Toners range from $5 all the way to $250 per bottle. Are they worth it? What are they? How do they benefit you? Which are the best for your skin type? If you have these questions, you’ve clicked on the right post!
We’ll look at the best toners for large pores and different skin types near the end of the post. Our top pick for each skin type are as follows:
- Best toner for large pores: REN Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic – Click here to see it on Amazon – Our #1 Top Pick!
- Best toner for dull skin: Burts Bees Brightening Refining Tonic – Click here to see it on Amazon
- Best toner for oily skin: Innisfree Bijia Trouble Skin
- Best toner for dry skin: PCA SKIN Nutrient Facial Toner
To learn more about toners and our recommended picks for your skin type, read on!
Also, for an excellent toner for large pores, take a look at our top pick, the REN Clean Skincare Ready Steady Glow Tonic:
What Are Toners?
Back then, toners were called skin tonics, and they simply function as tonics or a medical substance for your skin. The first tonic water came out around the 1900s, about the same time as Eau de Cologne. It was made to soothe the nerves and take the fatigue out of the muscles.
Many formulations are simply mixtures of perfume, water, alcohol, and borax. Nowadays, borax is an ingredient in a lot of cleaning products, such as homemade laundry detergent. Luckily, there are no longer laundry detergent particles in our present-day toners.
Modern toners are formulated to target all of our skincare concerns, be it exfoliating, cleansing, hydrating, brightening, or all of the above.
The basic science of toners is that it gives your skin a quick hit of intense hydration while taking off the surface layer of dead skin cells, making it feel nice as well as look fresh and glowing.
You can think of it like a sponge. If you pour water on a dry sponge, water just kind of sits on top of the sponge, but if you soak the sponge in water and add more water, it absorbs water right away. That’s exactly how toners work.
Cleansing Water, Micellar Water, and Essences Are Not the Same as Toners
Cleansing water, micellar water, and essences are sometimes thought of as the same as toners, but they are different.
Cleansing water is basically purified water. It’s infused with essential oils, plant extracts, collagen, and minerals. It’s best used as a light refresher in the morning and throughout the day.
You can think of toner as the parent of the family, and then underneath that tree, you have beauty water.
Micellar water is basically just for cleansing your face and not for nourishing. Micellar water has micelles that draw oil and water away from your skin which is completely the opposite of what toners do.
They are really good at removing makeup but aren’t toners and strip away the oils on your face.
Essences aren’t the same as toners. They are meant to be added after the toner to add another layer of hydration before applying a serum. Essences traditionally were more lightweight and less concentrated than serums.
Most essences have a watery consistency, but some have a thicker, goopy texture.
Benefit of Toners
The three main benefits you can get from toners is that it 1. Shrinks the appearance of pores, 2. Takes away the impurities that are left on your skin, including the dead skin that clogs pores and produces breakouts, and the most important part is that it 3. Restores the pH balance.
What is pH? pH stands for potential of hydrogen. The pH scale ranges from 0, which is acidic, all the way to 14, which is alkaline. Our skin is a little more acidic, between 4.5 to 5.5.
After you wash your face, your skin’s pH fluctuates. Toners bring the pH back to the neutral state and balance it between the two spectrums. In order for our skin barriers to work properly, we need to make sure the pH is balanced.
If it’s too acidic, it gets inflamed and red, and if it’s too alkaline, it gets too dry and dehydrated.
Our skin barrier is responsible for keeping in lipids, natural oils, and moisture while blocking out germs, bacteria, toxins, and pollutants that cause breakouts and attack our skin.
If our skin isn’t properly protected with the right level of moisture and the right level of acidity, then it can’t do its job. Toners restore the skin’s pH balance so it can fend off itself from bacteria and pollutants.
How to Apply Toners
If you’re going to apply a toner, you can use a cotton pad or use your hands. For cotton pads, you swipe them outward and upward. If you’re gonna use your hands, you can put it on your palm then pat it in. You will love the patting method because it is very hydrating and very calming.
If you’re using a toner as a way to cleanse, as a second or third step of cleansing, using a cotton pad will help remove all the impurities. If you’re just using your hand, it won’t do that. You can also do both. First, use cotton pads and then pat it in.
Best Toners for Large Pores, Dull Skin, Oily Skin, or Dry Skin
Best Toners for Large Pores
If you have large pores, you want to look for toners that have AHAs or Alpha hydroxy acid to help reduce the size and appearance of the pores. REN Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic works wonders.
Then there’s the Krave Beauty Kale-Lalu-yAHA, which has AHA as well as hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is good for replenishing and hydration.
If you have big pores, try AHAs because they’re gentle chemical exfoliants. There’s the Pixi Glow Tonic, which made my pores look smaller and doesn’t dry out my skin.
There’s also the Witch Hazel by Thayers, which is one of the best toners for large pores. It is really popular on Amazon with ten thousand reviews. Witch Hazel is good for inflammation as well.
Toners for Dull Skin
If you have dull skin, toners with natural exfoliants like papaya and lactic acid are great for brightening the skin.
The Ordinary contains 5 percent lactic acid and two percent hyaluronic acid, and if you’re just into AHAs, this is a gentle one to use. It’s good for brightening and improving the texture of the skin.
You can also try the Indie Lee CoQ-10 Toner and Burts Bees Brightening Refining Tonic, which both help improve the appearance of surface dullness, revealing a more even skin tone.
Toners for Oily Skin
For those of you with acne-prone or oily skin, you’d want to look for toners that will help break down the oils in your pores. AHA, BHA, salicylic acid, and lactic acid will sink into your pores and break down the bacteria that are causing inflammation.
You can try the Innisfree Bijja Trouble Skin, which has 2% salicylic acid. I haven’t tried this toner yet, but I have clients who rave about it, saying it is very effective at fading their pimples, acne, and other blemishes.
There’s also the Fresh Herb Calendula Tincture Toner which is really good at inflammation. It calms, improves elasticity, balances, soothes, and moisturizes the skin.
Toners for Dry Skin
If you have dry skin, avoid products that have alcohol because they’ll further dry out your skin. Look out for ingredients such as glycerin and hyaluronic acid, as they will help you replenish, keep in, retain all the moisture, and lock them in.
You can try Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Toner, which is deeply hydrating. It has rose petals, rose water, and rose flower oil. It also has sodium hyaluronic that is much smaller in molecular size compared to hyaluronic acid.
You can also try Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Toner and the PCA SKIN Nutrient Facial Toner, which are both very gentle yet effective toners for dry and sensitive skin.
A lot of toners are crossover products to address different skin concerns. For example, the Kale-Lalu-yAHA may work for your dry, flaky skin, while it may also work for someone else’s oily and acne-prone skin. It’s got soothing aloe, spinach, parsley, kale, and vitamin B5.
Conclusion – Best Toners for Large Pores, Dull Skin, Oily Skin, or Dry Skin
The best toners for large pores and various skin types are as follows:
- Large pores: REN Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic
- Dull skin: Burts Bees Brightening Refining Tonic
- Oily skin: Innisfree Bijia Trouble Skin
- Dry skin: PCA SKIN Nutrient Facial Toner