Best Drugstore Toner


Ever strolled through the aisles of your local drugstore, overwhelmed by the plethora of skincare choices on the shelves? You’re not alone. One staple that often gets overlooked is the humble toner. But why is a good toner so crucial for our skincare regime?

Our Top Picks

Finding the right toner can sometimes be a game-changer for your skin—balancing pH levels, tightening pores, and preparing the skin for moisturizers and serums. Thankfully, you don’t need to break the bank to get a great one; the drugstore is abound with excellent options. Let’s dive into the best of what they offer.

Our #1 Top Pick: Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner

Thayers Witch Hazel Toner tops many lists, and for a good reason. Its alcohol-free formula is gentle on the skin, avoiding the dryness that can come with harsher astringents. Infused with aloe vera and rosewater, it’s soothing while still highly effective in removing any lingering impurities after cleansing. Additionally, the witch hazel in the formula is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce redness and puffiness. It’s a fantastic choice for all skin types, especially those with sensitive skin.

Pick #2: Neutrogena Alcohol-Free Toner

For those seeking a no-frills option that does its job well, the Neutrogena Alcohol-Free Toner is a stellar pick. It cleanses and refreshes skin without harsh drying effects. The formula is designed with the aim to refine pores and recondition the skin to prepare it for moisturizing. It’s hypoallergenic and free of alcohol, which reduces the risk of skin irritation and over-drying—ideal for daily use.

Pick #3: L’Oreal Paris HydraFresh Toner

L’Oreal Paris HydraFresh Toner combines the potent moisturizing properties of Pro-Vitamin B5 and the softening qualities of HydraFresh. It’s a perfectly balanced toner for those who need a little extra hydration. The toner helps to remove impurities while leaving the skin feeling softer and more supple. The freshness and slight rose scent this product brings to your routine are unmatched.

Pick #4: Pixi Glow Tonic

This exfoliating toner has developed a cult following for its effectiveness in enhancing the complexion’s natural glow. Pixi Glow Tonic contains glycolic acid—an AHA that helps to gently exfoliate and remove dead skin cells. Glycerin and aloe vera round out this product’s skin-loving ingredients, providing moisture and soothing benefits. It may be on the pricier side compared to other drugstore options, but many fans agree it’s well worth it.

Pick #5: Dickinson’s Enhanced Witch Hazel Hydrating Toner with Rosewater

Dickinson’s Enhanced Witch Hazel Toner with Rosewater is another excellent witch hazel-based option for those after natural skincare choices. It’s particularly targeted toward hydrating skin, unlike classic witch hazel toners that can be somewhat drying. This toner comes with the added benefits of rosewater and vitamin E, which work together to hydrate and nourish, while the witch hazel calms and refines pores.

What to Know Before You Buy

  • Understand your skin type and its specific needs. For example, oily skin may need a different toner compared to sensitive skin.
  • Recognize the purpose of a toner in your skincare routine—is it for cleansing, hydrating, exfoliating, or a combination?
  • Look out for key ingredients that benefit your skin concerns, such as salicylic acid for acne-prone skin or hyaluronic acid for those needing extra hydration.
  • Be wary of potential irritants, especially alcohol and fragrances, if you have sensitive skin.
  • Consider the product’s pH level as it should ideally be close to your skin’s natural pH.

Factors to Consider Before Buying

  • Ingredients: It’s essential to select a toner with skin-friendly ingredients that cater to your specific skin concerns without causing irritation.
  • Formula: The formulation should feel comfortable on your skin, whether you prefer a lightweight mist or a more traditional liquid you apply with a cotton pad.
  • Skin Type Compatibility: The product should align with your skin type—oily, dry, combination, normal, or sensitive.
  • Brand Reputation: Consider buying from a reputable brand with good consumer feedback and transparency regarding their formulation.
  • Price Point: A higher price does not always guarantee a better product. Many affordable toners work just as well, if not better, than their expensive counterparts.

Why Trust ChooseRight?

At ChooseRight, our mission is clear: we provide thoroughly researched and impartial recommendations you can trust. Our team reviews countless products, reads through thousands of consumer reviews, and seeks feedback from beauty professionals to deliver insights on the best items on the market. When it comes to finding the best drugstore toner, rest assured that every product on our list has been handpicked based on efficacy, ingredient safety, user satisfaction, and value for money. Your skincare routine deserves nothing less.

Finishing Thoughts

Integrating the right toner into your daily skincare routine can lead to a noticeable improvement in the look and feel of your skin. With the selection of tried and true drugstore options at your fingertips, you’re well-equipped to choose one that can cater to your specific needs without leaving your wallet feeling too light. Remember, the secret to radiant skin could be just a drugstore trip away. Cheers to a healthier, more vibrant complexion!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a toner and why do I need to use one?

Toner is a skincare product that is applied after cleansing to remove any remaining impurities, balance the pH of your skin, and prepare it for moisturizing. It can also help to shrink pores and refresh your skin. Adding a toner to your skincare routine can enhance the overall health and appearance of your skin.

How do I choose the best drugstore toner for my skin type?

The key to choosing the right toner is knowing your skin type and any specific concerns you want to address. For oily or acne-prone skin, look for toners with salicylic acid or witch hazel. If you have dry or sensitive skin, opt for alcohol-free formulas with hydrating and soothing ingredients like aloe vera or glycerin. Combination skin types might benefit from balancing toners tailored to neither strip oils nor overly moisturize.

Can I use toner if I have sensitive skin?

Yes, but you should be careful when selecting a toner. Choose a product that is specifically designed for sensitive skin, usually labeled as hypoallergenic and free of alcohol, fragrances, and other potential irritants. Patch testing a new toner before applying it to your entire face is also a good practice.

How often should I apply toner?

Most people can use toner once or twice a day right after cleansing. However, depending on how your skin reacts, you may want to start with once a day or every other day to ensure it does not cause irritation, especially if you have sensitive skin or are using a toner with active ingredients like AHA/BHA.

What is the correct way to apply toner?

After cleansing your face and patting it dry, pour a small amount of toner onto a cotton pad or into the palms of your hands. Gently swipe it across your face, avoiding the eyes and mouth. Alternatively, some people prefer to pat the toner directly into the skin using their hands. Allow it to dry before applying serum or moisturizer.

Are drugstore toners as effective as high-end toners?

Yes, many drugstore toners are highly effective and can provide results comparable to their high-end counterparts. It’s more important to look at the ingredients list and product formulation rather than the price tag. Drugstore brands often offer quality products that can meet various skin needs without breaking the bank.

Can toner help reduce acne?

Toners that contain exfoliants like salicylic acid or glycolic acid can help to prevent and reduce acne by removing excess oils and dead skin cells that can clog pores. However, if you have persistent acne, you may need to combine the toner with other targeted treatments and consult a dermatologist.

Can I skip moisturizer if I use a hydrating toner?

While a hydrating toner can boost your skin’s moisture levels, it’s not a replacement for a moisturizer. Toners and moisturizers have distinct functions and are most effective when used together in your skincare routine. Moisturizers have a thicker consistency and are designed to create a barrier that locks in moisture and protects your skin.

Should I use a toner with alcohol?

Alcohols in toners can be drying and irritating, especially for dry or sensitive skin types. However, for very oily skin types, some alcohols can help to degrease and clear the pores. It’s generally recommended to use alcohol-free toners to avoid the potential for irritation and to maintain a healthy skin barrier function.

Can men use the same toners as women?

Yes, skin is skin, regardless of gender. Men can use the same toners as women. They should also base their toner choice on their skin type and concerns just like anyone else.

Joseph graduated from Cornell University in 2013 with a degree in civil engineering. Since then he's worked as a content writer and expert reviewer. For the past year and a half, he's been working as the head writer for ChooseRight and is excited to continue growing with the company.

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