Toner is one of those things everybody has heard about but only few understand. And we don’t blame you—the name itself is so vague. Does it have anything to do with skin tone? Does it tone your face the way gyming tones your tummy? Nope and double-nope.


Toner is a clear, watery skincare product that should follow cleanser and precede moisturizer. Toning essentially prepares your cleansed skin to absorb the next products in your skincare regimen.


Specifically, it has two basic functions. First, toner removes lingering traces of dirt/oil/anything stuck in your pores that makeup remover and facial wash have failed to. And second, toner helps restore the skin’s natural PH balance, or the optimum level of acidity that keeps you looking healthy and glowing.


Dermatologists have determined that when skin is slightly acidic (with a PH of 5.5), it is at its most balanced, and therefore, most beautiful. Higher than that, and the skin either gets too oily, too dry, or more susceptible to acne and sun damage. Yikes!

In short, yes, you need a toner—we all do, regardless of our skin type. The trick is to find one that works with your skin issues, be that excess oil or dry patches, instead of against them. Our recos below!


Oily Skin: Olay Oil Minimizing Toner, P202
Astringents are best for oily skin since they deal with grease effectively. This Olay toner contains witch hazel that diminishes shine and soothes irritation.

Acne-Prone Skin: VMV Hypoallergenics Id Anti-Acne Toner, P900
With a potent cocktail of beta-hydroxy acid and monolaurin (an anti-bacterial/antifungal ingredient), this VMV favorite cleans and clears your skin without aggravating your pimples.

Dry Skin: Aloe Derma Soothing & Moisturizing Toner, P500
Many women with dry skin fear toner because the first-generation formulas were all alcohol-based—and alcohol is very drying. This toner is water-based and packed with aloe vera juice to nourish your skin while mopping up residue.

Dull Skin: Banila Co. It Radiant Brightening Toner, P865
When dirt and dead skin cells build up, this can make the surface of your skin look lackluster. A radiance-boosting toner like Banila Co.’s will help! It brightens your overall tone with 10 White Flower Complex and Aurora Particles and gently exfoliates to reveal a dewy glow.

Combination Skin: Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Toner, P1,189
The Jeju volcanic scoria in this Korean toner controls the oil on your T-Zone, while its 4-free system keeps you from drying up or breaking out. That’s a pretty good combination, if you ask us.

Mature Skin: Nelly De Vuyst Lifting Complex Toner, P1,440
Mist this Belgian formula over aging skin to restore its PH balance after cleansing. Floral waters of sage, lavender, rosemary, and rose moisturize the skin while ridding it of dirt.

Sensitive Skin: Céleteque Dermo Hydration Alcohol-Free Toner, P129
Considered a Holy Grail hypoallergenic find, this proudly local toner purifies and reconditions delicate pelts without any sting. No alcohol, no problem!

Normal Skin: Nuxe Paris Gentle Toning Lotion with Rose Petals, P875
This mild Nuxe toner melts the last particles of dirt stuck in your tiny pores, while the rosewater in it protects your Grade-A moisture level. Aren’t you lucky?

All Skin: Aromatica Sea Daffodil Aqua Toner, P845
It might seem contradictory, but this Aromatica toner is designed for every skin type. Its gentle formula is infused with aloe vera juice to condition dry skin, balance greasy skin, and protect sensitive skin from inflammation. Bonus points for its adenosine content, which helps keep fine lines at bay.

Art by Erika Gue