand that Kylie Jenner swears by, costs $18.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m ballin’ on a budget. How am I supposed to afford a tiny bottle of this stuff and the other necessities like a cleanser, an exfoliater, and a moisturizer?

Well what is apple cider vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar is pure apple juice, made from crushed apples, that is fermented twice. Fermentation is a fancy word that means the natural sugars in the apples turn into alcohol, which is what gives the liquid all of its superpowers.

And why should I rub apple cider vinegar on my face?

Alyssa Modos

Yet another excellent question. Malic acid is formed when apples undergo this process, and it’s a really strong antibacterial substance. This eliminates bacteria and toxins, which eliminates those pesky blemishes that refuse to take a hike.

Another thing to think about is that the use of apple cider vinegar is completely natural. Pre-made products are made up of a laundry list of chemicals. Whenever I attempt to read the ingredients in any store bought skin product, I have no idea what the chemicals are, much less what their effects are.

So, here’s an amazing recipe.

Apple Cider Vinegar Toner

  • Prep Time:5 mins
  • Cook Time:0
  • Total Time:5 mins
  • Servings:60
  • Easy


  • Sensitive skin:
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • Normal or dry skin:
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups filtered water
  • Oily skin:
  • 1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cups filtered water

Alyssa Modos

  • Step 1

    Pour the apple cider vinegar into a container of your choice. Jars and bottles work pretty well.

    Alyssa Modos

  • Step 2

    Pour the filtered water into the same container. Shake or stir the mixture until the two liquids are combined.

    Alyssa Modos

  • Step 3

    Using a cotton ball or pad, rub that apple nectar of the gods on your freshly cleansed face, avoiding the eye area. Voila.

    Alyssa Modos

Looking for a natural toner recipe? Try this DIY Facial Toner made with apple cider vinegar. It restores your skin’s pH levels and great for all skin types, including those with acne. Homemade facial toner can be customized to your liking with essential oils, giving you that natural glow you’ve been looking for!

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been using harsh toners on my skin. Most contained alcohol, salicylic acid and a number of other additives, perfumes, artificial colors, etc. I thought they were working, but in the end, they were just causing more redness, dryness and inflammation on my skin.

I checked out the label for a toner I used to use. It was supposed to help my acne and keep my skin’s pH level in balance. But do you see all the ingredients? I can’t even pronounce much of it, plus there are artificial dyes in it too. This is definitely NOT something I want on my skin anymore.

Then, I learned about apple cider vinegar (ACV). It is absolutely AH-MAZING. It can be used for everything – from cooking (salad dressing anyone?) to a digestion aid (I have a teaspoon every morning) to a facial toner.

Yes, a DIY facial toner. I really love it and will never go back to store-bought toners with harsh chemicals because ACV is so much more effective and a LOT cheaper. A 32-oz bottle of apple cider vinegar (raw and unfiltered) is under $5 on Amazon. That’s a bargain compared to what I used to pay for high-end toners.

What Does A Facial Toner Do To Your Face?

Before moisturizing and following your facial cleanser, a face toner is a quick, absorbing liquid that helps to remove excess dirt, traces of oil and makeup, correct and balance the pH of your skin, and helps control acne. … By helping to clean and close pores, it’s especially beneficial for acne-prone skin.

How to Make DIY Facial Toner with Apple Cider Vinegar – Step By Step

For normal to dry skin

  • Mix 1/3 part vinegar to 2/3 part filtered water.
  • Add 5 drops each of Lavender and Frankincense oils, or your favorite essential oils for the skin.

For oily and acne-prone skin

  • mix 1/2 part vinegar and 1/2 part filtered water.
  • Add 5 drops each of Lavender and Frankincense oils, or your favorite essential oils for the skin.

Ingredients for DIY Facial Toner

  • Filtered water
  • Raw apple cider vinegar
  • Lavender essential oil
  • Frankincense essential oil

How to Store DIY Facial Toner

Simply store the apple cider facial toner in a glass bottle at room temperature.

How to Use Apple Cider Facial Toner

Use your homemade DIY facial toner twice a day – first thing in the morning and right before bed.

Can I use Apple Cider Vinegar on my Skin Everyday?

Although ACV is acidic, it actually helps to regulate the pH balance of the skin. It’s an excellent DIY facial toner and can be used for all skin types. It’s also antibacterial and has anti-inflammatory properties.

For oily and acne-prone skin, ACV helps to treat acne and reduce redness. For dry and normal skin, ACV helps to exfoliate skin and reduce wrinkles.

Top Tips For This DIY Facial Toner

  • Can be used for all skin types.
  • Make sure to wash your face before applying toner.
  • Store in a glass container at room temp.
  • Make sure to wash your face with a soap-free cleanser at night to remove build-up debris, makeup and pollutants. A morning cleanse can also help your skin be fresh and ready for makeup and the day.

More DIY Beauty Recipes You Might Like:

  • DIY Exfoliating Facial Scrub for Glowing Skin
  • 100+ DIY Beauty + Skin Care Recipes
  • DIY Body Wash
  • DIY Dry Shampoo Powder + DIY Dry Shampoo Spray

Did you try this DIY Facial Toner? Don’t forget to rate the recipe and comment below to let me know how you like the recipe. You can also FOLLOW ME on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

DIY Facial Toner Prep Time 5 mins Total Time 5 mins

Looking for a natural toner recipe? Try this DIY Facial Toner made with apple cider vinegar. It restores your skin’s pH levels and great for all skin types.

Keyword: DIY beauty, diy facial toner, face toner Author: Don’t Mess With Mama Ingredients

  • 5 tbsp filtered water or rose water
  • 3 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil
  • 5 drops frankincense essential oil
  • 2 oz glass spray bottle


  1. For normal to dry skin, mix 1/3 part vinegar (3 tbsp) to 2/3 part filtered water (5 tbsp). Add 5 drops each of Lavender and Frankincense oils.

  2. For oily and acne-prone skin, mix 1/2 part vinegar (4 tbsp) and 1/2 part filtered water (4 tbsp). Add 5 drops each of Lavender and Frankincense oils.

  3. Shake well and use morning and night after washing face.

Want More DIY Beauty Recipes?

Check out my book Natural Beauty Made Simple. It comes with 45 homemade skincare recipes with a set of printable labels and gift tags. You can download it instantly to your phone, computer or e-reader, so it’s portable and can go with you anywhere!

With this book, you’ll learn how to:

  • Make your own organic beauty and skin care products for less than $25 a month!
  • Learn simple techniques to make your own skincare – without the fuss of complicated recipes or hard-to-find ingredients
  • Get tried-and-true recipes that work to nourish the skin and make it look more radiant than ever before
  • Create beautiful gifts for friends and family with the printable labels and gift tags I’ve included with this book

FREE DIY Beauty Book

Get glowing skin and learn how to make your own DIY beauty products with simple ingredients from your kitchen. Plus, get my 7-day essential oils course to get gorgeous skin from the inside out.

How to Make Your Own Apple Cider Vinegar Toner

Not into the whole DIY beauty thing? We get it-sometimes the ingredients can be hard to track down and the prep so exhausting it’s easier to just pick up what you need from the drugstore. Not with this toner! All you need is apple cider vinegar mixed with plain ol’ water. Mix the two together in a glass jar and apply to your face with a cotton pad. Yep, really-that’s it! (If you have a few more minutes to spare, try this DIY rosewater.)

Why use apple cider vinegar as a toner in the first place? Well, you may already know that drinking apple cider vinegar has a whole host of health benefits, but it turns out those same purported pH-balancing perks also apply to your skin. So while traditional store-bought toners might throw skin out of whack thanks to ingredients like alcohol and fragrances, derms say that ACV can help restore your skin’s delicate pH balance while helping clear up issues such as acne, thanks to its antibacterial and antiseptic properties.

Since apple cider vinegar is drying, just make sure to start with about one part ACV to three parts water the first time you give it a go. And if you have super-sensitive skin, use extra caution (or consult your derm) before adding this toner or anything new to your beauty routine.

  • By Kylie Gilbert @KylieMGilbert

Inside: How to make apple cider vinegar toner to help with acne AND keep skin looking youthful by supporting the “invisible veil” that holds moisture in.

Have you ever wondered if skin toner is the pet rock of beauty products – basically an attempt to get you to spend money on something you don’t need? I have!

The short answer to that question is that consumers that are slathering hormone-disrupting, synthetic cleansers on their face probably don’t need toner. However, if you use a natural cleanser, toner can really benefit your skin. I’ll explain why in this post, and share a simple recipe that you can make in under five minutes.

Why your skin needs acid, even if it isn’t oily

Soap, though fantastic for grimy armpits and such, is not great at preserving our skin’s built-in protection system: the acid mantle.

If you’ve never heard of it, the acid mantle is “like an invisible veil that keeps the good stuff (lipids, moisture) in and the bad stuff (pollution, bacteria) out. As the name indicates, the acid mantle is at its strongest—and therefore most naturally balanced—when the skin is slightly acidic, with an optimum pH of about 5.5.” (source)

When we wash with soap, two things happen . . .

1. We remove debris and transient bacteria from the environment. We also rinse away some of the good bacteria that are part of our natural microbiome, but those bacteria also live in the deeper layers of our skin that water doesn’t touch and therefore quickly repopulate.

2. Unfortunately, soap also changes the skin’s pH from acid to alkaline and washes off the “protective film” part of the mantle, which is sebum produced by our skin. Or as New York dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe put it, “The natural acidity in our skin can be disrupted when we use harsh cleansers and soaps. This in turn destroys the acid mantle protecting our skin from harmful bacteria, germs, and pollutants.”

So, how does apple cider vinegar benefit skin?

According to Dr. Bowe, apple cider vinegar “returns acidity to your skin and the malic acid in apple cider vinegar makes it antibacterial, wiping out bacteria.” Using a toner made with apple cider vinegar restores pH, and then all you need to do is smooth on moisturizer and you’re done!

It may also help to prevent premature aging. According to this article, skin “Alkalinity might also play a role in aging. A study published in British Journal of Dermatology by Greg Hillebrand, PhD, of P&G Beauty Science showed that women with an alkaline stratum corneum (the skin’s outermost layer) developed more fine lines and crow’s-feet than those with acidic skin over an eight-year period.” (emphasis mine)

I recommend this this hydrating skin repair face serum recipe or homemade tallow balm, which is uniquely compatible with our skin’s biology due to it’s similarity to the sebum that makes up our protective layer.

If you don’t have easy access to tallow or are short on time, my friend Emilie sells pre-made tallow balm blends that smell amazing. If you want to try it out, for 10% off your first order.

What are the benefits of apple cider vinegar for acne?

In this interview, New York dermatologist Sejal Shah, M.D., says that “While there haven’t been any scientific studies specifically evaluating apple cider vinegar for acne, the acetic acid in apple cider vinegar has both antibacterial and keratolytic properties.”

“In other words,” continues the article, “it has the potential to help zap your bumps from the source.”

Should I add essential oils?

It depends. I’ll explain in more detail below, but basically what you need to know is that different ratios of apple cider vinegar to water work for different people. If the formula that works best for you contains less than 50% apple cider vinegar, the essential oils will not disperse and instead will float on the top of the toner, making it very difficult to get an even application.

That’s why for this recipe I recommend using hydrosols, which are “flower waters” that have similar therapeutic properties as their essential oil counterparts, but work better in water-based formulas. Here are a few of my favorites for skincare:

  • Organic Calendula Hydrosol – Gentle and soothing. Good for all skin types.
  • Organic Lavender Hydrosol – Similar to calendula in properties, but smells like a field of lavender.
  • Organic Helichrysum Hydrosol – Often called “The Everlasting Flower” due to it’s skin renewing properties.
  • Organic Peppermint Hydrosol – Helpful for acne prone skin. Also makes a good homemade mouthwash.
  • Organic Rose Hydrosol – Gentle and balancing. Good for anti-aging formulas.
  • Organic Tea Tree Hydrosol – Helpful for acne prone skin.

Apple Cider Vinegar Toner Recipe

Because your skin is unique, the ratio of apple cider vinegar to water (or hydrosol) that works best for you may be different than what works best for someone else. In general, I recommend starting with apple cider vinegar that has been well-diluted (see the 1:4 ratio below), then increasing the amount of apple cider vinegar in the recipe if it makes your skin happy.


  • raw apple cider vinegar (if you’re a DIY person, you can use apple scraps to make apple cider vinegar)
  • distilled water or hydrosol (see recommended options above)

To Make

1:4 Ratio – Recommended for sensitive skin or if you’re just starting to use toner: Add 1 part apple cider vinegar to 4 parts distilled water or hydrosol. This can mean 1 tablespoon of vinegar to 4 tablespoons water/hydrosol, or 1 ounce vinegar to 4 ounces water/hydrosol.

1:3 Ratio – Add 1 part apple cider vinegar to 3 parts distilled water or hydrosol.

1:2 Ratio – Add 1 part apple cider vinegar to 2 parts distilled water or hydrosol.

1:1 Ratio – If adding essential oils, use this dilution and add a maximum of 3 drops lavender or tea tree essential oil per tablespoon of liquid. Mix the essential oils with the vinegar first, then add in the water/hydrosol and shake before using. For example, if you’re making 1/2 cup of toner, what you want to do is mix up to 24 drops essential oil in 1/4 cup vinegar, then add in 1/4 cup water or hydrosol and shake well.

To Use

Apply to skin using a cotton pad or clean cloth. Some people prefer to pour it into a small spray bottle and spritz it on – that works too! Allow the apple cider vinegar toner to dry, then follow with a moisturizer like this face serum recipe.

Don’t Want To Use Soap At All?

If you’d prefer to skip soap altogether, try the oil cleansing method or a honey face wash instead. Recipe for the face wash coming soon!

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I used apple cider vinegar on my face for a week and it made my skin glow — but there was one major drawback

  • Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is used for a variety of things, including skincare.
  • ACV, however, has a very strong smell that was hard to tolerate.
  • After a week of using ACV as toner, I saw significant improvement in my skin.

I have a love-hate relationship with apple cider vinegar. Despite its putrid smell and affinity for burning your throat, ACV is often touted by health and beauty gurus alike for the health benefits it claims to give. From acting as a hair detox to promoting a healthy gut, it seems like there’s nothing ACV can’t do.

Among the extensive uses for ACV, I decided to test out one of the more popular ones: using ACV as a facial toner. Because of its high acidity level and natural ingredients, apple cider vinegar has been considered by many beauty lovers to be one of the best facial toners on the market. Although not its primary use, this grocery store find can help even out your skin’s pH balance, which is vital for having healthy, glowing skin.

Although I’m more of a Witch Hazel kinda gal, I’ve heard enough about ACV’s supposedly magical superpowers healing acne and toning skin to give put it to the 7-day test. Instead of my nightly routine of using YesTo Tomatoes Micellar Water and Sunday Riley UFO to help even out my skin, for one week I’d dedicate my nightly routine to using only ACV — no other products, including acne treatments, to make sure the product was working.

On the first day, the smell was pretty unbearable.

The smell was tough to handle … but it is vinegar after all. Marilyn La Jeunesse

I’m nervous about giving up my acne products for a week, especially because I’m prone to breakouts during hot weather. Nevertheless, I hide away my favorite facial products and breakout a giant 64 ounce bottle of apple cider vinegar. While, the bottle itself is bigger than my face, it was $3.90 on Amazon Pantry, and I’m not about to turn down a deal like that, especially when an 8 ounce bottle of ACV is sold at my local grocery store for $7. Thank you, NYC prices.

Putting aside the fact I have enough apple cider vinegar to last me a lifetime, I made sure to research exactly how to make a toner out of the product before rubbing it all over my face. Because of ACV’s high acidity level, it’s not the best idea to rub it directly on your skin. Instead, you should cut it with water or even herbal tea to protect your skin. I followed the directions given by Coconuts and Kettlebells, which recommends mixing one part ACV with one part water for people with oily skin.

On the first application, my skin began to tingle and the smell of the apple cider vinegar rubbed all over my face was absolutely unbearable. But, for the sake of good journalism and evening out my skin’s pH balance, I persist.

I didn’t see anything new on day two.

My skin looked the same. Marilyn La Jeunesse I’m obviously not expecting overnight results, but it would be nice if my dark marks and acne scars would have disappeared after one use of ACV toner. Alas, my skin looks the same, and Day 2 of using ACV as toner commences. Today, I try to add a little extra splash of water in the hopes of offsetting the burning I felt yesterday. It works, but doesn’t eliminate the smell.

But by day three, I saw some serious results.

So far, so good. Marilyn La Jeunesse Either the lighting in my bathroom is great (it’s not), or this ACV toner is working wonders. The dark spots on my face seem lighter and there are very few zits on my face right now. Consider me very pleased at the results so far, especially when you remember I’m not using my holy grail acne products this week.

By day four I was still convinced.

My skin was still looking pretty good. Marilyn La Jeunesse

I have tea tree oil in my apartment and, because I’m moving, I’m trying to get rid of unnecessary products by using them. I considered putting a drop in my toner concoction today, because some people claim essential oils can help make ACV toner more nourishing. But, for the sake of keeping this experiment consistent, I resist the urge (see, I did listen in science class!). So far, the ACV toner seems to be working out in my favor.

It’s a lot of ACV. Marilyn La Jeunesse

I’m astonished by how much room this bottle of ACV takes up in my bathroom. It’s bigger than my makeup bag! Pro tip: If you’re going to make an ACV toner, consider making a big batch of it and storing it in a mason jar as to save space in your bathroom.

On day five, I had a pimple.

On day five, a pimple appeared. Marilyn La Jeunesse Dark circles aside, today is the first day I’ve had a breakout since switching to an ACV toner. I can handle one blemish in favor of the scars on my cheeks looking less grotesque. And, please excuse the acne patch on my breakout, I’m not about to let this giant zit ruin my weekend.

On day six, that pimple began to heal.

I’m not sure if it was because of the apple cider vinegar. Marilyn La Jeunesse I’m still not use to the smell of the ACV on my face, and I’m reminded that my measuring is very off by the burning sensation on my cheeks when I rub the ACV toner on my face today. Whoever said beauty is pain is wrong — but also, kinda right? I’m actually surprised that my breakout has already started to heal. I did use an acne patch yesterday, but maybe, just maybe, the ACV is helping clear up the nasty bacteria hanging out on my face.

Overall, I was pleased with the results but the smell is so bad.

It worked pretty well—but I couldn’t get past the smell. Marilyn La Jeunesse

Despite the fact this photo is incredibly award (I’m trying to hide the fact I definitely broke out overnight because my skin hates me), I’m all smiles because I’ve finally completed the 7-day ACV toner challenge. While it wasn’t hard, and I didn’t see life-changing results from using this concoction, I am happy that I gave it a try. Overall, the smell of the toner is extremely off putting.

Maybe adding essential oils can help with this issue, but I am not about to smell like the inside of a vinegar bottle every single night. It’s definitely not for me. But, I did see a significant reduction dark marks and acne scars and, overall, my skin did seem healthier the week I used ACV toner. But, it’s definitely not for everyone. People with sensitive skin should be very careful and ask a dermatologist before testing ACV on their face.

I liked it so much, that I actually used it, along with other products for two weeks.

The ACV was pretty good for my skin. Marilyn La Jeunesse

I didn’t think a week was long enough to consider a toner product “successful.” While I did use my normal acne products again, over the course of 14 days I saw a significant improvement in the health and overall glow of my skin. No, that’s not sweat or highlight in the photo, it’s ACV glow, baby. The smell is still rancid, but I would consider switching my regular toner out for ACV in the new future. Maybe…

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Can you use apple cider vinegar as a toner?

Did you know that apple cider vinegar is one of nature’s powerful ingredients with wide variety of health and beauty benefits? Historically, people from 400 BC have been using it already. Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, used natural and organic apple cider vinegar to treat many of his patients. To maximize its benefits, use only the raw and unfiltered version. It is unpasteurized and have lots of original enzymes.

Apple cider vinegar is a remedy to a large number of conditions. It is made up of organic apples and rich in acetic, citric and malic acids as well as vitamins, enzymes, mineral salts, amino acids. Did you know that it’s antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antifungal agent? It aids common colds, muscle and arthritis pain, high cholesterol and weight unbalances. Now let’s check how apple cider vinegar toner benefits us.

Yes, it works as a skin toner!

Specializing for people with oily skin, apple cider vinegar fights through its astringent properties. It contains alpha hydroxyl acids that increase blood flow to the skin and closes pores. Just mix ½ cup each of apple cider vinegar and distilled water. Essential oils can be added.

Apply using uncolored cotton ball. Leave for some minutes then rinse with water. Should you have normal skin, make it 1 part apple cider vinegar and 2 parts of water. For sensitive skin, make it 1 part apple cider vinegar and 4 parts of water. Although an unappealing apple cider vinegar smell may linger for a while but won’t last.

Similar to the skin toner, apple cider vinegar hair toner is also possible. Just use it as a rinse after showering to restore your acid mantle, which is critical to your hair’s appearance. Simply combine 2 tbsps. of raw organic apple cider vinegar and 1 cup of water. Apple cider vinegar balances the hair’s pH , rejuvenates hair, adds shine, reduces frizz, reduces itchy scalp and so much more. To understand this better, read on.

Why it works?

Apple cider vinegar prevents acne and pimples

Due to its antiseptic and antibacterial properties, it prevents acne and pimple causing bacteria. It also regenerates, restores and balances skin’s pH which is essential to fight skin breakouts. It also directly hits the age spots.

Apple cider vinegar for acne scars is also something you can try as many claim apple cider vinegar helps scars fade. However, it is not recommended to use every day because it may lead to dryness and unwanted irritation.

In terms of how long it takes for apple cider vinegar to work on acne, it really depends on the severity of your acne. One thing is for sure – it won’t clear overnight! Give it a few weeks to see its effect on your acne and be patient with your progress.

Apple cider vinegar toner benefits.

The skin absorbs its nutrition. Another huge benefit of apple cider vinegar is its nutrition. Jam-packed with essentials, it contains potassium, pectin, malic acid, calcium, ash, acetic acid and vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C and E.

Restores acid mantle and balances pH

Our skin is naturally acidic but when harsh cleaner and soaps are being used, the natural acidity is disrupted. This destroys the acid mantle of the skin, which is needed to protect us from germs, bacteria and pollution. Apple cider vinegar cures acne and restores the acid mantle. It means that your skin is not too dry and not too oily. It does balance pH and production of sebum. It gives your skin a total balance.

Watch out for apple cider vinegar toner purging

The application of apple cider vinegar can make some experience “purging.” This means that it can get worse before it gets better, as the skin purges the impurities to the surface. To minimize the purging effect, observe your skin and apply apple cider vinegar gradually onto your skin. When this happens, know if you are purging or simply breaking out.

With so many different health benefits, it seems that apple cider vinegar is the answer we’ve all been looking for!


Products You Might Be Interested In

Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner

Thayers Rose Petal Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera Formula Toner will make your skin bloom. Thayers remarkably soothing Rose Toner is made with rose-petal water and our proprietary Witch Hazel extract.

T.N. Dickinson’s Witch Hazel 100 % Natural Astringent

The only 100% natural astringent that effectively cleanses, soothes and treats everyday skin irritations, without overdrying or leaving behind irritating residue.

Dickinson’s Pore Perfecting Toner

This toner refreshes skin and refines pores, removing excess oil, dirt and makeup residue without overdrying. Its 100% natural formula contains no added fragrances or dyes. This exclusive blend of witch hazel plant extracts is gentle enough for even sensitive skin every day.

Acv toner for face

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