A facial toner is essential to any skincare routine. It’s the second step after cleansing to purify, minimise the appearance of pores, balance the pH levels, and hydrate your skin. That's why it's a must-have for every woman. Here are 13 select toners that will give you that radiant glow.
Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Facial TonerSGD 69
Pixi Glow TonicSGD 48
Klairs Supple Preparation TonerSGD 25.4
Naruko Tea Tree Shine Control & Blemish Clear TonerSGD 16.87
Cosrx Natural BHA Skin Returning A-SolSGD 22.12
The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Mattifying TonerSGD 20
Thayers Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera AstringentSGD 15.17
VMV Hypoallergenics Fine Finish Pore MinimizerSGD 40
Etude House SoonJung PH 5.5 Relief TonerSGD 22
Essano Certified Organic Mist TonerSGD 16.06
Mamonde Pure White Ultra Active Skin SoftenerSGD 30.79
Neutrogena Alcohol-Free TonerSGD 8.28
Pyungkang Yul Cosmetic Essence TonerSGD 20.8
Disclaimer: The pricing shown is just a good indication of how much these products are worth. The prices could change based on the e-commerce promotions that are going on. If some of the products are not available, do email us at [email protected] Thank you!
What is a toner?
Many people may not understand what a toner is truly meant for. Cleansers are for washing your face and moisturizers are for restoring moisture, duh. But a toner? Can we even skip it?
The idea behind a toner was to help balance the pH levels of our face after washing. Because our face wash/cleansers are alkaline and will cause the face's pH balance to increase. This will lead to the skin feeling tight, dehydrated, or dry. So, a toner will recalibrate the alkaline level on your skin.
The worst thing to happen if you don't use a toner after cleansing is inviting harmful bacteria to live on the skin easily. What kind of bacteria? Those that can cause uneven skin tone, bad acne, and other forms of irritation.
Benefits of a toner?
Originally, they act as a pH balancer. Today, they do so much more. Amazing benefits include:
- Exfoliation, which leads to balancing skin tone
- Remove excess dirt (though, your cleanser should be good enough to do this)
- Help preps the skin for product absorption
- Restore moisture to the skin to avoid irritation
Other benefits that are present in many toners (but not all) include:
- Skin brightening
- Restore loss of moisture from cleansing to avoid irritation
- Clean your pores, which helps minimize the look of them
Where to buy?
We have a couple of places we'd go to get our beauty supplies. They offer great deals from time to time too. As such, we explain where and why:-
Shopee: We enjoy shopping for beauty products on Shopee due to the vast amount of lifestyle merchants there. Aside from pharmaceutical brands, we also enjoy the vast brand being independent on Shopee Mall such as L'Oreal, Maybelline, Yves Rocher and Hysses. Here's also our recommended place to get good deals on official East Asian branded products such as Missha, Banilla.co, Biore and more.
Lazada: The alternative marketplace to Shopee. If you can't find the brand you want there, try it here. We especially like Lazada for its selection of higher-end brands such as MAC, Make Up For Ever, Dermalogica and Laneige.
Sephora: This is the best place to try and be introduced to any new mid to high-end products that are or bound to becoming a seller's hit. Several popular toners that we frequent and highly recommend, such as Pixi, Fresh, Clinique, Estee Lauder and Sulhwasoo are all conveniently here. If you rather offline, Sephora's physical store is free to visit too!
Hermo: Another place to find good Asian brands. Anything you can think of, from The Body Shop and Innisfree to 3CE and Laneige are all here. Popular, hard-to-get toners such as Klairs, Cosrx and even Thayers are easily available here.
Amazon: Here, is where you get your favorite products from America. You get a good mix of Asian and American toner brands here. Even drugstore brands like Neutrogena and EltaMD are here.
When to buy?
Great Singapore Sale (June to July)
This annual sale hits Singapore with sale fever everywhere from online to offline. Choose your poison, as anywhere you go is bound to have big discounts. During sales, utilize your membership for all the pharmacy-beauty sections - Watsons, Guardian, and Fairprice. Aside from our top favorites, remember to drop by sites such as Lookfantastic for good deals too.
11.11 (Shopee, Lazada; November 11th)
Both Shopee and Lazada have already good deals to begin with. But with 11.11, special discounts and stackable vouchers are available sitewide. We've seen several buy 1-free-1 deals as well as special promotional sets that are only available during this duration. Even better, there's usually flash sales in which we see crazy SGD1 offerings. We suggest reading beauty product reviews on ProductNation Singapore to carefully plan your purchases (*wink-wink*).
Black Friday and Cyber Monday (Sephora, Amazon; the next Friday & Monday after Thanksgiving)
Although both days are commonly associated with home appliances and tech, there are generally still plenty of sites that offer the campaigns. This is when American brands (and actually, many sites worldwide) such as iHerb and Sephora, will offer big discounts.
How to Buy the Best Facial Toner for You?
Astringents, fresheners, clarifiers, or widely known as toners are used to clean, control oil, and moisturize your skin that leaves it feeling fresh after each application. So how do you get the right one for you with so many products available? To answer that, you should read this quick guide below.
Identify Your Skin Type
There are three skin types: dry, oily, and combination. The first thing you need to do is to identify which skin type you have. Knowing which skin type you below will help you understand which product will best benefit you.
- Normal - This type generally means that your skin is well-balanced, occasionally suffering from certain skin types due to the weather, or acne due to hormonal change. Your skin does not stay in one type for too long (like a month) and it's neither too oily nor too dry even in your oily T-zone.
- Dry – Aside from the obvious dryness, your skin might have smaller pores than most people. It also feels tight and has a dull or rough complexion that seldom becomes flaky. You're also more prone to cracking, irritation, redness, dry patches, and peeling.
- Oily – If you have enlarged pores that look shiny due to oil buildup even after an hour of taking a bath, and you constantly blot away the oil with a tissue, you most likely have oily skin. However, this condition should only be confirmed if you consistently have it even after changing your diet.
- Acne-prone - Not to be confused with hormonal or teen acne, which usually occurs only about once a month (and if you're a teenager, for the latter); this is when your skin struggles to clear acne. The pimples are commonly cystic, with white/blackheads and that it occurs largely on a part (or the whole) face. Acne is also easily triggered, painful, and/or swelling with redness. A change of diet or skincare routine may treat this type, but a visit to the dermatologist may be required if all else fails.
- Sensitive/mature - This type is a little like acne, except that there is no oiliness, acne or pimples. Instead, your skin is easily itched by a new product, may trigger redness, and can be dry which can cause easy cracking of the skin surface. Think, anyone with eczema or rosacea falls into this category. For mature skin, your skin's protective barriers might've weakened over the years, causing multiple ingredients to be too harsh for you.
- Combination – Combination skin is a lot trickier. You will have dry or normal skin while having oily skin in the T-zone area: forehead, nose, and chin. If you have a shiny face but only in select areas, you probably have combination skin, which is quite complicated to manage.
- Dehydrated (Dull)- Commonly confused with dry, this skin type is like the normal, but lacks moisture. The easiest way to know if you have dehydrated skin, is usually when your skin meets all the conditions of a normal-type, but lacks a normal/healthy glow. If anything, your skin does not seriously suffer from any skin-type issue, but it is dull-looking. If this continues, it can lead to pre-mature aging of the skin too.
Best toner ingredients for your skin type:
After knowing your skin type, it now boils down to buying the right toner for you. Although we've already added subtitles to help you select faster, being meticulous will never do harm to your purchase decision.
Your skin type can benefit from most ingredients here for other skin types, depending on what you're after or if your skin is currently changing season-to-season. But restoring moisturization is highly recommended! We'd choose a toner that:
- is alcohol-free
- Has moisturizing ingredients like glycerin, propylene glycol, or salicylic acid (attracts moisture from the air)
- Contain ingredients like aloe vera and rosewater which naturally hydrates the skin
People with dry skin need to prioritize toners that focus on hydrating and moisturizing effects. Look for ingredients that are:
- Oil-based such as jojoba or rose hips seed oil
- Peptides, glycolipids, and the likes to improve your skin's texture (elasticity and softness)
- Natural ingredients, as mentioned, such as rosewater and aloe vera
- Collagen, which plumps and soften the skin for a youthful look
For oily skin, choose toners that are gentle and provides a refreshing effect on your skin. We encourage toners that:
- Are alcohol-free, unless your oiliness is just too much.
- Have sodium hyaluronate, sodium PCA, which helps with deep-moisturizing
- BHAs, which offers acne control and regulates the oil production of the skin by cleaning the pores
You probably know what causes your acne;- too much oil resulted in dirty pores that aren't cleared out. Similar to ingredients for the oily skin, you can also benefit from:
- AHAs such as glycolic acid (stronger) or lactic acid (gentler alternative) which reduced the appearance of scars
- Ingredients such as witch hazel which reduces inflammation and has anti-bacterial properties
- BHAs like salicylic acid, which also helps with exfoliation of dead skin cells
Mature & Sensitive
Natural ingredients are your best bet. That's because many types of acids may be too harsh for your skin. So, instead, opt for a fragrance-free toner that has:
- Witch hazel, lavender, chamomile, and aloe vera, to reduce inflammation
- Rosewater and cucumber, to soothe and soften the skin with their hydrating properties
- Algae, an exception for an amino acid as it'll detoxify and purify irritated skin
- Green tea, antioxidants, and collagen, to fight premature-aging, plump the skin and smooth the texture
If you have several conditions, it's best to get two separate products of any ingredients you'd like and treat the areas accordingly. Sometimes, dryness will dominate during cold months while oiliness during summer. You have to adapt as much as possible. If that's too much of a hassle, you can always get a toner that's intended for combination skin. As always, moisturization is a must!
Like normal and combination skin types, you can go for whichever ingredient that'll bring your desired results. Besides moisturization, your skin also needs to achieve a healthy skin glow as well as youthfulness (especially if your skin is not over 30 years old). Look for ingredients such as:
- Collagen, as mentioned, to plump up the skin and provide a youthful look
- Vitamin C, which helps with uneven skin tones and overall brightening by exfoliating dead skin cells
- Niacinamide, which also helps with hyperpigmentation of the skin
- Vitamin E, and similar antioxidants; Vitamin E deflects UV damage to the skin
As mentioned earlier, toners are a post-cleansing ritual to prep your serums and moisturizers. Did you figure out when to use it? Why, it's:
Face wash > Toner > Serums.
For maximum absorption, we recommend applying on a damp face (think, a wet sponge absorbs better than being dry, right?).
Moving on, toner's consistency varies. It's not a cream, nor is it a cleanser. So how do you do this? Well, here's couple of the best ways to do it.
- Cotton ball - This is the most common way of using toner. Soak your cotton pad or ball with some toner, then gently wipe it across your face. Pat your face after for better absorption of the product. The cotton ball method is good for toners with thicker consistencies.
- Splash - Sometimes, your face's sensitivity doesn't agree with the cotton ball. Or, you want to save money. Then again, you may be just lazy? Either way, just pour some onto your palms, then splash and pat it onto your face. Ta-dah, your face is prepped!
- Spray - If your toner is very thin, like water, you can actually transfer the toner into a spray bottle. This way, it allows every area of your face to receive an equal amount of toner. You can either choose to pat it with your palms, or pat it with a cotton pad. The spray method is very convenient and is good for using as little toner as possible.
If you're new to using toners, you might just start exploring and trying our recommendations (which, we have analyzed carefully on the ingredients). Unfortunately, everyone's skin is so different and that you may have certain allergies to even the simplest ingredient.
Save your skin from suffering further if you experience any of these:
- Breakout - The... most obvious signs? This may be one of the worst things that can happen to you. Acne, pimple, or even bumps are not a good sign. This is a sign for you to stop using the toner immediately.
- Itchy - Yes, if your face actually feels itchy after using the toner, it might be either a mild allergy or you have sensitive skin and the formula is too strong for you.
- Tingling - Sharing the same reasons as itchiness; if your face feels tingly, you may want to check on your skin or the formula. Generally, many people do continue to use their toners when they follow up with a good serum or moisturizer. Some also believe that their skin just have to get used to an active ingredient such as retinol.
- Redness - This is the second-worst thing that can happen with the wrong toner. Funny enough, some people also do calm the skin down from redness after using their toners by applying a soothing serum, face mask, or cream after. It's really up to you if you want to continue being the daredevil.
Alternatively, you may want to check if it's your tools that are affecting any of these problems (the cotton ball/spray bottle). We'd recommend testing your toners (or anything else that you put on your face) by applying some under the chin/anywhere else that's not jarringly visible on the skin.
Facial toners are your second line of defense. It tightens your pores, making it hard for pollutants to enter your skin. They're also affordable and are essential to any skin care regimen. If you want young and healthy skin, you should always have a skin toner by your side.