If you’re looking to add a toner to your skincare routine, you can easily find a great option that will work for your needs at the drugstore. Here is our guide to the best drugstore toners for oily skin.
1. Glow Tonic
Pixi Toner for Brightening and Gentle Exfoliation
Pixi Glow Tonic
This award-winning facial toner uses the power of glycolic acid, aloe vera, and other potent ingredients to exfoliate and refresh the skin for a brighter and smoother complexion.
This gentle exfoliating toner contains ingredients that accelerate cell renewal for a brighter complexion. The star ingredient is the chemical exfoliant glycolic acid, of which there is a 5% concentration. This alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) works on the surface of the skin to promote a more even skin tone and smoother texture. It is an effective ingredient for smoothing fine lines and wrinkles and fading dark spots and hyperpigmentation.
- May not be suitable for more sensitive skin
- Contains fragrance
In addition to the glycolic acid, this toner features ginseng, which improves circulation to the skin. It also contains soothing and hydrating aloe vera, as well as fructose and sucrose, which brighten.
Aqua/Water/Eau, Glycolic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel)Water, Aesculus Hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut) Seed Extract, Hexylene Glycol, Fructose, Glucose, Sucrose, Urea, Dextrin, Alanine, Glutamic Acid, Aspartic Acid,Hexyl Nicotinate, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Disodium EDTA, Biotin, Panthenol, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil,Phenoxyethanol, Parfum/Fragrance, Caramel, Benzyl Benzoate, Citral, Citronellol, Coumarin, Geraniol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Hydroxycitronellal, Limonene, Linalool, CI 14700 (Red 4)
National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Pharmacological attribute of Aloe vera: Revalidation through experimental and clinical studies"Accessed Jan. 10, 2022.
National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Dual Effects of Alpha-Hydroxy Acids on the Skin"Accessed Jan. 10, 2022.
2. Hydralight Healthy Skin Refreshing Toner
Paula's Choice Toner for Refreshing and Balancing
Paula’s Choice Hydralight Healthy Skin Refreshing Toner
This is one of the best Paula’s Choice toners for normal to oily skin, as it is super lightweight but still effectively balances the skin’s hydration levels. It also contains ingredients that provide antioxidant protection.
This gentle toner is great for normal to oily skin, as it helps to balance the skin’s hydration levels without leaving a greasy finish. Additionally, it contains anti-irritants to calm the skin and soothe any redness.
- May not be suitable for sensitive skin
This toner contains willow herb extract, which helps soothe redness. It also contains green tea and grape seed extracts, which both have antioxidant properties and can protect the skin against environmental aggressors.
Water (Aqua), Methyl Gluceth-20, Polysorbate 20, Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Epilobium Angustifolium (Willowherb) Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Glycerin, Sodium PCA, Allantoin, Butylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Bisabolol, Panthenol, PEG-90M, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Citrate, Citric Acid, Potassium Phosphate, Phenoxyethanol.
National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Protective Mechanisms of Green Tea Polyphenols in Skin"Accessed Aug. 6, 2021.
National Center for Biotechnology Information. "The Topical Effect of Grape Seed Extract 2% Cream on Surgery Wound Healing"Accessed Aug. 6, 2021.
3. Effaclar Clarifying Solution Acne Toner
La Roche-Posay Toner for Acne and Blackheads
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Clarifying Solution Acne Toner
This toner is one of the best La Roche-Posay products for acne, because it contains a low concentration of chemical exfoliators that gently unclog pores and clear away dead skin cells from the surface of the skin.
This toner contains a 0.5% concentration of salicylic acid (a BHA), which is a low amount that will gently unclog pores to prevent breakouts. It also contains a 2% concentration of glycolic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that exfoliates the surface of the skin to reduce hyperpigmentation, smooth texture, and minimize fine lines and wrinkles.
- Dermatologist tested
- Contains menthol, which may irritate sensitive skin
If you deal with post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from previous breakouts, this toner may also help minimize the appearance of these spots, thanks to the glycolic acid.
0.5% Salicylic acid, water, alcohol denat, propanediol, glycolic acid, sodium hydroxide, capryloyl glycine, phenoxyethanol, benzyl alcohol, PPG-26-buteth-26, PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil, menthol, tremella fuciformis, polysaccharide, butylene glycol, ophiopogon japonicu root extract, scutellaria baicalensis root extract.
National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Over-the-counter Acne Treatments"Accessed Aug. 16, 2021.
National Center for Biotechnology Information. "An antiaging skin care system containing alpha hydroxy acids and vitamins improves the biomechanical parameters of facial skin"Accessed Aug. 16, 2021.
4. Skin Balancing Pore-Reducing Toner
Paula's Choice Toner for Reducing Shine and Minimizing Pores
Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Pore-Reducing Toner
If you have oily skin, you likely want a toner that will help balance oil production. This toner helps to minimize the appearance of pores and reduce shine while lightly hydrating the skin.
Many toners meant for oily skin are harsh, and can actually end up stripping the skin of its natural moisture – which triggers the skin to produce more oil. This gentle toner actually hydrates the skin to balance moisture levels, while working to reduce oil production and minimize the appearance of pores.
- May irritate sensitive skin
This toner contains ceramides and hyaluronic acid, which both restore the moisture barrier and hydrate the skin. It also contains niacinamide, which helps minimize the appearance of pores, as well as chamomile and burdock root extract, which soothe the skin.
Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Niacinamide, Polysorbate 20, Adenosine, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Flower Extract, Arctium Lappa (Burdock) Root Extract, Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters, Sodium PCA, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ceramide NP, Ceramide AP, Ceramide EOP, Phytosphingosine, Cholesterol, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Oleth-10, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Sodium Citrate, Xanthan Gum, Trisodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol.
National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Skin hydration is significantly increased by a cream formulated to mimic the skin’s own natural moisturizing systems"Accessed Aug. 6, 2021.
National Center for Biotechnology Information. "Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin aging"Accessed Aug. 6, 2021.
5. Resist Weightless Advanced Repairing Toner
Paula's Choice Toner for Hydrating and Fighting Signs of Aging
Paula’s Choice Resist Weightless Advanced Repairing Toner
This lightweight toner is packed with ingredients that hydrate and fight the signs of aging while also reducing the appearance of pores and minimizing redness.
This toner is excellent for normal to oily skin, as it helps renew and rehydrate the skin to minimize and prevent signs of aging without leaving a greasy finish. It also contains ingredients that soothe and calm the skin for an even, clear complexion.
- May not be suitable for sensitive skin
The key ingredient in this toner is niacinamide, which has been shown to minimize the appearance of pores, reduce redness, control sebum production, minimize fine lines, and act as an antioxidant.
Water (Aqua), Glycerin (hydration/skin replenishing), Ethoxydiglycol (hydration), Niacinamide (skin-restoring), Acetyl Glucosamine (hydration/skin replenishing), Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract (skin-soothing), Resveratrol (grape-derived antioxidant), Sodium Hyaluronate (hydration/skin replenishing), Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 (skin-restoring), Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1 (skin-restoring), Phospholipids (hydration/skin replenishing), Epigallocatechin Gallate (antioxidant), Carnosine (skin-restoring), Genistein (antioxidant), Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract (skin-soothing), Adenosine (skin-restoring), Xanthan Gum (texture-enhancing), Citric Acid (pH adjuster), Polysorbate 20 (texture-enhancing), Butylene Glycol (hydration), Ethylhexylglycerin (preservative), Carbomer (texture-enhancing), Tetrasodium EDTA (stabilizer), Phenoxyethanol (preservative)
National Center for Biotechnology Information. "The effect of 2% niacinamide on facial sebum production"Accessed Aug. 6, 2021.
National Center for Biotechnology Information. "How Much Do We Really Know About Our Favorite Cosmeceutical Ingredients?"Accessed Aug. 6, 2021.
What is the best drugstore toner for oily, acne-prone skin?
If you have oily skin that is prone to breakouts, a particularly well-suited toner to try is the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Clarifying Solution Acne Toner. This toner contains a low concentration of chemical exfoliants (salicylic acid and glycolic acid), which work together to unclog pores, smooth texture, and improve uneven skin tone. The glycolic acid is also great for targeting post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from previous breakouts.
What is the best drugstore toner for oily skin and large pores?
If you’re looking to minimize the appearance of large pores, a targeted toner can be a helpful addition to your skincare routine. A great option to check out is the Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Pore-Reducing Toner. This toner contains ingredients that lessen the appearance of large pores while soothing, controlling sebum production, and balancing the skin’s hydration levels.
Should I use a toner if I have acne-prone skin?
You can absolutely use a toner if you have acne-prone skin – you’ll just want to make sure you use a formula that won’t trigger breakouts. The La Roche-Posay Effaclar Clarifying Solution Acne Toner is particularly suitable for acne-prone skin since it is formulated to fight breakouts, but all of the toners mentioned above contain ingredients that are typically well-tolerated by people who deal with blemishes.
The Bottom Line
If you have oily skin, a toner can be an excellent addition to your skincare routine, especially if you have specific skin needs or concerns that you’d like to address. Consider trying out one of our recommended oily skin-friendly toners to achieve a healthy and radiant complexion.