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The 10 Best Toners We’ve Tried in 2023 for Balancing Combination Skin


Toners of the past were more about removing every bit of dirt, makeup, and oil from your face. "While newer generations of toners may still remove traces of buildup, they're actually meant to nourish and replenish the skin after cleansing and act as a primer for other skin care products," says cosmetic dermatologist Sejal K. Shah, M.D. . But as anyone with combination skin will tell you, finding the right products can be a tricky proposition.

On the one hand, "combination" can have different meanings. Combination skin types may experience oily T-zone and dry, rosacea-prone cheeks. For some, it’s a combination of clogged pores, lack of moisture, and hyperpigmentation. Or maybe it's just that your skin behaves this way half the time, while the other half the problem is more noticeable.

Regardless, people with combination skin usually have to settle for high-quality skin care that provides non-comedogenic (pore-clogging) moisture and gentle exfoliation or antioxidants.

In our search for the best toner for combination skin, we looked at several formulas that ticked all the boxes, or at least met some specific criteria for individual skin concerns. After reviewing each product's ingredients, benefits, and intended use, consulting with a dermatologist, and trying several products ourselves, we narrowed it down to 10 options that deserve a spot in your medicine cabinet.

Innisfree Green Tea Seed Hyaluronic Acid Toner: Innisfree is a Korean beauty brand you can trust, offering affordable skincare products that meet your needs. We particularly like the Green Tea Seed Hyaluronic Acid Toner, a non-irritating cleanser that's especially great for those with combination skin.

As the name suggests, it contains soothing green tea extract and skin's favorite moisturizer, hyaluronic acid. The latter absorbs moisture from the air and can hold a thousand times its weight in water.

1 This toner also contains vitamin B5, which helps balance oil production. 2 We just wish the bottle wasn't made of glass so we could use it and we could take it anywhere without worrying about it breaking.

Who is it for: We recommend this K-beauty toner to anyone with sensitive or dry skin, as well as those with oil-prone T-zones.

Thayers Unscented Witch Hazel Facial Toner: This toner has long been considered the proven standard among toners. It covers a lot of areas for combination skin and won’t cost you more than $10.

Its key ingredient is witch hazel, which evens out oily skin tone, minimizes pores and soothes irritation.

3 At the same time, aloe vera hydrates and soothes inflammation. We also love its gentle formula, made with 98% natural ingredients and free of alcohol and fragrance (but you can choose a scent if you want).

Who is it for : If you're looking for an affordable, reliable formula to address a variety of skin care concerns, you can't go wrong with Thayers. REN Clean Skincare Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Supplement

If you're looking for a toner with all the power of a chemical peel, look no further than Ready Steady Glow. It contains lactic acid (an acidic exfoliant that tightens the skin), alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), willow bark extract, and a form of salicylic acid (a beta hydroxy acid, or BHA, that can help shrink pores).

These ingredients exfoliate by essentially dissolving dead skin cells to combat dullness, hyperpigmentation, and uneven texture. 5 We should note, however, that chemical peels are generally gentle on the skin but may be too harsh for daily use.

Who is it for: This product is great for those who want to exfoliate a few times a week to combat dullness, uneven texture, or hyperpigmentation.

Best for Acne-Based Skin: Murad Clarifying Toner : Combination skin is often prone to acne, especially in oily areas like the T-zone. We love a purifying toner (one that removes dirt and oil) for this purpose, and Murad's toner is one of the best.

Based on witch hazel and seaweed extracts, this no-nonsense toner absorbs excess oil, tightens pores, and balances sebum production, 6 while vitamin E soothes stressed skin and hydrates without clogging pores .

Who is it for Those prone to breakouts will appreciate how this toner absorbs excess oil and balances sebum production while hydrating skin without filling pores with moisture.

Best for Large Pores: Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Pore Minimizing Toner The bad news: You can't really change the size of your pores. Good news: You can make them appear smaller and less noticeable by preventing them from getting clogged with dust and dirt.

That's why we love Paula's Choice's oil-balancing formula. In addition to minimizing pores, it contains antioxidants, chamomile, and ceramides to refine, soothe, moisturize, and protect your complexion.

While these ingredients should help it work on sensitive skin, you'll want to limit the frequency of use if you're prone to irritation or dryness. Who is it for If you ask us, this oil-balancing formula from Paula's Choice is your best bet for shrinking pores.

Best of course: Weleda One-Step Cleanser and Toner Sometimes it's best to stick to a simple but foolproof toner, and that's Weleda's option to a "T." It has the hydrating benefits of a lotion and the purifying benefits of a classic toner. It contains witch hazel to balance and cleanse skin without over-drying, while lanolin (an emollient that retains moisture) helps remove impurities and protect the skin barrier. Please note: Lanolin is made from wool.

While this product is natural and cruelty-free, it is not vegan. Who is it for If you prefer natural formulas without preservatives or synthetic fragrances, this is for you (unless you follow a vegan diet or are sensitive to essential oils).

Best for Dryness Issues: Belif Aqua Bomb Hydrating Toner It's a common belief that toners aren't hydrating, but another Korean skincare brand, Belif, has made us change our minds. The brand's Aqua Bomb Toner is perfect for combination skin that needs moisture.

It contains hyaluronic acid and baobab seed extract to keep skin hydrated and smooth uneven texture.

Meanwhile, beta-glucan is a super moisturizer that also helps soothe irritated skin and strengthen the skin barrier. Belif actually conducted clinical results, and 97.8% of participants said that the dryness disappeared after use.

Who is it for We recommend this hydrating toner for combination skin that needs hydration. It's also great for conditions with uneven texture and weak skin barrier.

Best for Sensitive Skin: Kiehl's Calendula Herbal Extract Alcohol-Free Toner Since toners can be a bit drying, we recommend using alcohol-free toners with natural ingredients whenever possible.

This gentle, alcohol-free toner from Kiehl's is perfect for sensitive combination skin. Premium ingredients include calendula extract and allantoin, which help minimize redness and calm inflammation while providing moisture where it's needed while balancing oil production. We love it for acne-prone skin, especially since it's gentle enough for daily use. 

However, some people don't like petal fragments in the liquid. Who is it for This gentle, soothing toner will be perfect if your skin is prone to flushing, breaks out frequently, or reacts to a complex skincare routine. 

Best for Uneven Texture: Tatcha The Texture Tonic AHA Liquid Exfoliating Treatment As its name suggests, Tatcha's texture tonic is designed to smooth out uneven texture for a more radiant complexion. It uses glycolic acid (another AHA) to gently exfoliate and remove dead skin cells, while niacinamide helps reduce redness and minimize the appearance of pores. 

However, it contains alcohol. So if you have very sensitive skin, this product might be a little too much for you. Who is it for If you have rough, uneven, or dry skin on certain areas of your face, this peel treatment can solve the problem. 

Best for Mature Skin: Albion Flora Drip Fermented Serum Believe it or not, toner can help skin look younger by evening its texture and reducing the appearance of fine lines. This Japanese serum is similar to a toner, a liquid solution used after cleansing. You can apply it with a cotton pad or simply pat it onto clean skin. 

We love how this premium formula (with fermented botanicals and pure white koji) firms and refines skin, minimizing the appearance of fine lines while hydrating and making skin tone more even over time. 

However, we hope it does not contain PEG. Who is it for Ideal for mature skin, this hydrating serum provides firming and refinement benefits while evening out skin tone.

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