8 Best Natural & Organic Toners to Firm All Skin Types 2020
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8 Best Natural & Organic Toners to Firm All Skin Types

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best natural toner

In a hurry? Here are our top picks:

BEST FOR ALL SKIN TYPES, ORGANIC ZELEN Life Toner
BEST FOR SENSITIVE SKIN ELEMIS Soothing Apricot Toner

 

In this article, we will be reviewing the best natural and organic toners on the market in 2020.

We are going to give you the scoop on what to look for when assessing toners, a review of our top-8 picks, as well as information on how to use toners properly.

We will also discuss the difference between toners and the skin types they are suited to and then cover a few common questions people have about toners. Even those already using a toner should keep reading as we are going to cover many of the mysteries surrounding toners—one of the least understood products in skincare.

Toners used to be limited to astringents that, while beneficial for some people with oily acne-prone skin, were far too harsh for any other skin type. They often contained alcohol, which can dry out all but the oiliest of skin, stripping away the skin’s natural barrier. Today though, formulas have come a long away, and there are toners for any skin type and to treat any number of underlying conditions.

We formulated our ZELEN Life Toner to hydrate and calm your skin while restoring its natural pH and hormone balance post-wash. Our powerful yet soothing toner removes any remaining excess oil and impurities on your skin after you have finished cleansing it with a face wash or cleanser and leaves it ready to absorb the rejuvenating ingredients from the rest of your skincare routine.

Our all-natural toner is free of alcohol as well as parabens, sulfates, petrochemicals, or synthetic colors and fragrances. All of our ingredients are naturally sourced and organic, giving you a strong foundation on which to build the rest of your routine, no matter your skin type or underlying condition.

The trickiest part about skincare is how highly personal it is. What works for one person may be detrimental to another even if they have similar skin types. This is why we have been so dedicated to bringing you our top picks for skincare products.

Even if you’ve got a toner, you’re happy with, keep reading, because we are going to cover a lot of useful information about toners, what to look for in a toner, and how to use them.

Before we get into the product reviews, let’s start with the 5 most important considerations when you are on the hunt for a natural and organic way to purify and condition your skin.

Quick summary

bb2-table__imageZELEN Life Toner
  • Regulates pH and hormone levels on skin
  • Lavender helps to restore and encourage healthy skin
  • Antibacterial properties help control breakouts
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bb2-table__imagePeter Thomas Roth 8% Glycolic Solutions Toner
  • Gentle enough for all skin types
  • Glycolic acid offers a gentle exfoliation
  • Witch hazel helps to shrink pores
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bb2-table__imageELEMIS Soothing Apricot Toner
  • Nourishing qualities, soothes and heal skin
  • Suitable for highly reactive, sensitive skin
  • Helps to restore skins pH balance
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bb2-table__imageSKIN&CO Roma Truffle Therapy Essential Face Toner
  • Witch hazel and rosemary eliminate impurities and bacteria
  • Packed with powerful antioxidants
  • Contains glycerin to maintain moisture
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bb2-table__imageMurad Environmental Shield Essential-C Toner
  • Fights free radicals and balances pH levels
  • Vitamin C evens out skin-tone
  • Loaded with amino acids that encourage healthy skin
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bb2-table__imageAHAVA Dead SeaMineral Toning Water
  • Powerful ingredients
  • Effective at balancing the pH of the skin
  • Good value for money
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bb2-table__imageboscia Resurfacing Treatment Toner With Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Antioxidant and nutrient rich formula
  • Apple Cider Vinegar offers exfoliation and astringent benefits
  • Reduces oil to normal levels, helping against breakouts
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bb2-table__imageToo Cool For School Egg-Ssential Fluid
  • Packed full of proteins that lock in moisture
  • Promotes the rebuild of collagen and the skin's natural barrier
  • Helps to reduce inflammation
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Before you buy: 5 Things to consider when purchasing a natural face toner

Toners are the last step in cleansing your skin and can provide an extra boost of skin-healing ingredients that can be tailored to treat any skin type or condition.

When choosing a toner, you are going to want to match those ingredients to whatever issues you are trying to target. Here we will outline a few things to know before you start your search the perfect toner for your skin.

1. Know your skin type & conditions

Skin type is always a top concern when shopping for a new skincare product. Using a product targeted at treating oily skin could be detrimental to those who have dry or sensitive skin, for example.

The 5 categories of skin:

Skin is categorized into normal, dry, sensitive, oily, or combination skin. If you aren’t sure which category you fall into, you can check out our article on the best natural face washes and cleansers, which has a description of each skin type. You can also talk to your doctor or dermatologist if you still require further assistance.

Determine underlying conditions:

Aside from the different types of skin mentioned above, you may have other issues or conditions you would like to target, from antiaging and fine lines and wrinkles to reducing breakouts to dull, patchy skin. Several different problems can be targeted using different toners. Know what you want to treat and then read the labels and make your choice accordingly.

Check out the Types of Toners You Can Use on Your Face section below where we breakdown the types of toners based on skin type and condition; we will give you an analysis of the ingredients you should be on the lookout for.

2. Only add or change one product at a time

If you add a toner to your routine or switch out your current toner for a new one, ensure that it is the only change you make to your skincare routine. This will allow you to assess how that product affects your skin. Changing anything else means you won’t be able to determine which change in your routine affected your skin.

Discontinue use immediately if you experience adverse effects:

Small problems like slight redness or itchiness will usually intensify with repeated application. Thus, you really don’t want to have any adverse reactions to a toner that you are going to be using daily. Sometimes an adjustment (usually a reduction) in the amount you apply can reduce irritation, but often you will have to try a different toner. Adjust as needed, remember skincare is a journey, not a destination, and you should always be checking in on your skin health to reevaluate your needs.

3. Consider your daily habits and application process

We will cover how to best use a toner below, but there are a few ways that this versatile product can be applied, depending on how it is formulated. Some come in thin liquids that can be spread using your hands or a cotton ball, while other formulas come in a mister bottle. The newest method involves gel sticks that can be rubbed onto the skin.

Keep in mind:

Your skin condition and the ingredient list are your primary concern; then, from within that set of products, you can choose from the application options available depending on how and where you will use a toner.

If you are applying your toner at home, the method may not matter. However, if you go to the gym and need to use your toner after getting cleaned up after a workout, a spray or gel stick may be easier to carry with you and apply.

If you travel a lot and want to reduce the number of liquids you are carrying, a gel stick could be just what you need.

Now that you’ve got some consideration to keep in mind, we can get into the reviews of the 8 best natural and organic toners that you can use on your face in 2020.

The 8 best natural and organic face toners in 2020

1. ZELEN Life Toner

Best features:

  • Balances pH
  • Restores hormone balance
  • Antibacterial
  • Promotes cell regeneration

Best toner for:

This is the best natural toner for any skin type. Unless you have sensitivities to the natural oils of geranium and lavender, this is an excellent toner to try for those wishing to add one to their regimen or for those looking to swap out their current toner.

Overview:

The two major components of this toner are lavender and geranium.

Lavender has been used for centuries in skin treatment and aromatherapy. Recently studies have begun to unravel the mysteries of how lavender works with our biochemistry to fight off free radicals using antioxidants found in the rosmarinic and chlorogenic acids.

These compounds have also been associated with antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral effects, which can help to stop breakouts. Finally, along with lactones, all of these compounds help reduce inflammation and redness on the skin, evening out skin tone and allowing it to absorb any moisturizers and treatments you apply afterward.[1][2]

Lavender can also help hydrate your skin and promotes the generation of healthy skin tissue.[3]

Geranium, as the other primary ingredient, removes any excess oil left on your skin and helps to clean out pores.[4]

It is also packed with antioxidants that can help to remove harmful free radicals that damage your skin and inhibit its functioning.[5] Geranium also contains selenium, an essential nutrient for humans that functions not only as an antioxidant but also as a hormone-balancing agent.[6]

The alkalinity of geranium can also help to rebalance the pH of your skin post-cleanse.

Both of these plants can help to reduce redness and dark spots evening out skin tone.[7]

They also contribute a pleasant aroma which can help to reduce stress which has a ton of benefits for your health.[8]

The good:

  • Can rebalance the pH and hormone levels of your skin
  • Has antibacterial properties to prevent breakouts
  • Lavender helps to promote the regeneration of healthy skin tissues

Things to consider:

  • Some people with sensitivities to essential oils might react to the lavender and geranium oils
  • If you prefer products without scents, even naturally derived ones, you may not care for the natural scents of lavender and geranium in this toner

Bottom line:

This powerhouse toner is packed with plant-based organic ingredients to restore the balance of hormones and pH on your skin while helping to restore healthy tissues and kill bacteria, all of which leave your skin ready to absorb the rest of your skincare routine.

2. Peter Thomas Roth 8% Glycolic Solutions Toner

Peter Thomas Roth 8% Glycolic Solutions Toner

Best features:

  • Exfoliates skin
  • Astringent properties remove remaining excess oil and impurities

Best toner for:

This is the best natural toner for acne-prone skin. With a combination of Glycolic acid and witch hazel, this toner can exfoliate and purify skin, reaching down into the pores to pull out contaminants and then shrinking pores to close them up to help prevent breakouts.

Overview:

This toner is a powerhouse when it comes to removing impurities from the skin that become trapped in the excess oil on your face.

Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid, and witch hazel is a commonly used astringent. Together they work to remove excess oil and impurities that get trapped in that oil.

Glycolic acid has also been shown to improve skin health by reversing photodamage (damage from the sun and other UV sources such as tanning beds). It can also boost the skin’s ability to produce and hold hyaluronic acid and, as a result, moisture. Finally, it can help to reduce the visibility of dark spots and even out skin tone.[9]

Witch hazel has also been found to have antioxidant properties, which can reduce and prevent damage from the sun and promote the health of fibroblasts, which produce the collagen and elastin that keep your skin looking tight and firm.[10]

To help calm the skin after a deep cleanse and exfoliation, Peter Thomas has included chamomile, aloe vera, and allantoin.

Chamomile and aloe vera are two plant sources we regularly discuss on this blog; they are commonly used in the cosmetics industry because of their ability to soothe skin and calm irritation and inflammation.

Aloe vera contains upwards of 75 active compounds that help to ease irritation and inflammation as well restore a balance of enzymes and hormones that are essential for healthy skin functioning.[11] Chamomile is another soothing agent that is packed with terpenoids and flavonoids that help to reduce inflammation.[12]

Allantoin is another common compound both in cosmetics and in skin wound healing. It is used to treat damage incurred from the sun and has even been used in the treatment of skin cancer.

Studies have found that it is especially effective at boosting the exfoliating properties of treatments while minimizing side effects and toxicity of exfoliating compounds—making it a powerful addition to this toner, allowing it to calm the skin post-cleansing.[13]

Sodium PCA is a well-known humectant. Humectants draw water into the skin from the air and the deeper layers of the skin and help to lock it in place. Which helps to keep your skin healthy and hydrated.[14]

The good:

  • Glycolic acid and witch hazel work together to provide a gentle exfoliation
  • Witch hazel helps to shrink pores to stop them from clogging
  • Helps to prevent breakouts by removing excess oil and the impurities it traps on the skin and in pores
  • Even users with sensitive skin who are prone to breakouts have found this product gentle enough for daily use

Things to consider:

  • Those with dry skin will likely find the exfoliating and astringent action too harsh for daily use
  • The majority of complaints about this product concern the pump-style lid which is hard to use

Bottom line:

This is a potent toner for those who are prone to breakouts. The inclusion of several calming agents makes this product great even for those with sensitive skin. However, if you have dry skin, avoid this toner as it will likely dry your skin too much.

3. ELEMIS Soothing Apricot Toner

ELEMIS Soothing Apricot Toner

Best features:

  • Soothes sensitive and delicate skin
  • Helps sensitive skins receive and absorb the following treatments
  • Helps to restore pH balance and skin barrier functioning

Best toner for:

This is the best natural toner for sensitive skin. The focus of this toner is on soothing, calming, and restoring.

Overview:

Perilla seed oil is rich in fatty acids, which are essential in maintaining the natural pH balance of the skin as well as for the healthy functioning of the skin’s natural lipid (fat) barrier. Perilla seed oil has a healthy balance of fats, which makes it excellent for restoring lipid barrier function and skin pH levels.[15]

A growing body of evidence also suggests that this calming oil can help to desensitize skin, which means it can help reduce skin reactiveness for those who have issues with sensitive skin.[16]

Sweet betty flower is a variety of soapwort, which has been used to create cleanser for hundreds of years due to its saponin content. It is a natural foaming agent that also shows some promise as an antioxidant which helps this toner remove any remaining impurities on your skin.[17]

Quillaja wood extract is another source of saponin’s, which helps to cleanse and soothe skin naturally.

Apricot is rich in vitamins A, B, and C, all of which can soothe and heal the skin via antioxidant and nourishing properties. They work together to remove free radicals and support the skin’s natural functions.[18] Vitamin A is especially good at promoting the formation of healthy collagen which can reduce the signs of aging.[19]

The good:

  • High in nourishing compounds, this toner works to soothe and heal skin
  • With the right balance of fatty acids, perilla seed oil helps to restore the pH balance of skin
  • Reduce skin sensitivity making it especially great for those with highly reactive skin

Things to consider:

  • Some users did not care for the strong fragrance in this product; some skins reacted to the fragrance
  • Some users with dry or combination skin found this product too drying

Bottom line:

This cleanser is filled with compounds that soothe and heal the skin, making it great for those who have sensitive skin. It nourishes and desensitizes skin.

4. SKIN&CO Roma Truffle Therapy Essential Face Toner

SKIN&CO Roma Truffle Therapy Essential Face Toner

Best features:

  • Heals and prevents damage from free radical oxidative stress
  • Hydrates skin and helps prevent water loss from the skin

Best toner for:

This is the best natural toner for prematurely aged skin and those who work outside.

Overview:

Black winter truffle, one of the main ingredients in this formula, is rich in superoxide dismutase. This strong antioxidant agent helps to reverse damage caused by free radicals and prevent further damage.[20]

Witch hazel is also included to help remove excess oil and impurities from the surface and within pores. It is also a natural antiseptic, helping to kill acne-causing bacteria.

Calendula oil works to reduce inflammation and diminish redness on your face. It pulls moisture into the skin and forms a barrier that seals in hydration.[21] It can also provide SPF protection, which, combined with a sunscreen application, will help protect your skin from damaging UVA and UVB rays.[22] Finally, it has antioxidants that help remove free radicals which can degrade even the deepest layers of your skin.[23]

Rosemary provides further antioxidant activity and can increase the rate of cell turnover, leading to the formation of healthier skin structures and younger-looking, healthier skin. It also has antiseptic properties that kill bacteria on your skin and in your pores.[24][25]

Glycerin is a powerful humectant that can draw moisture into the skin and help the skin heal, restoring its natural barrier.[26]

The good:

  • Several powerful antioxidants help to reduce damage from the environment
  • Witch hazel and rosemary work to remove impurities and kill harmful bacteria on the skin
  • Glycerin can pull moisture into the skin

Things to consider:

  • Too much glycerin use over time can lead to drier skin if it is not paired with a moisturizer that traps hydration in the skin
  • May be too powerful for those with sensitive or dry skin
  • Some users reported that the coconut smell was overpowering

Bottom line:

This powerful formula is great at reversing and then preventing future damage from the sun and the buildup of pollutants on the skin. Be sure to pair it with a moisturizer that contains an occlusive to help seal the moisture in your skin.

5. Murad Environmental Shield Essential-C Toner

Murad Environmental Shield Essential-C Toner

Best features:

  • Evens out skin tone and reduces the look of dark spots
  • Restores pH and moisture balance

Best toner for:

This is the best toner for those looking to bring balance back to their skin tone.

Overview:

Amino acids are essential for our skin to function normally and provide the building blocks to heal the skin and balance skin tone. They help the skin’s natural hydration transport system move and retain moisture effectively.

Amino acids also help to destroy free radicals and aid in the skin’s natural production of antioxidant compounds. Lastly, amino acids can help to regulate the pH balance on your skin and restore it to normal levels.[27]

Bitter orange and coneflower (echinacea) extracts help to soothe the skin by reducing free radicals. Promoting hydration and reducing inflammation and irritation. These two ingredients work together using vitamin C and E to calm your skin and prepare it to absorb the rest of your skincare products.[28][29]

Sodium PCA is also used in this toner as it can help draw moisture into the skin to increase hydration and leave it prepped for further moisturizing that will help lock moisture into place.[30]

The good:

  • Rich in amino acids, this formula helps to promote the healthy function of the skin
  • Amino acids hydrate skin, fight free radicals, boost the skin’s production of antioxidants, and restores the natural pH balance of the skin
  • Rich in amino acids and vitamin C, this product can help condition skin and even out its tone

Things to consider:

  • Some users reported this product was too drying, likely due to a sensitivity to vitamin C and witch hazel which are both present in this product
  • Some users reported irritation when using on the delicate skin around their eyes

Bottom line:

Perfect for those whose primary concern is evening out skin tone and reversing the damage from environmental stressors.

6. AHAVA Dead Sea Mineral Toning Water

AHAVA Dead Sea Mineral Toning Water

Best features:

  • Inexpensive and lasts a long time
  • Helps to balance pH
  • Cleanses skin
  • Balances skin tone
  • Antibacterial

Best toner for:

This is the best toner on our list for those on a budget. It is inexpensive yet effective. It is also an effective toner for combination skin.

Overview:

The main components of this toner are the 21 essential minerals, including magnesium, calcium, and potassium, that are used to help balance the skin pH and condition skin for the rest of your routine that follows.

Cucumber extract also balances pH and provides antimicrobial action and antioxidants to fight free radicals. Cucumber is also effective at evening out skin tone by reducing the appearance of dark spots on the skin. It is also rich in vitamin C.[31][32]

Orange and lemon extract are also rich in vitamin C, which is a potent antioxidant that can boost collagen production, leading to firmer healthier skin with less visible wrinkles. Vitamin C can also help to reduce hyperpigmentation in the skin and even out its tone.[33]

The good:

  • Powerful ingredients help to balance the pH of the skin and leave it conditioned to absorb any following products
  • Inexpensive yet highly effective at balancing pH and rejuvenating skin

Things to consider:

  • One user reported that it left a film on their skin
  • One other user reported that it dried their skin

Bottom line:

There are almost no negative reviews of this product, and it is effective for all skin types. If you are on a budget but need a toner to help balance your skin pH after washing, this is the toner you want to try. It is suitable for even the most sensitive skin.

Remember:

Everyone’s skin is different, and even though this is a very gentle product, if you have a history of reactive skin, you should always perform a spot test to ensure that you are not reactive to any ingredients in a new skincare product.

7. boscia Resurfacing Treatment Toner with Apple Cider Vinegar

boscia Resurfacing Treatment Toner with Apple Cider Vinegar

Best features:

  • Powerful AHA’s & BHA remove excess oil and exfoliate the skin
  • Kills harmful bacteria and balances the levels of helpful bacteria

Best toner for:

This is the best natural toner for oily skin. Due to the high concentrations of exfoliating acids, this is also an excellent product for those with dull or ashy, flaky patches on their skin.

Overview:

Boscia has created this toner with a 20% acid complex that comes from a combination of glycolic acid (AHA), salicylic acid (BHA), and apple cider vinegar (which contains several AHA’s). Thus, this toner’s focus is on removing excess oil and impurities and balancing pH for those who have oily skin.

Glycolic acid, as we discussed above, reverses photodamage (damage from the sun and other UV sources such as tanning beds) and increases the skin’s ability to produce and hold hyaluronic acid and thus moisture. It also reduces the visibility of dark spots and evens out skin tone.[34]

Salicylic acid is a BHA which is a potent exfoliating agent. It helps to remove dead skin cells, which can lead to dull, lifeless looking skin. It can help clear and prevent pore blockages by eliminating dead cells and excess oil, reducing blemishes on the skin. It is routinely used in the treatment of acne.

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is less acidic than most kinds of vinegar, falling between 3.1 to 5 on the pH scale. This acidity means it can help balance out skin pH (which is between 4 and 6.5 with an average of 5.5) if your skin has become more alkaline form washing.

ACV is also rich in vitamin C, bringing a whole host of benefits to your skin, including antioxidants, the promotion of healthy collagen formation, and the evening out of skin tone.

The good:

  • Potent acid complex is excellent for bringing the oiliest of complexions down to normal levels and preventing breakouts and reducing blemishes
  • ACV makes a great addition because it provides not only exfoliating and astringent properties but also several nutrients and antioxidants that are beneficial for the skin

Things to consider:

  • This toner is intended for the oiliest of sets and those with even normal skin may find it too harsh
  • Those who have sensitivities to AHA’s, BHA, or just have sensitive or dry skin will likely find this product too drying
  • Some users with normal skin reported irritation after a few days of use

Bottom line:

This product is targeted to those of us with oily skin. If you have anything but, you likely want to try a different toner from our list.

8. Too Cool For School Egg-Ssential Fluid

Too Cool For School Egg-Ssential Fluid

Best features:

  • Powerfully hydrating
  • Helps to rebuild the natural skin barrier

Best toner for:

This is the best toner for dry skin. It helps to hydrate and nourish skin bringing back moisture and restoring the barrier to keep that hydration in the skin throughout the day.

Overview:

Egg proteins have been extracted and included. There is a lot of misinformation regarding the use of eggs in skincare and facemasks. However, there are two main effects that these egg proteins have that have been confirmed. They can help draw moisture into the skin, which both hydrates skin and temporarily increases the plumpness of skin.

The plumpness comes from the added moisture content, resulting in less visible lines and wrinkles. However, egg whites do not improve collagen or elastin formation, which would lead to longer-lasting antiwrinkle effects. They do hydrate and help to reduce the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles while the skin remains hydrated.[35]

Hydrolyzed proteins can also reduce the harmful effects of cleansers and help maintain the skin’s natural barrier.[36]

One of the most abundant proteins in eggs is lysozyme. An antibacterial protein that kills both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, which helps keep your skin free of bacteria that cause blemishes and breakouts.[37][38]

Shea butter and shea butter extracts are also added due to their ability to hydrate and nourish the skin. Shea butter offers several benefits for the skin that have been studied extensively. They include an increase in the skin’s natural barrier function by thickening the outer layer (stratum corneum) with health well-stratified layers.

Shea butter can also help deactivate matrix metalloproteinase (an enzyme that inhibits the production of collagen and breaks down healthy collagen when the skin is exposed to UV radiation from the sun or other sources). This leads to increased collagen production and tighter, firmer-looking skin. It can also help to decrease inflammation.[39]

The good:

  • Rich in proteins that hydrate the skin and lock moisture in, while aiding in the rebuilding of the skin’s natural barrier
  • Helps to rebuild collagen and reduce inflammation which provides younger-looking and healthier skin

Things to consider:

  • Could cause breakouts on those with oily skin, likely from the inclusion of shea butter
  • Does not provide much extra cleaning action

Bottom line:

This toner is formulated to target dry, patchy skin. It is rich in hydrating compounds, but those same compounds can cause breakouts in people with oily skin. If you have dry skin that is prone to breakouts, this product may still be useful for you; it is those that have oily skin as the source of their acne that need to be careful with his one.


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We covered a lot of information while reviewing the top-8 natural and organic toners that you can use on your face. We’ve hit a toner that can address pretty much any skin type and condition you can imagine.

However, you may still have some questions about how to use toners and how best to evaluate them, given your skin type.

So, keep reading as we are going to answer those questions and more in the following sections.

How to use your toner effectively How to use your toner effectively

Toners complete the cleansing of your skin by removing any excess oil and impurities that your face wash or cleanser may have missed. They also prepare your skin to receive the rest of your skincare routine. Thus, you want to make sure you employ it properly to maximize the benefits you see from incorporating a daily toner into your skincare routine.

Step 1: Wash and cleanse your face

As per the American Academy of Dermatologists (AAD), you want to cleanse your face with warm water (think slightly warmer than room temperature), then rinse it with cooler water, and finally pat it dry. Rubbing motions used to dry skin can cause microtears that damage your skin’s natural barrier.[40]

Step 2: Apply toner – Use fingertips, a cotton ball/pad, spray, or stick

Depending on the toner you have, there are different ways to apply it.

Liquid in a bottle:

Apply a small amount to a cotton ball or pad or simply use your fingertips and rub it gently over your skin with upwards circular motions.

Avoid tugging down on your skin, as this can lead to sagging. Be extra cautious around your eye area as you don’t want to get any in your eyes; this skin is also more delicate than the rest of your face. The AAD recommends using your ring finger to apply products around the eye, as it is the weakest finger and will help ensure you don’t pull too hard.[41]

Spray:

Mist over your entire face with one or two spritzes. Don’t go overboard as too much of a good thing can be harmful.

Sticks:

Gently rub the stick all over your skin using upward, circular motions. For the eye area, take a bit of the stick on your ring finger and gently apply it using the same upward movements. You can use your fingertips to finish rubbing or patting the excess into your skin.

Once done, follow with the rest of your skincare routine.

Step 3: Follow with medical treatments, serums, moisturizer & sunscreen

Once you’ve applied the toner, you want to use any other products in your skincare routine. You can check out our article on [zelen blog link – the best order to apply skincare products]. In general, you apply products in order from thin to thick, as this helps them absorb better.

At a minimum, you should use a moisturizer and sunscreen; if your moisturizer provides broad-spectrum protection (blocks UVA and UVB rays) and has an SPF of 30 or higher, you can skip applying a separate sunscreen. Broad-spectrum sunscreens with an SPF of 30 is the minimum protection recommended by the AAD.[42]

Types of toners you can use on your face

The versatility of toners is why they are often passed over. Toners are formulated and applied differently to help condition your skin for the application of the rest of your products. The wrong toner can cause or aggravate problems while the right one will prevent or calm them. Use our guide below to help you choose the proper toner.

Always remember to read the labels when making your purchase. It can also be useful to keep a journal of the products—toners or otherwise—that you’ve tried and the effects they have on your skin. Such a journal will help you when you are making skincare decisions in the future and will also be helpful to take to a dermatologist if you can’t find relief for your skin.

Dry skin

When buying a toner for dry skin, you want something that hydrates and helps to rejuvenate its natural barrier to keep moisture locked in. Glycerin can help pull moisture into the skin and soften it while improving its barrier function.[43]

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is one of the main compounds responsible for holding moisture in our skin, which makes it a great addition to toners, especially for those with dry skin.[44] Combining Glycerin and HA together will draw moisture into the top layers of your skin and lock it in.[45]

Also, look for soothing compounds to help reduce redness and irritation that can come from dry skin. Rosewater or rose extracts and aloe vera are some common soothing ingredients that can also help hydrate.

Oily skin

Those with oily skin will want to look for ingredients that help to remove excess oil. Astringents are beneficial here as they will clear away oils and impurities that can block pores. Witch hazel and apple cider vinegar are two natural astringents often used in toners. Glycolic, lactic, and citric acids are also often helpful astringents for oily skin.

Oil-control products like bentonite clay can also help to remove excess oil and impurities while mattifying skin to reduce that oily look.

Acne-prone skin

In general, you can look for the same ingredients that help oily skin; astringents help remove the excess oil that traps impurities and bacteria in pores, which leads to breakouts. If the astringents above aren’t quite strong enough (they are all AHAs), you can look for salicylic acid, which is a BHA and stronger than AHAs.

Aside from removing excess oil, astringents are usually antimicrobial as well and will help prevent breakouts by killing bacteria and fungi that can lead to acne.[46]

Aged/mature skin

Skin aging generally results from exposure to the sun and pollutants in the environment. This process beings early and those who spend a lot of time outdoors may see premature aging in their skin. Thus, you want ingredients that are targeted at healing environmental damage and rejuvenating skin.

Aloe vera, green tea, and vitamin C are all excellent for helping to revitalize aged skin. They also work well for mature skin as they not only help to heal damage but also boost the skin’s resilience to future damage.[47][48]

Sensitive skin

Similar to skin that is damaged from aging, you want soothing ingredients. Toners for sensitive skin often include aloe vera and green tea. You can also find compounds that provide protection from contaminants that can cause irritation; algae is an excellent example of removing pollutants and reversing the damage they cause.[49]

Just as important as what is in the product is what is not. Sensitive skin is highly reactive, and you want to avoid any harsh ingredients like alcohol or astringents. Also, avoid common sensitizing compounds like essential oils. While these can be beneficial for other skin types, those with sensitive skin will often see adverse reactions.

Keep it simple:

Look for short ingredient lists with highly targeted compounds that soothe your skin. Avoid everything harsh, unless otherwise directed by a healthcare provider.

Combination skin

Combination skin is notoriously hard because you have more than one skin type on your face. You need to find a balance between what treats your dry or normal skin right while providing enough potency to treat the oily areas. For some, using a toner targeted at dry skin can help control moisture, which reduces oil production in the oiler areas of the skin.

Others will need something aimed at oily skin, meaning something with astringents or mattifying agents. Lactic acid is a great choice here as it can also help moisturize. If you find these toners too harsh on the dry or normal parts of your face, apply them only to the oil areas using a cotton ball to wipe away excess oil.

“Normal” skin

Normal here refers to healthy skin with no underlying conditions. While that doesn’t apply to most people, if it does apply to you, then you want something that helps to keep your skin hydrated, and that will promote the health of your skin’s natural barrier.

Hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, green tea, and vitamin C and E can help keep the skin hydrated. Many of them also have antioxidant properties to help prevent damage that can lead to premature aging. These will be some of the best toners for glowing skin.

How we chose these products

To bring you our list of the best natural toners, we looked for top-quality products that target specific issues and are formulated with ingredients that can alleviate the targeted symptoms. They are all free of harmful chemicals that can irritate skin and lead to health issues.

We searched for the best organic toners for all conditions to make sure we covered the range of concerns out there. We only include trusted brands that use high-quality ingredients in their formulas.

No matter your skin’s condition, you can find something targeted to treat it on our list. Each of our picks helps to cleanse your skin and condition it so that you get the maximum benefit from the rest of your skincare products.

We assessed the quality of each product by reviewing the ingredients to ensure that they all contain ample amounts of nutrient and vitamin dense compounds to help keep your skin looking young and healthy. We also made sure that each product on our list was free of parabens, sulfates, and petrochemicals.

Each brand on our list is trusted within the skincare community. We also search for expert and user reviews and aggregate all that information into one spot so that you can be better informed when making skincare decisions.

That way, you can find the right toner with less effort and cost, giving you the best possible foundation for the rest of your skincare routine.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

We have covered a lot of information about toners in this article, but there are a few more lingering issues we’d like to cover for you that commonly arise.

What is a toner?

We’ve talked about the purpose of a toner a bit above, but specifically, toners are meant to bridge the gap between cleansing and other topical treatments in your skincare regiment. Cleansing skin is necessary to remove impurities and, for some people, excess oil.

However, it can alter the balance of your skin’s pH and open your pores. Toners work to remove the last of the grime left on your face, restore the natural pH balance, and close those pores up to prevent debris and makeup from clogging them.

Toners should not aggravate any skin conditions you may have; instead, a quality toner should help to calm and soothe those conditions while leaving your skin ready to soak up all the goodness that follows from the rest of your routine.

Toners can help reduce redness and even out skin tone as well as tone up the firmness of your skin. Are you starting to see how this product got its name?

Should I use a toner?

Because toners come in so many different formulations now, everyone can benefit from adding a toner to their routine.

However, those with oily sets, acne-prone skin, or who wear makeup will benefit the most from the extra cleaning, pore closing, and skin toning action.

When should I use my toner?

Depending on the toner’s purpose, you may use it both morning and night or just at night; if your toner provides some exfoliation or is astringent, once a day may be enough.

If you are applying once a day, nighttime is usually the best option as it will help remove impurities that buildup on your skin over the course of a day.

You want to apply the toner immediately after washing your face. For most toner products, it is best if your skin is still slightly damp.

Gently give your face a pat with a clean towel to remove excess water, then apply the toner on your still-damp skin, and then immediately follow with the rest of your routine.

Is there a toner for my skin type/condition?

Absolutely! There are now thousands of different formulas, and with a little hunting, you should be able to find one that matches your needs. Whether you have acne, an oily complexion, or sensitive skin, there is something out there for everyone.

It might take some testing to discover what works well for your skin with your current skincare regimen. If you have chronic issues with your skin and can’t find the right combination of products, consider visiting a board-certified dermatologist for help.

Conclusion

Toners are an oft-maligned, generally misunderstood product that has come a long way in the last few years. Many people are reminded of harsh astringents when they think “toner.”

But ultimately, a toner should remove any last traces of impurities on your skin and prepare it to soak up all the goodness of the rest of the products you apply post-wash. Added ingredients can also work to treat any underlying issues you are having with your skin.

If you have oily, acne-prone skin, or wear makeup, you make still want a product that contains astringents. However, for those with dry, sensitive, or mature skin, you can avoid that altogether and go for something soothing and hydrating.

With toners and any skincare product, you always want to match the ingredients to your skin’s needs. Toners can help to replenish nutrients and other helpful compounds that are stripped from your skin when you cleanse it.

What experience have you had with toners? Have you found one that works well for you, or are you still scouring the shelves for something that is just right? Let us know in the comments below.

If you know someone who is seeking out a new toner or is lost in the world of skincare products, fighting for healthier, younger-looking skin, share this article with them to spread the knowledge.

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About The Author

Dr. Shane Jackson MBBS
Dr. Shane Jackson MBBS

Dr. Jackson is a UK based NHS clinician with over 10 years experience in both hospital medicine and surgery. After an initial career in maxillofacial surgery his focus now lies in elderly care and rehabilitation medicine. A board member for Wadham College of Science, Dr. Jackson is passionate about widening access to both education and healthcare around the world and as a result, outside of his clinical work he spends much of his time either teaching or providing medical consultancy to healthcare startups. Commercially, his interests lie in helping research and promote novel, evidence-based medicines originating from natural sources and processes.

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