Apple Cider Vinegar for Toner – Does It Help Your Skin?

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is credited as one of the best natural solutions for acne skin. Its soothing effects on the skin make it an excellent face toner. Importantly, ACV also works great for healing sunburn, exfoliation of dead skin cells, and removal of age spots and wrinkles.

“ACV is the best astringent in nature because it helps to balance the skin’s pH, making you both less oily and less dry,” says S.W. Basics founder Adina Grigore.

What is a Toner?

Skin toner, or facial toner, is a skincare solution (usually a lotion) applied to the face and neck after cleansing.

For Dr. Hadley King, a New York City-based, board-certified dermatologist, “the secret weapon to healthy skin is face toner.”

A good toner contains moisturizer and astringent properties that remove impurities from the surface of the skin. It protects and moisturizes the skin as well.

Surprisingly, for 100s of years, women were making their skincare products for toning and brightening the skin. Some of the traditionally used skin toners include witch hazel, vinegar, lemon juice, milk, olive oil, aloe vera, rose water, and tea tree oil.

The astringent acids in apple cider vinegar are fine natural skin toners. Many people vouch for its good effects.

Should You Use a Toner?

Usually, soap-based cleansers are typically more alkaline (pH above 7), which affects the acid mantle on the skin. Reduction in the acid mantle on the skin leads to abnormal bacterial growth, leading to common skin issues.

Toners are excellent for restoring the skin’s natural pH balance. They are more acidic, with a pH of around 3 to 4.

Toners restore the skin to its natural pH.

Today, in the stores, you can choose tonners specially tailored to deal with any specific skin issues you have, like acne, oily or dry skin, blackheads, anti-aging, and so on. But DIY toners are more safe and convenient for you.

If you have oily or acne-prone skin, tonners can be very useful for you. They can also help you with extra cleansing after wearing makeup or other heavy skin products such as sunscreen.

Benefits you can expect from tonners are:

  • Shrinks skin pores
  • Restores your skin’s pH balance
  • Adds a layer of protection
  • Acts like a moisturizer
  • Refreshes skin
  • Prevents ingrown hairs
  • Reduces acne issues

DIY Preparation of ACV Toner

It is simple and easy to make apple cider vinegar facial toner at home.

Diluting ACV in water is the simplest recipe for making this toner.

Always use organic apple cider vinegar and distilled water for making the toner.

You can make a superior toner by adding additional ingredients to the ACV solution.

The ingredients are chosen according to the specific skin conditions and requirements. Natural ingredients like rosewater, witch hazel, essential oils, or aloe vera in ACV toner can bring added benefits to your skin. Make sure to use only the therapeutic quality of organic ingredients.

ACV Toner Recipe

  • Apple cider vinegar – 2 tablespoons
  • Distilled Water – 8 oz.

Optional ingredients 

  • Lavender Oil (for oily skin) – 3 drops
  • Chamomile Oil (for psoriasis, acne, eczema, rashes) – 3 drops
  • Witch hazel extract (for oily skin) – 1 teaspoon


In a glass bowl, thoroughly mix and blend the ingredients. Add the optional ingredients as required for your specific skin conditions. After making the toner, store it in a glass spray bottle or container and keep it tightly closed without exposure to heat. A bottle of 8-ounce toner will last for a minimum of 15 days’ use.

Method of using

After cleansing your skin, gently dab or rub your face and neck with a cotton pad soaked in the toner for 2 minutes. Do not rinse or wash your face for a few hours. Use the toner once or twice a day till your skin conditions improve.

WARNING: Some may develop allergic reactions after using apple cider vinegar or other ingredients in this recipe. Before using the toner on your face or neck, you should do a patch test.

Points to remember:

  • Try to use the organic apple cider vinegar with the mother as it has more enzymes and skin-friendly bacteria.
  • If you have sensitive or dry skin, reduce the amount of ACV and additional ingredients used in the toner. Start with a mild toner with less ACV and other ingredients.
  • Using apple cider vinegar on the skin may make the skin dry. For those with dry skin, do not use more than 1 tbsp ACV per 8 oz. water.
  • Do not use hard water or water full of minerals for making the toner, for such water will make your skin drier.
  • ACV has a foul smell that can be disgusting for some. However, the strong scent of ACV will fade away after a few minutes.
  • It is best to use the toner after using a facial cleanser.
  • Do not apply ACV toner on broken skin and open wounds.
  • It may also sting for a while when the toner is used on pimples, blackheads, open pores, and dry skin, but it will not cause any harm.

Benefits of ACV Toner

A couple of anecdotal facts and traditional medicine practitioners applaud the many benefits of ACV for skin and health. Unfortunately, there are still no studies to vouch for the effectiveness of ACV as a skin toner.

But for sure, ACV has some positive effects on the skin because of several medicinal properties. Some of the benefits are:

1. Cleanses the skin

ACV contains astringent properties because of the high tannin content in it. This is expected to provide a cleansing effect on the skin. It also helps to eliminate harmful bacteria.

2. Contains antimicrobial properties

The acetic acid present in ACV produces antimicrobial actions. It inhibits the growth of infections, causing bacteria on the skin. ACV is traditionally used as a natural remedy to manage skin inflammations caused by bacteria such as E. coli and S. aureus.

3. ACV has anti-fungal properties

ACV is a popular natural remedy for inhibiting Candida albicans. This fungus is instrumental in causing extremely dry skin, eczema, and atopic dermatitis. ACV defends the skin from fungal infections and stabilizes the pH balance of your skin.

4. Prevents acne

Apple cider vinegar contains acidic compounds that prevent the growth of Propionibacterium acnes or P. acnes responsible for acne. The citric acid and succinic acid in ACV inhibit the growth of S. aureus, which causes a range of skin infections, including pimples.

Final Thoughts

These days, you will find a lot of DIY home remedies that contain apple cider vinegar because of its perceived skincare benefits. It is a proven natural ingredient in organic skin toners and cleansers.

Many positive feedback is pouring in from its users. Anecdotal evidence suggests the possible effectiveness of ACV in dealing with various skin issues. It has gained a lot of popularity because of its efficacy in managing acne and microbial infections on the skin.

It is wise for you to consult a dermatologist and decide on your skin type before you start using DIY apple cider vinegar for face toner.

Note: do not apply undiluted apple cider vinegar to the skin. Because it contains acids such as lactic, citric, and malic in a stronger form capable of causing skin irritation and discomfort.

More on Apple Cider Vinegar: 

Article source:

  • “Vinegar: Medicinal Uses”, Medscape General Medicine, US National Library of Medicine (Link)
  • Heikefelt C. (2011). Chemical and sensory analyses of juice, cider, and vinegar produced from different apple cultivars. (
  • “Antifungal Activity of Apple Cider Vinegar..”, Journal of Prosthodontics, US National Library of Medicine. (
  • Wang Y, et al. (2014). Staphylococcus epidermidis in the human skin microbiome mediates fermentation to inhibit the growth of Propionibacterium acnes: Implications of probiotics in acne vulgaris. (