What’s the Best Toner for Your Skin?
There was a time when stripping the skin of oil was the primary goal of a toner. Formulas were little more than alcohol and water. The more it stung, the better it worked was the thinking. This was the same era when you covered your skin in baby oil instead of SPF for a day at the beach. No wonder you’re wary of toners.
Today’s toners are formulated to address the full spectrum of skin issues from acne to aging and are designed as much for repair and renewal as they are for refining. When you find the one that fits your skin goals, you’ll never be tempted to skip the toner again.
What is a facial toner?
Step two in your skincare regimen, your toner balances the skin’s pH after cleansing and removes any cleanser residue and traces of pollution and excess oil. That’s the primary function of a toner, but these glow tonics are so much more.
Your toner provides some mild exfoliation and clears the path for the products in your next steps to be optimally absorbed. The toner removes cellular debris, oil, and dirt that would otherwise keep your products from making their way into the skin, where they can spur the changes you’re seeking. Skip the toner, and you render your serums and moisturizers virtually useless.
What are the benefits of a toner?
Toners refine. You know that. But what does that mean? They remove dirt, oil, and cellular debris and make your pores appear smaller. Skin looks smoother, brighter, and healthier.
Benefits accrue with regular use. Pores remain decongested, reducing the chances of a breakout.
Antioxidant, hydrating, nourishing, and anti-inflammatory ingredients protect the skin from stress and damage and help to maintain a healthy, resilient skin barrier.
The big bonus of a toner is how it clears cellular and environmental debris to prep skin for corrective serums, so you get the maximum benefit of your products.
What should I look for in a toner?
Exfoliating ingredients: Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) dissolve the cellular glue that binds dead skin cells to accelerate cell turnover and reveal a glowing complexion. Every skin type benefits from this gentle renewal, and problems like dryness, dullness, hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and acne will all see improvement. Some of our favorite acids in toners formulas are mandelic acid, lactic acid, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid.
Antioxidants: Every day, skin is assaulted by environmental stressors like UV, pollution, and chemicals that trigger age-accelerating free radicals. Antioxidants combat free radicals to protect skin from damage. Many AHAs have potent antioxidant properties. Other antioxidant heroes found in Vivant toners include rosehip oil, grapeseed oil, green tea extract, kiwi extract, honey, and vitamin C.
Hydrators and soothers: A well-balanced formula will have ingredients to nourish as well as clarify. Look for things like niacinamide (a ceramide booster and anti-inflammatory), glycine, urea, honey, witch hazel, zinc peptides, and non-comedogenic oils like rosehip and grapeseed.
Which toner is right for your skin?
Transform oily, dry, or dull skin with this universal radiance enhancer. Glycolic acid clears pores and brings instant glow. Lactic acid softens, smooths, hydrates, and brightens.
Key ingredients: Glycolic acid, lactic acid, witch hazel, urea
Excessively oily or resistant skin will benefit from this advanced formula that has the added muscle of salicylic acid and citric acid to fight acne and boost brightness.
Choose this formula for surface optimization and peak glow.
Key ingredients: Glycolic acid, witch hazel, lactic acid, salicylic acid, citric acid
If you like keeping things simple, these single-use, textured pads are the ultimate in toning tech. They’re steeped in a cocktail of glow-boosting acids, plus hydrating and healing elements to leave skin feeling smooth, refined, radiant, and quenched. Toss them in your gym bag or your travel carry-on for all-in-one skin prep and repair.
Key ingredients: Mandelic acid, niacinamide, zinc peptides, lactic acid, salicylic acid, glycine
If your skin is on the sensitive side, think hyperpigmentation-prone, but still has some issues—dryness, oiliness, fine lines, acne—mandelic acid is your friend. This gentle cell renewer is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, melanin-inhibiting, and non-irritating. Use it to improve skin tone and texture, fight breakouts, fade excess pigment, brighten dull skin, and reduce fine lines.
Key ingredients: Mandelic acid, witch hazel, lactic acid, fructose, urea, sodium pca
Want to push your results further without pushing triggers? Choose this higher percentage formula that amplifies the unique properties of this multi-functional AHA. This is your smooth texture and even-tone evangelist.
Key ingredients: Mandelic acid and witch hazel
Our most gentle toner is a gamechanger for dry, sensitive, or rosacea-affected skin. So loaded with antioxidant, hydrating, and nourishing ingredients, it’s like a toner and serum in one. Use it to undull, renew, moisturize, protect against environmental stressors, and promote resilience.
Key ingredients: Niacinamide, mandelic acid, rosehip oil, green tea extract, kiwi fruit extract, honey, white grape pomace extract, zinc ferment/saccharomyces extract, witch hazel