March 15, 2013

DIY Apple Cider Vinegar Facial Toner

Once you make the switch to real food, inevitably you will start looking at your beauty products and checking the ingredients as you do with your food. Maybe you won't/haven't gone a little crazy like me and start tossing everything. Then you stare at your pile of moisturizer, wrinkle cream, toothpaste, plus all those extra products you never use and obviously never really needed, and you realize you can't wash your face or brush your teeth.

Luckily some of these things (like this body scrub) can be easily made from products you might just have in your kitchen. (Or ones that you should have in your kitchen. Hint. Hint.)

DIY Apple Cider Vinegar Facial Toner

(Full disclosure: I passed most of my sulfate and parfum filled products on to unsuspecting family members. Sounds mean, right? But I can't make decisions for other people. And I hate throwing stuff away. At the time, they thought I had gone completely crazy when I started drinking vinegar, so I didn't dare talk about applying it to my face. But they've come around -- with some of the craziness anyway.)

Now that I'm done talking about the Whole30® (for now), I figured it was time to start sharing some of the natural beauty and cleaning products I use. Maybe some of you already do this stuff. Maybe some of you are already buying beeswax and shea butter and creating products in your kitchen. If not, well I hope you find something useful here. I'm going to start with the simplest, cheapest changes I've made to my beauty routine and to my household care.

Apple Cider Vinegar 

DIY Apple Cider Vinegar Facial Toner
Have you discovered apple cider vinegar (ACV) yet? Not the kind you typically find in the grocery store, but the raw, unfiltered ACV with "the mother." You have to have the mother. No, I'm not talking about your mama. The mother of vinegar is the naturally occurring strand-like enzymes that are only found in raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. This is what you need for the therapeutic benefits.

Find it here, here, or here. The first two are for Bragg's ACV -- my favorite. But don't get it at your regular grocery store (unless you have a military commissary -- it's about $4 there). They will try to rob you. I saw it for $8 for the 32oz. Insane. Also, Heinz now has one with the mother. It's not organic. I don't know about you, but when I'm applying something to my precious facial skin, I prefer to leave out the pesticides. I'll save those for ingesting.

I originally bought ACV for excessive congestion from phlegm (Gross, I know. I didn't know it was the dairy at the time.). And at the risk of sounding weird, I've since used it for removing a mole. Yes, you heard me right. I removed a mole with ACV. But please don't just run off and pour your vinegar all over your mole infested arm. And please get all moles checked for skin cancer. (If you want to hear more about this stuff and what else I use ACV for, let me know and I'll share.)

Today, we are just applying the (diluted) vinegar to our face. And let me tell you why...

First, let's look at the ingredients in a toner you might purchase:

DIY Apple Cider Vinegar Facial Toner
Bliss Toner from

 Not sure I want those ingredients on my face. Since we don't need to list the ingredients for apple cider vinegar, let's just talk about the benefits of using ACV on your face.

Topical benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

  • Rich in natural alpha hydroxy acids
  • Lightens sun and age spots
  • Dissolves dead skin cells
  • Balances the skin's PH
  • Improves acne and acne scars
  • Helps minimize appearance of pores
Bonus: You will save money by making your own toner.

Now as with all home remedies, there's not a lot of scientific evidence. And I'm just a blogger telling you about my experience. Apple cider vinegar has been used for millions (okay, I exaggerate) of years for it's health benefits. It has improved my skin far more than the store-bought artificially-colored toners (why do we need the color?). So, try it and decide for yourself.

How to use Apple Cider Vinegar as a Toner

  1. Mix 3 parts (3/4 cup) distilled water with 1 part (1/4 cup) apple cider vinegar.* (I get my apple cider vinegar with the mother here.)
  2. Mix this in a bottle, jar, whatever. Something glass (no metal lids). (I use something like this.)
  3. Shake bottle before use. Apply to clean face using a cotton ball or pad sweeping upward and outward across your face, avoiding the eye area.
  4. Allow to dry before applying your moisturizer (if using).

*You can start with a 1:5 ratio (1 part vinegar to 5 parts water) of vinegar to water (especially if you have sensitive skin) and transition to a 1:1 ratio if desired. But always dilute it to at least 1:1. For example 1/2 cup water with 1/2 cup ACV. I typically use 3/4 cup water with 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar.

Find raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar VitacostAmazon, or Tropical Traditions or at a local health food store. See this post for more about where to find my recommended products.

***Do not use undiluted (not mixed with water) apple cider vinegar on your skin, especially your face, unless you know how your skin reacts. It is possible for undiluted ACV to burn your skin. Always dilute with water and test your skin's reactions to different ratios. I recommend at least 50/50, but use more water for sensitive skin or to test your skin's reaction to diluted apple cider vinegar.***

  •  I don't measure mine and simply eyeball it as I pour it in my bottle. But you can measure. A funnel helps to prevent spills. Just FYI.
  • See how your skin reacts to a mixture with less vinegar and add more as needed for skin with acne, scars, or dry patches. 
  • I don't store mine in the refrigerator as I don't think it's necessary, but you can to prolong the shelf life. Otherwise, store in a cool, dark place if possible (honestly, mine is on the bathroom counter). But use distilled water! Trust me on this one. No tap water.

Also check out: DIY Baking soda microdermabrasion (exfoliation).

Update: If you are looking for other ways to heal your skin, check out the Skintervention Guide by Liz Wolfe, NTP. She teaches you how to heal your skin issues from the outside and inside (and also recommends using a natural toner such as this). The most comprehensive guide I've ever seen on skin health and I've been discovering more ways to improve my skin. Learn more HERE.

****Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or other healthcare professional. This is informational purposes only. The content is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please contact your doctor, dietitian, or other healthcare professional regarding any medical condition or treatment and before making any dietary, health, or lifestyle changes.****

 ****This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog!****  



  1. Thank you so much! I went out and bought the vinegar today and mixed it together. It smells pretty strong, but I hope I will get the great results in the end. Thank you for posting :)

    1. You are welcome! You will probably get used to the smell :) but you can add more water if needed or lavender essential oil works well to mask the vinegar smell. Another option is a little bit of rose water. Good luck with it!

  2. Such kind of useful tips are always welcome, i will definitely try this apple cider vinegar facial this weekend.

  3. Livin' the Crunchy LifeMay 6, 2013 at 12:10 AM

    Great Jessica, let us know how it works out for you!

  4. Sounds interesting and inexpensive! I'd like to try it.

  5. If i dont put it in the fridge how long does it last without the fridge?

  6. Livin' the Crunchy LifeMay 29, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    It should last about 2 months. To prolong the shelf life, store in glass and in a dry, cool location if possible. You can also add a few drops of Vit E oil. I usually make a smallish bottle that lasts about a month (depending on how often I use it) and haven't had any issues (and I don't usually add Vit E). Just make sure you use distilled water. I used filtered water the first time and it became very slimy and gross. When in doubt, dump it out.

  7. thanks for the reply. I made a toner last year and I used ACV water tea tree oil olive oil rose water aloe vera (just drops of everything) and my face was amazing it would glow and it lightened up alot of my dark spots. i put that one in the fridge but now its a hassle. i made one this afternoon and used alot of acv bc im used to it bc i drink it daily. i added olive oil tea tree oil and a drop of neem oil for acne. im keeping my fingers crossed that i do not break out.

  8. Livin' the Crunchy LifeMay 30, 2013 at 8:25 AM

    Great! I love neem oil! It sounds like you shouldn't have any issues using it. If you do, just add more water to the bottle you made. I try to keep mine about 50/50. Come back later and share your results.

  9. If I use regular apple cider vinegar instead of organic, what will be the result? Will it harm my skin or will the results just take longer?

  10. Livin' the Crunchy LifeJune 19, 2013 at 9:59 PM

    The important thing to look for is whether it is raw/unfiltered OR filtered/pasteurized. The pasteurized apple cider vinegar (that you typically see in stores) doesn't have the same benefits of the raw, unfiltered one. So, that is the reason I recommend the raw one. Heinz does have a raw, unfiltered one that I have seen at Walmart for a reasonable price. It's not organic, but it does have the mother of the vinegar (and the benefits). While organic is important (for avoiding pesticides), if I wasn't able to get Braggs (or the Vitacost one), then I would probably get the Heinz raw one. Keep in mind, this is all just my opinion based on my own experiences and research. If I can help anymore, let me know!

  11. Doing it now w/lavender oil it's amazing!

  12. Livin' the Crunchy LifeJuly 5, 2013 at 2:39 AM

    Great! Come back and share your results if you keep it up!

  13. Alicia Leonard WollanJuly 5, 2013 at 4:10 PM

    I have been doing this for a year now and love the results! Nothing compares NOTHING!!

  14. Does this type of toner work for a combination face? I'm oily and normal to dry at the same time...

  15. Livin' the Crunchy LifeJuly 22, 2013 at 11:06 PM

    Sorry I missed your comment, Alicia. I agree! I love what it does for my skin!

  16. Livin' the Crunchy LifeJuly 22, 2013 at 11:10 PM

    Yep, it should work well for you. My skin was combination too and since using this toner (among other natural methods), my skin is now pretty normal most of the time. Hope it works out for you!

  17. what changes did you notice in your skin?

  18. Livin' the Crunchy LifeJuly 24, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    I used to get dry patches and had an oily t-zone, but my face is mostly normal now (very little dryness or oil). I've also noticed my sun spots have lightened and my pores are not as noticeable. Now...I have made many other changes to my skin care AND to how I eat, so I can't say for sure if the changes are from the toner. But I do notice that when I neglect to use it for awhile, I tend to get dry patches on my cheeks. acne scars have improved a lot..but again, I've done other things as well. I think switching to a completely natural routine (plus a natural diet), including this toner, has improved my skin immensely. If you try it out, let me know your results. :)

  19. I have a plastic spray bottle that used to hold "other" toner. If I thoroughly cleanse and sterilize it, can I use it to store this toner, or does the container have to be glass?

  20. Livin' the Crunchy LifeSeptember 19, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    Hi Amy! Sorry I didn't reply sooner. I couldn't find any definitive info about not storing *diluted* ACV in plastic (and some people do store this in plastic bottles), so it should be okay. I prefer and recommend using glass if you can. If you add essential oils, you should use glass or PET plastic (as long as essential oils are 5% or less of product). Thanks for stopping by!

  21. Awesome! I've been drinking ACV to improve my skin. I'll try this on the outside when I run out of witch hazel.Thanks! PS I'm having lots of fun on your blog! Hope you'll visit mine.

  22. Livin' the Crunchy LifeDecember 1, 2013 at 12:08 AM

    I love it for so many uses! I hope you try it out. Sure, I will definitely check out your blog! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. :)

  23. Hi, thank you for all the great information, I would love to know how you removed a mole with ACV. I

  24. Livin' the Crunchy LifeJanuary 5, 2014 at 9:57 PM

    Thanks Nanny! Working on a post for this. :)

  25. I would like to thank you for the efforts that you have made in writing this article about Apple Cider Vinegar. This is exactly what I need,Thanks a lot.Keep blogging.

  26. Can you use the vinegar toner daily?

  27. Livin' the Crunchy LifeJune 7, 2014 at 9:21 PM

    Hi Alisha, I use it every day. Sometimes twice a day. It depends on your skin, so if it seems too drying, you can adjust the ratio of water/vinegar or how often you use it. However, it is safe to use daily. Good luck!


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