Is it weird that my favorite step in my skincare routine is when I get to use a toner on my face? Is it weird to have a favorite skincare step in general? Well, I might not get a definitive answer to both those questions, but I do love a good toner.
There's something about washing your face after a long day and then wiping it down with a toner for that extra-clean, fresh, and maybe even tingly feeling. (Okay, and to be extra gross, peeping at the pad afterward to take a good hard look at the grime that's been sitting on your face. Or is that just me?)
Anyway, a toner can do so much for your skin. The right one will cleanse your skin even more, unclog pores, and keep your oil in check. They can exfoliate, leaving you with a nice glow. Some can even protect and moisturize. There are a ton of different ones out there for different skin types or concerns.
I've used quite a few in my lifetime, from drugstore to high-end ones. While I can't knock those fancy toners, I've found that drugstore toners work just as well on my skin. And when I have the chance to save a few bucks, well, I can't say no to that. So if you're looking to get a little frugal too AND are in the market for a new toner, I've made a list of some of my favorite affordable options and included some of the best-reviewed ones. Take a look below.
Thayers toner is a cult favorite. It's formulated with aloe vera and witch hazel to cleanse and soothe without drying out your skin. It comes in different varieties: rose petal, lavender, cucumber, coconut water, and unscented.
Neutrogena's alcohol-free toner comes highly reviewed with over 2500 ratings and 4.5 stars on Amazon. The super-mild formula cleanses gently and reconditions the skin.
I like to use micellar water as my toner when I want something light and refreshing. I normally apply it when I want to cleanse my skin, but I'm experiencing dryness and don't want to make it worse. This one from Bioderma is my favorite. It also works well as a makeup remover.
This toner contains acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid and glycolic acid to unclog pores and remove dead skin cells. It's recommended to use it in the morning and at night.
Witch hazel gently removes oil and clears skin but doesn't dry it out. The 100% natural formula doesn't contain dyes, sulfates, parabens, or gluten.
Vichy's face toner is another one I like to keep in my skincare rotation. It's alcohol-free, so it won't dry, sting, or irritate your skin. And it's formulated with vitamin B5 and cornflower extract to soothe and maintain moisture.
This toner leaves your skin brightened, plumped, and super clean thanks to ingredients like witch hazel, aloe, and hyaluronic acid. It's free of parabens, sulfates, and phthalates.
Alcohol-free and pH-balanced, Simple's toner is both soothing and refreshing. It contains softening chamomile and allantoin plus witch hazel to unclog and tighten pores.
You can use this product that's formulated with witch hazel, oat, and tea tree oil as an acne toner or facial spray. The astringent exfoliates dead skin cells and leaves a deep clean feeling.
Clear up acne with this witch hazel toner that also includes 2% salicylic acid. The lightweight formula removes oil and dead skin and is made especially for oily, blemish-prone skin.
Rose water is a gentle, natural astringent that works to minimize the appearance of pores and cleanse the skin. In addition to that ingredient, Burt's Bees' toner also has glycerin and aloe vera to trap moisture and remove any other stubborn dirt and debris.
This one's great for sensitive skin because it's hypoallergenic and fragrance- and soap-free. The glycolic acid in it exfoliates and unclogs pores, while eucalyptus provides a nice cooling effect.
You might think you can't use toners if you have dry skin, because it will make the problem even worse, but this toner is formulated especially for dehydrated skin. The ingredients in it work to stimulate and retain the skin's moisture.
Neutrogena's Pore Refining Toner contains powerful ingredients like witch hazel and alpha and beta hydroxy acids. The result is the reduced appearance of pores and smoother skin.
This astringent has many uses. It fights blemishes with 2% salicylic acid, but it can also remove makeup. It's specifically formulated for acne-prone skin, but you can use it daily, even three times a day.
La Roche-Posay's astringent toner contains micro-exfoliating LHA, which is a salicylic acid derivative that has skin-renewing properties. Use it on enlarged pores and uneven skin texture.
Another micellar water product, Garnier's can be used to remove makeup and clean skin. This one is made for all skin types, but there is also another option specifically for oily skin.
Reusable Pads for Toners
You'll need pads to apply a toner, but using a disposable cotton one can be wasteful. There are so many options for reusable ones now. These are our favorites. Just throw them in the laundry to clean.
I have these cotton-and-bamboo pads at home, and I love how soft yet sturdy they feel. Even after many washes, they're still as good as when I first got them.
Made from organic bamboo, these reusable rounds have a terry texture so they also can gently exfoliate the skin.
These pads are made of natural bamboo fabric and also come with a laundry bag for easy cleaning.