Using a Toner to Help Improve Oily Skin

If you are someone who has oily or combination (oily and dry) skin, a toner should be a regular item in your skincare regimen. Toners are also useful if you want additional cleansing after makeup or other heavy skincare products such as sunscreen.

But if you have no idea what a toner actually is, it provides other surprising benefits aside from addressing oily skin.

A toner is a lotion or a wash formulated to get rid of excess oil from the skin. Toners usually contain humectants that help in preventing the skin from loss of moisture, keeping dryness at bay.

Traditional toners are alcohol-based, but the newest generation of toners now have little alcohol or are alcohol-free. There are actually many types of toners, classified by their alcohol content:

  1. Skin braces or fresheners – They are the mildest and gentlest types of toner, containing very little alcohol (0%-10%). They are mostly ideal for normal, dehydrated, or sensitive skin.
  2. Skin tonics – They have a small amount of alcohol (up to 20%). They are ideal for normal, oily or, combination skin.
  3. Acid toners – They are stronger types of toners formulated to exfoliate the skin. Conventional acid toners contain alpha hydroxy acid and/or beta hydroxy acid (more popularly known as salicylic acid).
  4. Astringents – The strongest types of toners with high alcohol content (20%-60%). An astringent contains antiseptic, water as well as humectants. Astringents are especially suitable for sensitive skin, as they can leave a burning and irritating sensation.

What to look for in a toner?

A toner is meant to address oily or combination skin. If you have combination skin, you may experience some very oily areas in your face, most notably your T-zone. A toner helps in getting rid of the excess oil from certain parts of your face, without drying out the areas that are less oily and not in need of stripping.

If you have oily skin, you should look for a toner that has ingredients such as salicylic acid and mandelic acid. Salicylic acid (a beta hydroxy acid) helps in getting rid of excess sebum from the face, while mandelic acid (an alpha hydroxy acid) has antimicrobial properties that help in disinfecting the skin. Some toners have a combination of both acids at lower concentrations, which are effective in getting rid of excess oil from the face while minimizing irritation.

Dermatologists also recommend toners with high concentrations of glycolic acid for oily, combination or acne-prone skin. They can help remove excess oil from the T-zone without stripping drier areas such as your cheeks.

Benefits of toners:

  1. It helps in shrinking large pores;
  2. It helps in restoring and maintaining our skin’s pH balance;
  3. It helps protect the skin by tightening pores, therefore minimizing the penetration of contaminants and impurities into the skin;
  4. It hydrates and moisturizes the skin;
  5. It makes the skin feel refreshed;
  6. It helps prevent ingrown hair.

The best toners in the market:

Where to Buy
Olehenriksen Balancing Force Oil Control
Milk Makeup Matcha Toner
The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Facial Wash
Youth To The People Mini Three Step Skincare Set - Clean Skincare Set - Superfood Cleanser (1oz) + Kombucha + 11% AHA Exfoliation Power Toner (1oz) + Superfood Air-Whip Moisture Cream (0.5oz)
Thayers Witch Hazel Toner


1. Olehenriksen Balancing Force Oil Control

Olehenriksen Balancing Force Oil Control is specially formulated for controlling oil. It aims to get rid of excess oil from the face without stripping it of its natural moisture. This toner is ideal for all skin types.

2. Milk Makeup Matcha Toner

Do you love matcha or green tea? Now you can feed your skin with matcha goodness with Milk Makeup Matcha Toner! Unlike other toners, this particular toner is gel-based and contains other key ingredients such as kombucha and hazelnut, which work together to minimize pores and extract excess oils. The cactus elixir hydrates and moisturizes your skin. So, if large pores are your problem, you might want to snap up this great product.

3. The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Facial Wash

If you have a persistent battle with acne, you might put it to an end by using this all-natural toner. The key ingredient of this toner is tea tree oil, which mattifies the skin and gets rid of blemishes. It is also useful in removing makeup or heavy residue, making your skin look clean and refreshed.

4. Youth to the People Mini Three Step Skincare Set – Superfood Cleanser + Kombucha + 11% AHA Exfoliation Power Toner + Superfood Air-Whip Moisture Cream

If your skin needs a great deal of exfoliating, look no further! This toner from Youth to the People contains kombucha, lactic acid and glycolic acid. These ingredients work together to exfoliate dead skin cells and minimize pores, making your skin a lot smoother and firmer.

5. Thayers Witch Hazel Toner

Most users recommend this product from Thayers as the best toner for sensitive skin. Even Amazon ranks it as the number-one toner. There’s a good reason for all the plaudits.

Alcohol can seriously disrupt your skin’s sebaceous glands, causing them to produce excess oils that can irritate your skin or lead to breakouts. Thayers Witch Hazel Toner is 100% alcohol-free. The combination of lavender and witch hazel extracts help in tightening pores, controlling acne, and reducing redness and irritation.