What is a face toner? Do you need it? How should you use it? Read on for the answers to all your toning questions answered and the best face toners in 2021!
IMO, face toners are the skincare equivalent of Mark Ruffalo — great at adding depth to the team, but you sort of forget they're there and…wait, what role do they play in the whole regime again? You could probably live without face toners, but why would you? The whole routine wouldn’t be the same without it.
So this round we’re spotlighting toners, a skincare calefare. Read on to find out the benefits of using a toner and its essential role in our skincare routine. Grab your cotton pads and let’s dive right in.
So, what is face toner?
Designed for quick absorption, face toners have a water-like consistency that helps remove excess dirt, oil, and makeup, shrinks pores and balances out the potential of hydrogen (pH) levels of your skin.
If you’re wondering why restoring your skin’s pH balance is important, that’s because the ideal pH level of your skin is gauged at 5.5. Unfortunately, many facial cleansers will increase your pH levels. Thus, it’s usually applied after cleansing to decrease your skin’s pH level.
Ingredients to look out for in the best toners
Short answer: It depends on your skin type. There are different types of face toners for different types of concerns.
Look out for vitamin E and rosewater for hydration, chamomile for its soothing properties, tea tree oil to combat oil and bacteria, aloe vera for redness or inflammation-prone skin, as well as plant stem cells for antioxidants — or if you wanna stay forever young.
Best face toners for dry skin
Look out for alcohol-free toners that are full of hydrating ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin and rosewater, to help bring the moisture back and restore that pH balance.
Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Facial Toner
Why it’s great: It’s enchantingly pretty. But more importantly, it contains ingredients that can do magic for your skin too. The rose fruit extract and rosewater are there to soothe, while rose flower oil helps to add some nourishment. The Angelica leaf extract doubles up with hyaluronic acid to lock in all that moisturising goodness, so your skin never thirsts again.
For: Dry but not sensitive skin
Price: From £21.00 (S$39.10)
Get it from Cult Beauty
Nacific Fresh Herb Calendula Tincture Toner
Why it works: This toner is made out of 90 per cent calendula water and extract that works to resist early signs for ageing like those dry fine lines. To reduce redness, it’s got one of my favourite ingredients — Centella asiatica extract!
Add some ivy and allantoin, and you’ve got your anti-inflammatory trinity. If that’s not good enough, they’ve included Vitamin E for antioxidants, together with collagen, and papaya enzymes to help shed off that dead skin. Say goodbye to dry and cracked skin!
For: Dry and easily irritable skin
Price: From $20.90
Get it from Shopee
Laneige Cream Skin Refiner
Why it works: There’s just something deliciously luxurious about a good milky toner. When this toner first came out, it was promoted through social media to contain a whole jar of moisturiser yet maintain a super light texture thanks to their special Cream Blending Tech.
If you’re looking for more than just hydration, this toner also contains white tea leaf, that which adds amino acids that help strengthen your skin barriers and promote glowing skin.
For: Dry and dull skin
Price: From $17.90
Get it from ezbuy
Best face toners for acne-prone/ oily skin
Fellow members of the greaseball club — we’ll be looking at two kinds of toners here: the calming ones that soothe breakouts, and treatment toners that’ll help to gently exfoliate and remove excess oil that inhibits blackheads.
Paula’s Choice 2 per cent BHA Liquid Exfoliant
Why it works: This toner does all the exfoliating and unclogging goodness without being too harsh on the skin.
Containing salicylic acid, the Paula’s Choice Liquid Exfoliant helps to remove dead skin cells naturally. It also contains green tea leaf extract, methylpropanediol and sodium hydroxide that help with acne, hydration and pH balancing respectively.
I suggest using this once a week to allow your skin to get used to the product, before increasing in frequency if you wish.
For: Oily, clogged skin
Price: From £10.00
Get it from Cult Beauty
Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal Extract Alcohol-free Toner
Why it’s great: First of all, it smells like Yeo’s Chrysanthemum Tea — tell me that’s not a good enough reason to get it! But if this doesn’t win you over, its lightweight consistency just might.
You’ll no longer have to worry about clogged up T-zones because burdock roots are known for effective hydration! Then there’s our star ingredient, Calendula, that promotes bright and smooth skin. Mask acne be gone!
For: Oily, easily irritated skin
Price: From $18
Get it from Kiehl’s Singapore
Purito Centella Green Level Calming Toner
Why it works: If you’re into thicc textures, then you may quite enjoy this alcohol-free toner. It takes longer to absorb, but the benefits make it pretty worthwhile.
Centella asiatica is known for its soothing wound-healing and collagen-building properties, which I’m all for. And this toner contains a good 10 per cent of it.
The next time your skin turns into a war zone, you know who to employ.
For: Oily, acne-prone skin
Price: From US$18.79 (S$25.30)
Get it from iHerb
Best face toners for dull skin
Where have all the good skin gone and where is all the glow? No, you don’t need a hero — you just need some actives in your toner to give your dull skin a dose of brightening hydration! Think papaya extract, lactic acid and possibly some good ol’ vitamin C.
Some By Mi AHA, BHA, PHA 30 Days Miracle Toner
Why it works: Finally got past a breakout and now you’re left with dull tired skin? Fret not! This toner contains three types of chemical exfoliants — Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHAs), BHAs, and Polyhydroxy Acids (PHAs), aka the Charlie’s Angels of skincare to demolish all that clogged-up gunk.
There’s also tea tree water and my personal skincare ride-or-die, niacinamide, to promote a clear and healthy skin barrier. For extra oomphf, the papaya and witch hazel extracts are added to boost cell turnover and restore your skin to its smooth and healthy origins. Glycerine is included to ensure your skin gets that tall drink of hydration it craves.
For: Dull, acne-prone skin
Price: From US$17.15
Get it from iHerb
Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow PHA + BHA Pore-tight Toner
Why it works: Replicate that post-facial glow by introducing this watermelon-scented toner into your skincare regime. Think plump and glowy skin without the redness from extraction.
There are PHAs and BHAs in here for gentle exfoliation, together with watermelon extract and amino acids that soothe and restore your skin. Their pièce de résistance is still the electrolyte-rich cactus water that ensures that your skin never loses its moisture.
For: That plump, glowing skin you crave
Price: From £14.00
Get it from Cult Beauty
REN Ready Steady Glow AHA Tonic
Why it works: I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve been conditioned to feel this way, but whenever I see an orange liquid, I get the immediate impression that it’s good for me.
First of all, this grapefruit-scented toner is cruelty-free and vegan. It’s also practically made of lactic acid which helps with gentle exfoliation and anti-ageing.
There’s also willow bark in there for its tightening and soothing properties. Pro-tip: Put on some sunscreen after because AHAs like lactic acid can cause your skin to be more sensitive to the sun.
For: That sun-kissed clear glow
Price: From £15.00
Get it from Cult Beauty
Best face toners for sensitive skin
It’s all a balancing act with sensitive skin. Too strong and your skin will burst into itchy inflamed hives. Yet, you still want the benefits that a good toner can give. Hence, we’re looking at gentle plant-based toners with soothing ingredients that will help protect and calm.
Laneige Fresh Calming Toner
Why it works: It’s a water-based hypoallergenic toner with no alcohol or oil. There’s deep sea water for the hydration, pH-balancing and strengthening of the skin’s moisture barrier.
It also contains antioxidant-rich litchi chinensis pericarp extract (lychee peel) which is meant to bring some soothing comfort for the skin. Pat some on and you’ll be ready to star in your very own K-drama.
For: Sensitive, dry skin
Price: From S$40
Get it from Tangs
Clarins Toning Lotion with Camomile
Why it works: It’s alcohol-free, a big plus for those with sensitive skin. On top of that, its water-like texture ensures your skin drinks up all that vitamin-infused goodness fairly quickly. There is vitamin A, vitamin B5, and vitamin E here. There’s also chamomile added for it its soothing effects. If you’re a fan of soft herbal-floral scents, this one’s for you.
For: Soothing and a vitamin-boost
Price: From $33.25
Get it from Lazada Singapore
Pyunkang Yul Mist Toner
Why it works: It’s probably worth noting that this brand was launched by Pyunkang Oriental Medicine Clinic, an institution known for treating skin disorders related to a heightened immune response to allergies. So if you’ve got sensitive skin prone to allergies, you’re in the safest of hands.
Use it as a toner or even for setting makeup. Either way, this hypoallergenic spray-on toner is great for hydrating and soothing the skin thanks to the presence of barberry root extract.
For: Soothing allergy-prone sensitive skin
Price: From US$16.20 (S$21.90)
Get it from iHerb
Bonus: Best toner for combo skin
Because your skin’s a little bit of this, a little bit of that — you can pretty much use any of the above toners. However, if you’re looking for an overall well-balanced toner to prep and rebalance your skin with a little something extra to minimise those pores and gently exfoliate your skin, we’ve got you!
Krave Kale-Lalu-yAHA Exfoliating Toner
Why it works: One of the most hyped up toners around, Krave Beauty’s kale-infused toner is probably no stranger to you. Marketed as the go-to restart button for irritated skin, this toner delivers with a beginner-friendly glycolic acid concentration level that gently exfoliates without being too harsh on your skin.
Due to the lower AHA level, results might take a while longer than some other stronger toners. But healthy skin is worth the wait!
This article was first published in YouTrip.