After Putting Dozens of Toners to the Test, We Crowned These 14 Our Favorites

Today’s toner formulas are more advanced than ever before. Not only do they boast a ton of skincare benefits, like offeringextra hydration, minimizing pores, and removing any traces of grime and oil, but they also deliver active ingredients straight to your face. That’s why agood toner is either acid-based (to exfoliate and resurface) or contains hydrating ingredients (to lock in moisture), according to board-certified dermatologist Lucy Chen, M.D.Whether your skin is sensitive and looking for soothing benefits, acne-prone and needing excess oil removal, or dry and thirsting for more moisture, the right toner can target concerns and treat them accordingly.

To get the most out of your toner, it’s recommended to apply it after you’ve cleaned your skin with your go-to face wash. There are hundreds upon hundreds of options available, so to take the guesswork out of selecting the right toner for you, we handpicked 24 of the most popular toners and asked our testers to try them out and be brutally honest. After trying the toners in The Lab, our Manhattan testing facility, we judged each one based onfeel, absorption, hydration, and appearance in order to compile this list of the best ones. Read on to learn more.

Best Overall

Tower 28 SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray


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What We Like

  1. Spray bottle
  2. Gentle, non-irritating formula
  3. Improves skin tone
  4. Suitable for all skin types
  5. Fragrance-free

What We Don't Like

  1. Spray is a bit harsh

Tower28 is known for its sensitive skin-friendly makeup and skincare formulas but this toner—which comes housed in a firetruck red spray bottle—is also wildly popular for its magical ability tosoothe, purify, and repair stressed-out skin. It has the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance, so it’s beenproven to make a difference in eczema flare-ups, but it also works to calm inflamed acne and perioral dermatitis.

Hypochlorous acid—the star ingredient—is the reason the formula is so effective at pacifying redness and irritation. Similar to hyaluronic acid and ceramides, hypochlorous acid is made naturally by our body’s white blood cells because it has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. So when it’s applied to the skin, it also works to fend off bacteria and promote skin healing. We appreciate that this tonercomes in a spray bottle, which ensures that there’s no mess or spillageand allows us the choice of spraying it right on our face or onto a cotton pad. However, we do wish the mist was a bit more fine. The toner is watery and lightweight though, and it soaks into the skin within seconds. Once it was absorbed,we felt that our skin was more hydrated, glowy, and fresh after use.

  • Active Ingredients: Hypochlorous acid
  • Benefits:Calms skin irritation
  • Size: 4 fl oz
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Splurge

SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion Toner


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What We Like

  1. Deep cleans skin
  2. Exfoliates
  3. Fragrance-free
  4. Suitable for all skin types

What We Don't Like

  1. Bottle can leak a bit

The superstar component of the SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion Toner is Pitera™, a signature ingredient containing 50 micro-nutrients. These micro-nutrients, in addition to alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), work toimprove the overall appearance of your skin—starting with uneven skin texture. We can attest to that; in our testing, the tonerfelt hydrating and soothing upon applicationand helped to improve dullness and texture nearly right away. We were alsoimpressed by the toner’s ability to thoroughly clean our pores. Even though we washed our face prior to using the toner, we noticed that it picked up extra dirt and grime that otherwise would have remained on her face.

The clear, lightweight solution is slightly runny and comes out of a small opening at the top of the frosted bottle, so be aware that if you aren’t careful, you can potentially pour too much product out of the opening.

  • Active ingredients:Pitera™ (Vitamins, acids, minerals), AHAs, glycerin, salicylic, lactic, and malic acids
  • Benefits: Exfoliating, hydrating
  • Size: 5.4 fl oz
  • Cruelty-Free: No

Best for Acne-Prone Skin

Murad Clarifying Toner


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What We Like

  1. Designed for acne-prone skin
  2. Regulates sebum production
  3. Creates a cooling/tingling sensation on the skin that feels refreshing

What We Don't Like

  1. Might be too drying for some

A toner can be an invaluable tool in your battle against blemishes if you choose one that targets excess oil and keeps your pores clear without over-drying your skin (which ironically ends up triggering more oil and more breakouts). Enter this toner: itrelies on witch hazel and algae extracts to regulate oil production and tighten pores. It’s a pairing that helps to refresh skin, purify pores, and fight oil. Plus, with theaddition of vitamin E, you can also expect protection from free radical damage.

We loved the consistency since its so lightweight it feels like water. It’s also not too greasy, making it ideal for a midday refresh or post-cleanse blot. It felt tingling and refreshing on our skin, and wenoticed an improvement in the appearance of pores almost immediately. Just keep in mind that while you’ll feel it working (witch hazel has a subtle tightening effect), if you already have dry skin, you might find this one a little too drying.

  • Active Ingredients: Witch hazel, butylene glycol
  • Benefits: Tightens pores, regulates oil production
  • Size: 6 fl oz
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes


Best for Redness

Innisfree Green Tea Seed Hyaluronic Acid Toner


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What We Like

  1. Deeply hydrating
  2. Calming
  3. Lightweight and gentle
  4. Works to visibly reduce redness

What We Don't Like

  1. Can be hard to dispense

Lauded for its anti-inflammatory properties, green tea can help reduce skin irritation, redness, and swelling, making it agreat option for those looking to calm down angry red skin. Innisfree’s Green Tea Facial Toner captures the balancing powers of green tea leaves in a liquid formula thatfeels extremely light and gentle on the skin. When we tested it in The Lab, we found that the toner sank into our pores immediately after application and made a huge difference in the appearance of any hormonal acne breakouts. We also found that anyredness was visibly reducedand even noticed that a budding pimple decreased significantly. All in all, we found that the product single-handedly reduced the look of her acne in about three minutes.

With so much to love, there is one con: The toner comes out of the bottle really slowly. Normally, that would be a good thing, but we found we had to use quite a bit of muscle to get it out of the bottle thanks to its small dispenser head.

  • Active Ingredients: Panthenol, hyaluronic acid, green tea tri-biotics™
  • Benefits: Calming, soothes redness
  • Size: 6.8 fl oz
  • Cruelty-Free: No

Best for Sensitive Skin

Renee Rouleau Elderberry Soothing Toner

Renee Rouleau

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What We Like

  1. Relaxes tight skin
  2. Balancing
  3. Alcohol-free

What We Don't Like

  1. Could be more hydrating

If you hate the feeling of tight, dry skin post-cleanse, you’ll love this toner from Renee Rouleau. Designed to be used after cleansing, theantioxidant-rich elderberry toner helps balance and relax super-sensitive skin. When we tested it, we found that it helped prevent that too-tight-to-move feeling after washing our face, instead giving our skin a more relaxed, healthy glow. We also noticed that it reduced the appearance of hyperpigmentation and appreciated that because it only has a few ingredients, it’s a great choice for anyone with sensitive skin prone to breakouts and dryness. It’s alsoloaded with anti-aging benefits.

However, though the toner helps nourish skin that feels tight and irritated, we wish it was a little more hydrating and locked in moisture a bit more. It isalcohol-free though, which is great for those with dry skin since alcohol can be super drying.

  • Active ingredients: Elderberry fruit extract, sodium PCA, biosaccharide gum-1
  • Benefits: Anti-inflammatory, soothing
  • Size: 6 fl oz
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Oily Skin

Farmacy Deep Sweep 2% BHA Pore Cleaning Toner


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What We Like

  1. Contains exfoliating acids
  2. Targets clogged pores
  3. Lightweight

What We Don't Like

  1. Can be irritating when paired with other actives

The right toner can go a long way to control excess shine for those with oily skin types, and this one fits the bill. It combinesoil-dissolving salicylic acid, exfoliating papaya enzyme, and purifying moringa seed extract to unclog pores and refresh greasy skin. In addition, chlorella, a natural ingredient rich in antioxidants, helps nourish and soothe the skin to prevent irritation and overdrying.We loved how lightweight and comfortable the formula felt on our skin. We also appreciated that although it contains exfoliating ingredients, itdidnt create a tingling or stinging sensation on the skin. Just keep in mind that since the toner contains active exfoliants, you may want to skip it on days when you’ll be applying retinoids and other active ingredients to avoid overdoing it (i.e., redness, burning, and dehydrating the skin).

  • Active ingredients: Salicylic acid, papaya enzymes
  • Benefits: Exfoliation, unclogs pores, minimizes shine, Refreshes
  • Size: 4 fl oz
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Hyperpigmentation

Freck Beauty Cactus Water Cleansing Lactic Acid Toner

Freck Beauty

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What We Like

  1. Gently exfoliating
  2. Fights inflammation
  3. Non-sticky
  4. Fragrance-free

What We Don't Like

  1. The vessel can be tricky

Dark marks from sun damage, genes, hormones, and acne scarring are no match for a toner with exfoliating and anti-inflammatory properties. With a powerhousepairing of discoloration-minimizing lactic acid, hydrating cactus flower extract, and antioxidant-rich kelp extract, this toner from Freck Beauty attacks hyperpigmentation from every angle. We loved that the consistency feels like micellar water, meaning its not heavy or sticky and it absorbs into the skin quickly. We found that it worked tosubtly smooth skin texture and discoloration while remaining gentle. It also layered beautifully with other skincare we applied on top.

Because the packaging is glass that resembles a perfume bottle more than a toner, you can’t exactly squeeze anything out. You have to gently (and steadily) pour the bottle into your hand or onto a cotton pad in small amounts, or else you’ll risk spilling some.

  • Active Ingredients: Lactic acid, cactus flower extract, kelp extract
  • Benefits: Exfoliating, hydrating, calming
  • Size: 6.5 fl oz
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Various Skin Types

Fresh Rose & Hyaluronic Acid Deep Hydration Toner


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What We Like

  1. Easy to apply
  2. Gentle on the skin
  3. Rose petals make for a spa-like scent and experience

What We Don't Like

  1. On the pricier side compared to other moisturizing toners

For skin that feels hydrated, smooth, and refreshed, look to the Fresh Rose & Hyaluronic Acid Deep Hydration Toner. While some toners are loaded with ingredients that exfoliate and increase cell turnover, this onegives the skin a boost of moisture instead. Formulated with waterand hyaluronic acid (two ingredients known to boost hydration and nourish skin), those with normal, dry, combination, and oily skin will benefit tenfold from adding the dreamy formula to their routine.

We enjoyed that it made our skin feel calm and hydrated, and appreciated that it didnt create a stinging sensationlike some toners do. Its great for sweeping on when you want some additional cleansing and moisture. The 8.4 fl. oz. bottle is available for nearly 50 dollars, which some might find expensive especially because it doesnt have potent active ingredients. But, given the size, you can expect it to last a while (especially compared to some options on this list).

  • Active Ingredients: Rose fruit extract, rosewater, angelica leaf extract, hyaluronic acid
  • Benefits: Toning, soothing, nourishing, moisturizing
  • Size: 8.4 fl oz
  • Cruelty-Free: No

Best Moisturizing Formula

LANEIGE Cream Skin Toner & Moisturizer


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What We Like

  1. Two-in-one formula
  2. Milky and soft
  3. Gives the skin a glow

What We Don't Like

  1. Can be heavy for some skin types

If you have skin that’s in need of some extra moisture, consider this milky formula from Laneige. As the name suggests, the product has acreamy, lightweight moisturizer-like consistencythat hydrates on contact with the skin. “Smooth,” “airy,”  and “super gentle” are three words that came to mind when we tested this toner and we could feel the moisturizing effects of the product right away.We also found our skin was so much more hydrated after use, giving us a glowing look.Plus, the white leaf tea water (aka one of the soothing ingredients in the formula) even helped tone down any redness and irritation we had.

Just beware that because it’s on the thicker side and has a milky texture, some people (especially those with oily, acne-prone skin) might find it to be too heavy.

  • Active Ingredients: White leaf tea water
  • Benefits: Strengthens moisture barrier, soothes
  • Size: 5.0 fl oz
  • Cruelty-Free: No

Best Soothing Formula

Fenty Beauty Fat Water Hydrating Milky Toner Essence with Hyaluronic Acid and Tamarind


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What We Like

  1. Unique, convenient bottle
  2. Easily-absorbed
  3. Moisturizing and soothing

What We Don't Like

  1. Some say it smells funny

As seen on TikTok (and evidenced by our test), the Fat Water Hydrating Milky Toner Essence from Fenty Beauty is totally worth the hype. Between theunique bottle (product dispenses from a twist top) and super milky consistency, there’s no wonder people are obsessed with this product. During testing, we enjoyed that thelightweight formula absorbed into our skin after 30 seconds, leaving it looking and feeling calm. It felt like a nice drink of water for the skin, helping to relieve tightness due to dry skin.

Since nothing is perfect, there’s one thing we wish we could change: The smell. While it’s not scented, it does still have a subtle smell to it that we weren’t really a fan of. If you can get past that, though, it’s totally worth every penny.

  • Active Ingredients: Tamarind, Hyaluronic acid, mineral PCAs, panthenol
  • Benefits:Moisturizing, soothing, hydrating
  • Size: 5 fl oz
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Refreshing Formula

Belif Aqua Bomb Hydrating Toner


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What We Like

  1. Lightweight texture
  2. Feels moisturizing and refreshing

What We Don't Like

  1. Contains alcohol denat which can be drying

Packed with all kinds of good-for-you ingredients, such as soothing honeysuckle, baobab (which helps lock in moisture), and sodium hyaluronate (helps keep skin hydrated), this formula doesn’t mess around when it comes to calming the skin. We were impressed by it—it feels like theperfect product for a quick refresh thanks to the lightweight and moisturizing (but non-greasy) formula. Before using the toner, we felt like our skin was tight and dry but it really helped reverse that feeling, making us feel like ourskin sprang back to life. Not only was our skin morehydrated and calm, but it was glowy and more even-toned.

Though we had a really positive experience with the toner, be sure to patch test the formula before applying it to your face. Because the formula contains alcohol denat, a popular cosmetic ingredient known to be drying, you should apply a bit to the inside of your wrist to ensure you won’t have a reaction.

  • Active Ingredients: Honeysuckle, baobab, sodium hyaluronate
  • Benefits:Soothes, moisturizes, hydrates
  • Size: 6.75 fl oz
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Exfoliating Formula

SKKN by Kim Toner


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What We Like

  1. Aesthetically pleasing bottle
  2. Gentle but effective
  3. Fragrance-free

What We Don't Like

  1. Can be a bit drying

Kim Kardashian knows a thing or two about good skin. While she definitely calls upon the help of pro estheticians and dermatologists from time to time, her skincare line helps set her skin up for success. The SKKN by Kim Toner is perhaps one of the most popular products in the product range because of how effective it is (and how aesthetic it looks in any vanity). Developed withfruit enzymes, witch hazel, niacinamide, and salicylic acid, the toner doubles down on exfoliation and produces an all-over glow. We can attest to that. When we tested it, we felt like ourskin felt tremendously more hydrated and that we could tell an immediate difference in the areas where we did not apply the toner compared to the ones where we did.

Although we didnt find it to be drying, its worth noting that some online reviewers felt it was stripping. If you have dry or sensitive skin, keep this in mind.

  • Active ingredients: Fruit enzymes, Witch hazel, niacinamide, salicylic acid
  • Benefits: Exfoliating, hydrating
  • Size: 6 fl oz
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Balancing Formula

Holifrog Utopia Microflora Toner


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What We Like

  1. Disinfects blemish-causing bacteria
  2. Replenishes healthy skin barrier
  3. Fights inflammation

What We Don't Like

  1. The pump can squirt everywhere

When some people think of toners, a pore-stripping, overly-drying product often comes to mind. However, this is far from the truth—especially as it pertains to Holifrog’s Utopia Microflora Toner. The surface of the skin is covered in bacteria (some good, some bad), and skincare helps to manage the balance. When it’s out of whack, breakouts, dullness, and other unwanted concerns pop up. Thispost-cleanse toning solution gives your skin a gentle but effective dose of ingredients (like apple cider vinegar, aloe, and more) that work like probiotics for the face. The result: Happy, balanced, calm skin. After applying the toner with a cotton pad, we found that ourskin was more hydrated and felt firmer but still soft. We also noticed that it helped tovisibly reduce redness and give the skin an overall more even appearance.

The only caveat we have with this product is the pump. Because it’s watery in nature and the top can sometimes deposit too much, try to be as gentle as possible when using the pump to avoid spillage.

  • Active Ingredients:Aloe, jojoba seed oil, apple cider vinegar
  • Benefits: Calms skin, fights bacteria
  • Size: 4.05 fl oz
  • Cruelty-Free:Yes

Best Cruelty-Free Formula

Absolute Joi Balancing PH Skin Toner with Aloe

Thirteen June

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What We Like

  1. Ideal for all skin types
  2. Scientifically-based with soothing botanicals

What We Don't Like

  1. Can leave behind a tiny bit of residue

Those who seek out cruelty-free brands and formulas will love the Absolute Joi Balancing PH Skin Toner with Aloe. As the name suggests, it’s primarilyformulated with aloe vera leaf juice and, therefore, has a jelly-like consistency. It’s a little thick when it goes on, but it feels light and hydrating on the skin. Though it took a minute or two to dry (instead of seeping right into pores), we found thatdry skin felt more hydrated and glowing after applying it. Since it is on the thicker side, be aware that there may be some residue left on the surface of the skin, but since it’s super hydrating and soothing, we’re willing to overlook that.

  • Active Ingredients: Aloe vera leaf juice, oat kernel extract
  • Benefits:Balancing, calming, hydrating
  • Size: 6.8 fl oz
  • Cruelty-Free: Yes

Where We Stand

Our top pick is theTower28 SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray, which comes in a convenient spray bottle container. Loaded hypochlorous acid, it’s different from most other toners on the market. You can expect your skin to look brighter, more even, and a lot calmer after using it. If you’re looking for extra exfoliation, the SKKN by Kim Toner should be on your radar. For those interested in something a little more hydrating, Laneige’s Cream Skin Toner & Moisturizer impressed testers across the board.

How We Tested editors did extensive research on popular toners, taking expert recommendations and consumer reviews into account before choosing 24 to test out first-hand. Our testers applied each toner on clean skin with both a cotton pad and their bare hands. Each formula was assessed based on feel, absorption, hydration, and appearance before deciding on a rating from one to five. Those with the highest scores made the list. All tests were performed in The Lab, our Manhattan product testing facility.

Testing Toner for Type, Skin Type Compatibility, and Ingredients

What to Look for When Buying Toner

According to Chen, you’ll want to seek out ingredients based on your particular skin type and complexion concerns. Below are a few of the most popular

Salicylic Acid:This beta-hydroxy acid, which helps dissolve oil, is ideal if you have oily or acne-prone skin, says Chen. The Farmacy Deep Sweep 2% BHA Pore Cleaning Toner is a great choice that contains salicylic acid.Lactic Acid: Dealing with discoloration? Chen recommends using a toner that contains this alpha-hydroxy acid, a gentle chemical exfoliant that can improve both the tone and texture of your skin. Check out the Freck Beauty Cactus Water Cleansing Lactic Acid Toner if youre looking for an option that contains the popular AHA.Niacinamide:You can still use a toner if you have dry and/or sensitive skin; the key is to make sure the formula contains hydrating and soothing ingredients. Chen says that niacinamide checks both of those boxes, hydrating and calming the skin. The SKKN by Kim Toner is a nice option with niacinamide.


What does toner do for your skin?

"Toners act as another level of cleansing, deep cleaning pores and effectively removing dirt, oil, makeup, and other pollutants," says Chen. Many contain exfoliating acids, which also help to smooth the skin. But toners with ingredients like rose water or hyaluronic acid can also act as moisture-boosters.

How do you apply toner?

Chen advises that toner should be applied after cleansing the face but before applying moisturizers or serums. Pat your face dry, then soak a cotton ball or pad with the toner and lightly apply to both your face and neck, she says. You can also try pressing the toner into the skin with your fingertips rather than using a cotton pad, which soaks up more of the liquid than it actually delivers.

12 of the Best Drugstore Toners for Glowing SkinUpdated by Alyssa Kaplan


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