DIY toner for acne-prone skin {my favorite!}

This post contains affiliate links.
Updated on June 15, 2015: This blog post was originally published in June 2012. It’s been 3 years and I figured it was time to update and edit some of the information since it’s been so long and this post has made it’s way around the internet! 

I am so excited right now. 
I can’t even contain myself.
I have finally found the solution to a problem I had with my skin since the age of 13. 
Yep, zits. Acne. Breakouts. Whatever you want to call them.
It’s never been absolutely horrible, thankfully.
It was just annoying. And at the age of 28, embarrassing
I know I should be very thankful that I never had it that bad.

I pretty much always had 1 or 2 though, and of course, it got worse when I’m PMSing or had a random breakout. I had blackheads on my nose and chin & I had tried everything to get rid of them, but they always came back. I’ve tried it all. Proactiv, Murad, Neutrogena, Clearasil, Clean & Clear, Oxy, Clinique, Olay, Cetaphil, Nature’s Cure…I even tried going to the dermatologist and tried some prescriptions for acne. Nothing worked. If anything, my face got worse because it was so irritated and angry at me for putting it through so much.

So. Are you ready to hear my amazing new beauty secret?!

The amazing skincare item is
Apple Cider Vinegar!


7 days later, I have zero pimples, far fewer blackheads, smaller-looking pores, and no more oily skin.
It’s a miracle, I’m convinced!!!

So just how does it work? Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is an amazing little product, actually. It has antibacterial and antiseptic properties, and it also helps to balance the pH of your skin. Used daily as a toner or astringent it will balance the pH, which will help your skin to function properly…warding off bacteria and shedding dead skin cells at the proper rate so that pores don’t become blocked (blackheads!) and the skin remains healthy. Sounds like the perfect solution for a person prone to breakouts, clogged pores, and oily skin, right?
Here’s what you do:
  • Get a plastic container to store your magical potion in. It can be any clean, empty plastic bottle with a lid. I found this cute little travel sized spray bottle that works perfectly!
  • Fill the bottle 3/4 of the way full with water. I used tap water, but I’m sure if you want to be all fancy like you could use filtered or bottled water.
  • Fill the bottle the rest of the way (1/4) with ACV. (note: I started off just using regular ACV from the grocery store. Nothing fancy, and it worked like a charm! However, I recently started using organic, raw, unfiltered ACV {affiliate link} and it works great too. I’ll leave the choice up to you on whether you go organic or not. Just know, both work!)
  • Close the bottle and give it a little shake & swirl. Then pop the lid open, pour (or spray) a little out onto a cotton pad or cotton ball.
  • After cleansing your face like your normally would, swipe the ACV soaked cotton pad over your entire face, avoiding the eye area and lips. A little burning or tingling may occur, but it’s nothing compared to some of the alcohol based astringent or toners I’ve used. (Another tip: don’t use this right after exfoliating!)
  • Let your face dry completely. Then apply your serums, creams, lotions, gels, etc as you normally would.

Every week or two you can bump up the amount of ACV that you’re mixing by about 1/4, but make sure to do it gradually. After a few weeks I was just using undiluted ACV, but depending on your skin type and how sensitive you are you may want to stick with a diluted mixture.

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How bad is the smell?

The number 1 question people usually have regarding the ACV toner is the smell. How bad is the smell? Do you have to walk around stinking like vinegar all day? Or a salad? Or an Easter egg? The answer is no. While the smell is less than appetizing while you’re applying it, it dissipates in time. By the time I’ve slathered on all of my serums and creams and whatnot, the smell is gone.
I started seeing results from using ACV after about a week. I had less breakouts, my skin felt smoother, and I was less oily throughout the day. After about a month my skin was completely cleared up. Now it’s 3 years later and I’m still using ACV, but I don’t have to use it every single day. Now I can use it just about every other day, or as needed (like when I’m PMSing and I know I’m going to get a break out). My skin has never looked better and I almost never have a pimple on my face now- something I would have never been able to say before! (I posted a 2 week update on my skin here, though it’s now 3 years old. Feel free to check it out though!)
I know this isn’t going to work for everyone out there, but it truly has worked for my horrible skin. I am so much more confident now and I hardly have to wear foundation at all. When I do, I can opt for a lighter version like a BB cream or tinted moisturizer. It’s been so freeing having clear skin! And such a confidence booster. Plus, it’s so inexpensive compared to other acne treatments! I would suggest that you try it but also read up on some professional skin care reviews from One bottle of apple cider vinegar can last me months. 

Do you have acne-prone skin? Have you ever considered using ACV to treat it? If you have, please let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear your story.