One thing you don't want to be skipping in your skincare routine, though, is a classic and staple face toner. These cosmetics help to prep and tighten your skin, ready to soak up all the great moisturisers and post-cleansing treatments.
So, to make everyone's life even easier, our team has hunted down the best face toners, tried and tested.
Firstly, though, it's good to know what we're getting into before we start slapping it on our face, so we've done a bit of research...
What is face toner?
Whether or not you've settled into your own skincare routine, you've probably heard of the basics: cleansing, toning and moisturising. Face toners, generally the middle section of an everyday skincare routine, work as a refresher for your skin and wipe away all excess dirt and impurities in your pores. It also helps to soak in the benefits of your post-cleansing creams like moisturisers and serums.
To use face toner you should generally cleanse and wash your face before and then apply your face toner with a cotton pad or spray and let it dry. Once dried, apply your creams.
Face toner can come in loads of different formulas and can be made with different skin types in mind. If you have oily skin, you might want a more mattifying skin toner, whereas if you have combination skin, a smoothing or hydrating toner might be better.
Don't be afraid to test different toners out, especially if you're changing your routine around. A toner that works really well with some cleansers and moisturisers might not work as well with others.
What should I look for in a face toner?
As you may already know, there are tonnes of face toners out there. Different brands, different formulas, different ingredients - it can be hard to know what to look for.
Firstly, you'll want to aim for a toner that compliments your skin type. You'll probably be able to get your hands on toners aimed at dry, oily, combination or normal easily. Sensitive skin people, you aren't forgotten either, because there are loads out there for you too.
Recently, there's been an influx of acid toners on the market, and these work well if you're looking for a deep exfoliating toner to really get into your pores. These generally include salicylic, glycolic and lactic acid which can even out skin complexions and improves retention. You can generally use these every day because the acid percentage is usually under 5 per cent but make sure to check because these may be too intense for more sensitive skin.
SHOP: The best face toners UK 2021
Just so you know, while we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this page, we never allow this to influence product selections
Pixi Glow Tonic 250ml
This Pixi Glow Tonic is a bestseller everywhere and you'll want to get your hands on it too. Including 5 per cent glycolic acid and aloe vera for soothing, this will be making you glow in no time. It's a good price point for a top toner that isn't going to break the bank. If this isn't your cup of tea, Pixi has loads of tonics to choose from - including its Clarity Tonic, Vitamin-C, Retinol, Collagen, Rose and Milky tonics too.
Why we love it: A bestseller that is proven to work
Review: "You don’t need any exfoliating scrub for your face if you use this. It has changed my skin and I am obsessed! My skin is smoother and more glowing. A definite must have product, I couldn’t live without this now."
Skin Proud Daily AHA BHA Detox Tonic with Glycolic, Lactic and Salicylic Acid
Best vegan and cruelty-free face toner
Working to exfoliate, detox and moisturise your face all in one, this Skin Proud toner is surely a winner for us. Skin Proud is vegan and cruelty-free so you'll be doing your part whilst also keeping your skin fresh and ready with everyday usage. Even better, it comes in a handy dispenser that you just pump down onto a cotton pad. Win.
Why we love it: It's good for your skin, vegan and cruelty-free. What more could you want in a toner?
Tried and tested by Commercial Content Writer,****Caitlin Casey: "Skin Proud isn't a brand I would usually go for, but after finding out about this ethical option, I'll definitely be making some switches. Easy-to-use and perfect after cleansing, this toner feels light but effective. It has a fab smell and leaves my skin feeling smooth and glossy whilst also not too heavy or chemical on the skin like some other toners. I'll definitely be keeping it in my routine. Even better, you can order it on ASOS and buy with a cheeky shopping spree. Love it."
Lacura Healthy Glow Glycolic Toner
Best face toner dupe
Don't want to splash out on 20 quid for the Pixi toner but wondering what all the fuss is about? This ALDI Lacura glycolic toner is said to be an incredible dupe for the Pixi toner. For under £4, we can't complain...
Why we love it: A supermarket staple you can pick up if you're not looking for anything too expensive
Review: "Fantastic toning lotion, as good if not better than one that is triple the price. Leaves your skin feeling fresh soft and thoroughly cleansed."
Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow pha + bha Pore-Tight Toner
Best pore-tightening face toner
Glow Recipe is another face toner that comes up in the bestselling lists. Being slightly thicker than other toners, you'll be getting the most out of the product and with watermelon extract it's naturally hydrating. Grab this face toner if you want your face to feel smooth but supple.
Why we love it: Natural extracts and thicker formula makes this face toner worth the money
Review: "I love this product. It makes my skin feel so soft and my make up goes great on top. After reading reviews I was expecting the scent to be very synthetic but I found it to be very fresh and light. It smells real to me anyway! It's a bit too soon to tell if it makes my pores smaller just yet, but it's a lovely luxurious toner that has kickstarted my love of skincare again."
The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution 240ml
Best exfoliating toner
The Ordinary has been floating around as a top-selling brand in skincare for a while now, and there's no surprise when you check out their Glycolic Acid toner. The acid works as a mild exfoliator while the formula leaves your skin feeling hydrated. Be aware that this isn't one for sensitive skin, though, as it can be drying.
Why we love it: This toner will work well in a deep-clean with its exfoliating effects
Review: "This toner has changed my skin texture. Highly recommend. This toner is a bit "stronger" with a more acidic pH level. I was scared it would be too much for me, but I was so wrong. It. has helped me battle the white bumps around my mouth and chin. I use it once daily and so far I haven't had any irritation."
LOOKFANTASTIC X REN Clean Skincare Radiance Home and Away Glow Kit
Best toner kit
Skincare kits can be better if you're looking to get more for your money. This LOOKFANTASTIC and REN glow kit is currently half price and includes a huge bottle of their Ready Steady Glow tonic, which is a fave. It also has a smaller bottle, better for on-the-go as well as a cute pouch for you to keep your set in. Be careful when using this if you have sensitive skin as the recommended AM/PM use will be too much.
Why we love it: Get more bang for your buck with this discounted bundle on a bestseller
Review: "This is gentle and cleans my skin, it feels clean and soft after using. I love Ren. This is fab, I like the smell and it does last a long time since you only need to use a little each time."
Tea Tree Skin Clearing Mattifying Toner
The best mattifying toner
The Body Shop always has great natural options and this toner is a perfect choice if you're looking for something that's going to leave a matte sheen. The tea tree extract works as a purifier and will leave your skin shine-free.
Why we love it: Great for oily skin, with its mattifying and clearing effects
Review: "Oily skin saviour. I have combination skin and always struggled with spots on my chin and since using this (with Body Shop face wash and moisturiser) I rarely get any. Sinks in quickly, gentle on skin and smells great."
La Roche-Posay Soothing Toning Lotion 200ml
Best sensitive skin face toner
If you haven't already tried La Roche-Posay then you need to get your hands on this. Their toning lotion is only £10, a total bargain for this brand. It works well with sensitive skin with a non-greasy formula that removes all make-up and even works on tightened pores.
Why we love it: Super smoothing and perfect for damaged skin.
Review: "The product is simple and nice, it doesn't promise anything it cannot deliver and it can be used on skin that is damaged from Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, together with Accutane. The product really helped me and it was nice to be able to use a toner, that didn't leave my face looking like someone poured more acid over it and calmed down the swelling. It is a nice product, simple but good."
Ole Henriksen Balancing Force Oil Control Toner 190ml
Best face toner for oil control
If you struggle with oily skin - we've all been there - then grab this Ole Henriksen option, made specifically to remove excess oil but without stripping skin of its natural moisture. Unclog that skin and refresh your pores with this toner.
Why we love it: A staple for any oily skin sufferers out there
Review: "Product is great to add to your skin routine. I have combination oily to dry skin just depending on the day really. But this helps with oil control and really makes you skin feel fresh and clean."
Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic 200ml Bottle
Best boosting face toner
We all need a little boost sometimes. This Liz Earle tonic works to replenish your skin and keep you feeling fresh - especially when you need it the most. Pop it into your daily routine especially if you're a sensitive skin user or want something to make you glow.
Why we love it: Refreshing and hydrating, you'll want to add this to your skincare routine ASAP
Review: "I have used this toner for a good number of years on my sensitive skin. I know to some degree toners have gone out of fashion but I like the cooling and refreshing effect after cleansing. Very good price for a quality product."
Lancu00f4me Tonique Confort Toner - 400ml
Best trusted face toner
Skincare is an investment and you'll definitely want to be spending on this Lancu00f4me toner. It's been around for years and is a huge cult beauty classic so it's definitely worth the price tag. The gentle formula hydrates but does the job well, without being too hard on the skin. Even better, it smells fabulous.
Why we love it: A bestselling beauty classic that you'll definitely want to splash out on
Review: "I have been using it for years. The smell is divine, like a morning rose, it does glide smoothly on my face, leaving it hydrated and ready for moisturiser. Sometimes I go and try different products, but always come back to this one."
Medik8 Daily Refresh Balancing Toner 150ml
Best fragrance-free face toner
Medik8 is vegan, cruelty-free, fragrance-free and oil-free, meaning it is a great natural option. Get rid of that excess oil and hydrate your skin with this toner, packed with natural ingredients and prebiotics for a refreshed texture.
Why we love it: Perfect for someone looking for a no-messing-around formula, with its oil-free, fragrance-free, alcohol-free tags
Review: "I can’t leave out toner from my routine, otherwise my skin won’t glow up, despite the correct cleanser, serum, moisturiser etc! ... My skin is combo with easily clogged big pores. It also has melasma and is a bit easily reddened. The rest of my routine is Paula's Choice, with Niod’s survival 30 sunscreen. My skin is glowing every day, and the redness and appearance of melasma are reduced!"
Elemis Soothing Apricot Toner
Best hydrating face toner
If you'd rather have a cooling, hydrating effect in your toner, this Elemis apricot toner is a huge hit. With natural fatty ingredients, this leaves your skin feeling super smooth and works to support the natural pH of your face. Slightly different than our other options, you can spray this directly onto your face to tone - yep you read it right, a spray toner.
Why we love it: You can spray onto your face to make your skin-care routine even easier and feel the smoothing effects in no time
Review: "Elemis just amazing. I've been using this toner for years and its person for balancing PH before moisturising. The scent is beautiful, subtle and gives that spa vibe!"
Simple Kind to Skin Alcohol Free Soothing Facial Toner 200ml
Best highstreet face toner
Simple is a classic high-street brand we've all used before. If you're looking for something easy to get your hands on that does the job of a good toner, this is a great budget option. Say no more.
Why we love it: Sometimes you don't need a fancy brand to have a good skin care product, and Simple is a great choice for this
Review: "This is my forever go-to holy-grail toner, it's so refreshing and preps my skin for the next product, the fact it's also so affordable is another reason why I'll always come back to it!"
No7 Radiant Results Purifying Toning Water 200ml
Best face toning water
Sometimes adding too much to your skincare routine can make it a chore. No7's toning water is a staple that is super easy to use and reduces the appearance of pores easily. Just use it after your cleanser for a shine-free, even complexion.
Why we love it: Toning water isn't too harsh but will leave your skin prepped and ready after cleansing
Review: "I decided to treat the acne during the day and use more hydrating, gentle products in the evening, this being one of them. It’s perfect for picking up any residue left by my cleaner, and helps my skin feel balanced, fresh and hydrated. It’s only been the last day or two, that I’ve noticed my skin looking brighter, and more radiant. I wasn’t expecting that from a toner, pleasantly surprised!"
Looking for beauty products? Read more:
What skin type do I have?
Every person's skin is different, so that's why searching for the perfect skincare routine can be such a struggle. One of the best places to start is to know exactly what kind of skin type you have.
So, let's break it down. There are four well-known types of skin that you'll find when you're searching for your cosmetics.
Normal skin: If you're lucky enough to have normal skin then you may find that finding a skincare routine for you is actually pretty simple. It usually means you have little to no imperfections or blemishes, similar texture across your whole face and your pores aren't so visible.
Oily skin: It starts to get a little more complex here. If you have oily skin, you're likely to have a shiny glow to your face and excess oil that you can wipe off. This may be more intense after a day at work or after stressful periods. You may also have more blemishes and spots.
Dry skin: The opposite of oily skin types, if you have dry skin you're likely to struggle with patches of flaky skin across your face, typically around your nose and eyes - although, it can happen anywhere. You may also struggle with more sensitive skin and red patches because of this and your complexion may be quite rough.
Combination skin: This is the most complex skin type to cater for because you may not fit into one or the other as combination skin can be oily in some places, but drier in others. There are cosmetics available to help this and they are pretty commonly found on high street shelves or online beauty stores.
With that in mind, hopefully, you'll be able to make better decisions when buying or investing in skincare. There are plenty of different products out there to try and test, so make sure you know where to begin first by checking out what kind of complexion and texture you have.