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If the word ‘toner’ conjures images of the stripping solutions you slathered all over your skin during your formative teen years, we get it. But toners have come a long way recently. No longer the harsh and drying formulas of the past, the latest iterations are infused with all kinds of good-for-your skin ingredients to deliver no shortage of complexion benefits. That being said, they still do remain a top product choice for helping to remove excess sebum, making them especially ideal for anyone with oily skin. Think of them as an added layer of insurance in your cleansing process. While your standard face wash removes all of the larger particles of gunk, grime, and makeup from your skin, a toner helps to wipe away what’s left, namely any excess oil that can get lodged in your pores. Check out these top toners, perfect for anyone with oily skin.
Best Overall: Kiehl’s Blue Astringent Herbal Lotion
Originally formulated in 1964, there’s good reason why this toner has remained a mainstay among the extensive line of Kiehl’s skincare products ever since. It balances and soothes oily skin, while camphor and menthol make it feel instantly cooling and refreshing. You can use it all over, but it also doubles as a spot-treatment if there are just a few oily spots you want to treat, like your T-zone, for example. Not to mention that it also works well as an aftershave for men.
Best Budget Buy: Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel Pore-Perfecting Toner
Not only does this cost less than a latte, it’s also somewhat of a cult-classic, with a 100 percent natural formula that’s choice for oily skin. Fragrance-free, the star of the show, is, you guessed it, witch hazel, one of the best natural oil-absorbing ingredients out there. Plus, the brand also uses a unique type of distilled witch hazel that isn’t diluted, making for maximum potency and efficacy.
Best for Prominent Pores: Origins Zero Oil Pore Purifying Toner
Let’s get one common misconception out of the way first and foremost: Contrary to popular belief, you actually can’t change the size of your pores, and they don’t open or close. What does happen is that they can start to appear larger or smaller, based purely on how much stuff is in them. In other words, the more clogged your pores are, the bigger and more prominent they’ll look.
That’s why this formula is choice; it contains oil-dissolving salicylic acid to keep pores clear (and looking small). It also has skin-clearing saw palmetto to help ward off breakouts, and cooling mint to make it feel extra refreshing, choice for using after a sweaty workout or on a hot day.
Best for Acne-Prone Skin: Glytone Acne Clearing Toner
Toners in general are a good product to add into your routine if you’re constantly battling blemishes, and this formula, especially. A two-percent concentration of salicylic acid keeps excess oil at bay, unclogs pores, and gently exfoliates, working to both treat existing blackheads, whiteheads, and blemishes, and keep new ones from cropping up.
Since it does sop up all that excess oil, start using it once a day, and gradually increase to twice daily use, just to make sure you don’t inadvertently over-dry your skin.
Best Natural Formula: S.W. Basics Liquid Oil Control Facial Treatment
Talk about a short and sweet (and clean) ingredient list; there are only five ingredients in this toner. More specifically: water, organic raw apple cider vinegar, witch hazel, and organic essential oils of clary sage and sandalwood. The apple cider vinegar and witch hazel balance the pH of your skin, while the essential oils have natural antiseptic properties. And because it’s alcohol-free, it’s less drying than many others, a great option on days when your skin sews more towards combination than oily.
Best for On-the-Go: Milk Makeup Matcha Toner
Who says toners can only come in liquid form? This stick earns the distinction of being the first solid toner out there, making it choice for travel (no worries about TSA compliance here) or for stashing in your gym bag, since there’s no need to stress about potential spills. The gel-based formula glides smoothly on skin, delivering detoxifying matcha green tea, oil-absorbing witch hazel, and calming and hydrating cactus elixir.
Best Exfoliating Formula: Ole Henriksen Balancing Force Oil Control Toner
Not only does this multi-tasker sufficiently sop up excess oil and mattify shiny skin, it also touts a combination of three different acids to act as an effective—yet gentle—exfoliator. The blend of both alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy acids, lactic, glycolic, and salicylic acid, leave your complexion looking healthy and matte, but with just the right amount of healthy glow. But it doesn’t stop there; a proprietary blend of active botanicals such as green tea, eucalyptus, algae, and Irish moss help absorb unwanted oil, and have natural antiseptic properties, too.
Our writers spent 4 hours researching the most popular toners for oily skin on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 35 different toners overall, screened options from 40 different brands and manufacturers, read over 30 user reviews (both positive and negative) and tested 8 of the toners themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.