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In the midst of majestic overnight masks, crystal deodorants, Botox-esque serums, and yes, even electric lip plumpers, it's no surprise toners get somewhat neglected where our skincare and beauty routines are concerned. After all, they can't offer bespeckled-with-glitter selfies, and the application is somewhat anti-climactic. However, when it comes to oily skin types, toners are an especially important product to have in your arsenal, as they provide skin with numerous benefits.
From balancing our skin's pH levels to enhancing the glow-inducing efforts of the rest of your skincare routine, consider a high-quality toner your oily skin's new partner in crime.
Keep reading for the best toners for oily skin.
Originally formulated in 1964, there’s a 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 only does this cost less than a latte, it’s also somewhat of a cult-classic, with a 100% 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.
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, especially for using after a sweaty workout or on a hot day.
Green tea is a botanical derived from the leaves and buds of the tea plant Camellia sinensis. The active components of green tea are polyphenols (also called catechins) that are believed to benefit the skin due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Not only does this multi-tasker sufficiently sop up excess oil and mattify shiny skin, but 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.
Aloe vera is a naturally derived ingredient known for its soothing and moisturizing properties. The aloe plant's inner gel mucilage (the part that's used in skin care products) is made up of 99.5% water.
Heralded as one of the best drugstore toners money can buy, this glow-inducing pick from Pixi is rumored to yield results equally staggering as its significantly pricier counterparts. It happens to be a genius recommendation from Byrdie Editorial Director Faith Xue and features oil-banishing benefits courtesy of 5% glycolic acid, ginseng, and aloe vera.
Clay is a master at absorbing excess sebum, which is why we love this Fresh toner for oily skin. The star of its formula is the brand's proprietary Umbrian clay, which draws out impurities, while cinnamon bark, burnet root, and lavender floral water balance and clarify the skin—all without drying it out.
Just because you have oily skin doesn't mean your toner should dry you out. Thankfully, this facial mist from Boscia does the opposite—its formula delivers a major dose of hydration, thanks to rosewater and aloe vera, while witch hazel cleanses and absorbs excess oil. It's also vegan and free of parabens and fragrances. The result is dewy, soft skin and we're totally here for it.
Toners in general are a good product to add into your routine if you’re constantly battling blemishes, and this formula, especially. A 2% 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 for Sensitive Skin: Origins Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Mega-Mushroom Relief & Resilience Soothing Treatment Lotion
Excess oil and sebum instigate a frustrating and vicious cycle of acne, redness, and pigmentation. This mega-mushroom blend toner from Dr. Weil for Origins is the cream of the crop for soothing and solving all of the aforementioned skin woes. It's an especially great option for those with oily and sensitive skin.
Skin is far from static, and though oil is always our number one archnemesis, some days our skin is slicker than others. And for that reason (plus the amazing ingredient list), we love this coconut and rose-infused toner from Kopari. (If you're unfamiliar, the brand is basically the holy mecca of all things coconut.) It keeps the complexion balanced, nixes redness, and diminishes the appearance of pores while still being gentle enough for our skin's better (aka less oily) days.
Who says toners can only come in liquid form? This stick earns the distinction of being the first solid toner out there, making it ideal 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 the skin, delivering detoxifying matcha green tea, oil-absorbing witch hazel, and calming and hydrating cactus elixir.
This pretty mint-green mist from Herbivore is specifically formulated for oily, acne-prone skin—plus, it's vegan and cruelty-free. A powerful lineup of green tea, witch hazel, aloe vera, ginger root, and white willow bark are expertly infused into soothing organic jasmine flower. Give your complexion a quick spritz for a refreshing, instantaneous detox.
Shea butter is a plant lipid that comes from African shea tree nuts and is rich in fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins. It's used to help moisturize, nourish, and soothe the skin.
This SheaMoisture toner is designed to keep oil and shine at bay without clogging your pores. Its formula contains African black soap, witch hazel, and tea tree oil to cleanse the skin and remove impurities, while organic shea butter and oat hydrate and gently exfoliate. The result is a clean, matte finish, and we're about it.