According to the usual skincare routine including the famous Korean 10-step Skincare Routine, toner is the first product that we should apply after facial cleansing. Due to how its consistency resembles water, many have found it unnecessary and even skipped it in their skincare routine. However, people should know that it does contribute to our beauty game!
Get the most out of your toner by getting one that will cater to your skin’s needs. In this article, we have selected - in our opinion - some of the best toners recommended for you. Anyone can, and should, use a toner!
remove_circleSensitive skin users may want to go for the unscented (original) version instead
There’s a reason as to why this toner has a loyal following. Aside from their toners and astringents having several formula types with different ingredients to suit different skin issues, users also fawn over its gentle, water-based formula.
The original formula contains Aloe Vera for moisturization and Witch Hazel for general skin protection. Meanwhile, its other variants include another main ingredient, namely Rose Petal for skin softening, Lavender for inflammation and Cucumber for reduced swelling. There’s also Coconut Water for detoxifying, Lemon for brightening, and finally Unscented for extra sensitive skins.
All of the aforementioned variants work to clean and prep without drying the skin. For those with acne and oily skin types, however; if the recommended original formula is too mild for you, then you’d have to settle for Thayer’s Astringent series which contains alcohol.
Additionally, for those who are sensitive to fragrance, you may want to stick with the original formula (even though all fragrances are natural). Otherwise, the formulas hardly caused any troubles as evident in its thousands of reviews online. A plus point to this toner option is the amount of product you get for its price.
Customer Review: This is my favorite toner! It makes my skin feel so soft and clean after using it. I originally bought this because I saw everyone raving about it on the internet and it definitely exceeded my expectations.” - Tori.T
This oil-free toner from Neutrogena is all about being basic. It promises to purify the skin without throwing its moisture level off balance. Remember how we mentioned earlier that toners can be used as a second cleansing agent? Yes, this toner focuses on getting rid of dirt that is not completely removed during the cleansing of the face.
With an alcohol-free formula, it refreshes the skin without over stripping and irritating it. To enhance its moisturizing benefits, it contains humectants like Sodium PCA and Panthenol that prevent water loss from the skin. Panthenol is also a powerful ingredient that protects and soothes the skin.
Its texture is said to be light with a mild scent. And due to its simplicity, it is rated on the internet as one of the best toners that get the job done. Plus, the affordability and ease of availability just make it a go-to for many.
Customer Review:“True to its promises! It leaves my skin clean, fresh and soft. Just awesome.” -ntheodora
add_circleFree from animal cruelty, vegan certified
add_circleGood value for money
With 5.57 million units sold in South Korea alone, Mamonde Rose Water Toner is one of the most highly purchased toners in South Korea for obvious reasons. This vegan-formula toner targets skin concerns like frequent dryness and dehydrated skin thanks to its super hydrating Damask rose water ingredient.
Behind its moisturising and hydrating benefits, the formula is further reinforced with 5 different sizes of Hyaluronic Acids, leaving the skin dewy, plump and youthful. Next, the formula also gives your skin the tender loving care it needs with Allantoin as it soothes and relaxes the skin.
“I have been testing it for almost a month. Just to check its hydration capacity, I did skip my essence and serums for a few days and only used this toner and my cream. Guess what it did keep my dry skin well hydrated and also didn’t make my skin sticky when used along with other essences and serums.” – Shelley
Formulated with 2% Glycolic Acid, this toner from Mario Badescu works to banish rough skin texture and uneven skin tone. It exfoliates the skin gently, delivering us lively and young-looking skin. It also promises to clear away acne scars and reduce fine lines. Moreover, with Aloe Vera extract, it helps in healing the skin and promoting skin cell regeneration.
Onto several things about this toner; it includes several synthetic colourants, giving it a blue hue. It also contains quite a number of perfume ingredients.
That fact might not only concern people who prefer their skincare to be as clean as possible but also people with sensitive skin. In fact, many reviewers have mentioned how this product is a NO for them because of their sensitive skin and the toner has left their skin red and burnt. Meanwhile, reviews on the fragrance are mixed.
Despite that, many with oily or matured skin have had a pleasant experience with the product. They commented that the product has removed the grease from their face pretty well and made their pores and blemishes a lot less visible. They find it a decent product which shows results, though taking awhile.
Customer review:“I love that this glycolic acid toner isn’t as harsh as other acid toners. it also smells really good but in a clean, refreshing way and not a fragrance-packed manner. the bottle cap mechanism/design is great too as it is very secure.” - Chez
add_circleA blend of natural plant extracts with soothing, wound-healing properties
add_circleUnscented version is fragrance-free and more sensitive-skin friendly
add_circlepH level of 5, good for the skin
add_circlealcohol-free, good for sensitive skin
remove_circleDry skin users may need to use more product for a hydrating effect
remove_circleOriginal version contains a lot of fragrant essential oils
remove_circleOriginal version feels a tad bit sticky for some people, causing an uncomfortable sensation
Being one of the brand’s best-selling items, this supple preparation toner from Klairs is a holy grail for many people. It is packed with several natural plant extracts like Licorice Root Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract and Purslane Extract. To note, Licorice is a great skin-lightening ingredient whereas Centella Asiatica and Purslane are both traditional medicines best known for their promising wound-healing and anti-inflammatory abilities.
Furthermore, the toner contains Phyto-Oligo which is extracted from Aloe Vera to tackle skin dryness and inflammation. This toner claims to be fast-absorbing and moisture on the skin and that it also suits all skin types. What’s more, it is alcohol-free.
There are actually two versions to the toner: Original and Unscented. Both versions are generally the same, except that the unscented version is free from all fragrant essential oils found in the original version. This fact makes it more sensitive-skin friendly and lighter in texture.
That being said, the release of the unscented version is definitely a wish come true for people who don’t prefer strong fragrance in their skincare products!
Customer Reviews: “This is my second purchase. It keeps my skin hydrated. However, since my skin is quite sensitive, I will try the unscented version next time.” -Mar
add_circleUmbrian Clay that draws out excess sebum from the face effectively
add_circleEffective and Instant result in minimising pores
add_circleAmazing work in oil-control, even to oily skin
remove_circleNot dry-skin friendly
This purifying toner from Fresh contains Umbrian Clay from Italy. Said clay isn’t only rich in minerals but works effectively like a sponge to absorb excess oil and impurities from the face. This in turn shrinks the pores and mattifies the skin, keeping the face smooth and grease-free.
The toner is also enriched with Cinnamon Bark and Burnet Root Extracts, which carries an amazing job in purifying the skin and resolving skin problems such as acne and rashes.
As clay might dry out the skin, the formula achieves a balance with Chamomile oil, Sandalwood oil and Ginger extract. All these ingredients are great soothing components that resolve skin inflammation. Moreover, there is also glycerin to retain skin moisture level.
Last but not least, the Lavender water in the product tones and brightens up the skin, allowing us to wave goodbye to tired and dull skin!
Many customers have found this product a game-changer. It has visibly minimised their pores and kept their face oil-free throughout the day. For the best result, many have suggested focusing the toner on areas like T-zone and cheeks, which usually have a more active sebum production. As this toner generally works to tackle enlarged pores and skin oiliness, we highly recommend this to people with oily combination and oily skin.
Customer Review:“It reduces the oil on my face just as how it claims. It is quite costly but because of its performance, I think this is worth it.” -SY Wong
add_circleA blend of botanical extracts that reenergize the skin
add_circleExfoliates and Improves skin texture effectively according to the reviews
remove_circleMay feel tingly on skin
remove_circleMay be over-drying and irritating for very sensitive skin
remove_circleHigh concentration of AHA needs to be handled carefully especially on sensitive and dry skin
This is an alcohol-free, exfoliating toner that comes with 5% of Glycolic Acid, which is also said to be the soul of the tonic. Glycolic Acid is a type of AHAs that sweeps away dead skin cells and cleanses the pores thoroughly. The after-effects are improvement in skin texture, which then results in skin glow like new and healthy skin cells surface. This acid is also proven to be able to enhance collagen production and improved skin firmness.
Besides the wonderful exfoliating acid, the tonic consists of a blend of Red Ginseng, Aloe Vera, Witch Hazel and Horse Chestnut. Red Ginseng is added to boost the skin’s blood circulation and energize it. And when your skin is fully charged, it glows! Then, Aloe Vera and Witch Hazel are included to relieve and calm the skin. As for Horse Chestnut, it grants skin radiance!
With such a sophisticated and unique formulation, it is no surprise that this tonic is the brand’s hot-seller of all time.
Several customers have mentioned that the tonic leaves a slight tingling sensation on their skin which goes away after a while without causing any irritation. Most of them approve this tonic for improving their skin condition amazingly. Still, as this toner contains 5% of AHA, we won’t recommend it to people with dry and sensitive skin for regular use, but only once to twice a week.
Customer review:“My go-to toner for the past 3 years. Pixi glow is great for my acne-prone skin! Tried to switch to others but kept coming back! Doesn’t make my skin dry!” - Maheen
add_circleGentle and comfortable to use on the skin
The brand Simple has always been known for how its products are ‘simple’ and gentle to the skin, especially for sensitive skin types. And their soothing facial toner is no exception.
This product is specially designed to restore the optimum pH level of the skin post-cleansing by neutralizing the alkalinity of the cleansers. It helps to remove the residual dirt on the face while refreshing the skin without drying it out. To enhance its performance, the formula contains Niacinamide that does a lot of wonderful things like evening the skin complexion, regulating sebum production and strengthening the skin barrier. Apart from that, the formula also features soothing ingredients such as Chamomile and Allantoin.
So, what exactly makes it SO sensitive-skin friendly?
Well, as a toner, it is free of many things. Not only is it alcohol-free, fragrance-free and essential-oil-free, but the formulation is also free from any artificial dye and harsh chemicals. All of these substances can upset our skin in the long run and Simple is making sure that we stay from them!
Customer Review:“All-time favourite! Super sensitive-skin friendly.” -Harshini K.
add_circleMid-size toner, suitable for daily usage
This oil-free toner from Eucerin is specially designed to combat acne and clear the skin. The no-nonsense toner targets to treat acne vulgaris such as the common whiteheads, blackheads and cysts, as well as adult acne.
Formulated with 2% of Lactic Acid, this superstar ingredient is an effective skin exfoliant in removing dead skin cells and unclogging the pores so as to reveal the healthy skin underneath. It is also an amazing ingredient in fighting against acne-triggering bacteria.
As this toner contains alcohol and a skin exfoliant, it is naturally drying to the skin. As such, we recommend this to people with oily combination, oily and blemished skin. If you are undergoing medical acne treatment, it’s best to avoid the toner or else it might sensitize the skin.
At usual times, use it on problematic areas or wherever that gets oily easily, such as the T-zone, for the best result.
Customer Review:“This product is fast-absorbing without leaving any sticky discomfort on my acne-prone skin. It has also worked well in reducing my skin breakouts. Recommended.” -shimeiid97
add_circleCan be used as mask; soothes redness and replenish moisture
add_circleFree from fragrance and artificial colouring
remove_circleNot many special benefits beside moisturising
Hatomugi is known as coix seed in English, more commonly known as Chinese barley. With that, the formula contains coix seed extract and it’s what makes this toner stand out among others.
Containing Vitamin B1 and B2, the said extract targets to reduce skin hyperpigmentation and skin dullness. Besides deeply moisturizing the skin, it also helps in improving skin texture and restoring skin firmness. Through clinical studies, coix seeds are proven be able to reduce free radical activity on our skin and thus, slow down our skin’s ageing process.
An interesting thing about this toner is that you can also only treat it as a skin conditioner, such as using it for a simple facial mask to quench the thirst of our skin right away. Just soak some cotton pads with the product, place them on the face and wait for a few minutes before removing them. It is that quick and easy!
Brownie points to the product are that it does not contain any fragrance and artificial colouring. If you’re concern, the milky white colour is derived from the natural colour of Hatomugi. Moreover, with such a generous amount sold at such an affordable price point, it is simply a good bargain.
Customer Reviews:“An amazing multi-purpose toner. Soothing enough on sunburnt skin and goes well with other products too. Definitely recommend it!” - Amy
Infused with Calendula petals, this toner from Khiel’s soothes the skin gently but effectively. A few notable ingredients in the toner include Calendula, Great Burdock and Allantoin. Calendula is often found in traditional Chinese medicine due to how useful it is in repairing and relieving the skin.
Meanwhile, Great Burdock is a botanical extract that moisturizes dry skin as well as eases skin inflammation. For Allantoin, which is derived from the comfrey plant, is known to comfort the skin whenever needed.
As this toner doesn’t contain any alcohol and drying agents, it is especially suitable for people with dry and sensitive skin. If that doesn’t sound good enough, it is also free from essential oils and artificial fragrance. Instead, the toner’s fragrance comes from natural herbs. To wrap up, this is a sensitive-skin-friendly, repairing toner that soothes with its jam-packed list of herbal ingredients.
Customers have shared their pleasant experience with this product and how it has made their skin stable, soft and glowing. However, while it’s a favourite for many, some users find it overpriced and that it did not bring a super transformative result to their skin.
“I am in love with this toner. It has improved my overall skin condition and the result is noticeable. Well, not a fan of the price though.” - Vienteciello
add_circleAvene Thermal Spring Water to soothe the skin
add_circleSalicylic acid to reduce the sign of blemishes
add_circleKeeps skin shine-free and matte, oily-skin friendly
remove_circleAs it is an astringent, it should be used in moderation
remove_circleAlcohol-based, might not be the best for sensitive and dry skin
This toner is a skin saver for those who suffer from skin oiliness and acne. Here is why.
The Avene Mattifying Toner is an astringent-toner that does a powerful job of taking away excess sebum on the face. (Do take note that astringents are alcohol-based!) It also contains Salicylic Acid which is a well-known skin exfoliant and an acne-fighter that reduces breakouts.
Also combined with Zinc Gluconate and the brand’s secret ingredient, Avene Thermal Spring Water, this astringent-toner further soothes the skin, making sure that the formula doesn’t feel too harsh on the face.
A major problem that oily skin users face is definitely excess grease on the face. Fret not, the Silica and Monolaurin in the formula work swell together to mattify the skin while regulating its sebum production. Soft and shine-free skin? Here we come!
To summarize, this product aims to purify oily and troubled skin as well as tighten the pores and keeping an eye on the skin’s sebum production.
Customer Review:“No more breakouts after using this product. It has removed all the excess sebum from my face amazingly!” -Taylor B.
Another best alcohol-free toner, also great for sensitive skin
add_circleAvene Thermal Spring Water that soothes the skin
remove_circleContains high amount of Parfum
An alternative to the popular Simple Toner is this gentle toning lotion from Avene. The toner claims to soothe and protect the skin. It contains natural silicates to provide a protective layer to the skin, shielding the skin from harmful pollutants in the environment. And to maximise its skin-soothing action, the formula also has Avene’s key-ingredient - Thermal Spring Water.
Because of the spring water’s purity, this is an ideal toner for people who suffer from skin sensitivity and free radical damage. Still, the softening effects of spring water will benefit any skin types! Also formulated without any alcohol and parabens, the toner is of lightweight consistency but is also non-drying.
Many have mentioned that their moisturizer layers well with this toner and that it doesn’t sting their skin.
Now, anti-fragrance people might grimace upon seeing Parfum as the second ingredient on the list. Yes, this toner is not fragrance-free. Though mentioned by the brand that the fragrance is tolerable to sensitive skin, we believe this is something worth taking note before purchasing!
Customer Reviews:“The go-to toner for something gentle on the skin. Though, it would have been nice without the fragrance.” - Verified Buyer from Dermstore.com
Introducing Numbuzin, an up-and-rising Korean brand that has taken the K-beauty industry by storm. This best seller is a watery toner rich in 50 fermented ingredients to remove bumps and rough skin.
Moreover, it is specially made to help users attain luxuriously smooth and glowy skin. You may also layer this toner for extra hydration during the night.
Infused with 50 fermented ingredients
Helps users attain youthful, radiant skin
Tackles textured skin and restore elasticity
Who is this for?
This popular toner is extremely sought out by individuals with bumpy skin as a result of acne- breakouts as it helps smoothen the skin and prevent future breakouts. Aside from that, users with lacklustre skin found this toner helpful as it brought radiance back within a few weeks of consistent usage.
Toners that exfoliate and rebalance are the best for people with oily skin. These are such as AHA and BHA toners that are formulated with additional acids to remove dead skin cells and dirt. While AHA products are typically suitable for most skin types, BHA products are more suited for oily and sensitive skin.
If you have combination skin, you’ll want a toner that clears excess oil, rebalances and moisturises instead of over-drying the skin. As a general rule of thumb, you’re going to want to avoid products with ingredients that are too harsh or heavy. Instead, opt for products with natural acne-fighting properties and gentle exfoliants such as witch hazel.
It’s a common misconception that people with dry skin should not be using toners. However, getting a hydrating toner might just be the hydrating boost that your skin needs to restore your skin’s moisture balance and combat redness and flakiness. Always select products that have moisturising properties. Cucumber and aloe vera extracts are also helpful to soothe and refresh your skin.
Sensitive-skinned people need to be extra mindful of what they apply on their skin. Hence, it’s best to opt for gentle products. Always select alcohol-free toners and those formulated with natural ingredients. Ingredients such as aloe vera are also helpful to soothe the skin.
If wrinkles and ageing skin are your primary concern, moisturising toners with the ability to balance your pH levels are your best bet. Look out for ingredients such as almond oil, glycolic acid or honey and toners that are rich in antioxidants - these help to restore suppleness and radiance to your skin.
- What does a toner do to your face?
Toners are especially helpful to those who seek to not only balance the skin’s pH levels but also prep the skin for better product absorption as well as mildly exfoliate dead skin cells. Hence, it is what you should be using right after cleansing and before your serums or moisturisers so that the skin can absorb the subsequent products better. This is usually done by applying the toner on a cotton pad and wiping it gently across the face.
There are a wide variety of toners on the market these days, targeting people with different skin types and skin concerns. Many of them now are based on natural ingredients such as plant extracts and flower oils. So, adding a facial toner to your skincare regimen is sure to improve your appearance, leading to brighter skin.
Can I use toner every day?
For an even skin tone and to get a boost off your serums and moisturisers, it's highly recommended that you use toners every day. As mentioned, use toners after cleansing and before your serum or moisturiser. Do take note that if you use them before a day's out, wear sunscreen as the skin will be quite sensitive to UV rays after using toner.
- Reminder: Use it at the RIGHT time
In short, people would say that a toner goes on your skin after cleansing. But, get the best of this step by making sure you are doing it correctly. This means applying it within a minute of having cleansed your skin. The molecules of your toner penetrate through your skin more effectively when your skin is moist. Do this, and trust that it will make all the difference!