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As anyone who has combination skin will tell you, finding the right products can pose a tricky conundrum. Generally speaking, combination skin is defined as having certain spots that are oily (for example, the T-zone, stretching across your forehead and down your nose and chin), and others that are simultaneously dry (typically the cheeks). So while those whose skin falls squarely and entirely on either the dry or oily side can stick to certain formulas or categories of products, those with combination skin constantly have to straddle a fine line, looking for options that can tamp down oiliness without exacerbating dryness. That’s no easy feat.
Here’s where toners made for combination skin play a huge role. These formulas tout all the benefits of traditional toners, namely the oil-absorbing properties, but balance that out with the addition of hydrating ingredients, too. It’s basically the best of both worlds and the perfection option for anyone dealing with combination skin.
Try any of these top toner picks that work perfectly for combination skin.
Best Overall: Origins United State Balancing Tonic
This formula does the hard work for you, de-shining the spots that need it, while simultaneously adding hydration to the places that need moisture. Laminaria (an ingredient derived from kelp) does the oil-fighting, while soy protein protects moisture levels. Not to mention that it’s also pH balanced, and, thanks to the addition of energizing bergamot and refreshing spearmint, feels cool and tingly going on, the perfect morning pick-me-up.
Best Budget: No7 Radiant Results Purifying Toning Water
Specially formulated to maintain your skin’s balance, this helps to tone skin but also contains the brand’s Tri-Vit complex, a trio of vitamins C, E, and B5, along with red ginseng to leave your skin soft, too.
Best for Acne-Prone Skin: Murad Clarifying Toner
Vitamin E is an antioxidant vitamin and oil often found in anti-oxidant blend topicals or moisturizers. It also helps soothe the skin and protects the lipid barrier.
Yep, combination skin can often be acne-prone, particularly in those oily spots like on your T-zone. If that sounds like you, reach for this option. It contains witch hazel for oil-absorbing and pore-tightening purposes, plus algae extract that goes one step further to balance sebum production in general. Still, it isn’t overly stripping or harsh on the skin, thanks to the addition of grape seed extract and vitamin E, which also have the added benefit of delivering antioxidant protection.
Best Exfoliating: Ren Clean Skincare Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic
Lactic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid that works to exfoliate the skin. Its molecule is slightly larger than glycolic acid, meaning it works a bit slower and doesn't penetrate the skin's outermost layer as easily.
In this case, tonic is just another word for toner, namely a toner that delivers top exfoliating benefits for combination skin. It actually helps your skin better exfoliate itself, balancing it out to a pH of 3.5 to 4, which is the ideal pH to trigger the skin’s natural exfoliation process. (Who knew?) Along with that, exfoliating lactic acid and willow bark extract help to smooth skin and even out tone, while an azelaic acid precursor brightens your complexion. Time to get your glow on.
Best for Large Pores: Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Pore-Reducing Toner
The bad news: You can’t change the actual size of your pores. The good news: What you can do is make them appear smaller and less prominent, simply by keeping them from getting clogged with gunk and grime. For this, this formula is tops. It both balances oily skin and delivers lightweight hydration, all while minimizing the look of pores. Credit antioxidants, soothing plant extracts, and niacinamide for this triple threat of benefits.
What Our Testers Say
"I can't imagine my nightly skin routine without this toner, and my pores have never looked and felt better." — Bianca Lambert, Product Tester
Best Natural: Weleda One-Step Cleanser & Toner
A universally good, foolproof option, this toner is simple and straightforward. It has the hydration of a milky lotion, but the toning properties of a classic toner. Witch hazel and iris root help cleanse and tone, but do so gently, without over-drying your skin. Not to mention that’s it’s also cruelty-free and free of synthetic preservatives, fragrances, parabens, and phthalates, too. Give it a good shake before use for the best results.