Toners have evolved over the last few years. Not only do they help refresh, cleanse and restore pH balance in the skin, they’re now protective barriers, giving the appearance of smaller pores (yes, please) and prep the skin for ultimate serum absorption. The often skipped, but oh so vital step is making a serious comeback, but it’s hard to know what toner is for you (as with most beauty products, it’s not a one size fits all). They’re also not under the same banner: balancers, refiners and waters are all made for toning the skin. So, Beauticater and super skin sleuth, Juliette Tuck, did some digging to uncover the best products under the toning beauty banner…


“This toner delivers serious hydration with its added aloe and vitamin B5, and creates a non drying astringent feel thanks to the natural witch hazel and lemon (as opposed to alcohol). The light blue water has a clean linen smell that refreshes and removes all left over traces of makeup and dirt on my skin without stripping it. The elegant white and silver bottle looks rather nice on the bathroom shelf, too.”


PCA Skin Nutrient Toner

“A bottle of liquid pumpkin pie is the only way to describe this toner, made for sensitive skin.  This toner is full of Vitamin A and C, antioxidants extracted from pumpkin wine (yep, it’s a thing apparently!) and is perfect for hydrating my skin. PCA have long defined themselves as a ‘Results Driven’ skin range, even for sensitive skin types and they haven’t let me down. They’ve added citric and lactic acid that breaks removes dead skin and exfoliate, but it doesn’t irritate my skin. In fact, my skin feels kind of soothed afterward. My skin feels clean, calm, hydrated and ready to apply serum.”


PCA Skin Smoothing Toner

“Created for normal to oily and breakout skin, this scent free, alcohol free toner has a slight fizz on application. Lactic and citric acids go to work (it’s purposely a non drying toner – the last thing acne skin needs is to be stripped bare to produce counterproductive protective oils) while the added Aloe Vera leaf juice hydrates and soothe my skin. The ingredients list of this product reads like a yummy cocktail recipe; cucumber, sage, guarana and marigold to name a few. It reduces the appearance of pores after one simple swipe across my skin and it works for bacne and chest pimples, too.”


Cosmedix Benefit Balance Toning Mist

“If toning seems like just another chore, this mist only takes a second. And it’s worth every bit of that second, this cosmeceutical range has added so much goodness to a spray. It decreases free radical damage (a major player in ageing) and preps my skin to better absorb moisturiser. Shea butter, chamomile, aloe vera and green tea are some of the goodies packed in. There’re also peptides to decrease melanin production and, a quick science lesson, it’s also full of D-Glucuronic (another name for the major building block in skin hydration, Hylaronic Acid). Perfect for ageing skin and the prevention of ageing, this toner has gone to the next level. A+.”

“A second toner in the range, it’s designed for both oily skins and sun damaged skin. Once again in the easy spray bottle, it cools my skin and soothes with niacinamide, tea tree oil and aloe vera. It also unclogs my pores thanks to the salicylic acid and lentil seed extract. The slight citrus scent is pleasant on the skin and a little spray foes a long way. Don’t forget the sunscreen after this one as it is a powerful exfoliant.”


Weleda Refining Toner

“This pore refining toner is perfect for the organic seeking skin care user. It’s been produced by a brand dedicated to creating an organic based product with no synthetics, and this one is 84% organic. It’s gorgeously scented with lemon and wild rose petals, and the astringent witch hazel is the most active ingredient. The dark blue glass packaging is perfect for keeping the organics inside fresh, especially in sunny Aussie bathrooms.”


Bobbi Brown Hydrating Face Tonic

“Created for dry and older skin, this glamorous bottle of goodness made my skin feel noticeably more hydrated within 24 hours. The subtle cucumber and lavender scented mineral-based water feels surprisingly soft on application and smells yummy enough to drink. It has also preps my skin so well, it’s perfect for helping moisturiser absorb into the skin after use.”


Avon Nutra Effects Mattifying Toner

“The citric and salicylic acid in this toner makes me banish all ideas about Avon ever being an brand without its finger on the beauty pulse. This is a seriously great formula, full of seed and fruit extracts made specifically for oily and combination skin (exactly what I need). I need to give it a good shake to combine the ingredients before use and can immediately smell the deliciously clean scent on my skin. It’s oil, colour and soap free and I really wish this was around when I was 18.”


Comfort Zone Essential Toner

“This toner is made to be used as an additional cleansing step, so I find it best to use at night. The perfumed oxygenated water feels fresh on my skin and doesn’t feel harsh. The sugar beet extract creates a radiance I previously had to find in a foundation or an illuminator, and I love the company’s renewable energy focus. Now to find more from this range…”

Review by Juliette Tuck

Comment (3)

  1. May 15, 2017

    I am guilty of foregoing toners in my routine.. When do you apply toners when doing your skincare?

    1. February 19, 2020

      the very first step right after cleansing! before any serums or creams

  2. May 15, 2017

    I am noticing a lot of sun damage on my skin from the harsh summer, definitely want to give the Cosmedix toner a try