You can credit the K-Beauty industry for completely changing the world’s perception of toners. While many Western formulas are infamous for their stinging effect, Korean toners are gentle, nourishing, and non-negotiable for daily skincare. The difference lies in what’s inside them.
While Korean toners share the same pore-clearing, deep-cleansing function as any other, they have an important extra task. Basically, they’re designed to balance your skin, whether you’re oily, dry, or somewhere in between. Astringent toners for acne-prone skin are laced with hydrating properties. Moisturizing toners for flaky skin are infused with mild exfoliants. In this way, Korean toners create a system in which your derma troubles are addressed without compromising the general health of your skin. All that leads to a clearer complexion, softer skin texture, and overall amazing glow.

Below, we’ve listed 7 ingredients to seek out for healthy, radiant skin—and of course, the toner recos to match. PSA: Everything’s on sale at our K-Beauty Festival.

The ultimate antioxidant, Vitamin C has an incredible host of benefits for all skin types. While it’s most famous for its ability to add glow, it also boosts collagen for better skin elasticity and slows down the appearance of wrinkles.
OUR RECO: COSRX Refresh ABC Daily Toner (AHA BHA Vitamin C), available here.
Sourced from marigold flowers, calendula is known for its ultra-soothing effect. It helps heal wounds and acne and increases your hydration levels. Just like Vitamin C, it’s used in the prevention of fine lines and other types of skin-aging.
OUR RECO: Dear Klairs Daily Skin Hydrating Water, available here.
Licorice is a rising star in dark spot treatments. It fades discoloration and inhibits excess melanin to even out your canvas. Also, the bounce and glow it provides is next-level—which is why it’s famous in Korea for “honey skin” routines.
OUR RECO: ACWELL Licorice pH Balancing Toner, available here.
It’s been hailed by countless resources as a “magical botanical”—and those are just straight facts. Mugwort is a godsend for both dry and pimple-prone skin. An anti-inflammatory herb, it relieves redness, eczema, psoriasis, and even helps bring down the size of hormonal bumps.
OUR RECO: Round Lab Mugwort Calming Toner, available here.
If you struggled with acne growing up—or even as a grown-up—you’ve probably experienced the power of witch hazel. For the uninitiated, witch hazel works as an astringent. It eliminates bacteria, controls oil, and prevents breakouts from recurring. Great for minimizing pores, too.
OUR RECO: Berrisom Witch Hazel Toning and Balancing Essential Boosting Toner, available here.
This protein is produced naturally by the human body, but topical treatments never hurt. Collagen makes sure your face looks smooth and glowy and feels soft yet firm. By strengthening the skin’s structure and encouraging cellular turnover, it keeps you looking young.
OUR RECO: Esfolio Collagen Daily Toner, available here.
Science fact: propolis is the “glue” that bees produce when building their hives. In skincare, it’s used as an antiseptic—meaning, acne treatment. Propolis has an antibacterial effect on pimples, the ability to decrease redness and swelling, and antioxidant protection against skin damage. Gotta love it.
OUR RECO: COSRX Full Fit Propolis Synergy Toner, available here.
As a last bit of advice, clean, moist skin is the ideal canvas for toner application. Whichever formula you go with, it’ll prep your skin for all the next steps to come. So choose wisely, tone daily, and by all means, send us your recos, too!

Featured products are exclusive to BeautyMnl and on sale from July 26 to August 1, 2020. Click here to shop more Korean skincare, makeup, and self-care at our K-Beauty Festival.