I Just Learned That the Wrong Toner Can Inflame Redness—Here Are 17 That Won’t

When you find the right toner, it can make a difference in your skincare routine and the state of your skin. Toners can help cleanse the skin, balance pH levels, exfoliate, brighten the skin, hydrate, promote cell turnover, and can even work as a primer to help other products really sink into your skin. That all sounds great, right?

Well, some toners can really wreck your skin, especially if you’re using one that’s not quite formulated for your specific skin type. People with oily skin and sensitive skin types probably won’t benefit from the same type of toner because they have different needs. Oily or acne-prone skin types might need a product with acids, which will help clear pores and control excess oil. On the other hand, those with dry or sensitive skin types might need something that cleanses and hydrates.

So, yeah, toners can be so beneficial—until you start using one that isn’t formulated for your specific skin needs. In fact, some toners can be harsh and actually cause more redness for some people. The best thing you can do if you’re prone to redness or have sensitive skin is look for a gentle toner. Ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, glycerin, chamomile, and antioxidants can all help keep the skin soft and soothe any inflammation. As for what to avoid, you’ll want to stay away from alcohol and fragrances, which could irritate the skin.

If you’re looking for a toner to combat redness, we’ve included our favorite gentle ones below. 

This toner has all the good stuff for dry skin: hyaluronic acid, vitamins C and E, and antioxidant-rich borage seed oil. The gentle formula even works if you’re prone to eczema.

With over 41,000 ratings and 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon, Thayers’s toner is probably the highest-rated drugstore find out there. Witch hazel minimizes the appearance of pores and controls acne and oil production. The gentle formula doesn’t contain alcohol.

This soothing toner contains allantoin, which is a bacteria inhibitor that reduces inflammation. Other ingredients include soothing calendula and great burdock root, which targets dryness.

Made for sensitive skin, this toner protects from environmental stressors, hydrates, and soothes. It contains thermal spring water and protective antioxidants.

This toner is pretty unique because it has a milky texture that hydrates, restores the skin’s pH balance, and cleanses. The formula contains humectants to draw in moisture, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, algae extract, bamboo extract, and coconut water.

Formulated specifically to deal with uneven skin tones, this toner mist moisturizes and smooths the skin. It has ingredients like stone crop juice, which has hydrating and nourishing properties; lavender to calm the skin; and jasmine, which contains carotenoids and vitamins C and P. 

Reusable cotton pads will help you create an eco-friendly skincare routine.

This drugstore find is alcohol-free so it won’t irritate or dry out your skin. It removes impurities, cleanses, and conditions the skin.

Rose is the hero ingredient in this formula, making it a hydrating powerhouse. It contains toning rose fruit extract, rosewater, rose oil, and actual rose petals.

Tap water and your cleanser can leave residue on your face, so this toner removes all of that while also softening, plumping, and delivering antioxidants to the skin.

Made for sensitive, dry, and delicate skin, Mario Badescu’s soothing toner relieves irritation and redness.

Coenzyme Q10 is a powerful antioxidant that can even skin tone and boost hydration. This toning mist also contains aloe vera and cucumber to refresh the skin.

This toner purifies the skin and removes dead skin cells while improving hydration and texture. The main ingredient is hydro ionized mineral water that really soaks into the skin.

Reusable cotton pads made chic.

Soothing colloidal oatmeal is the star ingredient in this toner, which works to combat redness and dryness. It’s also formulated with antioxidant-rich honey, which is also a humectant, so it locks in moisture.

If hydration is your main goal, PCA Skin’s toner will do just that. It’s formulated with fruit extracts and antioxidants to target free radical damage and dryness. It’s fragrance-free, paraben-free, and sulfate-free.

This toner mist contains sodium PCA to improve hydration; chamomile and cucumber extracts to soothe irritation; lecithin to leave the skin feeling supple; and vitamins C and E for antioxidant protection.

This toner is good for all skin types, but it’s important to note it’s not formulated for sensitive skin. Alpha hydroxy acids exfoliate the skin, while witch hazel, aloe, and castor oil all work to soothe inflammation.

Infused with passionflower and edelweiss extracts, this gentle toner will leave your skin feeling soft. It also works as a primer for your other skincare products. Next: 9 Common Skincare Ingredients You’ll Want to Avoid If You Have Acne