Girls, if you aren't using a face toner as part of your skincare routine, you're seriously missing out.
You might be wondering:
What is toner, anyway? The best facial toners can hydrate, sooth, and refresh your skin. And, they can shrink pores, clear acne, and balance your skin's pH level.
The most important reason that you should be using a toner, is to prep your skin for the absorption of serums and moisturizers. We all know that face washes and moisturizers also can drain our wallets. But, what's the point in paying for expensive washes and moisturizers if they aren't getting absorbed all the way?
A face toner can be formulated with many different ingredients. According to the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, products with natural ingredients, such as aloe vera, are the best for your skin. Which is why it's important to choose a face toner with quality ingredients.
Want to know the best part?
Lucky for you, we've done the research, and giving you the honest truth. We picked the very best facial toners so you don’t have to.
An award-winning, gentle toner for men with cucumber extract and antioxidants. This toner cleanses, tones and removes impurities from facial skin with mild herbal extracts.
Some guys didn't see the benefits and found it difficult to incorporate toner into their grooming routine.
Effectiveness: What makes the Baxter of California face toner so effective is the Witch Hazel and Aloe Leaf Juice. Witch Hazel works at removing excess oil while tightening pores. And, the Aloe Leaf Juice sooths and hydrates. We were impressed at this face toner's ability to pull dirt and oil from the skin. As a bonus, this toner has antioxidants, Vitamin C and E that protect your skin against free radicals and cell damage, leaving your face looking clean and fresh. Use after washing your face to prime your skin before moisturizing, or throughout the day to remove excess oil.
Ingredients: The main ingredients in this face toner include water, Witch Hazel, Aloe Leaf Juice, Cucumber Fruit Extract, Tea Tree Oil, and Peppermint Oil. The good news is, this face toner is alcohol-free. Which means it's great for guys with dry or sensitive skin. And, it works well with combination and oily skin types, too. Despite the long list of quality ingredients (which we love), there are a few dyes and chemicals in this toner.
Feeling after Use: Guys loved the way this left their skin feeling, especially after a shave. Your skin will feel cool and refreshed without any sticky residue. Because the Witch Hazel banishes shine, your skin be left with a matte appearance afterwards.
Price: Although this face toner is rather pricey, the bottle is 10 ounces and a little goes a long way.
A gentle, nonstinging formula that won't strip your skin of its natural oils and moisturizers.
Not effective enough for those with acne or oily skin.
Effectiveness: This alcohol-free face toner is extremely gentle and won't strip your skin of natural oils. Instead it moisturizes, which is why it's perfect for those with dry skin. We also appreciate that it doesn't take much product to cover your entire face. The small hole in the bottle makes it impossible to use too much or spill.
Ingredients: The only ingredients we could pronounce in this formula were water and fragrance. If you could care less about the ingredients inside, then you'll love this stuff.
Feeling after Use: The Neutrogena face toner is made with a hypoallergenic, alcohol-free formula that won't dry out your skin or leave behind sticky residue. This stuff actually feels like water. Your skin will be left feeling cool and refreshed.
Price: For a qulity product cheaper than a cup of coffee, you can't really complain. We love the price of this toner, you'll pay rougly $5 for a 8.5 ounce bottle.
An oil-fighting toner that refreshes and cleanses acne-prone skin. It will clear and prevent unwanted skin breakouts.
This toner can sting when applied.
Effectiveness: The Murad Clarifying Toner works wonders on acne-prone skin. The Witch Hazel keeps oil under control while tightening your pores. We're not kidding, you will notice a visible decrease in the size of them. Additionally, this toner works to cleanse your skin, thoroughly removing off all of the left behind dirt and grime that you might have missed while washing.
Ingredients: Unfortunately, the Murad Clarifying Toner has a long list of ingredients including added chemicals and dyes. The good news is, there are quite a few quality ingredients such as Witch Hazel, Cucumber Fruit Extract, Algae Extract, Vitamin E, and Grape Seed Extract. And, we love that it's made in the USA and isn't tested on animals.
Feeling after Use: To be honest, this face toner will be intense and may sting a bit when applied. But after you get past that, you will feel a cooling sensation and your skin will be left feeling refreshed.
Price: For the 6-ounce bottle, the price is $21. Although this face toner is rather pricey, it will help clear up your face and reduce the size of your pores. And, that's worth every dollar.
A natural toning mist that sets makeup, provides an instant burst of radiance, and tightens the appearance of pores.
Small bottle for the expensive price tag.
Effectiveness: The Caudalie Beauty Elixir tightens pores, soothes, and reduces dullness. Spray on as toner before applying moisturizer, or at any time of the day, for an immediate pick-me-up. You can also apply between your foundation and powder to perfectly set makeup.
Ingredients: This face toner is made up of essentially water, oils, and fruit extract. Our favorite items on the ingredient list? The rosemary and peppermint oils which leave behind an uplifting, minty scent. However, alcohol is the second ingredient in this product which can be drying. That's why we recommend this toner for those with oily skin.
Feeling after Use: Cool, soothing, and refreshing are words we read over and over again from reviewers. Plus, it leaves behind a therapeutic scent thanks to the abundance of essential oils. And, since this product is water-based, it doesn't leave behind any unwanted residue.
Price: Although this face toner is rather pricey, and the most expensive on our list, people truly love it. The good news is there are two sizes to choose from. The cheaper, smaller 1-ounce bottle is $17 while the 3.4-ounce bottle is $38.
A refreshing, hydrating mist that can be used as a face toner and makeup setting spray.
Now contains added fragrances and dyes.
Effectiveness: The Mario Badescu face toner is super light and refreshing. Although it wasn't designed to clear acne or tighten pores, it does its job at hydrating your skin. The best part is, it can be used as a setting spray for your makeup.
Ingredients: This water-based formula is made with Aloe Leaf Juice, Rose Extract, Gardenia Extract, and Bladderwrack Extract. And, if you're wondering what Bladderwrack Extract is, you're not alone. We had to do our research. This uncommon ingredient is a form of kelp. It's filled with minerals that nourish and cleanse the skin of toxins that cause dryness and wrinkles. As a bonus, this face toner isn't tested on animals. However, in recent months it seems Mario Badescu has changed their ingredient list. This refreshing spray used to be free of all perfume and dyes. Unfortunately, that's no longer the case.
Feeling after Use: You know the feeling when you get out of the shower and your face is left feeling tight? This spray instantly gives your skin a hydrating boost. We loved how hydrated and soft our skin felt after using this product. And, reviewers did too. It smells sweet, is lightweight, and (best of all) leaves behind no residue whatsoever.
Price: This face toner really is the best if you need something calming and hydrating. It may not be as effective compared to other toners on the market, but it does the job at refreshing your skin. And, we love that it comes in two different sizes. The 4-ounce bottle is $7 and the 8-ounce bottle is $12. So, if you don't want to spend as much or just want to give this stuff a try, you can opt for the smaller size.
InstaNatural’s Moroccan Rose Water is 100% pure and natural. There is no artificial fragrance or any added chemicals or preservatives. The rose water acts as a toner to naturally balance the skin’s pH, making it soft, smooth, and radiant.
Doesn't do much for clearing up redness or breakouts.
Effectiveness: Formulated for sensitive skin, this face toner is enriched with rose water. Rose water is one of the best products you can put on your skin. We love how it soothes redness, hydrates, and tightens pores. And, you can use it as a makeup setting spray.
Ingredients: Just one simple ingredient in this product - Rosa Damascena Flower Water imported from Morocco. You won't find any chemicals, dyes, or irritating perfumes in this face toner, this stuff is the real deal. And, it's bottled right here in the U.S.A.
Feeling after Use: Since this product is rose water-based and oil-free, the skin is left feeling refreshed after use with no greasy residue. Reviewers love how soft it leaves the skin feeling. Those with sensitive skin will appreciate that this face toner is hypoallergenic and pH balanced, which means it's safe and won't cause any irritations. We recommend using this twice a day - use it to refresh your skin in the a.m and in the p.m.
Price: When on sale, you can grab this face toner for less than $15. We think the price is fairly reasonable for the quality of the ingredients. And, it will last you a few months.
A gentle and hydrating, alcohol-free face toner with no harsh chemicals- making it suitable for even the most sensitive skin.
We honestly couldn't find any reason not to buy this toner.
Effectiveness: What makes the Thayers Witch Hazel face toner so effective is the genius combination of rose water and witch hazel. These two ingredients work together at eliminating redness and reducing breakouts, while the aloe vera moisturizes. We were impressed at this face toner's ability to tighten the skin without drying it out. And you know what that means! Say goodbye to those oversized pores. This stuff will also pull dirt, oil, and traces of makeup from the skin. Simply apply twice a day with a cotton ball for noticeably softer skin.
Ingredients: Our favorite part about this face toner is the skin-friendly ingredient list. In reviews, users said the same. Main ingredients include organic aloe vera, rose-petal water, vitamin E, natural rose fragrance, organic witch hazel, and grapefruit seed extract. We loved that Thayers made this product alcohol-free, meaning you don't have to worry about it stripping your skin or drying you out. A few ingredients we were especially happy not to find were harsh chemicals and parabens.
Feeling after Use: Since this face toner is water-based and incredibly cleansing, the skin is left feeling refreshed after use with no sticky residue. Reviewers love how soft it leaves the skin feeling and noticed a difference immediately. Those with sensitive skin will appreciate that this toner is hypoallergenic, which means its safe and won't causes any irritations. We recommend using this twice a day - use it to refresh your skin in the a.m and in the p.m after washing.
Price: For being the #1 best-selling face toner on Amazon, we are big fans of the low-price tag. This product will only cost you $9.31 for a 12-ounce bottle. And, it will last you months.
BUYING GUIDE FACIAL TONERS
For anyone who knows anything about skincare, toners are the latest trend. Toners are popular and used for your daily skin care routine.
In the past, toners were used to treat and rebalance oily skins, but today they are used for multiple benefits. Alongside cleansers and moisturizers, facial toners come right in the middle of your routine and should be used daily — morning and evening.
Even though the market is saturated with a plethora of brands, choosing a facial toner will depend on your skin type. Second, you must also look for the right ingredients. If you have oily skin, avoid choosing a toner that contains alcohol or fragrance to ensure you don't get irritated. Finally, you need to understand thow your toner interacts with other products. So let’s explore: what is a toner, how can you use one, and which toner is best for you?
Toners were originally made to rebalance the skin pH when the skin was cleansed the old way, with a soap. Our skin has a protective layer on the surface called the acid mantle. Made of free fatty acids — sebum — mixed with lactic and amino acids, the acid mantle creates the skin pH. The skin pH should be normally acidic — around 5.5. But today, attitudes toward toners have shifted as they no longer serve the primary purpose of rebalancing the skin pH.
In a daily beauty routine, you will need to cleanse your face with a product of your choice — an oil, exfoliating cream, or a cleanser, before applying a facial toner. A cleanser will remove the dirt and dead cells on the surface of your face. It will also help your skin stay hydrated.
A facial toner comes next. Toners are used to remove the remainder of dirt and dust that may stay on the skin. Plus, toners get rid of excess oils as well as limestone residues that may stay on the skin when you rinse your face with water.
On top of it, toners act as a sponge and prepare the skin for hydration. By opening up the pores, the ingredients of the remaining products you use are absorbed better. If you don’t use a toner, then it’s similar to applying your moisturizing lotion onto a dry skin which will not absorb the cream properly, reducing the effects.
As toners make pores tighter, they help the skin look brighter and fresher. As well as soothing and balancing the skin, facial toners have great antibacterial properties. Toners are not used for removing makeup.
Once you have applied your toner, either on a cotton pad or by splashing out the liquid from your hands to your face, you can gently apply a daily moisturizer of your choice.
Normal skin is a sought-after skin type and features a well-balanced skin complexion. The skin appears fresh and light with tight pores. There’s no blemishs or oilliness. Normal skin is not too dry or sensitive. It has great elasticity and requires a simple routine that includes a gentle toner, antioxidants or hydrating toner, and a normal moisturizer containing soothing ingredients.
Combination skin is more difficult to identify as the T-zone of your face is oily and the rest of your face is dry. The T-zone describes the area of the face from the nose to the chin.
Combination skin may be oilier in summer and drier in winter, therefore it deserves a specific treatment that removes the excess of oil without damaging the skin. Most people believe their skin to be oily while in fact, it’s just a combination skin.
Oily skin is an overproduction of sebum from the sebaceous glands which are located just underneath the skin surface. Although sebum is supposed to protect the skin against aggression, an overproduction of sebum may lead to oily skin. Oily skin has larger pores and looks shiny. Some genetic factors may also foster oily skin. Therefore it’s hard to predict the development of oily skin, however, eating healthy food may prevent it. Oily skin may favor the appearance of spots or acne, from time to time.
Dry skin may result from weather change or can be dry by nature. Dry skin lacks elasticity and may feel tight and brittle. The texture feels rough and is prone to cracking. The complexion appears unbalanced, with redness or spots or lack of radiance. Lastly, dry skin may also result from genetic or environmental factors that cause the skin to not retain water properly. Treating dry skin requires using oils to deepen the moisturization.
Sensitive skin is skin that has blemishes, allergies or reaction such as redness or eczema. It’s not recommended to use products that contain alcohol on this type of skin. Sensitive skin needs dermatologist advice on how to be treated daily. Fragrances also should be avoided to prevent reactions or intolerance.
Dehydrated skin is a skin condition (and not a skin type unlike dry skin) which causes the skin to lack water. To boost hydration, you can use emollients-based cosmetics to retain the water, hydrate the skin with aloe-vera rich creams and drink lots of water. Turmeric and coconut oil are another great addition to treat dehydrated skin.
Mature skin refers to a skin that is over 30 years. Beyond 30 years, the skin produces less collagen and free radicals may enter the skin as it fights less against aggression. Mature skins start to look pale and the complexion may not be as radiant. To maintain beautiful mature skin, you need to add a vitamins and oils which will also help the skin to stay elastic.
Balancing toners help combination skin remove the excess of oil and clarify the skin without causing dehydration. Balancing toners may contain salicylic and lactic acids, which have soothing and exfoliating properties. While salicylic acid enters the pores for deeper cleansing, lactic acid works on the surface of the skin. Balancing toners are great for combination to oily skin.
Hydrating toners are the most common type of toner and provide the best results after cleansing while keeping the skin hydrated. Alcohol-free, hydrating toners shrinks the appearance of pores while softening the skin. Ensure your hydrating toner contains no parabens or sulfates. Parabens act as antibacterial chemicals and are used as preservatives while sulfates are foaming agents used to provide gentle cleansing. However, both products may be harmful. Hydrating toners may be used for normal to dry skin.
Decongestant toners can be used for delicate, sensitive skin or skin with a reaction. Formulated with soothing ingredients such as aloe vera, chamomile, or Santal wood, decongestant toners purify the skin and calms the skin against redness. Decongestant toners are perfect for normal to sensitive skin.
Oil control toners can contain alcohol as well as salicylic acid which can prevent pimples. They may also contain witch hazel, a natural astringent that tightens the skin. These toners are best suited for oily skin with large and clogged pores and help brighten the skin and remove the excess of sebum. Oil control toners refine pores without altering the skin pH. Oil control toners suit more combination to oily skin.
A great “natural” toner is also rose petal water which has astringent properties while tightening the skin. On top of it, rose water contains vitamin C, which is important to boost collagen production. Finally, rose water is a good antibacterial and helps clarify the skin complexion and fades blemishes or spots. Rose petal is great for all skin type, even sensitive.
If you suffer from acne, it can be hard to treat the skin properly. Acne results from sebum that carries dead cells through the follicles. Pimples may appear on the skin, making it oily and less attractive. Acne is a common condition in teens, where hormonal changes alter the skin.
It’s recommended to use green tea and antioxidants to treat acne, so choose a toner that contains antioxidants and is gentle. In fact, using an astringent for a skin that suffers from acne may cause more damage.
Go to your favorite beauty counter and ask for the help of a beauty consultant. Cleanse your hands, dry them, and pour some toner into your hands.
Splash out the liquid onto your hands and wrists and see how the skin reacts. Make sure to choose the right toner according to your skin type as explained above.
Let the toner dry out naturally and study the effects on your skin. If you feel that your skin looks soft and hydrated and has a clear look, then the toner may be for you.
If you notice any reaction (redness or itchy), the toner may not be for you. Remember to not use astringents onto a normal skin as this may cause imbalance and reaction.
Once you’ve chosen your favorite toner, store it to a place away from the sun. Use the toner within a 6-month timeline.
You can use cotton pads to apply your toner onto your skin, however cotton pads may spread bacteria. Therefore, it’s best to use a toner by splashing it onto your face.
After the application of your toner, you may use your preferred moisturizer. Give enough time to the skin to absorb the toner and dry.
Look for these ingredients which are great for most skin types when choosing your toner.
Chamomile: the active botanicals toner helps soothe the skin while preserving its pH.
Sandalwood: anti-inflammatory and hydrating, sandalwood is also good for treating acne.
Green Tea: has anti-aging properties and powerful antioxidants with the polyphenols.
Rose Petal: contains minerals, vitamins, and astringent properties and is good for dry skin.
Witch hazel: made from a plant named Hamamelis virginiana that contains tannins which has great astringent effects.
Orange: a natural astringent that has great lighting effects.
Lavender: antiseptic and anti-inflammatory, lavender has also great soothing properties.
Aloe Vera: used in alternative medicine, aloe vera is a miracle product that has excellent moisturizing, healing, skin soothing and rejuvenating properties.
Parsley seeds: powerful antioxidants, parsley seeds also boost skin hydration.
Some toners may take time to adapt to your skin. Allow up to a week to see how your skin adapts itself to your new toner. If after one week, you notice redness or reactions, if your skin dries out or if spots appear, consider changing your toner.