These 12 Toners Can Make a Huge Difference for Dry Skin

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products. Healthcare professionals review articles for medical accuracy. Learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

 The 12 Best Toners for Dry Skin in 2022

Byrdie / Sabrina Jiang

When it comes to remedying dry and dehydrated skin, you might not think of toner—but it's time you should. The uses for toner are varied and help to target skin concerns that go beyond acne and oiliness. In fact, adding that one extra step to your skincare routine can make a real and visible difference in the moisture levels of the skin. That is—if you're using the right formula.

A new crop of toners on the market promise all kinds of different skincare benefits, including, you guessed it, hydration. “Traditionally, toners used to be very drying due to the alcohol and astringents that remove oil from the skin. Newer astringents used in many of today’s formulas are meant to prep your skin to receive active ingredients by restoring its natural acidic state and adding hydration to improve their penetration,” explains Dr. Jessie Cheung, a dermatologist in Willowbrook, IL.

The key is to seek out formulas that are first and foremost alcohol-free since, as mentioned, alcohol can be extremely drying (especially for skin that already tends towards dryness). Next, look for hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, rosewater, or aloe—they'll work to add moisture back in while balancing skin tone.

Read on for the best toners for dry skin.

Best Overall: Fresh Rose & Hyaluronic Acid Deep Hydration Toner

4.8
fresh rose deep hydration toner

Courtesy of Sephora

What We Like
  • Hydrates

  • Available in multiple sizes

  • A little goes a long way

What We Don't Like
  • Not Byrdie Clean

Not only is this crowd-favorite alcohol-free, but it also uses a gentle rose fruit extract for toning purposes, rather than some of the more astringent ingredients found in other formulas. On the hydrating side of things, rosewater and rose flower oil (there are even real rose petals in the bottle!) soothe and nourish, while hyaluronic acid also does some heavy hydration lifting. So much so that, according to the results of a clinical study, it increased hydration by an impressive 46% for six hours after application.

Active Ingredients: Rose extract, rose water | Skin Type: Dry | Benefits: Soothes, nourishes, hydrates | Size: 3.3 / 8.4 / 13.5 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Budget: Dickinson's Enhanced Witch Hazel Hydrating Toner with Rosewater

Dickinson's Enhanced Witch Hazel Hydrating Toner with Rosewater
What We Like
  • Not drying

  • Reduces excess oil

  • Feels cooling on skin

What We Don't Like
  • Scent may not be for some

From one of the OG toner brands comes this new hydrating option, infused with hyaluronic acid and vitamin E. Not only is it alcohol-free, but it also doesn’t contain any sulfates, soaps, or dyes (all things which can also potentially exacerbate dryness). Plus, the exclusive natural witch hazel plants Dickinson uses in all of their products are distilled for purity, and not diluted like some of the other witch hazel out there, to help ensure maximum potency and efficacy.

Active Ingredients: Witch hazel, vitamin E | Skin Type: Oily, balanced | Benefits: Soothes, refines pores, hydrates | Size: 16 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Drugstore: Garnier SkinActive Hydrating Facial Mist with Aloe Juice

garnier hydrating facial mist

Courtesy of Walmart

What We Like
  • Soothes and hydrates

  • Easy to use

  • Helps calm breakouts

What We Don't Like
  • Contains alcohol and fragrance

Made with 99% natural ingredients, this toner relies on aloe juice for a deep hit of instant hydration. The formula works in a multitude of different ways—use it post-moisturizer and pre-makeup for an extra boost of moisture, on top of makeup to help set your look, or as a quick pick-me-up anytime your skin feels a little dry or lackluster throughout the day. Bonus points for the spray-on format that requires no cotton pads.

Active Ingredients: Aloe leaf juice, salicylic acid | Skin Type: Sensitive, oily | Benefits: Soothes, nourishes, hydrates, calms breakouts | Size: 4.4 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Splurge: SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion Skin Toner

sk ii clear lotion toner

Courtesy of Sephora

What We Like
  • Made for all skin types

  • Makes skin look radiant

  • A little goes a long way

What We Don't Like
  • Contains parabens

This SK-II toner contains AHAs to gently exfoliate dead and dry skin away from the surface of the skin, while vitamins, minerals, and amino acids nourish what's underneath. It's on the expensive side, but the benefits make it well worth it.

Active Ingredients: Pitera, AHAs | Skin Type: All | Benefits: Soothes, nourishes, hydrates | Size: 5.4 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Classic: Kiehl's Ultra Facial Toner

kiehls ultra facial toner

Courtesy of Kiehl's

What We Like
  • pH balanced

  • Exfoliates

  • Hydrating formula

What We Don't Like
  • Not Byrdie Clean

This tried-and-true product gently exfoliates so serums and moisturizers can penetrate deeper and work more effectively. What's more is that it's pH-balanced, which results in comfortable, hydrated skin. Fans refer to it as a "holy-grail toner"— which makes sense considering it's one of the brand's most popular products. Cheung is a fan, too: “It’s both alcohol-free and has hydrating and soothing botanical extracts, such as avocado oil, apricot kernel oil, and sweet almond oil,” she says.

Active Ingredients: Squalane, avocado oil | Skin Type: All | Benefits: Exfoliates, hydrates | Size: 8.5 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best for Sensitive Skin: Renee Rouleau Moisture Infusion Toner

Renee Rouleau Moisture Infusion Toner

 Courtesy of Renee Rouleau

What We Like
  • Hydrates

  • Helps calm redness

  • Makes skin look radiant

What We Don't Like
  • Scent may not be for some

We get it, a toner isn’t necessarily the first product you think of for sensitive skin. This particular formula, however, definitely deserves a spot in your routine. A favorite of Byrdie Senior Editor Lindsey Metrus, it’s free of alcohol and other potential irritants (most importantly), but it’s also chock-full of soothing vitamins and fatty acids that work to both hydrate and tamp down redness (it’s even a good option for rosacea-sufferers).

Active Ingredients: Vitamin C, niacinamide | Skin Type: All | Benefits: Soothes, nourishes, hydrates, brightens | Size: 6 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Try using it along with a retinoid to help tamp down unsightly side effects like dryness and peeling.

Best Exfoliating: Bolden Brightening Glycolic Acid Toner

Bolden USA Brightening Glycolic Acid Toner

 Courtesy of Walmart

What We Like
  • Exfoliates

  • Reasonably priced

  • Makes skin look radiant

What We Don't Like
  • Not for acne-prone skin

For those who want their toner to do more than just hydrate, this pick is choice. As the name suggests, it touts glycolic acid to dissolve away dead cells and leave skin looking generally brighter and more radiant. And while yes, glycolic acid is great for oily skin types, it’s also a unique ingredient that actually doubles as a humectant, attracting moisture to the skin. There’s also soothing and skin barrier-strengthening niacinamide in this formula, too.

Active Ingredients: Niacinamide, witch hazel | Skin Type: All | Benefits: Exfoliates, hydrates | Size: 7.5 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Soothing: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Wild Oat Hydrating Toner

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Wild Oat Hydrating Toner

 Courtesy of First Aid Beauty

What We Like
  • Ideal for sensitive skin

  • Hydrates

  • Creamy texture

What We Don't Like
  • Can dry a little sticky

Key Ingredients

Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring polysaccharide found in the human body. It acts as a cushioning and lubrication agent for our joints, nerves, hair, skin, and eyes. When used in skincare, it acts as a moisture binder, which means that it will attach itself to the water in the cells (while also attracting and holding water from the air) giving them a plumping effect.

The star of the show here are oats, an ingredient that's well-known for its incredible soothing effects. Namely, there are wild oats, hydrating oat milk, and colloidal oats (an ingredient that's even used to address eczema)—all of which help to calm stressed or irritated skin. Plus, honey and hyaluronic acid in the formula impart plenty of hydration, too.

Active Ingredients: Colloidal oatmeal, honey | Skin Type: Sensitive | Benefits: Soothes, hydrates | Size: 6 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Natural: Indie Lee CoQ-10 Toner

Indie Lee CoQ-10 Toner
What We Like
  • Contains antioxidants

  • Feels soothing

  • Fragrance-free

What We Don't Like
  • May be too much for sensitive skin

Alcohol-, paraben-, and silicone-free, this clean option boasts a minimal ingredient list packed with well-known hydrating ingredients like aloe vera and hyaluronic acid. But perhaps even more noteworthy is the fact that it also contains powerful antioxidants (including the powerhouse extract, CoQ-10) to give your skin an extra layer of protection from damaging free radicals every time you use it. Now, that's always a good thing in our book.

Active Ingredients: Ubiquinone | Skin Type: Dry | Benefits: Hydrates, soothes | Size: 4.2 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Toning Lotion: Chanel Hydra Beauty Lotion

Chanel Hydra Beauty Lotion
What We Like
  • Creamy gel texture

  • Feels light on skin

  • Hydrates

What We Don't Like
  • Not Byrdie Clean

Toning lotions straddle the line between, well, toners and lotions, creamier than traditional toners but still with their same lightweight consistency. Not surprisingly, they’re a great option for dry skin, and this is one of our faves. It goes on almost like a gel (and can be applied either with your fingertips or a cotton pad) but quickly transforms into a water-like texture that instantly soaks into your complexion. At work is the brand’s magnetic water complex that attracts, captures, and retains hydration. The subtle, fresh scent is just an added bonus. 

Active Ingredients: Camellia alba PFA | Skin Type: Dry | Benefits: Soothes, hydrates | Size: 5 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Mist: Pholk Beauty Honeysuckle Rose Face Mist

Pholk Beauty Honeysuckle Rose Face Mist

 Courtesy of Pholk Beauty

What We Like
  • Easy to use

  • Lightly scented

  • Clean, simple ingredient list

What We Don't Like
  • Could be more hydrating

Part refreshing mist, part hydrating toner, this is the perfect choice when you need a quick hit of hydration anytime, anywhere. Honeysuckle both hydrates and helps keep pores clear (always a good thing), while rose soothes any irritation (and imparts a lovely scent). Try spritzing it directly onto your face if you just need a little bit of moisture, or spray it onto cotton pads and press it into the skin if you need more.

Active Ingredients: Honeysuckle, rose | Skin Type: All | Benefits: Soothes, hydrates | Size: 3.4 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Very Dry Skin: Versed Baby Cheeks Hydrating Milk Toner

Versed Baby Cheeks All in One Hydrating Milk

 Courtesy of Dermstore

What We Like
  • Removes makeup

  • Milky texture

  • Reasonably priced

What We Don't Like
  • Small bottle

If your skin is super parched, this pick can’t be beaten. A coconut water and algae base make it even more hydrating than most toners. As an added benefit, it works not only as a toner but also as a makeup remover and cleanser, too. (For maximum moisture, we like using it to remove makeup, and then we apply it again after washing with a creamy cleanser). Either way, it leaves your complexion beautifully soft and plumped.

Active Ingredients: Algae extract, coconut water | Skin Type: Dry | Benefits: Soothes, hydrates | Size: 4 fl. oz | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Final Verdict

Yes, you can use a toner if you have dry skin. The Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Facial Toner is a must-try, proven to increase skin hydration for hours on end, thanks to the addition of hyaluronic acid. We also love the moisturizing, multi-tasking, and very affordable Garnier SkinActive Hydrating Facial Mist with Aloe Juice, and the Renee Rouleau Moisture Infusion Toner, which is also great if you have sensitive skin. To that point, if your skin is already irritated or stressed out, try the mega-calming First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Wild Oat Hydrating Toner.

What To Look For In a Toner For Dry Skin

Alcohol-free

While alcohol isn’t necessarily a no-no in a toner if you have oily skin, it definitely is if you have dry skin, as it can be way too harsh and stripping.

Moisturizing ingredients

Toners traditionally haven’t been thought of as a hydrating product, but these days they can be and are a great way to impart an extra hit of moisture into your skin even before you reach for moisturizer. Cheung recommends looking for formulas that contain ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin, panthenol, and squalane.

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. As someone who has extremely dry skin, she’s very familiar with all of the products for dry skin out there, toners included. 

Meet the Expert

Dr. Jessie Cheung is a dermatologist in Willowbrook, IL. She has advanced experience with laser treatments and cosmetic dermatology, and takes a holistic approach in her practice, incorporating hormone optimization, sexual health, and regenerative medicine.

Related Stories