Once upon a time, toner was just an ambiguous concept in skincare. No one really understood what they were supposed to do. Fast-forward to recent years and it’s become the exact opposite. Nowadays, toners can pretty much do anything—hydrate, exfoliate, fight aging, cleanse, prep the skin, you name it. Sometimes, they can even stand in as an essence or serum.

But if you’re asking for our honest opinion, toners work best in a routine when they provide either ample hydration or gentle exfoliation—or, better yet, both. Only a handful of formulas achieve this balancing feat, so we’ve shortlisted them for you. Scroll!

1. COSRX Galactomyces Alcohol-Free Toner, P680 For total skin renewal, this 10% Galactomyces toner is a customer-recommended fave. It harnesses the potency of fermented ingredients to simultaneously repair, tone, and moisturize the skin. Enhanced with mineral water and a low pH of 6.2, it gently whisks away dead skin cells and counteracts dullness while providing maximum hydration (especially when used as a face mist).

Shop it here.

2. Son & Park Beauty Water (60ml), P450 This multi-benefit toner rose to fame when SokoGlam founder Charlotte Cho raved about it after discovering the product through South Korean celebrity MUA Lee Ja Won. Today, it’s a worldwide bestseller. Everything she hyped up about the product proves to be true—not only does it cleanse the skin, it also conditions, exfoliates, and balances pH levels with a handful of botanical ingredients. Whether you’re prepping skin for makeup or getting ready for a night of beauty sleep, this miracle water is more than worthy of a spot in your routine.

Shop it here.

3. Pixi by Petra Pixi Glow Tonic (100ml), P1,050 As one of the brand’s flagship formulas, this quick brightening cocktail is a cult-fave for a reason. Made with glycolic acid, ginseng, and a splash of aloe vera juice, it effectively polishes texture and large pores, evens out tone, and accelerates cell renewal to promote faster repair for more luminous skin. Oh, and it’s alcohol-free!

Shop it here.

4. Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner, P800 If you’ve got sensitive skin, try your luck with this soothing toner. Made with aloe-sourced BHA and salicylic acid, it balances gentle exfoliation with intensive hydration for a more refined complexion. Its anti-inflammatory properties sweep away acne-causing bacteria, while its conditioning benefits act as a buffer against irritation, pollutants, and environmental damage.

Shop it here.

5. ACWELL Licorice pH Balancing Toner, now on sale at P842 (limited time only) With over 90 glowing five-star reviews, this licorice-powered toner has quickly become a Holy Grail among BeautyMNL regulars. It’s formulated with a high concentration of licorice water, and enhanced with calming peony extract and green tea. While the licorice water deeply hydrates and reduces inflammation by up to 10%, its blend of botanical ingredients help lighten hyper-pigmentation and clarify the skin tone.

Shop it here.

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