In the grand skincare hierarchy, face toners rank as a welcome extra. They complement any moisturiser or face wash you're using by stepping into the middle of the grooming process: right after cleansing and before you add some hydration back into the mix.
Why? The cleaner your face is from excess oil and traces of dirt, the more resplendent it'll look in the long run. And even if you've given your face a good scrub in the shower, that might not have done the trick. That's why toners are especially popular with those who suffer from acne and are particularly mindful of clearing out their pores.
While some toners are especially marketed towards those of a pimpled disposition, often featuring ingredients such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, you shouldn't place much stock in them as a magic wand for redness and blemishes. The key ingredients in any skincare regime are regularity and thoroughness, so a great toner will likely add to the good work you're already doing. If you're going to use one, you shouldn't settle for a so-so product. That's why we've picked out the very best face toners below from Kiehl's, Aesop and plenty more grooming pros.
© Copyright ProdctPhotography.com LLC
Baxter’s aromatic cocktail of highly effective and naturally derived ingredients, is the perfect solution for those who suffer from dehydration. Helping to lock in moisture, green tea (rich in antioxidants) and vitamins C and E form a barrier protecting your skin from free radicals, while witch hazel extract, peppermint oil and cucumber aid in settling the skin and balance skin-tone. Suitable for all skin-types, swipe across a clean face with a cotton ball. £16 for 227ml. At mankind.co.uk
This daily-use toner with exfoliating benefits gently removes excess oil, cleans out the pores, removes flaky dead skin and helps to maintain a healthy balance in your skin. Containing salicylic acid and witch hazel, it is particularly effective for men who suffer from an oily T-zone. It is recommended to be used twice a day to really get its teeth into controlling oil build-up. Apply with a cotton ball after washing and before you apply a moisturiser. £18 for 200ml . At John Lewis. johnlewis.com
This is a genius on-the-go toner that can be used throughout the day for a quick freshen up and not restricted to use between the routine of cleansing and applying moisturiser. In a handy spray container, it instantly neutralises excess oil with one spritz and leaves a clean but healthy-looking matte complexion. Containing glycerol and menthol as key components, It also has a cooling effect, so great to take away on holiday. £16.50 for 125ml. At John Lewis. johnlewis.com
Explicitly formulated for sensitive and oily skin-types as well as those those prone to allergic reaction or blemishes, this astringent toner helps to eliminate excess oil and visibly reduce the appearance of pores. Infused with micro-exfoliant LHA (lipo-hydroxy acid), it is also great at getting rid of blackheads. It's a no-nonsense product, that is gentle to the face, with minimal ingredients. Don’t be fooled into thinking it isn’t highly effective just because its effect is so soothing. Use morning and night after washing. £9 for 200ml. At Boots. boots.com
Targeting oily T-zones, the combination of camomile bud (anti-inflamatory), witch hazel and niacinamide (a major source of vitamin B, make this a gentle yet highly active solution). This one is great if you fear toners that are too astringent and strip all natural oils, effectively removing excess sebum, but it won’t leave irritated skin or redness. Apply twice a day and splash into the palm of your hands and pat onto the face and neck. £25 for 100ml. At Selfridges. selfridges.com
Skinceuticals Blemish + Age Toner is the perfect solution for those with tired, ageing skin that is prone to breakouts. Very light in texture, a mix of LHA, salicylic and glycolic acids help to exfoliate dead skin, which helps reduce build-up in the pores and rebalance the skin’s surface. Use twice a day and as a primer between cleansing and moisturising. £36 for 200ml. At lookfantastic.com
Besides having a great name, this toner is one of the best we have ever used. A reformulation of the original Face Vinegar, it is perfume free and contains 97.5 per cent naturally sourced ingredients, such as algae prebiotics and hibiscus vinegar, which is extracted from the hibiscus flower. With a three-pronged approach – purification, protection, proliferation – it leaves skin looking refreshed and brighter. Suitable for all skin-types, use morning and night between cleaning and applying moisturiser. £23 for 200ml. At lookfantastic.com
This plant and marine-based formula in a convenient mist-spray applicator helps to both reduce pore size and regulate sebum (the oil secreted from your sebaceous glands). Including bio derivatives of buchu (reduces visible sebum build-up) and bridewort (helps to flush out congestion in the pores) in a base of natural marine polymers (which help to tighten pores), this lightweight spray is suitable for all skin types, with those who suffer with enlarged pores obviously moving to the front of the queue. Apply morning and evening to a clean face and before you apply moisturiser or night cream. £12 for 120ml. deciem.com