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When it comes to tightening, firming, and boosting the elasticity of your skin, it’s not just your face that deserves all the attention. Body toning products are a great way to help do exactly that. They leave your skin plumper, more lifted, and generally looking more tightened and toned from head to toe. Granted, no miracle lotion or potion can completely erase dimples or firm up crepey skin, but topical products can help.
Ahead, we researched the best body toners that are worth trying.
Best Overall: First Aid Beauty Sculpting Body Lotion
Safe for sensitive skin
This new product hasn’t been around for long but we’re already hooked. The stars of the show are a peptide and caffeine, two ingredients that New York City dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman says are some of the best to seek out in a toning product. Glycerin delivers lightweight hydration (the formula absorbs lightning-fast), and like all of the products from the brand, the formula is safe for even sensitive skin.
Key Ingredients: Dermapeptide, Caffeine, Glycerin | Skin Type: Dry, Normal, Combination, Oily | Benefits: Reduces puffiness and hydrates | Size: 6 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best Drugstore: Jergens Natural Glow Firming Moisturizer
Comes in two shades
Doesn’t have an unpleasant scent
Not recommended if you don't want a tan
True story: A faux tan is one of the easiest ways to quickly help camouflage any blemishes or lumps and bumps. That’s why we appreciate that this pick is not only a great moisturizer, with actives such as collagen and elastin that help to tighten and firm, but also delivers a gradual dose of natural, sun-kissed color that slowly develops after every use.
Key Ingredients: Collagen, elastin, polymers | Size: 7.5 ounces | Skin Type: Normal | Benefits: Helps reduces cellulite in seven days and boosts moisturization | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best Moisturizer: Advanced Retinol Intensive Moisturizer Advanced Retinol Intensive Moisturizer
Makes the skin thicker and reduces cellulite
Can’t use during pregnancy or breast-feeding
“This moisturizer is on the more expensive side, but it is loaded with great ingredients,” says Jaliman of one of her recommendations. “Some of these ingredients include olive oil, lactic acid, shea butter, aloe, hyaluronic acid, panthenol, and resveratrol,” she says. And, of course, there’s the namesake ingredient, another one of the best ones to look for in a body toner: “Retinol makes the skin thicker and cellulite less noticeable, and firms the skin in general,” she explains. FYI, this is a face formula, but it can be used on the body, too
Key Ingredients: Retinol, Shea Butter, Glycerin | Size: 1.1 ounces | Skin Type: Aging | Benefits: Minimizes fine wrinkles and deeply nourishes | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best Scrub: SheaMoisture Virgin Coconut Oil Ground Coffee Scrub
Clean and cruelty-free
Helps with dimpling and creating suppleness
Not as effective as leave-on products
You can’t necessarily exfoliate your way to firmer, more toned skin—but it is a great way to help smooth the surface and make it look better, this formula in particular. “The ground coffee not only exfoliates, [but] it also contains caffeine which helps with dimpling and improves the suppleness of the skin,” says Jaliman. “It also has coconut oil, which is extremely hydrating.”
Key Ingredients: Coffee Seed Powder, Coconut Oil | Size: 12 ounces | Skin Type: Dry | Benefits: Helps with dimpling | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best for Stomach: Bio-Oil Multiuse Skincare Oil
Affordable and good value
Great multi-tasking product
Boosts skin elasticity
Bio-Oil's skincare oil is somewhat of a classic, a good pick that not only helps hydrate but also helps to reduce the look of scars, too. But it’s perhaps most beloved for helping to minimize the appearance of stretch marks; credit vitamin A, which helps promote new collagen production and boosts skin elasticity, plus hydrating vitamin E, and various plant-based oils. FYI, there’s also a new, totally natural variant of the same beloved formula now available.
Key Ingredients: Mineral Oil, Retinyl Palmitate | Size: 4.2 ounces | Skin Type: All | Benefits: Smooths uneven skin tones and is anti-inflammatory | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: No
Best for Thighs: Comfort Zone Body Strategist Attack Serum
Targeted tip dispenses adequate
Can’t use during pregnancy
Caffeine, carnitine, and pink pepper extract in this formula claim to help firm up skin and smooth out dimples on your thighs and derriere. (Though it can be used anywhere on the body.) The targeted tip makes it easy to dispense the best amount. It also absorbs faster than any firming lotion we’ve ever tried. The light, refreshing scent is the icing on the cake.
Key Ingredients: Shea Butter, Caffeine, Carnitine, Pink Pepper Extract | Size: 5 ounces | Skin Type: All | Benefits: Gives a remodeled look to cellulite | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best Clean Formula: MUTHA Body Contour Serum
Clean and cruelty-free
Effective, 97% natural ingredients
Combats water retention
Creates a tingly/warming sensation
Team Byrdie loves pretty much anything and everything this brand has to offer, this toning serum included. It touts ingredients that help hydrate and exfoliate the surface of the skin, as well as proprietary M-Tight technology, a combo of ingredients that activate micro-circulation to help combat water retention and generally make skin appear firmer and smoother. Still, there are no questionable ingredients in that combo, just things such as caffeine, cinnamon bark extract, and baobab seed oil; the entire formula is made with 97% ingredients derived from natural origin. FYI, it’s best used once daily, in the morning.
Key Ingredients: Caffeine, coffee seed extract, baobab seed oil, ceramides | Size: 3.4 ounces | Skin Type: All | Benefits: Activates micro-circulation in body to help combat water retention and give firmer, smoother appearance | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes
Best Gel: Nivea Skin Firming & Toning Gel Cream
Not clean or cruelty-free
This gel-cream has been around for quite a while—and for good reason. It contains ingredients such as Q10 and L-carnitine. (We’ve been using it on our lower half for years.) The gel texture absorbs super quickly and feels so lovely that you’ll want to slather this on with reckless abandon. To that point, the very wallet-friendly price tag doesn’t hurt.
Key Ingredients: L-carnitine, Q10 | Size: 6.7 ounces | Skin Type: Normal | Benefits: Improves the skin’s firmness in as little as 2 weeks with regular use | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No
Body toners aren’t a magic cure-all, but if you choose the right ones, they can help improve the look and firmness of your skin. The First Aid Beauty Sculpting Body Lotion (view at Sephora) earns the top spot in our books, touting several dermatologist-recommended ingredients, such as caffeine and peptides, all in a formula that’s gentle enough even for super sensitive skin. The Jergens Natural Glow Firming Moisturizer (view at Amazon) is a drugstore staple, which offers a subtle hint of gradually developing color to help camo any blemishes, while the lotion works to firm and hydrate skin. And the Mutha Body Contour Serum (view at Mutha) is a splurge-worthy option, touting a long list of effective, active ingredients (all in a clean formula), plus helping to exfoliate and gently hydrate the skin, too.
What to Look for in a Body Toner
According to Jaliman, this is one of the best ingredients to look for in a body toner. “It helps to tighten the skin, by pulling water out of it and making it appear less dimpled,” she says.
The proven anti-ager can do the same things for the skin on your body as for the skin on your face. Namely, it can help thicken and firm the skin over time, Jaliman says. However, make sure not to overdo this ingredient. It's well-known for a slew of side effects, namely causing irritation.
“These help tighten skin by triggering the production of collagen, the protein that provides the foundation for the thickness of skin,” explains Jaliman.
What do body toners do?
“Sometimes referred to as cellulite and/or skin tightening products, they help keep the appearance of your skin looking smooth and firm and help with the elasticity of the skin,” says Jaliman.
How do you use body toners?
Jaliman suggests massaging them into any areas you want to target, using circular movements. Top tip: If you apply post-showering, you’ll also get the added benefit of helping to lock in hydration.
Are body toners safe for sensitive skin?
“They usually are, but it depends on the ingredients in any particular formulation,” says Jaliman. Her advice? Test it on a small area to make sure you don’t react to it before rubbing it all over.
Why Trust Byrdie?
Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. She is all about treating the skin on her body the same way she treats the skin on the face (and also is always trying to get rid of her cellulite), so she rotates through a variety of body toners regularly. In her current line-up: The First Aid Beauty, Comfort Zone, and Mutha products that are featured on this list.
Meet the Expert
Dr. Debra Jaliman is a New York City board-certified dermatologist. She’s an Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine Mount Sinai and the author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets From a Top New York Dermatologist.
According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find enough body toners from Black-owned and/or Black-founded businesses to meet this percentage. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will evaluate the product ASAP.