Considering adding a toner to your combination skin routine? Read on to learn more about what you should look for in a toner, as well as the best toners for combination skin.
What is Combination Skin, and Do You Need a Toner?
Combination skin is a skin type where some areas on the face are more oily and other areas are more dry.
Oily areas tend to exist around the nose, forehead, and chin (also known as the T-zone), while dry areas tend to be around the cheeks.
Are toners really necessary?
Toners are no longer an essential step in most skincare routines. They used to be more of a necessity, as they were designed to remove any leftover cleanser on the skin.
Here are the facts:
- Today’s face cleansers are typically water soluble, so they won’t leave any residue on the skin. This makes toners a bit less essential.
- Many traditional toners also contain irritating ingredients (like alcohol or fragrance), which all skin types should avoid.
That all said, some modern toners can be a beneficial addition to a skincare routine.
There are well-formulated toners that target certain skin issues, whether that be dryness, irritation, acne, or something else.
How to Choose the Right Toner
If you are looking for one of the best toners for combination skin, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Avoid heavily fragranced products, as fragrances will likely irritate your skin
- Avoid toners that contain alcohol as they will dry out your skin
- Traditional toners strip the skin, but you should look for one that is more gentle on the face
Stripping the skin will only irritate dry spots and trigger more oil production in oily areas.
Best Toners for Combination Skin
If you’re looking to add a toner to your routine, these are some of the best toners for combination skin that you’ll find on the market.
1. Best Overall: Paula’s Choice Resist Weightless Advanced Repairing Toner
This anti-aging toner rehydrates, moisturizes, and defends the skin from environmental stress. It contains niacinamide, which has been proven to improve skin tone and minimize the appearance of the pores. The formula also includes a renewing peptide complex, as well as other ingredients that fight against the visible signs of aging.
2. Best Hydrating: Hadalabo Gokujyun Premium Hyaluronic Acid Lotion
This is the best toner for combination skin for those that need some extra hydration. It contains ingredients that lock in moisture, including five types of hyaluronic acid and urea. The formula is free of fragrances, alcohol, and mineral oils. It is perfect for combination skin, as it effectively hydrates without leaving behind an oily residue.
3. Best Korean: Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner
Pyunkang Yul has created one of the best toners for combination skin with this product. The simple formula features only 7 clean ingredients, which work to moisturize and nourish the skin, while providing anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant benefits. It has a lightweight texture that absorbs quickly into the skin, and is both vegan and cruelty-free.
4. Best for Acne Prone: COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner
If you have acne-prone combination skin, this is the best toner for you. It contains exfoliating AHAs and BHAs, which work on the surface of the skin to get rid of debris that clogs pores and causes acne. The formula will also help minimize active breakouts. The formula is hydrating and nourishing, so it won’t aggravate dry or more sensitive areas of the skin.
5. Best Drugstore: Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel Facial Toner
If you’re looking for a drugstore option, this is one of the best toners for combination skin. The main ingredient is witch hazel, which gently cleanses and tones the skin. It also contains organic aloe vera and rosewater, which hydrate and restore the skin without leaving a greasy finish on more oily areas.
6. Best Natural: Paula’s Choice Earth Sourced Purely Natural Refreshing Toner
This liquid-gel toner contains 98% natural ingredients. The formula features a mix of glycerin, plant-derived antioxidants, and oils. The antioxidants protect and renew the skin, while the oils replenish and restore the skin for a healthy glow. It is free of any animal-derived ingredients.
7. Best Sensitive: Hadalabo Gokujun Hyaluronic Lotion Moist
This super lightweight lotion is perfect for sensitive skin, as it is nourishing and doesn’t contain any irritating ingredients. The main ingredient is hyaluronic acid, which attracts moisture and retains water in the outer layer of the skin. It is particularly useful for dry areas, but won’t leave a greasy shine on more oily areas.
How to Use a Toner
Toning should come after cleansing, and before applying any other skincare products.
Here's how to use a toner:
- Dispense the toner onto a cotton pad
- Gently sweep it all over the face and neck
- Allow it to dry, and then follow up with any treatments and a moisturizer, and SPF during the day.
FYI - toners are gentle enough to be used both day and night, but feel free to use as needed.
Other Recommended Products for Combination Skin
Looking to complete your skincare routine? Consider these favorites:
- Face Washes for Combination Skin
- Exfoliators for Combination Skin
- Serums for Combination Skin
- Moisturizers for Combination Skin
- Sunscreens for Combination Skin
How often should you use a toner?
Gentle toners may be used on a daily basis both morning and night. However, many people choose to have a toner on hand for whenever they feel their skin needs it. You may want to simply use a toner after wearing sunscreen, or if your face still feels dirty after cleansing.
Do you need to use a toner?
Toning is not an essential step, especially if your cleanser is effectively cleansing your skin. However, toners can add benefits to your skincare routine, and are useful when you feel like you haven’t thoroughly cleansed your skin.
What should you look for in a toner?
Look for a gentle toner that is free of alcohol and heavy fragrances, as these will irritate the skin. If a toner makes your skin feel stripped, you should stop using it. A toner that is stripping your skin will only irritate dry areas and exacerbate oily skin issues.
Summary: Best Toners for Combination Skin
- Best Overall: Paula’s Choice Resist Weightless Advanced Repairing Toner
- Hydrating: Hadalabo Gokujyun Premium Hyaluronic Acid Lotion
- Korean: Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner
- For Acne Prone: COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner
- Drugstore: Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel Facial Toner
- Natural: Paula’s Choice Earth Sourced Purely Natural Refreshing Toner
- For Sensitive: Hadalabo Gokujun Hyaluronic Lotion Moist
The Bottom Line
While you certainly don’t need to add a toner to your skincare routine, it can be useful to have one on hand for when you feel like your skin needs it. Find a toner that best suits your skin’s unique needs, and be sure to avoid anything that dries out or irritates your skin.