The best toner for every skin type in 2020

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  • Toner is the step you'll regret skipping

    Rewind to when you were 15 years old, rigorously applying toner with a ton of alcohol in it to rid your skin of spots. Remember how it stung and left your skin drier than the surface of a lasagne? Thankfully, the best toner today looks a lot different.

    What is facial toner?

    Toner is basically the step in between your cleanser and moisturiser.

    It removes any final traces of dirt, pollution and make-up that your cleanser might have missed. It also helps to smooth and prep the skin for serum, not to mention give it an enviable glow.

    Swipe over just-washed skin with a cotton pad and you’ll see your complexion transform.

    Also worth noting: skipping this step can seriously hamper your skincare effects.

    You can slather on the best moisturiser for dry skin  but unless you’re starting your skincare routine off right, all of this is null and void.

    What are the benefits of using a toner?

    ‘Toners are products that don’t get much of a look in during our skincare regimes. But they can be used to clean your skin, remove excess oil and reduce pore size,’ says Dr Anjali Mahto, Consultant Dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic. ‘They are also good for balancing the skin.’

    The latter is important, especially if you have acne prone skin.

    Due to the alkaline nature of soap and even the best face washes, the pH balance of our skin can get disturbed. This makes your skin work overtime to find its sweet spot again – a slightly acidic pH, around 5.5 – which can result in excess oil and breakouts.

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    How to pick the right toner for your skin type

    Toners will not only restore the skin’s pH after cleansing but do so much more, too.

    They provide similar benefits to your serum because they are  infused with similar ingredients. Think vitamins, prebiotics, glycolic and hyaluronic acids that can exfoliate, brighten, soothe and hydrate.

    Because they’re packed with extra skincare benefits, you need to pick a toner based on your biggest concern.

    Best toner for combination skin:

    Herbivore Jasmine Green Tea Balancing Toner, £20, Cult Beauty

    Combination and spot-prone skin will benefit from toners that have the word ‘balancing’ in the title.

    Take Herbivore’s Jasmine Green Tea Balancing Toner, for example. It’s a clever mix of antioxidants to protect against free radicals, salicylic acid to control oil and jasmine water to calm angry skin.

    So you get the best of both anti-ageing and pore-purging worlds.

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    Best toner for dry skin:

    Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Toner, £17.50, Feelunique

    Dry skin needs hero ingredients like avocado oil, squalene and vitamin E. All three super hydrators can be found in Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Toner.

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    Best toner for sensitive skin

    Elemis Superfood Kefir-Tea Mist, £26, Lookfantastic

    If you suffer from sensitivity and are worried about toner drying out your skin, choose a formula that is alcohol-free. Aloe and prebiotics are other skin soothers to look out for.

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    Best toner for oily skin

    Mario Badescu Witch Hazel and Rosewater Toner, £10.95, Beauty Bay

    Likewise, excessively oily skin types may benefit from using witch hazel. This plant extract sops up oil, fights acne-causing bacteria and reduces irritation. But it isn’t as eye-waveringly astringent as those teenage alcoholic toners.

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    ‘Other useful ingredients to look out for are brightening vitamin C, plus vitamin E and zinc, which are key for healthy skin,’ says Mahto.

    Scroll through a few more of our favourite toners in the round up below. Your skin will thank you for it.

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