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Homemade: Easy, All-Natural, pH Balancing Facial Toner

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It’s a bonus week for Sundays Homemade!  Now that you’ve brewed your own Herbal Floral Water, you’ve got a bi-product that shouldn’t be lost down the drain.  Turn it into an all-natural, pH balancing facial toner that’s great for all skin types, especially combination and acne prone skin.

You’ll Need:

  • 4 cup, seal-able container (I prefer a large mason jar)
  • 2 cups reserved Herbal Floral Water (dark water)*
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 10 drops peppermint oil

*If you haven’t made the Herbal Floral Water and would like to make this toner: simmer herbs (see herbal floral water for suggested herbs) in distilled water for 1-2 hours, then follow the steps below.

  1. Strain the boiled herbs and their dark water through a fine-mesh strainer, lined with cheese cloth, into a large mason jar.
  2. Add the vinegar and peppermint oil, seal the jar and shake.
  3. After cleansing your face, apply toner and let dry before applying any lotions or creams.

I like to pour some of the final mixture into a container with a smaller opening than the mason jar, making it easier to wet a cloth or cotton pad, for application. The vinegar will act as a preservative, so the smaller batch does not need to be refrigerated; however, I do like to store the remaining mixture in the refrigerator.

The apple cider vinegar in this recipe also balances the pH of your skin and neutralizes the alkaline residue left behind by soaps and cleansers.  pH balanced skin is less prone to infection, such as acne and blemishes, and is better able to maintain proper sebum levels, reducing excess dryness and/or oil production.  Apple cider vinegar does smell strong at first, but it fades quickly and I promise you won’t smell like salad dressing all day! The benefits you get, are definitely worth the temporary scent.

Your final product may be darker or lighter than mine, depending on the herbs you used to create the “dark water”. Most herbs, especially red or pink rose petals will turn brown when boiled.  If you want a lighter or clear liquid, you can use the distilled herbal floral water (recipe here) and white-wine vinegar instead.

Additional Uses: Scalp and hair rinse. Pour over hair, after conditioning, to remove product build-up, excess oil and add shine. Rinse and style as usual.  Do not use on light hair, as it may slightly darken it.

Trusted Herb Suppliers: If you don’t have access to your own homegrown or local herbs, either of these retailers can provide good quality, fairly priced herbs. Leaves and RootsMountain Rose Herbs

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31 Responses to Homemade: Easy, All-Natural, pH Balancing Facial Toner

  1. Christine, Random Hangers blog October 19, 2011 at 9:21 pm #

    Oooh, I do enjoy a good bonus! As a random aside, I also think that Dark Water should be your Indian name…

  2. Karen November 2, 2011 at 10:09 pm #

    Definitely going to try this recipe. AND, I love nature walks, so I’m checking that out too. What a GREAT blog!!!!!!!!!!!

    • katie November 3, 2011 at 10:23 am #

      Thank you so much!! It warms my heart that people are enjoying these things that I hold so dear. There’s more herbal recipes to come…stay tuned!

  3. Valerie December 4, 2011 at 8:05 pm #

    Hi, Katie! I just found your blog by googling all natural toner recipe. I’m excited! But I don’t know anything about using herbs and have never made my own toner before. Where I live I have very limited access to ingredients. So, how much can I adapt yours and still be good? I can get fresh rosemary and chamomile tea to simmer. And I have lavender or tea tree essential oil. Can I use that instead of the floral water and peppermint oil? Thanks so much for your help!

    • katie December 4, 2011 at 8:52 pm #

      I’m so glad you’re enjoying the blog! It sounds like you’ve got great ingredients for a toner. Bring 2 cups distilled water to a boil, remove from the heat and steep about 7 fresh rosemary sprigs (roll them between your palms first to release the natural oils), about 8 bags of chamomile tea (you can leave it in the bags) and if your grocery store carries Sage, use a few leaves of that too, in a covered pot for an hour. Strain the herbs out, then add either the lavender or tea tree essential oils (or a combination of both) to the apple cider vinegar and you’ll be good to go!

      Rosemary strengthens capillaries, helping to refresh and rejuvenate the skin. Both Chamomile and Sage are a good, natural way to prevent and heal acne and blemishes, so are Lavender and Tea Tree Oil. If you have sensitive skin, then I would suggest using only the chamomile and lavender.

      Next weekend, I’ll be making an all-natural face lotion that uses the floral water as a base. So stay tuned for that, I’ll be sure to include ingredients that are available in most grocery stores. If you need any other tips or if you have more questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

      • Valerie December 4, 2011 at 9:16 pm #

        Thank you, Katie!! I just think it’s so awesome to have an expert like you so easily available – thank you, thank you! I’ll head to the store now. One more question – how long will this keep?

        • katie December 4, 2011 at 9:52 pm #

          The apple cider vinegar acts as a natural preservative, so it will last about 3 months without refrigeration and at least 6 months in the refrigerator.

          I keep a small batch in my bathroom and the rest in my refrigerator. I go through the small batch in a month, then refill from the refrigerated portion as needed.

          Let me know how it turns out!

      • Holly March 22, 2013 at 4:36 pm #

        I’m really interested in making this recipe because I want to try to make my own toner. I’m not sure where to get the other herbs you mentioned before. Does the water have to be distilled? Can I use boiled tap water instead because I don’t know where to get distilled water? Does it matter what kind/brand of apple cider vinegar I use? Thanks for your help, this is my first time making my own skin care products.

  4. Sarah Hope April 15, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

    Hi Katie!
    I just recently made your lavender/chamomile lotion and love it! Thanks for the great recipe! I have some left over floral water from that… could I use that for the toner recipe instead of dark water?

    • Katie Glenn April 18, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

      Hi Sarah! Sorry I didn’t respond sooner, my comment notifications weren’t working. You can certainly use your leftover floral water to make a toner! I’m so glad to hear that you gave it a try and liked it. It is one of my most popular recipes, and one of my personal favorites. :)

      • Sarah Hope May 10, 2012 at 8:00 pm #

        Awesome! Thank you! If I keep left over floral water refrigerated, about how long do you think it will be good for?

        • Katie Glenn May 10, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

          I keep my leftover floral water in a mason jar, in the back of the refrigerator (the coolest part) and it stays good for about 9 to 11 weeks. If you have leftovers, you can put it in a spray bottle and spritz it on your pillow a few minutes before you go to bed. The scent of the lavender and chamomile will help calm your nervous system…and who doesn’t like that! :)

  5. Sarah Hope May 13, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

    Gosh, that’s a great idea! Thanks for the suggestion… I will definitely do that :) And thank you for answering all of my questions. When I start working on brewing your recipes, I always think of more questions to bombard you with. Hehe. I made the toner just this weekend and I’m really enjoying it… It smells so fresh!

    • Katie Glenn May 14, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

      I’m happy to help, keep the questions coming. I love that you’re giving this a try, you’re participating in a tradition that goes back thousands of years and that’s just cool!

    • lillian14 July 1, 2012 at 6:54 am #

      I love smelling oils before bed!! I especially love peppermint and lavendar.

  6. lillian14 July 1, 2012 at 6:52 am #

    Wow! Thanks for following my blog! I appreciate it! :) .Your blog is SPLENDIFEROUS! i can almost smell all the herbs and spices via internet. :p

  7. Liz July 12, 2012 at 3:37 pm #

    I made this toner about a month ago and I have definitely seen improvements in my skin! I don’t breakout as much and my skin is really soft!! Thank you! :)

    • Katie Glenn July 12, 2012 at 7:57 pm #

      Hooray!!! I love, love, love to hear that. Thanks for checking back and letting me know! :)

      • Liz July 12, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

        I have also been using it in conjunction with the hellogiggles facial lotion. My skin has never looked better!

        • Katie Glenn July 13, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

          Well now I just want to hug you! (((e-hug)))

  8. QuirkyCharmedBeauty July 18, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

    Really useful, thanks! Never thought of making my own toner. Love the fact you can use it on your hair too. I use a lot of moose & hairspray to keep my hair in check so this could prove really handy! :)

    • Katie Glenn July 19, 2012 at 10:45 am #

      Thanks for checking it out! It really makes a difference in my skin…and my hair!

  9. Jennifer August 23, 2012 at 5:19 pm #

    So easy to make!

  10. Mridula November 5, 2012 at 10:31 am #

    USEFUL INFORMATION! :-)

    THANKS for liking my flash fiction, if you can leave a comment in that link

  11. Emily December 13, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

    Hi Katie,
    I’m learning so much from your blog! In fact, I’m hoping to make my sister a facial toner and my mom homemade lotion for Christmas using your recipes. I’ve been looking and looking and finally found a great recipe online – and it was yours!
    My question is: Could I use the floral water that would be used in the facial toner above for lotion as well? My plan is to use calendula, possibly chamomile, rosemary, sage, and lemon balm (dried from my garden) for the herbal floral water toner. What do you think? Would this combination make a good lotion as well?
    Thank you so much!

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    We are a team of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche.

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