If you've been told that toner isn’t exactly a necessary step in your beauty routine, don't believe everything you hear. For example, it can restore lost moisture, help with the appearance of enlarged pores, and battle breakouts—depending on the formula—all with one swipe of a doused cotton pad. Here, eight formulas that won't let you—or your complexion—down.
If You Want to Tighten Your Pores...
Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner with Aloe Vera, Noon
Who can stand that tight, uncomfortable feeling your skin experiences after using a product with alcohol? Not me. Luckily, this pore-tightening rose petal toner is formulated with witch hazel, a natural astringent, making it gentle enough for all skin types. Bonus: It’s also enriched with hydrating aloe vera and rose water to help calm inflammation. Just apply some on a cotton pad, swipe it across your face, and breathe in to stop and smell the roses.
If You Need Assistance Getting Rid of Acne...
Lush Cosmetics Tea Tree Water, Lush
If you need to calm down your acne—and eventually, with continued use, prevent new pimples from forming—you need this toner. Packed with blemish-blasting tea tree water, complexion balancing juniperberry water, and exfoliating grapefruit water, this lightweight formula helps to control oil production and tackle existing pimples head-on. Spritz it on your face every morning and even midday, if you feel extra oily in the afternoon.
If You Have Sensitive Skin and Breakouts...
Acure Rose + Red TeaFacial Toner, Birchbox
This all-natural, alcohol-free formulation combines anti-inflammatory witch hazel, rose flower water, calming chamomile flower extract, and vegetable glycerin to not only keep your oil production down, but to also hydrate parched skin, leaving you feeling more awake when 4 PM rolls around. Bonus: It sprays on, so you can apply it on-the-go.
If You Want to Get Your Glow On...
Pixi by Petra Glow Tonic, Sephora
If you have acne-prone skin, it can be a struggle to keep breakouts at a minimum and get rid of the hyperpigmentation that can be left over from inflamed zits. Enter this tonic, which promises to promote cell turnover by sloughing away dead skin cells thanks to its five percent glycolic acid content. But the fun doesn't stop there. It also contains soothing aloe vera and collagen-boosting ginseng—overall, it won’t be long before you finally notice your glow up.
If You Want to Up Your Exfoliation...
Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner, Desert Cart
This alcohol-free exfoliating toner contains skin-sloughing ingredients, like glycolic acid and grapefruit extract, to work simultaneously to promote cell turnover, reducing fine lines and wrinkles, while keeping your complexion clear of blemishes, and fading discoloration.
If Your Skin Is Dry and Thirsty...
Dickinson's Original Witch Hazel Toner Hydrating, Amazon
“Dehydrated skin is in!,” said no one ever. Perfect for maintaining moisture, this alcohol-free (there's a theme here, if you can't tell) toner has a cocktail of hydrating ingredients, like vitamin E and hyaluronic acid, and witch hazel (reminder: it's a natural astringent) that tightens pores without drying out your complexion. Bonus: It also moonlights as a makeup remover that won't sting your precious face.
If You Want to Even Out Skin Tone...
SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, Souq
Made from 90 percent Pietra (SK-II's proprietary fermented yeast that’s rich in vitamins, amino acids, and minerals), this cult-favorite essence leaves skin feeling noticeably smoother, while brightening your complexion with continued use.
Sure, it's on the pricier side, but it's worth the "treat yourself" moment because it actually works on every skin tone and type. To use it, place a few drops in your hand (FYI: You don't waste product this way versus applying it with a cotton pad!), pat it into your skin (and neck), and expect fresher-looking skin in just a few weeks.
If You Want to Control a Shiny Complexion...
Neutrogena Alcohol-Free Toner, Desert Cart
Raise your hand if you have a shiny forehead and nose, but your cheeks are dry AF. *Pauses for hands to raise* To remedy this skin sitch, simply add this alcohol- and oil-free toner into your regimen to balance your skin’s pH levels—without stripping your skin's natural moisture barrier.
H/T Cosmo US