14 Best Toners For Sensitive Skin – 2020

by Ramona Sinha
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Sensitive skin breaks out easily. This skin type reacts badly to a lot of ingredients. That’s why you have to be careful when picking something for sensitive skin. A toner is one skin care product that keeps the skin comfortable and maintains a healthy skin balance. You need to pick the right formula and avoid any ingredient that might irritate your skin. We have compiled a list of the best toners for sensitive skin that will pamper your skin without any damage. Take a look.

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Best Pick:  Thayers Facial Toner
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Dickinson's Enhanced Witch Hazel Hydrating Toner
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InstaNatural Vitamin C Toner
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Best Of K-Beauty: Dear, Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner
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Foxbrim Naturals Orange Blossom Water Face Toner
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Best AHA-Based: Proactiv Revitalizing Toner
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Mario Badescu Aloe Vera Toner
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Secret Key Aloe Soothing Moist Toner
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Tree To Tub Ginseng Green Tea Hyaluronic Repair Toner
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Paula's Choice SKIN RECOVERY Calming Toner
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14 Best Toners For Sensitive Skin

1. Best Pick:  Thayers Facial Toner

The Thayers Facial Toner contains witch hazel, rose petal extracts, and aloe vera. It helps add moisture to your skin, remove impurities, and protect the skin from damage. Witch hazel helps tighten your skin pores and make it smooth without drying.

Key Ingredient(s): Witch Hazel

Pros

  • Alcohol-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Certified organic ingredients
  • Propylene glycol-free

Cons

  • May dry out the skin.

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2. Dickinson’s Enhanced Witch Hazel Hydrating Toner

This is an alcohol-free formula and contains witch hazel extracts. It helps keep your skin soft and supple by removing all traces of dust and impurities. The hyaluronic acid in this formula keeps the skin hydrated, and vitamin E and aloe vera prevent moisture loss.

Key Ingredient(s): Rosewater, Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin E

Pros

  • Alcohol-free
  • Contains 98% natural witch hazel distillate
  • Dye-free
  • Soap-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Does not cause dryness
  • Does not irritate the skin

Cons

  • Contains artificial fragrance

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3. InstaNatural Vitamin C Toner

This Vitamin C toner contains MSM that easily penetrates the skin to improve its elasticity. All the ingredients in this toner help reduce excess oil. The vitamin E and glycolic acid in the toner ensure to restore the natural pH levels without causing any dryness.

Key Ingredient(s):  Witch hazel, MSM, Lavender & Geranium Oils

Pros

  • Paraben-free
  • SLS and SLES-free
  • Mineral oil-free
  • No formaldehyde releasers
  • Synthetic dye-free
  • DEA/MEA/TEA-free
  • Cruelty-free
  • Polyethylene glycol-free
  • No unsafe preservatives

Cons

  • Unpleasant smell

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4. Best Of K-Beauty: Dear, Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner

This toner has a fast-absorbing formula that improves your skin’s hydration levels, balances the pH, and calms your skin. It has a viscous essence or serum-like texture and can easily replace the serum from your skin care routine. Moreover, ingredients like Centella Asiatica, hyaluronic acid, and beta-glucan soothe and calm sensitive skin immediately.

Key Ingredient(s): Centella Asiatica, Hyaluronic Acid, Beta-glucan

Pros

  • Paraben-free
  • Mineral oil-free
  • Synthetic dye-free
  • Does not irritate the skin
  • Does not cause breakouts

Cons

None

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5. Foxbrim Naturals Orange Blossom Water Face Toner

This is a multi-use Moroccan orange blossom floral water and a natural, alcohol-free toner. The orange blossom water is a natural astringent loaded with antimicrobial properties that keep your skin healthy. This toner helps balance your skin pH, improves suppleness, and promotes healing and cell regeneration.

Key Ingredient(s): Orange Blossom Floral Water

Pros

  • Vegan
  • Cruelty-free
  • 100% natural
  • Alcohol-free
  • Refreshing fragrance
  • Removes excess dirt

Cons

  • Takes time to show a visible effect.

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6. Best AHA-Based: Proactiv Revitalizing Toner

This alcohol-free toner contains glycolic acid, an AHA that helps exfoliate your skin gently, remove dead skin cells, regulate excess sebum production, and keep your skin clean and healthy. It contains botanical extracts like aloe vera, witch hazel, chamomile, allantoin, and panthenol (vitamin B complex) that help refine your skin pores and reduce skin irritation.

Key ingredient(s): Glycolic Acid, Witch Hazel

Pros

  • Alcohol-free
  • Reduces breakouts
  • Reduces acne inflammation

Cons

  • Contains imidazolidinyl urea
  • Contains parabens
  • Contains artificial color

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7. Mario Badescu Aloe Vera Toner

This toner sweeps away dust and residue from your skin and keeps it refreshed. The aloe toner by Mario Badescu is extremely gentle on your skin. It has a non-drying formula and does not contain irritants.

Key Ingredient(s): Aloe Vera

Pros

  • Alcohol-free
  • Non-drying
  • Fragrance-free

Cons

  • Contains propylene glycol
  • Contains parabens
  • Contains artificial color

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8. Secret Key Aloe Soothing Moist Toner

This soothing aloe toner does not contain any harmful chemicals and easily wipes out the residue of makeup dust and impurities from your skin pores, leaving them clean. This helps in preventing breakouts and reduces skin irritation. You can also use this toner as a hydration pack if your skin needs intense hydration.

Key Ingredient(s): Aloe Vera

Pros

  • Paraben-free
  • Benzophenone-free
  • No chemical preservatives
  • Refreshing
  • Pleasant fragrance
  • Non-drying
  • Mineral oil-free

Cons

  • Strong smell

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9. Best Clean Toner: Tree To Tub Ginseng Green Tea Hyaluronic Repair Toner

This hyaluronic acid toner has a unique skin-balancing formula that contains healing vitamins like B5, C, and E. It contains ginseng extracts that promote blood circulation, brighten your skin, and soothe inflammation. The other ingredients, like witch hazel, aloe vera, chamomile, and grapefruit seed extracts, keep your skin calm. It has a pH of 5.5.

Key Ingredient(s): Ginseng, Hyaluronic Acid

Pros

  • No harsh chemicals
  • No skin irritants
  • Dermatologist recommended
  • Sulfate-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Silicone-free
  • DEA/MEA-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Cruelty-free
  • Vegan
  • Fair-trade

Cons

  • Expensive

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10. Paula’s Choice SKIN RECOVERY Calming Toner

This hydrating and soothing skin toner reduces flaky skin caused by excessive dryness and helps revitalize your skin. It fights the signs of aging, reduces redness, and nourishes your skin with antioxidants that enable your skin to cope with the environmental stress. It delivers essential lipids, antioxidants, and skin-restoring ingredients to keep your skin healthy.

Key Ingredient(s): Vitamin E, Primrose

Pros

  • Fragrance-free
  • Non-irritating
  • Paraben-free
  • Cruelty-free
  • No harsh chemicals

Cons

  • Might cause an allergic reaction.

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11. Avène Eau Thermale Gentle Toning Lotion

This is an alcohol-free bi-phase toner that nourishes your skin, keeps it healthy, and prevents any damage caused by harmful free radicals. It helps reduce the effect of constant dust and pollution exposure. This product matches the natural pH level of your skin, so it will not irritate your skin. It protects the skin’s natural barrier. You have to shake it to activate the ingredients before using it.

Key Ingredient(s): Avène Thermal Spring Water

Pros

  • Hypoallergenic
  • Paraben-free
  • Soy-free
  • Soap-free
  • Alcohol-free
  • Oil-free
  • Gluten-free

Cons

  • Contains artificial fragrance
  • Contains PEG

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12. Pixi Vitamin Wakeup Mist

This is a treatment toner mist that claims to revitalize and brighten your skin. It has an orange blossom water base, which is infused with lavender and citrus extracts and arginine that keep your skin healthy, boost the moisture levels and form a protective veil on it. Spritz it on your skin to make it feel awakened and refreshed. 

Key Ingredient(s): Orange Blossom & Citrus Extracts

Pros

  • Suitable for all skin types
  • No animal testing

Cons

  • Contains polyethylene glycol

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13. ZO Skin Health Calming Toner

This is a calming pH-balanced toner that removes dirt and impurities from the skin. This s specially formulated for sensitive skin and helps soothe troubled and weak skin. It contains witch hazel that reduces the appearance of skin pores, along with a blend of hyaluronic acid, allantoin, and panthenol that conditions, moisturizes and calms the skin.

Key Ingredient(s): Witch Hazel

Pros

  • Paraben-free
  • No harsh chemicals

Cons

  • Contains artificial fragrance

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14. Environ Youth EssentiA Vita-Peptide Toner

This is a concentrated toner and contains a blend of peptides that keeps your skin healthy, improves elasticity and skin tone, and reduces the appearance of wrinkles. It removes residual makeup, dirt, or soap and maintains the natural pH balance.

Note: The Environ products are “consultation-only” products as they contain a high level of active ingredients. Do not use it without consulting a skin specialist or expert.

Key Ingredient(s): Peptides (Matrixyl)

Pros

  • Contains Matrixyl (peptide for collagen-boosting)
  • Contains witch hazel

Cons

None

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[ Also Try – Clinique Clarifying Lotion 2 ]

You cannot pick toners randomly for your skin. You need to avoid the possible irritants and choose one that addresses your skin issues. Here are a few tips.

How To Pick The Right Toner For Sensitive Skin

There are two things you have to be careful about when choosing a toner for sensitive skin:

1. The Ingredients

Avoid any ingredients that might irritate the skin or you are allergic to. Alcohol and essential oils are the common ingredients that might irritate your skin and should be avoided. Look for calming ingredients like rose, chamomile, cucumber extracts, hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, lavender, witch hazel, and willow bark extracts. Ensure that you are not allergic to any of these ingredients before using the products.

2. Skin Concerns

It is better to match your skin issues with the product that you are using. If your skin feels dry, try a rehydrating toner. If your skin is hyper-sensitive and super-irritated, use pH-balancing toners. If you have mature skin and acne issues, use exfoliating toners. These skin conditions can be chronic or short-lived. Whatever the issue is, adjust your toner accordingly.

Sensitive skin gets irritated when the pH balance is thrown out of whack.  A toner helps maintain the ideal pH balance and the micro-flora of your skin. Moreover, it ensures that your skin is cleansed properly and does not contain any traces of residue. After toning, your skin becomes more receptive to the skin care ingredient you will apply. We hope that this guide helps you pick the right toner for your sensitive skin.

Expert’s Answers for Readers Questions

Can toner irritate the skin?

Yes, only if it contains ingredients that do not suit your skin. Check the ingredients before buying. Alcohol is one of the most common irritants, so do not go for alcohol-based toners.

Is toner necessary for sensitive skin?

It is not a necessity. However, toner helps to clean the residue of cleanser or soap that might irritate the skin and prepare your skin for the next skin care steps. Using a toner is good for the skin, but it is not a necessity.

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Ramona Sinha

Ramona is a journalist-turned-content writer. She holds a Master’s degree in English Literature and has been writing for the digital world for over five years. She specializes in writing for Skin Care. She has done a certificate course titled ‘Dermatology: Trip To The Skin’, offered by Novosibirsk State University. She believes that beauty begins with a good skin care regimen and is on a mission to eliminate all toxins from her routine. She helps and guides readers in selecting products and ingredients specific to their skin type/issue. When Ramona is not working, her books and passion for music, good food, and traveling keep her busy.
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