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UPDATED:  Jan. 6, 2021 —

Happy black female friends having fun at a spa talking and smiling

Source: Hispanolistic / Getty

When it comes to skincare, it’s no surprise that most people prefer to keep things simple. Sure, there is no harm or foul in doing so, but there are a few skincare products that are actually worth your while. Enter toners, a liquid loaded with key active ingredients like hydroxy acids, antioxidants, and humectants that are helpful in unclogging pores and removing dirt. 

I view toners as a delivery vehicle,” says Dr. Camille Verovic, a New York-based dermatologist and the founder of Girl+Hair. Just be sure to know exactly the results you’re looking for when using it. “If improvement in acne is the goal, look for toners with hydroxy acids; if hydration is the goal perhaps a toner with glycerin will be helpful.”

There have been major debates in regards to its importance, but facial toners really work. Now before you run off buying every toner you can get your hands on, recognize that not all toners are created equal. In order for your melanin-rich skin to reap the benefits, you need to find one that can counter dark spots and help even your skin tone. You can also count on toners to smooth away leftover cleanser and help you avoid getting maskne, which is super common these days due to mask-wearing.

“After wearing a cloth mask you should use a facial toner to bring the skin back into balance,” says esthetician and Suki Skincare partner, Stephanie Smith. “A calming, hydrating toner is good for sensitive normal-dry skin types, and a calming clarifying toner is good for sensitive normal-oily skin. Follow with your serum, facial oil and moisturizer to prevent skin dehydration. Due to the friction that occurs while wearing a cloth mask, it is important to be proactive about maintaining the right balance of hydration and oils in the skin both prior to wearing a mask and post mask.”

Ready to dive in? Here’s a toner usage tip for the colder months from celebrity esthetician and skin expert, Renée Rouleau: “face oil is your friend when used correctly. It is common knowledge that cooler weather can result in moisture depleted skin, but use a face oil to lock in toner after application.” Noted! 

Here, we’ve compiled the best toners (found on Amazon!) that give your skin the glow you’ve been looking for:

1. FENTY SKIN FAT WATER PORE-REFINING TONER SERUM

Ever since Fenty Beauty’s Fat Water Pore-Refining Toner Serum stepped on the skincare scene, the girls have been loving it. Known as the standout product from the new line, this toner is a 2-in-1 offering that combines the benefits of a serum that provides moisture, evens skin tone, and stops shine.

“This is my favorite step in my routine—I’ve never used anything like it before,” says Rihanna. “It’s a combo of a toner and a serum so it’s a multitasker, like two products in one. It targets pores, dark spots, uneven tone and texture, oil—it’s the secret sauce.”

Best for: All skin types

2. CAMILLE ROSE BEAUTY FRESH TONE MAKEUP REMOVER/TONER

The Face by Camille Rose Fresh Tone Liquid Makeup Remover & Toner is another offering that brown girls can get into. This toner gently cleans the surface of your skin and instantly lifts makeup and oils for a healthy glow. The end result? A healthy, natural glow that looks like you just returned from a beachy getaway.

Best for: Dry skin

3. FRESH ROSE DEEP HYDRATION FACIAL TONER

This option from Fresh is another one you may want to add to your regimen. It’s made with a gentle formula that cleanses the skin and refreshes skin so your natural glow can shine.

Best for: All skin types

4. PCA SKIN HYDRATING TONER

PCA Skin Hydrating Toner feels like water, but I promise it’s super effective. “I’m a fan of this because it includes glycerin which helps to attract moisture to your skin and antioxidants,” says Verovic. But more than that, it’s the perfect makeup remover, prevents free radical damage and great for an instant pick-me-up.

Best for: Sensitive skin

5. PAULA’s CHOICE 2% BHA TONER

“Paula’s Choice 2% BHA toner is my all time favorite that has made it to my in office acne care list,” says Verovic. “It’s hands down one of the most gentle salicylic acid toners.” I couldnt agree more, it exfoliates dead skin cells while minimizing the look of pores for a healthy and glowing complexion.

Best for: Sensitive skin

6. Herbivore Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Face Mist

This multitasking toner is a godsend. It’s made with hibiscus flower, Bulgarian rose oil, and grapefruit oil that deeply soothes skin while also making it smell like a floral garden. You can use it after a workout or while on the go to refresh your skin. The formula is gentle enough for everyday use.

Best for: All skin types

7. Mario Badescu Witch Hazel Toner

Witch hazel gets a bad rep for being too strong and irritating, but this toner is a cut above the rest. It removes impurities without stripping your skin resulting in dry and flaky skin. One reviewer on Amazon claims she “switched from the aloe toner to this one and within a few uses all my pimples on my chin went away and it’s even clearing away the scars.” What could possibly be better than this?

Best for: Dry skin

8. Bliss Clear Genius Clarifying Toner + Serum

If you have oily skin, but still need moisture, this toner is just what the doctor ordered. For anyone looking to tighten things up while providing moisture, the Bliss Clear Genius Clarifying Toner + Serum is just what you need. It’s made with cica, salicylic acid and zinc PCA that work hard to reduce the appearance of dullness, uneven skin tone, and enlarged pores. The best part? It smells like a vacation you never want to depart from.

Best for: Oily skin

9. Caudalie Vinopure Natural Salicylic Acid Pore Minimizing Toner

Who says toners are only great for oily skin? All types of skin will get everything they need in toner with this offering from Caudalie. It has the perfect blend of herbal extracts, fatty acids, and vitamins that do all the dirty work. Together they help restore your skin’s pH balance while minimizing the appearance of pores, and remove excess residue from makeup, grime, and oils.

“It’s amazing how black dots have disappeared, my skin looks mattified, and I’ve noticed fewer imperfections, I feel like I can’t stop using it [because it’s so good],” says an Amazon reviewer.

Another plus: over time it diminishes the appearance of future blackheads and breakouts. Love!

Best for: All skin types

10. M-61 POWER GLOW TONER

If you struggle with redness and irritation, look no further. This daily, alcohol-free toner will fight the good fight so you don’t have to. It’s loaded with glycolic and salicylic acid which offers tons of moisture and pairs well with almost practically any moisturizer. It’s also not super strong, so it won’t burn or irritate your skin. But be warned that it’s super concentrated so if you’ve sensitive skin, steer clear.

“I love what this is doing for my skin,” says Kaitlin K. a Bluemercury beauty expert. “I like to use a moisturizing cleanser but sometimes I want something with a little extra oomph. After using this for a few days, my skin felt softer, looked less flaky, and is getting it’s glow back. I have sensitized and dry skin that tends to get inflamed and flaky if I use too many exfoliants. I noticed a remarkable difference in texture in the morning with my skin when using this- no flakes, no irritation.”

Best for: Dry skin

Looking for more beauty products and skincare tips we swear by? Check these out:

What Is a Skincare Essence?

This New Clarifying Toner+ Serum Will Simplify Your Skincare Routine And Save You Money

How to Layer Your Skincare Products

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