DIY facial Toner Recipe: Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar toner


Why am I using a DIY facial Toner Recipe and why won't I just purchase a drugstore toner?

Awhile ago, I heard that the apple cider vinegar was the greatest thing since sliced bread as a facial cleanser, facial toner and even as a metabolism booster when ingested. I didn't give it much thought and I took a while to jump on the apple cider vinegar train as I literally did not get a single acne until the age of 23. When you have clear skin, you don't think about a lot of things that you need to think about when you battle with acne. I used to simply wash my face with any soap and water and that did the trick. Until the stress of second year of chiropractic school got to me and my face in what seemed like overnight was filled with cystic acne. This change created an instant panic in me. I went and bought the most expensive face washes, toners, moisturizers and spot treatments. It looked like some of these were working, but my acne came back with vengeance. Many of these products were too harsh for my skin. Most contained alcohol, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide and an endless number of other additives. They were effective in drying the acne, but they were also drying my skin which caused even more acne flare-ups.

During this period in my life, I was already eating very much a balanced and healthy diet, so I knew my skin was not a result of eating unhealthy foods. I was in the habit of always reading the ingredients list and I refused to buy any food item that contained ingredients that I did not know or could pronounce. 

During my acne flare-ups something hit me? Why was I am purchasing all these products with long list of ingredient I didn't know where they came from. 

My skin deserved the same love that my body was getting. I decided to either purchase products where I knew and trusted the ingredient list or I was going to make my own products. Then, I started checking the ingredient lists in all my facial products and next thing I know, I was throwing out my moisturizers, toothpaste, face wash.

I still needed to tend to my skin and clean, tone and moisturize. So I found companies that sold amazing moisturizers which contained only two ingredients. I started cleaning my face with a self cleansing anti bacterial Konjac sponges. (By the way, they are amazing, but that is for another discussion).  Upon my research for toners, I came across the simple, pH restoring, budget friendly apple cider vinegar toner.

Now I am going to be honest, the toner did initially work and the effect seemed to have tapered off, but for some reason I stuck with it. The skin clearing effect was slower than some manufactured brands, but I noticed that it worked significantly better over time. 

How do I know that? Even though I still break out once in a while, my current break outs are under control and it is 1-2 pimples during my cycle and the acne does not persist. My skin is not irritated and I don't get random flare-ups. This break through in my skin has to do my entire regimen, rather than this toner alone, but it was definitely a big help. 

ACV toner is great for all skin types. However, for oily and acne-prone skin, ACV reduces irritation/redness and helps with acne control. In dry and normal skin however, ACV exfoliates, improves elasticity of skin and reduces wrinkles.

Apple Cider Vinegar(ACV) with or without the mother?

There is only one thing to pay attention to when you are buying apple cider vinegar to use for a facial cleanser or toner which is to make sure that the ACV has "the mother". Many brands in the grocery store does not contain " the mother". Thus, when purchasing an ACV look for the raw, unfiltered ACV with "the mother".

What is the mother?

The mother of vinegar is the natural enzymes found in the raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. This enzyme is responsible for all the raving reviews made for the benefits of apple cider vinegar.

Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar in the Skin Care Routine

I want to start this paragraph by stating that it is true, that the apple cider vinegar is the greatest thing since sliced bread. It literally can be used for everything – from cooking, to improving metabolism/digestion, to cleaning, to using it as a facial toner.

ACV itself is acidic, but it actually balances the skin's pH. 

Well, how does this work?

ACV works as a toner because soap based cleansers are alkaline (pH >7) and the pH of our skin is lower, thus adding an acidic ACV (pH <7) after washing our face gets the pH back to skin's happy place, the normal.

This vinegar also helps the skin imbalances caused by stress, diet or dehydration. As ACV is also rich in natural alpha hydroxy acids which aids in skin exfoliation. Additionally, potassium and calcium nourish the skin as it is the by product of fermented apples. The skin exfoliation in turn minimizes appearance of pores and lightens post acne discoloration, sun and age spots. The fermentation process also means the vinegar has antiseptic and antibacterial properties, which is useful to dry out acne on the skin.

Additionally, DIY apple cider toner is budget friendly. I can never buy store bought toners again. Mainly because of the harsh chemicals, but also ACV toner is more effective and it is significantly cheaper.

Recipe for Apple Cider Vinegar Toner



  1. If you are new to using apple cider vinegar or you have normal to dry skin, dilute 1/3 part vinegar with 2/3 part filtered water. If you have oily and acne-prone skin and your face is used to apple cider vinegar toner, dilute 1/2 part vinegar with 1/2 part filtered water. Store the toner at room temperature.

  2. Use toner twice a day post washing your face – once in the morning and once before bed.

Optional extras that can be used based on various skin needs

If you have questions or know other effective DIY toners, please share in the comments section. 

Laleh Maroufi