The Best Homemade Toner for Acne Prone Skin

The Best Homemade Toner for Acne Prone Skin


A homemade toner for acne prone skin should be two things: simple and economical. No long list of required ingredients, and no sourcing ingredients all over town (or all over the internet!). And of course, it needs to be effective for problematic, blemish-prone skin. Luckily, all of these requirements are fulfilled easily by two simple ingredients: green tea and apple cider vinegar. (See below for the recipe.)

Why Use Homemade Toner?

More often than not, commercial toners contain ingredients that irritate the skin and disrupt its natural balance. These ingredients include things like propylene glycol, harsh exfoliating acids, alcohol, mineral oil, glycerin, fragrance, and dyes. And if you’re lucky enough to find a quality toner that doesn’t contain unwanted chemicals, you’ll usually find a hefty price tag attached. Personally, I don’t feel like you need to sacrifice quality or hard-earned cash for something like facial toner. Instead, get the best of both worlds by making your own homemade toner.

Two Important Ingredients for Homemade Toner

My experiments with homemade toner led me to two primary ingredients: fresh green tea and raw apple cider vinegar. Why green tea? Green tea has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that repair skin damage and reduce redness. I personally notice a decrease in inflammation within minutes of applying green tea to my skin. As a bonus: the antioxidants in green tea may also fight the aging process. So adding green tea to your homemade toner can banish blemishes and wrinkles in one fell swoop! Stock up on organic green tea here. Why raw apple cider vinegar? Apple cider vinegar helps restore the natural pH balance of your skin, which is an important key when making your own homemade toner. Healthy skin is protected by what is called the acid mantle, a natural barrier that guards against pathogenic bacteria. In her book The Truth About Beauty, Kat James says this about the acid mantle:

“It can easily be obliterated by skin products that contain detergents, soaps, or antiseptics, and in many women–and even teens!–it is never given the change to recover or perform its intended function. Its absence inevitably leads to skin problems that can only be controlled but never resolved until we restore the acid mantle.”


Homemade Toner for Acne Recipe



Simply pour the green tea and apple cider vinegar into a glass jar or a glass spray bottle. Use a cotton ball to apply your homemade toner after cleansing or as often as desired. Store this toner in the refrigerator–it should keep for about two weeks this way.

While these two ingredients alone are enough to make a spectacular homemade toner, you can also experiment with adding things like:

  • Orange essential oil (astringent, oil-reducing, stimulates collagen production).
  • Lavender essential oil (antimicrobial, soothing, anti-inflammatory).
  • Lemon juice (brightening, toning, helps reduce red marks).

Learn where I shop for high quality therapeutic essential oils online.

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Have any other suggestions for homemade toner ingredients? Share your insights in the comments below!

Read more!

You may be interesting in trying out more natural skincare for acne:

Also, check out this post: Exploring the Root Causes of Acne

More Toner Recipes from My Fellow Blogging Friends:


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  1. I’ve been using whole leaf aloe vera gel with a few drops of tea tree oil as a toner before bedtime for about two years now. I have very oily, acne-prone skin, and my skin is almost always clear now. If I’m using it in the morning or before going somewhere, I skip the tea tree oil, since it does have a strong smell that lingers for a bit. If I have any redness or potential breakout, you can see it reduced within minutes of using this. 

  2. I actually use my green tea bags as my cotton ball and just add a little ACV to it and then I don’t have to mix anything up!

    • That’s a great way to simplify it. Kat James does recommend cleaning your face in the mornings with a green tea bag–it adds a bit of gentle exfoliation, too. I never thought of dabbing a bit of apple cider vinegar on it. Good thinking!

      • Being 58 years old I have some experience with skin.  Over the years it’s been my observation that the less we mess with our skin, the better.  Just wash your face once daily (I do this at night before bed) with something exfoliating a couple of times each week, such as baking soda or milk (a great exfoliator by itself, but it must be whole milk, preferably raw).  Let your face dry after you rinse, then maybe a little coconut oil.  I’ve come to learn that I cannot wash my face every evening, so I do every other.  On the in-between nights I just splash with plain water.  You don’t want to wash away the natural oils.  If your skin is oil-prone, splashing with cold water is the best option.  But I’m mostly talking about normal skin.  I’ve never in my life had facial skin problems because I do it this way.  When I was a teenager my parents wouldn’t let me buy stuff like Noxzema (sp?) and that kind of thing, so we used what we had on hand.  I think, to this day, keep it simple – that’s the best way.  Soaps, astringents, etc., all tend to do some good but also some bad.  Skin doesn’t need that roller coaster.

        • I think you’re definitely right about keeping it simple. Though at times it’s hard to resist the urge to do something… I know that my skin always looks and feels much better when I take a gentler approach.

          • Now that I’m old, I need to take more oils into my body to stop the wrinkling!  I was snooping around online for prices on things like coconut oil and olive oil, etc., and while I was at the Vitacost web site I found some stuff for wrinkles which contains snake venom.  I couldn’t resist, so I ordered some – you really wouldn’t believe how nice it is and how well it works.  Comes in a little bottle with a roller ball.  I even use it around my eyes but I’ve learned the hard way not to get it too close to the edges of my eye, or else it’s like looking through scotch tape all day long because it blurs your vision.  Even coconut oil will do that if I get it too close to the eye, so I guess it’s just part of the price you pay for not wanting wrinkles!   I don’t know what difference it really makes though, the rest of me looks my age so I guess my face should too.  ; – )

          • Wow, that’s an interesting idea! I’ve never heard of using snake venom to fight wrinkles. Would hope that folks don’t try to go harvest their own to experiment with, though. 😉

        • Great suggestions! Taking notes. :) I must say that skin type seems to make a huge difference, though. I have had bad acne issues since high school (almost 10 years now). In the past two years, I have gotten rid of most of my makeup and replaced the things I do want to keep using with natural, DIY mixes and the healthiest/greenest stuff I can find at the store (if the DIY stuff isn’t practical for me). I lead a healthy life in general, but my acne is still very noticeable and consistent. I have friends that practice an array of different skincare routines (wearing a ton of makeup, using nasty commercial products, using dozens of skincare products, using nothing at all and not washing their faces, etc.), and some just don’t get pimples like I do (once every few weeks does not count!) I have come to the conclusion that genetics plays a huge role. Same goes for body type. Two people could work out the same amount but end up with a different shape. All that being said, though, I do commend you on your choices. I think it’s great to go without all the goops and creams marketed to us. I just wish your routine worked for me like it has for you! Cheers.

          • I recommend you go to a dermatologist preferably and older one because they tend to have a better understanding of skin (but there are good young ones too) and tell them everything about your skin and that you want to keep it natural as possible or just whatever works the best and I promise your skin will clear right up and it’ll be the best you ever had and eventually you may be able to fade off and use more natural products. I went from using retinx for my skin to just using the mud bar soap by the dead sea company & my skin looks just as good but i’m just trying to get more natural since i wear makeup on a daily bases.

      • How long would this last out of the fridge? I like the addition of green tea but don’t want to be running to the fridge every time I wash my face!

  3. I have made this toner and I’m very satisfied. I do not keep it in the fridge and it’s still good (more than the two weeks suggested).

  4. Thanks for the post. I can’t wait to try this. I have a question though: should you rinse your face after applying the toner? Or just leave it on and moisturize?

  5. Sorry for the silly question, but how do you all deal with the overpowering scent of vinegar? Will adding some essential oils help with that?

    • Yes, the essential oils do help some (peppermint, lemongrass and lavender do a really good job). Diluting it a little more can help, too, but I’ve noticed the smell disappears as soon as it’s dry so it doesn’t linger.

  6. So do you apply this toner after you wash your face and just leave it on? Or do you have to rinse it off after a while in order to put on makeup or something?

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