Rose Deep Hydration Facial Toner, $45 at Fresh
If you look closely, you’ll see that the toner is infused with actual rose petals along with rosewater, hyaluronic acid and moisture-retaining angelica leaf extract. The toner gently cleanses skin and preps it for the next skin care steps. It leaves skin petal-soft and has been scientifically proven to increase hydration by an impressive 46 percent for six hours after application.
Matcha Toner, $26 at Milk Makeup
It’s a toner in stick form — you can’t get any more modern or convenient than that. The world’s first solid toner has a vegan formula that detoxifies and nourishes, thanks to trendy ingredients like witch hazel, cactus elixir, kombucha and matcha green tea. After cleansing, simply swipe the stick over your face and tap in the formula.
Alcohol-Free Toner, $7.99 at Ulta Beauty
This iconic blue bottle is a staple in bathrooms because it’s a budget-friendly drugstore pick that delivers everything we want from a toner. The alcohol-free product revitalizes and cleanses skin. Faces are left feeling balanced and refreshed as opposed to uncomfortably tight.
Moisturizing Toner, $28 at Sephora
It’s understandable if this is mistaken for a cleanser or lotion given the packaging, but it is a balancing toner that’s used in the same way as any other astringent. Hydrating castor oil and Caudalie’s exclusive Vinolevure (from wine yeast) ensure every last bit of dirt and makeup are gone while nourishing skin. The product is even suitable for use on eyes.
Hydrating Face Tonic, $34 at Bobbi Brown
Some say “toners,” others say “face tonic,” but the key thing is that this product conditions skin and boosts the effect of other skin care steps. The enriched mineral water formula has a host of soothing ingredients (lavender, licorice, cucumber, aloe leaf) and vitamin B5. It’s free of parabens, sulfates, sulfites and phthalates.
Peach & Lily
The Good Acids Pore Toner, $39 at Peach & Lily
Don’t let acids scare you from using this lightweight toner. This one has a pH-balancing formula that uses AHAs to gently slough away dead skin cells and dirt while priming skin for additional steps. Lavender, allantoin and aloe balance the stronger ingredients. It can be used morning and evening, but start off using it twice per week.
Calendula Herbal Extract Alcohol-Free Toner, $21 at Kiehl’s
The hand-picked calendula petals in this toner are based on a formula from the 60s, but the alcohol-free pick rivals modern counterparts. The nondrying product is an excellent option for those with oily to normal skin (including those with sensitivity) for the way it gently cleanses and actually softens skin.
Organic Flowers Deep Rich Essence Toner, $40 at Glow Recipe
Try dispensing this argan oil-rich toner directly into palms for a spa-like experience. The K-beauty pick uses organic botanical extracts that have been naturally fermented to preserve their potency, meaning better results. Try the viral “7 Skin Method” for optimum dewiness.
Balancing Force Oil Control Toner, $26 at Ole Henriksen
Those whose skin runs on the greasy side will know that so-called balancing toners can be more drying than anything. This formula gets the mix right by managing oil and minimizing the appearance of pores while also refreshing faces. Skin is left with a matte-but-not-dry finish from a blend of neem seed oil, salicylic acid and good-for-skin greens like green tea, Irish moss and kelp.
Meow Meow Tweet
Geranium Palmarosa Face Toner, $24 at Meow Meow Tweet
There’s no need for cotton pads or balls. Simply spritz on the soothing spray after cleansing. Instead of using harsh agents, the toner relies on organic, botanical ingredients to tone and balance. The rose, lavender and geranium in the formula give it a subtle garden scent.
At the very bare-bones minimum, our skin care routines consist of three steps: cleansing, toning and moisturizing. We may not always have time for double cleansing, essences, sheet masks and serums, but we try to (almost) always use the previously mentioned three core steps.
Even though we consider toners to be an essential part of a skin care routine, they still have a not-so-great reputation. We cannot help but think back to the days of astringents with drying, alcohol-based formulas that would strip skin of good stuff while “cleansing.” It’s time to banish those thoughts once and for all because today’s toners are miles from their predecessors.
The latest versions ensure every last bit of grime and makeup is gone without stripping all the moisture from skin. Additionally, modern toners prep faces for the next skin care step(s). So don’t settle for a toner that doesn’t do skin good. Ahead, shop the nourishing toners that cleanse and balance without any face-cracking tightness.
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