If you were born in the 1990s, the chances are you'll probably associate the word 'toner' with rubbing a cotton ball all over your pimply face and waiting for the inevitable stinging, burning and redness to begin. You zits would go away, but that was largely because the toner dried your face out beyond belief. Fun times.
Thankfully, the skin care industry has come along way since marketing what felt like pure rubbing alcohol to pimply teens. Now, toners are no longer too astringent for people with dry, sensitive skin to use - and here's why!
What is toner?
Toner is a fast-acting liquid that removes the dead skin cells from the surface of your skin and gives your face a quick hydration boost. It should leave your skin feeling refreshed and ready to receive a facial serum or moisturiser.
Why is it so popular?
Our renewed interest in skin care has loads to do with the popularity of beauty bloggers, social media and our interest in the skin care routines of other countries, like Korea. In Korea, the land of the 10-step skin care regime, toner plays a major role in perfecting your skin. It's job is to prep the skin so it can effectively absorb your products
How does toner work?
Toner removes excess oil, dirt, unwanted makeup and dead skin cells so that your serum or moisturiser gets a chance to do its job. If you have oily skin, you have slightly more wriggle room when it comes to finding the right toner. But what about people with dry skin, what toner is best for them?
What are the signs of dry skin?
- A feeling of skin tightness, especially after showering, bathing or swimming.
- Skin that feels and looks rough.
- Itching (pruritus)
- Slight to severe flaking, scaling or peeling.
- Fine lines or cracks.
- Gray, ashy skin.
- Deep cracks that may bleed.
So which toner is good for dry skin? Well, short of speaking to a dermatologist, we've compiled a list of the 10 best toners for dry skin to give you some direction the next time you shop for skin care.
10. NEUTROGENA Alcohol Free Toner
Product: NEUTROGENA Alcohol Free Toner
Pros & Cons: Neutrogena is a well-known drugstore staple. It remains the #1 Dermatologist Recommended skin care brand and has been around since 1930 - so it isn't hard to trust such an established company. Some people do say that they find the products can be quite strong, but this toner is alcohol free so it's clearly been formulated with sensitive skin in mind.
Review: This toner has 5 reviews on the Priceline website and an average of 4.5/5 stars. One customer said -
"This toner has helped my skin so much, i use to suffer with bad skin but i apply this toner every night and it has reduce my oils without stripping away the natural moisture of my skin (not making it dry) I'll always re-purchase!"
Suitable For: Dry and acne prone skin.
9. Thayer's Witch Hazel Rose Petal Toner
Product: Thayer's Witch Hazel Rose Petal Toner
Pros & Cons: Thayer's is cruelty-free, ethically formulated and contains certified organic witch hazel grown on a family farm. We love a good family business! The downside is, the brand is American, so you may have to wait a while for it to ship to Australia compared to just being able to pop down to the supermarket. However, this witch hazel toner has America raving, so if you're looking for a toner for dry skin this could be your answer.
Ingredients: Rose Petal Water, Vitamin E, Witch Hazel, Organic Aloe Vera.
Review: Thayer's Witch Hazel Rose Petal Toner has 64 reviews on the Beard And Blade website and has an average 5/5 stars. One customer said -
"Love this product it lives up to all the hype.The rose smells divine, but is also excellent for moisturising the skin. The aloe vera is a bonus and the proven standard of witch hazel is great. My skin is loving this product. Excellent product for guys or girls, so you can save space in the bathroom cabinet too. Arrived quickly and packed really securely. Thank you."
Suitable For: Dry, oily and combination skin.
8. Pixi Glow Tonic
Product: Pixi Glow Tonic
Pros & Cons: Pixi Glow Tonic is a real cult favourite in the beauty community. A quick search on Youtube will pull up lots of 'How To Use' videos and positive reviews from vloggers who have road tested the toner. It is a gentle exfoliate, which may be too much for you depending on how sensitive or dry your skin is (always do a patch test first), but if you don't try you won't know.
Ingredients: Aloe Leaf Juice, Witch Hazel Leaf Extract, Horse Chestnut Seed Extract.
Review: Pixi Glow Tonic has 1325 reviews on the Sephora website and has an average of 4/5 stars. One customer said -
"First few weeks using it, i thought it was a na-ah, normal product. but after almost finishing the whole bottle, I could see slight improvements on my face. so i continue to my 2nd bottle and my face has been literally glowing since i add this in my skincare routine! its my 4th bottle now, LOVE IT SO MUCH."
Suitable For: All skin types, especially acne prone sensitive skin.
7. Clinique Clarifying Lotion 1.0
Product: Clinique Clarifying Lotion No. 1
Pros & Cons: Clinique is developed by dermatologists (yay!) and this clarifying lotion contains no alcohol. It's mild, non-drying and has been formulated to lock in the skin's natural moisture. It is pretty pricey, but you can always speak to consultants at the department store beauty counter for advice or samples.
Review: Clinique Clarifying Lotion has 23,667 Google reviews and has an average of 4.5/5 stars. One happy customer said -
"I have been loving this stuff as part of my new Clinique 3 step system. I went into Sephora confused as to why my skin was having issues if I was buying high quality expensive products. I was not at all surprised when the beauty advisor told me my problem is that I am using too many different brands/ingredients on my face so it was confusing it. It made so much sense. She introduced me to the 3 step system that was hand picked for my skin type and my skin will never be the same. I’m very self conscious and have been a full-face make up kind of girl for as long as I can remember. I am FINALLY going make up free and feeling so confident in my own skin...I can’t say enough good things about this stuff!"
Suitable For: Dry to very dry skin.
6. Clarins Toning Lotion (Without Alcohol)
Product: Clarins Toning Lotion (Alcohol Free)
Pros & Cons: Clarins isn't a cheap brand, but if it works for you then it works for you. This lotion contains no alcohol, which is great news for dry skin, and it's designed to maintain your skin's PH balance.
Ingredients: Camomile and Linden extract.
Reviews: This alcohol free toning lotion has 6 reviews on the Myer website and has an average of 5/5 stars. One customer said -
"I haven't had to buy the toning lotion for ages as Clarins is particularly generous with large free samples of it! Recently ran out and was surprised to see that it's still a very reasonable price for a refreshing and reliable product."
Suitable For: Normal to dry skin
5. Dickinson's Witch Hazel Toner
Product: Dickinson's Witch Hazel Toner
Pros & Cons: Dickinson's Witch Hazel Toner can be purchased from most chemists, it's very cheap and accessible. Lots of fans say that it's pore refining, leaving you with that 'tight' refreshed feeling before you moisturise. This might not be your cup of tea, but it's good news if it is. A downside is, this toner contains 14% alcohol which might not agree with you.
Ingredients: Uses 100% Distilled Witch Hazel, containing 14% alcohol.
Reviews: Dickinson's Witch Hazel Toner has 28 reviews on the Priceline website, and an average 4.5/5 star rating. One customer said -
"I’ve been using this product a few years now, it’s great for reducing inflammation from acne, or as a toner. If you store it in a spray bottle mixed with water it makes a great face spray before or after makeup."
Suitable For: Oily sensitive skin to slightly dry skin.
4. Mario Badescu Aloe Vera Toner
Product: Mario Badescu Aloe Vera Toner
Pros & Cons: Mario Badescu products have that wonderful, homemade vibe to them. It's one of the best brands to go to for skin care, loved by celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Bella Hadid. The only possible downside is that some reviewers say it's too gentle and they haven't noticed much of a difference in their skin. This gentle nature could make it the best toner for dry skin, it could also mean that it isn't strong enough for you. It's a bit of a 50/50 chance, but overall the product has received positive reviews.
Ingredients: Water, Aloe Vera Gel, Methylparaben
Reviews: Mario Badescu Aloe Vera Toner has 127 reviews on the MECCA Australia website and has an average 4.6/5 star rating. One customer said -
"I got this last week and it’s AMAZING. Highly recommend for someone with normal to dry skin because I’ve noticed that my skin has had so much moisture added to it and it looks healthier. It also cleans any dirt you have left on your face, I clean my face with a make up wipe, then my soap and glory facial cleanser, then this and it still pulled makeup off my face!! Highly recommend for the price too!!"
Suitable For: Dry combination skin, skin in dire need of moisturising, sensitive skin.
3. Shiseido Eudermine Revitalizing Essence
Product: Shiseido Eudermine Revitalizing Essence
Pros & Cons: The price is heart-stopping. Thankfully, Myer does offer After Pay as a purchase option, but it's still a lot of money to lay on the line for one product. The Shiseido Eudermine Revitalising Essence is one of the company's oldest products and is dermatologist tested, so it's worth speaking to a consultant to see if it's right for you.
Reviews: Shiseido Eudermine Revitalising Essence has 490 Google reviews, and has an average 4.6/5 star rating. One customer said -
"My favourite essence for instant hydration. My makeup application looks flawless when I use this essence. It has a nice floral scent which I like, but if you are sensitive to fragranced products I would recommend you to try it out at a store before purchasing because you do notice it. A little goes a long way and I love applying it on my fresh, cleansed skin. My favourite way to apply it is applying the drops on my skin and gently using my hand’s warmth and pressure to let it get absorbed better. You’ll immediately see plumped, glowy and hydrated skin"
Suitable For: Hydrating dry skin, but Eudermine is good for every skin type overall.
2. Lush Eau Roma Toner Water
Product: Lush Eau Roma Toner Water
Pros & Cons: If you love natural skin care and like your products to be as organic and environmentally friendly as possible, then Lush Skin Care is where you need to head. $20.95 is a substantial amount to pay for one product, BUT it does last ages and is extremely gentle. If you combine this toner water with the Lush Rosy Cheeks face mask, you can kiss any redness or blotchiness goodbye. It's a DIY facial in a bottle.
Ingredients: Lavender water, rose water.
Reviews: Eau Roma Toner Water has 44 reviews on the Lush Australia website and has an average 4.7/5 rating. One customer said -
"Just recently bought this product and OH MY GOODNESS! My skin was the worst it had been for a while so i picked up this toner water desperate to try anything and let me just tell you. It works! My skin after using it for only a short period looks and feels incredible and has cleared up so fast! Would definitely recommend picking up this lifesaver!"
Suitable For: Sensitive skin, redness and blotchyness, dry skin
1. The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
Product: The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
Pros & Cons: It's very reasonably priced, and if you want that extra exfoliating element in your routine, then this toner is right up your alley. However, it is at the stronger end of the spectrum so if you have super delicate skin then doing a small patch test first is advisable.
Ingredients: 7% Glycolic Acid, Amino Acids, Aloe Vera, Ginseng and Tasmanian Pepperberry
Reviews: This toner has 30 reviews on the Myer website and has a 4.6/5 star average. One customer said -
"I bought this a few weeks ago as it was a cheaper alternative to another toner with Glycolic Acid that I use. Not only does it have a higher percentage it is half the price of the previous brand I bought. Bigger too! My acne is clearing up and my skin looks lovely and clear. Cannot recommend this highly enough!"
Suitable For: Gentle exfoliating, mild dry skin, oily skin.