I Just Learned That the Wrong Toner Can Inflame Redness—Here Are 17 That Won't
When you find the right toner, it can make a difference in your skincare routine and the state of your skin. Toners can help cleanse the skin, balance pH levels, exfoliate, brighten the skin, hydrate, promote cell turnover, and can even work as a primer to help other products sink into your skin. That all sounds great, right?
Well, some toners can really wreck your skin, especially if you're using one that's not formulated for your specific skin type. People with oily skin and sensitive skin types probably won't benefit from the same type of toner because they have different needs. Oily or acne-prone skin types might need a product with acids, which will help clear pores and control excess oil. On the other hand, those with dry or sensitive skin types might need something that cleanses and hydrates.
So, yeah, toners can be so beneficial—until you start using one that isn't formulated for your specific skin needs. In fact, some toners can be harsh and actually cause more redness for some people. The best thing you can do if you're prone to redness or have sensitive skin is look for a gentle toner.
What to Look For in Toners for Redness
Ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, glycerin, chamomile, and antioxidants can help keep the skin soft and soothe inflammation.
As for what to avoid, you'll want to stay away from alcohol and fragrances, which could irritate the skin.
If you're looking for a toner to combat redness, we've included our favorite gentle ones below.
Best Overall: Thayers Witch Hazel Facial Toner
With over 41,000 ratings and 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon, Thayers's toner is probably the highest-rated drugstore find out there. Witch hazel minimizes the appearance of pores and controls acne and oil production. The gentle formula doesn't contain alcohol.
Customer review: "I have been using Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel Facial Toner with Aloe Vera Formula for about a month now, and I am very happy with it. It is a gentle toner that does not irritate my skin. It also helps to remove any excess oil or dirt from my face."
Paula's Choice Skin Recovery Enriched Calming Toner
This toner has all the good stuff for dry skin: hyaluronic acid, vitamins C and E, and antioxidant-rich borage seed oil. The gentle formula even works if you're prone to eczema.
Customer review: "I started noticing a difference in my skin after only a few days! I've been continually using this toner for two weeks now, and my face has been way less dry and red, makeup sits better and lasts longer, and my skin is overall smoother."
Kiehl's Calendula Herbal Extract Alcohol Free Toner
This soothing toner contains allantoin, which is a bacteria inhibitor that reduces inflammation. Other ingredients include soothing calendula and great burdock root, which targets dryness.
Customer review: "I've used this toner for 2 years. Gentle, and it does not break out my skin as I have sensitive skin. I love that it's alcohol-free and gives some extra hydration to my skin."
Avène Gentle Toning Lotion
Made for sensitive skin, this toner protects from environmental stressors, hydrates, and soothes. It contains thermal spring water and protective antioxidants.
Customer review: "I love this toner. It keeps my occasionally reactive, combo skin happy and clear. It nicely preps my skin for serums and moisturizers. Unlike most of the toners/hydrosols I usually mist on, I like to swipe this on with a cotton pad. Nice, gentle smell and non-irritating."
Versed Baby Cheeks Hydrating Milk
This toner is pretty unique because it has a milky texture that hydrates, restores the skin's pH balance, and cleanses. The formula contains humectants to draw in moisture, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, algae extract, bamboo extract, and coconut water.
Customer review: "I love it! My skin has never experienced a toner that actually hydrated it. I have sensitive, dry/eczema-prone skin, and it's always a struggle to find a good toner. Not only does this one make me glow, but it keeps my face hydrated all day! 10/10 would recommend."
Eminence Organic Skin Care Stone Crop Hydrating Mist
Formulated specifically to deal with uneven skin tones, this toner mist moisturizes and smooths the skin. It has ingredients like stone crop juice, which has hydrating and nourishing properties; lavender to calm the skin; and jasmine, which contains carotenoids and vitamins C and P.
Customer review: "I use this product as a toner, and it is amazing! It has a calming, super refreshing effect on my skin. I even use it to set my makeup sometimes. And it smells amazing! This is definitely one of a few staples in my skin routine."
Phogary Reusable Cotton Rounds
Reusable cotton pads will help you create an eco-friendly skincare routine.
Customer review: "I couldn't be happier with these reusable cotton rounds. They're as absorbent as cotton balls, lightly exfoliating, yet still gentle enough to use around the eyes."
Neutrogena Alcohol-Free Toner
This drugstore find is alcohol-free, meaning it won't irritate or dry out your skin. It removes impurities, and cleanses and conditions the skin.
Customer review: "I love how this formula isn't drying. I have very sensitive skin, and I haven't had any issues using this product! It removes any leftover dirt and keeps my face feeling soft."
Fresh Rose & Hyaluronic Acid Deep Hydration Toner
Rose is the hero ingredient in this formula, making it a hydrating powerhouse. It contains toning rose fruit extract, rosewater, rose oil, and actual rose petals.
Customer review: "I feel like this toner has made my skin so much smoother and brighter. I've tried many over the past year because I've been having problems, but I definitely think I'm going to stick with this one!"
Renée Rouleau Elderberry Soothing Toner
Both tap water and your cleanser can leave residue on your face, so this toner removes all of that while also softening, plumping, and delivering antioxidants to the skin.
Customer review: "This toner is super gentle yet cleans excess makeup or oil effectively. Its light floral scent is elegant and fresh but won't irritate the most sensitive skin. I use it every morning after cleansing to feel fresh and prep my skin for serums and sunscreen."
Mario Badescu Aloe Vera Toner
Made for sensitive, dry, and delicate skin, Mario Badescu's soothing toner relieves irritation and redness.
Customer review: "I've used this for a few years now. It's gentle but works to remove what washing left behind. Doesn't sting at all and only has a faint scent that is nice."
Indie Lee CoQ-10 Toner
Coenzyme Q10 is a powerful antioxidant that can even skin tone and boost hydration. This toning mist also contains aloe vera and cucumber to refresh the skin.
Customer review: "I've been using this toner for years, and I love it. I use it in the morning after my shower (and facial cleansing), and it has me feeling fresh and clean for the day."
Laneige Cream Skin Toner & Moisturizer
This toner improves the hydration and texture of your skin with a two-in-one formula that preps, softens, and tones. The main ingredient is white leaf tea water to strengthen, moisturize, and soothe the skin barrier.
Customer review: "Really convenient skincare routine!! Now I don't have too many steps in my skincare routine! I use this after cleansing, and it leaves my face moisturized for the rest of my day."
Sephora Collection Reusable Cotton Pads
Reusable cotton pads made chic.
Customer review: "These are a great way to reduce consumption of traditional cotton pads. So far, these have done a great job. They're about 75% larger than most cotton pads, so you get more surface area. I use different areas of each pad for makeup remover, micro water, and then a toner."
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Wild Oat Hydrating Toner
Soothing colloidal oatmeal is the star ingredient in this toner, which works to combat redness and dryness. It's also formulated with antioxidant-rich honey, which is also a humectant, so it locks in moisture.
Customer review: "My dry/combo skin love this. I am very sensitive, and this works no matter what state my skin is in. The oats really help with soothing the skin. Not too thick and not too watery."
PCA Skin Hydrating Toner
If hydration is your main goal, PCA Skin's toner will do just that. It's formulated with fruit extracts and antioxidants to target free radical damage and dryness. It's fragrance-free, paraben-free, and sulfate-free.
Customer review: "This toner is hydrating and does not burn or leave your skin feeling sticky. It really does make a difference, and since using it in my skincare routine, I have noticed how much smoother and more hydrated my skin looks and feels."
Murad Hydrating Toner
This toner mist contains sodium PCA to improve hydration; chamomile and cucumber extracts to soothe irritation; lecithin to leave the skin feeling supple; and vitamins C and E for antioxidant protection.
Customer review: "I love this toner. It made my dry skin feel hydrated and not so tight. I spray it throughout the day when my skin feels tight. I've tried many, but this, in my opinion, is the best."
E.L.F. Cosmetics SuperTone Toner
This toner is good for all skin types, but it's important to note it's not formulated for sensitive skin. Alpha hydroxy acids exfoliate the skin, while witch hazel, aloe, and castor oil all work to soothe inflammation.
Customer review: "Hands down one of the best toners I've ever used. I have sensitive skin, and this irritates [it]a bit, but [it] calms down pretty fast. This entire line of Supers has become one of my favorites. I'm 33 and wanted a simple skincare routine. This fits the bill."
Estée Lauder Soft Clean Silky Hydrating Lotion Toner
Infused with passionflower and edelweiss extracts, this gentle toner will leave your skin feeling soft. It also works as a primer for your other skincare products.
Customer review: "After using the product, I love the results. It makes my skin feel more hydrated. It is easy on my skin [and] has a soft scent. Definitely will recommend to others."
This article was originally published at an earlier date and has been updated.
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