9 Best Toners For Every Skin Type—Dermatologist Recommendations

Ask any beauty lover if they use a toner and you’ll get a passionate yes or no—along with a TED Talk-worthy discussion as to why. The word “toner” doesn’t really tell you much. It’s actually a vague term for any sort of liquid you put on your face after cleansing and before a serum, typically with a cotton ball (try these reusable ones!). Toners can hydrate, exfoliate, tingle, or coddle skin in a blanket of moisture—it all just depends on what your skin needs at the moment. If you’re not sure where to start or whether or not you actually need the additional step, that’s okay. We asked some derms to weigh in on their favorite toners by skin type, below.

ALCOHOL-FREE

Thayers Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel Facial Toner

COURTESY

Thayers

$11 AT ULTA BEAUTY

“For those looking for a witch hazel toner that is alcohol-free, this is a great option as it also contains soothing aloe vera and [moisturizing] glycerin. It draws moisture into the skin, hydrating all day long while reducing the appearance of pores and smoothing [rough skin]. It’s a good option for all skin types and won’t leave the skin dry or irritated.” – Marisa Garshick, MD, FAAD

FOR ALL SKIN TYPES

Obagi Medical Nu-Derm Toner (6.7 fl. oz.)

COURTESY

Obagi Medical

$43 AT DERMSTORE$43 AT WALMART$43 AT SKINSTORE

“This is a very mild toner for use after cleansing to remove residue, restore the skin pH, soothe and prep the skin for the rest of the regimen. It is great for all skin types. It contains humectants and botanicals that hydrate the skin and aim to decrease inflammation.” – Morayo Adisa MD FAAD & FASDP

FOR OILY SKIN

Oil-Free Acne Stress Control Triple-Action Toner

COURTESY

Neutrogena

$7 AT TARGET$7 AT WALMART$8 AT BED BATH AND BEYOND

“If you have oily skin, try toners with salicylic acid, which is an oil-soluble ingredient that can penetrate the pore. Avoid overly drying formulations, including those with ethyl alcohol, as they can strip the skin moisture barrier and trigger more oil production.” – Tsippora Shainhouse MD

Rosewater Mist with Witch Hazel

boscia

$24 AT DERMSTORE$23 AT WALMART$28 AT ULTA BEAUTY

“For aging skin, look for gentle exfoliating ingredients like polyhydroxy acids (PHAs); mild collagen-stimulating ingredients like retinol, rosehip seed oil, bakuchiol, peptides; and skin-brightening ingredients like vitamin C, arbutin, and kojic acid. This one from Boscia sops up oil, as well as adds hydrating ingredients to prevent over-drying.” – Shainhouse

EXFOLIATING

Glycolic Acid 7% Exfoliating Toning Solution

COURTESY

The Ordinary

$9 AT SEPHORA$20 AT WALMART$10 AT SKINSTORE

“I usually do not recommend toners, but I like one in particular because they have actives that are great for exfoliation. the Ordinary with 7% glycolic, aloe vera, and ginseng. It’s alcohol-free which is a big plus unlike traditional toners. It’s great for uneven texture.” – Ritu Saini, MD, FAAD

FOR SENSITIVE SKIN

Cream Skin Toner & Moisturizer

COURTESY

LANEIGE

$33 AT SEPHORA

“My favorite toner in the winter when my skin seems to always be craving an extra hit of moisture is the Laneige Cream Skin Toner and Moisturizer. I cleanse my skin in the morning then apply this with my fingertips and palms all over my face, neck, and chest. Like many toners, the first ingredient is water. This toner goes an extra step by including lots of gentle humectants and emollients like glycerin, glyceryl stearate citrate, and meadowseed oil. It’s great for sensitive skin and doesn’t have a strong fragrance. I think this product works best for patients with mature, dry, and sensitive skin but it can also work for patients with oilier skin if they use a light moisturizer over it or skip the moisturizer.” – Papri Sarkar, MD

FOR ACNE PRONE SKIN

Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

COURTESY

Paula’s Choice

$32 AT SEPHORA$11 AT NORDSTROM$32 AT DERMSTORE

“I really like beta hydroxy acid toners for patients with clogged pores, blackheads, and acne in general. I find that they tend to work better than a face wash alone. Paula’s Choice makes a 2% salicylic acid toner that’s not irritating and, over time, helps to prevent those pesky clogged pores that many patients complain of [having].” – Sarkar

EXFOLIATING

Pore Minimize & Mattify Skin Tonic

COURTESY

Replere

$45 AT AMAZON

“Replere is an award-winning product line made with antioxidants and fruit acids to clean, freshen, and rejuvenate the skin. The tonic helps to complement the action of the wash and works to remove excess oils and debris. [The formula also] provides beneficial healing antioxidants as well as gentle exfoliants to the skin. By doing so, it contributes to the promotion of anti-aging as well as control of acne and oil production. The tonic also helps to bring the skin back to its natural pH level after washing, which aids in the effective absorption of subsequently applied products. I love this product, and recommend it to most of my patients!” – Jennifer S Kitchin, MD, FAAD

FOR OILY SKIN

Bright & Clear Solution

COURTESY

$42 AT ALUMIERMD.COM

“AlumierMD Bright & Clear Solution contains lactic acid and vitamin C to gently exfoliate environmental debris and improve skin texture—it works well for oily skin.” – Corey L. Hartman, MD, FAAD

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