It’s easy to get overwhelmed when wandering down a skin-care aisle. From toners and cleansers to exfoliators, lotions, anti-aging products, and more, there is just so much to choose from.

So, what do you really need? In addition to a cleanser, many dermatologists recommend a toner, referring to it as the second step of the cleansing process. (1)

This, of course, leads to a few big questions. What is a toner? Why do you need it? How do you choose the right one?

Below, you’ll find the answers to all these questions, giving you a clear understanding of what toners are and why they are important. At the end, you’ll find our reviews on five of the top toners currently on the market.

What is a Toner?

A skin toner or toner is simply a wash or lotion that is responsible for completing the cleansing of your skin.

Removes Dust & impurities

Even when you have just washed your face, residue, including dust and impurities, as well as oil from your cleanser, is likely to remain on your face. A toner makes certain it all comes off. In addition, toners help minimize your pores’ appearance.

Used after washing

After washing your face and patting it dry, a toner can be applied by putting two or three drops on a cotton ball or pad and wiping it across your face. You should use enough pressure to get deep into your pores, but not so much force that it pulls your skin.


  1. Soothing, repairing, and smoothing the skin’s surface
  2. Reducing the appearance of blemishes, redness, and inflammation
  3. Prepping your skin for anti-aging serums and treatments
  4. Balancing your skin’s pH levels, making your skin less prone to oiliness and even infection
  5. Shrinking and tightening your pores
  6. Hydrating your skin to maintain smoothness, elasticity, and a more youthful appearance
  7. Reducing acne and helping to prevent future breakouts

How to Choose the Perfect Toner for Your Skin

There are several things you should consider when selecting a toner. Following the tips below will help you narrow down your options.

Find a toner that matches your skin type

Typically, dry skin is best served by a pH-balancing or exfoliating toner, while normal and oily skin respond best to a hydrating toner. If you have combination skin, you may need to purchase two different toners.

Keep any skin concerns in mind

There may be specific skin concerns you want to address, such as acne or irritation. If you are concerned about acne or aging, an exfoliating toner is a great option. If your skin is sensitive or irritated, a pH-balancing toner will likely work best. If your skin is especially dehydrated, look for a rehydrating toner.

Stay away from certain ingredients

This includes any ingredients that have the potential to be harmful to your health, such as parabens and PEGs, as well as any form of alcohol, which will leave your skin incredibly dry.

Look for certain ingredients

While you’re studying the ingredients list, look for aloe vera, chamomile extract, cucumber extract, rose, and hyaluronic acid. They are great for all skin types and help balance your skin’s pH.

Don’t equate high price with high quality

Some of the best toners on the market, as you’ll see below, are actually very inexpensive.


Now, that you have a better understand of toners and how you can benefit from their use, it’s time to look at some of the most popular products on the market. At Smarter Reviews, we employ a comprehensive evaluation system to analyze and measure the full value of products. This is based on component quality, safety, potential effectiveness, return policies, and overall customer satisfaction. We call our method the Smarter Reviews Ranking System.


Now, it's time to look at five of the top toners.