Best Facial Toners

Updated June 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

52 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
202 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best facial toners

Facial toner is a beauty routine component that, for many people, is an essential step to a glowing complexion. Whether you have oily, dry, combination, or normal skin, the right toner can help nourish your skin and prepare it for moisturizing. If you want to take your skincare routine to the next level, it’s time to invest in a facial toner.

So, what is facial toner? It’s a liquid product that helps hydrate and nourish the skin while minimizing pores. It also removes remaining traces of dirt, oil, makeup, and other residue after cleansing. Because it’s in liquid form, it’s readily absorbed by the skin — a great way to deliver essential nutrients to your body’s largest organ.

If you want to get the most out your facial toner, choosing the right one is crucial. You need a formula that suits your skin type, so you need to know what ingredients and other features to look for. Read our handy buying guide on facial toner: it has all the tips you need to find the best product for your skin. To make shopping even easier, we’ve included information about some of the facial toners we love.

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If you have combination skin, you may prefer using two facial toners: a hydrating formula for drier areas and an oil-removing option for your T-zone.

Key considerations

Skin type

Not all facial toners provide the same benefits, so it’s extremely important to consider your skin type when shopping. Here’s a look at what type of formula is best for each type of skin.

Oily skin: If you have oily skin, opt for a facial toner with a thin, lightweight formula that can reduce excess oil and deep-clean pores. You can also find formulas that treat acne if you suffer from regular breakouts.

Combination skin: Combination skin also benefits from a lightweight facial toner that can regulate oil production. However, it should be lightly moisturizing to help hydrate dry patches.

Normal skin: For normal skin, opt for a facial toner that hydrates the skin, removes any residual dirt, and contains beneficial ingredients that nourish the skin.

Dry skin: If you have dry skin, choose a facial toner with a soothing milky formula that can hydrate and replenish the skin. Avoid any toners with drying or oil-regulating ingredients, but keep in mind that you may want an exfoliating formula to reduce flakiness. 

Mature skin: For mature skin, choose a hydrating facial toner with anti-aging ingredients like antioxidants. You may also want a formula that can exfoliate the skin to increase cell turnover and stimulate collagen production.

Sensitive skin: If you have sensitive skin, opt for a facial toner with a gentle, soothing formula that can hydrate the skin and reduce redness.

Ingredients

Once you know what a facial toner should do based on your skin type, you’ll have an easier time identifying ingredients that would benefit your skin. Here are some key ingredients to look for in a facial toner for each skin type.

Oily skin: salicylic acid, witch hazel, tea tree oil

Combination skin: lactic acid, witch hazel, glycerin

Normal skin: hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, rosewater

Dry skin: glycerin, hyaluronic acid, rosewater, vitamin E

Mature skin: vitamin C, vitamin E, alpha lipoic acid, plant stem cells

Sensitive skin: chamomile, aloe vera, amino acids

Features

Alcohol-free

While the best ingredients for a facial toner vary based on your skin type, there’s one ingredient that nearly everyone should avoid: alcohol.

Toners with a high alcohol content can strip the skin of its natural oils, which dehydrates your skin and leaves it feeling tight. It’s especially important for people with dry, mature, and sensitive skin to use alcohol-free formulas. However, even oily skin can become too dry if you use a facial toner that has alcohol high up on its ingredient list.

Packaging

Facial toners are liquid, so they usually come in plastic bottles. To apply a toner, dispense a small amount on a cotton pad or ball and run it over your face. Many toners feature bottles with a simple screw-off cap. To use these, place a cotton pad over the opening and turn the bottle over to saturate the cotton.

While this type of packaging can work well, the toner can spill fairly easily if it’s knocked over or jostled. That’s why other toner packaging features a plastic piece over the opening with a hole in the center. You can still place a cotton pad or ball over it to saturate it, but you have to turn the bottle over or squeeze it to dispense the toner, so the entire bottle doesn’t spill if it tips.

Some facial toners are even available in spray bottles, so you can simply mist the toner over your face to apply it. If you’re concerned about making your toner last as long as possible, a spray bottle is a great option because you don’t have to worry about a cotton pad or ball soaking up excess product and wasting it.

Scent

Like many skincare products, facial toners often have added fragrance. However, artificial fragrances can be extremely irritating to the skin, so many people prefer fragrance-free toners. If your skin is sensitive or you aren’t a fan of strong scents, choose a formula without any artificial fragrances.

"Toners that come in a spray bottle can often be used as a setting spray for your makeup as well. "
STAFF
BestReviews

Facial toner prices

Facial toners vary in price based on the number of active ingredients, the quality of the ingredients, and the size of the bottle. The general price range is $4 to $95.

The most affordable facial toners generally have just one or two active ingredients of low quality. These products may offer fewer benefits to your skin than higher-priced products. They typically cost between $4 and $19. Mid-range facial toners typically have two or three active ingredients that are of average quality. They range from $19 to $50. The most expensive facial toners have three or more active ingredients that are high in quality. They generally cost between $50 and $95.

Tips

  • Use your facial toner after you’ve cleansed your face but before applying any other skincare products, like serum or moisturizer.
  • Allow your facial toner to dry for at least one minute before moving on to the next step in your skincare routine.
  • When you pour facial toner onto a cotton pad or ball, the cotton should feel damp but not soaked. You don’t want any toner dripping off the pad or ball.
  • While facial toner is meant mainly for the face, you can also apply it to your neck and chest to keep the skin there clean, soft, and smooth.
  • In warm weather, store your facial toner in the refrigerator for a cooling, refreshing treat when you apply it.
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If you don’t have any cotton balls or pads, put a few drops of toner into the palms of clean hands and gently press it into your skin.

FAQ

Q. Do I really need to use a facial toner?
A.
A facial toner may not be as essential to your skincare routine as cleanser or moisturizer, but it does offer important benefits that can make a difference in the way your skin looks and feels. The right toner can remove dirt and oil left behind after you cleanse and provide additional hydration before you moisturize. It’s also an effective way to provide your skin with active ingredients because the liquid formula sinks right into the skin.

Q. What’s the difference between facial toner and astringent?
A.
An astringent is a type of facial toner, though it’s meant almost exclusively to absorb excess oil. That makes it an excellent formula for oily skin but a poor choice for dry or mature skin. Astringents often contain a higher concentration of alcohol, which can strip the skin of moisture. Therefore, even people with oily skin should be careful when using astringent.

Q. How often should I use facial toner?
A.
It depends on your skin type and the formula, so be sure to read the packaging to see what the manufacturer recommends. Some toners can be used morning and night, but stronger formulas that include slightly drying ingredients should usually be used just once a day.

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