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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 astringent and 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. Plus, they’re a great product to use post-cleansing; face washes generally are not formulated for combination skin, so they can often leave your skin either feeling not quite clean enough, or overly clean and tight. (Not to mention that toners in general act as an added layer of cleansing insurance, removing any leftover gunk and grime your face wash may have missed.)
By following your cleanser with a toner specially made for combination skin, you can help balance out your complexion and set yourself up for skincare success. Try any of these top 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. Sephora fans enjoy that energizing feeling, and often comment on how well it balances out their combination skin.
Best Budget: No7 Radiant Results Revitalising 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, to leave your skin soft, too. Target shoppers point out how it strikes the perfect balance, leaving their complexion feeling both clean and refreshed, yet simultaneously hydrated.
Best for Acne-Prone Skin: Murad Clarifying Toner
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 skin, thanks to the addition of grape seed extract and vitamin E, which also have the added benefit of delivering antioxidant protection.
Swipe this toner along your chest and back, too, especially if you’re prone to body breakouts.
Best Exfoliating Formula: Ren Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic
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 skin’s natural exfoliation process. (Who knew?) Along with that, exfoliating lactic acid and willowbark extract help to smooth skin and even out tone, while an azelaic acid precursor brightens your complexion. Time to get your glow on.
Best Pads: Beautycounter Rejuvenating Toner Pads
One of the best-selling products across all of this brand’s extensive array of skincare offerings, these make daily toning easier than ever. Simply swipe one of the pre-soaked pads across your skin, and let the combination of lentil seed extract (to refine pores), a mixed fruit acid complex, and vitamin C (for antioxidant protection and to minimize the look of lines and wrinkles), do its thing.
Consistently pulling in perfect five-star reviews, devoted users rave about how these change the way their skin looks and feels. Also nice: The brand has a long list of more than 1500 questionable chemicals (known as their “The Never List”) that that are excluded from all of their products.
Best for 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.
Best Natural: Weleda One-Step Cleanser and Toner
A universally good, foolproof option, this toner simple and straightforward. It has the hydration 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.
Our writers spent 6 hours researching the most popular toners for combination skin on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 25 different toners overall, screened options from 20 different brands and manufacturers, read over 30 user reviews (both positive and negative) and tested 6 of the toners themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.