The Best Toners for All Skin Types

Find the Best Toner for your Skin Type

If you are shopping for the best toner for your face, there are many different types . To find the best- you need to consider your skin type. Are toners necessary for my skin type? Are they worth using? It depends. Not all of the 16 Baumann Skin Types® should use a toner! Should you use one? Dermatologists like me do recommend toners for some skin concerns.

Oily skin types do well with astringent toners, sensitive skin types can tolerate soothing toners, and dry types can use hydrating toners. Toners may contain antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, antiaging, skin lightening, and other cosmeceutical ingredients to address a range of skin concerns, including hyperpigmentation, acne, and wrinkles. In general, toners work best for oily skin types, however, if they do not contain alcohol and include humectant ingredients, they can be suitable for some dry skin types.

If you do not know your Baumann Skin Type, take the quiz to find out before buying any skin care products.

The Best Toner

The best toner that works for all skin types is Medature Energizing Q Toner. It hydrates with hyaluronic acid, calms skin with aloe and cucumber and helps boost cell energy with CO Q 10. Even retinoid beginners can use this toner.

Shop for Toners By Skin Type

We are dermatologists and we recommend that you choose a toner based on your skin type, because there are at least 6 different types of toners.

When choosing a toner to buy, take the quiz to see if you even need one. We discuss in this blog which toners are best for each skin type. Do not guess your skin type- over 80% guess incorrectly! Then you will buy the wrong toner or use one when you do not need it. Take 3 minutes to make sure you know your skin type before wasting money on the wrong skin care products. We will give you an entire customized skin care routine with steps once we know which skin type you are.


Oily Skin Types

If you have oily skin, look for a toner that removes excess oil. Many claim to decrease sebum production but I have never seen convincing data that they really can do this.

Oily skin toners may have these benefits:

Decrease skin pH

Decrease shine


Help clear pores

Lower levels of acne-causing bacteria

Remove oil from skin

If toner makes your face feel oily, it is not the right one for you; instead choose a toner with alcohol. If it makes your skin flush red, it is probably not right for you- and you might be at an increased risk for rosacea.

Ingredients to look for in toners if you have oily skin:

  1. Alcohol
  2. Dimethicone
  3. Salicylic acid
  4. Witch Hazel

Alcohol helps remove oil and is antimicrobial.

Dimethicone helps surround oil on the skin and can prevent shine, but it is also comedogenic so do not use if you are acne-prone.

Salicylic acid (SA) has anti-inflammatory properties and works to keep pores clear of excess oil, dirt, and makeup that could otherwise harbor acne-causing bacteria. and cause comedones.

BHA toners with SA help remove excess dirt, oil, makeup and any other debris that may clog pores. They also can temporarily shrink pores.

These are our dermatologist-recommended toners for oily skin:

Murad Clarifying Toner contains dimethicone that helps keep skin from shining in the day and witch hazel to make skin feel fresh.

SkinCeuticals LHA Toner. LHA, or lipo-hydroxy acid, is a derivative of salicylic acid used to decongest pores and prevent breakouts. This toner also contains salicylic acid and glycolic acid for added exfoliation. Because it contains three exfoliants, this toner is best suited for oily skin types looking to control excess oil and prevent acne.


Sensitive Skin Types

Sensitive skin can be oily or dry.

There are 4 subtypes of sensitive skin: acne, redness, stinging and allergic / easily irritated. You need to match your toner to all of these skin concerns.

Oily, Sensitive Skin

Oily sensitive skin easily develops inflammation.

Salicylic acid is the perfect ingredient for many sensitive skin types unless you have stinging skin. SA inhibits growth of acne causing bacteria, sooths skin and clears pores.

Here are the best medical grade Salicylic Acid Toners:

Acne-Prone Skin Types

Acne -prone skin types can be oily or dry. Acne-prone subtypes can use alcohol if they have oily skin, but dry skin types should avoid alcohol. Fatty alcohols are ok for both oily and dry types.

Dermatologist recommend acne treatment toners with salicylic acid, sulfur or antibacterial ingredients.

Let us help you build comprehensive acne treatment routine because toners might not be the best treatment for your acne.

Dry Skin Types

Dry skin should use toners that contain humectants like hyaluronic acid (hyaluronan) , glycerin, aloe, or oils.

Humectants like hyaluronan and glycerin should be covered with moisturizers or oils in dry skin types to provide occlusion.

Some toners have oils and fatty acids in them and oils are a great alternative to toners.

Five of the best oils to look for in toners for dry skin are:

  1. Argan oil

  2. Borage seed oil

  3. Evening Primrose oil
  4. Jojoba oil

  5. Sunflower oil

When you are beginning a new retinol in your skin care routine, do not use a toner if you have dryness, peeling or retinoid dermatitis. Many toners will make retinoid side effects worse.

When dry skin types use the wrong type of toner, these side effects can increase the risk of acne, hyperpigmentation, and skin aging:


extreme dryness





Using the wrong toner can give you hypersensitive and reactive skin.

Dry, Sensitive Skin Types

Dry skin types have an impaired skin barrier that allows irritants and allergens into the the skin. This increases the risk of contact dermatitis and other forms of hypersensitive skin.

Only hydrating toners with anti-inflammatory ingredients should be used in dry skin types. In most cases, our dermatologists prefer serums and face creams instead of toners. The one exception is acne-prone skin which do well with acne treatment toners. (keep reading to learn about these.)

Sensitive Skin Subtypes 2 and 3 (Subtypes Rosacea and Stinging Skin) should avoid products with alcohol and hydroxyacids.

If you have sensitive skin, look for these soothing ingredients:


Argan Oil



Borage Seed Oil


Green Tea


Tea Tree Oil

If your skin stings, avoid these ingredients:

Cinnamon oil

Low pH toners like hydroxyacids and salicylic acid


Vitamin C

Witch hazel

If you have rosacea, good toner ingredients for you are:

Azelaic acid (Unless your skin stings a lot.)



Coenzyme Q 10


Green tea

If your skin is very allergic, choose a hypoallergenic toner.

Combination Skin Types

Our approach to combination skin is a bit different.

If you are not familiar with the definition of combination skin in dermatology textbooks, read here. Basically- you need to know how much sebum your skin makes to choose a toner. If you think you have combination skin and are trying to find a toner, take the quiz before you waste money on the wrong products!

Aging, Mature, or Wrinkle-Prone Skin Types

Anti-aging toners need to stimulate skin cells to make important components like collagen, a process that requires energy.

There are several categories of toners that are good for wrinkled or aged skin:




Hyaluronic acid

Toners that contain coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) can help the mitochondria, or powerhouses of cells, to make energy. Vitamin C would also be a great toner ingredient, but it breaks down upon exposure to air, so it does not do well in an open-neck bottle. For this reason, vitamin C works best as a serum. Other ingredients to look for in anti-aging toners are hydroxy acids, growth factors, and antioxidants.

Our favorite medical grade antiaging toner is:

Medature Energizing Q Toner. A hydrating powerhouse, containing coenzyme Q10, an antioxidant that helps neutralize free radicals that can cause aging and inflammation. It also contains hyaluronic acid, which helps your skin to maintain its own moisture, as well as pull water to the skin’s surface to smooth and plump the cells. This is a great toner choice for dry and wrinkle-prone skin.

Best Gentle Toners

If you have allergic skin or reactive skin, you do not want to use a low pH toner or an exfoliating toner. Gentle toners should not contain allergens or acne-causing ingredients.

If your skin is upset and needs a gentle toner- avoid these ingredients:


lactic acid

glycolic acid

salicylic acid

willow bark

witch hazel

The best gentle toners have soothing ingredients like aloe, cucumber, chamomile, and green tea.

Best Renew Toner

The best toners for glowing skin are renew toners that exfoliate the skin. They should never be used on stinging, inflamed or irritated skin.

Hydroxy acids help to exfoliate the skin, resulting in a smooth, soft, and radiant complexion. Toners are a great way to use hydroxy acids without leaving your skin sticky or greasy.


SkinCeuticals LHA Toner. LHA is a targeted glycolic and salicylic acid toner that helps to exfoliate and renew skin. The combination of hydroxy acids in this toner removes dead skin cells and debris from the surface of the skin, allowing light to reflect from the skin, creating a bright, radiant complexion.

Best Natural Toner

When choosing a natural toner, look for naturally-derived ingredients that are gentle on the skin and will not cause redness or irritation. Some natural ingredients, such as certain essential oils, can irritate dry or sensitive skin types. If you are looking for an organic or natural toner, you need to know your skin type first.

Best Facial Toners for Men

Men may choose to use a toner after shaving to help keep the skin clean and free of acne or ingrown hairs.

If you want to apply toner after shaving, choose a product that does not contain:


ascorbic acid

azelaic acid

glycolic acid

lactic acid

salicylic acid

witch hazel

Drugstore Toners

Many patients ask me, “What’s the best drugstore toner?” Although there are some good choices, choosing them is difficult.

The problem with buying a drugstore toner that without knowing your Baumann Skin Type is:

Using the wrong toner can injure the skin

You might make skin problems worse

Ingredients such as vitamin C are not generally effective when formulated as a toner

You are likely to wasting your time and money

To find the correct skin care products and what step to use them in, consult a skincare professional, armed with the knowledge of your Baumann Skin Type.

You can find an expert near you at this link.

Comments 0

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

    1 out of ...