A quick look at the best toners

When it comes to your daily skin care routine, you probably have your main steps down: cleanser, serum, moisturizer, and SPF. What you may be missing out on, though, is an extra cleansing, pH-balancing toner.

However, toners have historically gotten a bad rap for one specific ingredient: alcohol.

10 Best Toners for Every Skin Care Need

“Alcohol is the reason that toners have gotten a bad reputation through the years,” says Dr. Corey L. Hartman, a board certified dermatologist and the founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology in Birmingham. “Alcohol is a harsh astringent that causes excessive dryness and triggers rebound oil production. If it makes your skin feel too tight after use, then move on to another product.”

If you forgo formulas made with alcohol, toners can act as an integral part of your skin care routine. They help your skin maintain a balanced pH.

Aggressors, like pollution, oil production, and makeup, can shift your skin’s natural pH (roughly 5.5), adjusting the skin’s moisture levels and sometimes even leading to long-term environmental damages. Toners mimic your skin’s natural pH to rebalance it for a healthy finish.

Beyond this, toners can help get rid of impurities left behind after your first cleanse for a brighter, more even complexion.

“Toner helps remove any trace amounts of dirt, oil, or impurities from the skin that could lead to clogged pores and breakouts,” Hartman says.

If you steer clear of toners formulated with alcohol, you’re off to a great start. But there are a few other things you should know before adding a toner to your skin care regimen.