This Spring, we’d like to set the tone for a great skincare routine. We are counting down the top 10 clean, natural skin toners as part of our Au Naturale skincare statement. There tends to be a split vote on whether or not this step is essential. While it’s definitely not as important as your cleanser, serum, or moisturizer, a good toner can clarify, brighten, balance out your skin’s PH, and give you that squeaky clean feeling you want from a proper skincare routine. But be cautious- some toners tend to irritate and strip the skin, throwing its natural sebum production off balance. So how does one know which toner is king? We break it down for you.
1. ROSE WATER
You really cannot go wrong with this single-ingredient, all-natural option. Created by distilling rose petals in steam, we could honestly rave all day about the benefits of this magical concoction. It has anti-inflammatory properties, and helps soothe various skin irritations, making it a win for sensitive skin folks such as your girl. Its antibacterial properties help reduce skin redness and inflammation caused by acne. A refreshing spritz of rose water in the am can reduce morning puffiness. It also aids in preventing wrinkles, keeping skin soft and youthful. Not to mention the smell- every spritz will whisk you away to a romantic garden paradise. If you are just venturing into the toner world and are unsure of which ingredients best suit your skin, the soothing, hydrating and calming properties of rose water is a great place to start!
Another classic skincare ingredient that has been used for centuries to treat various skin conditions, due to its antiseptic properties. Witch hazel’s branches were once used as divining rods- their purpose was to locate sources of water, or “witch” a well. To this day, witch hazel possesses enduring magical qualities to treat skin! One of the most well-known benefits is to treat acne through its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It contains potent antioxidant compounds such as tannins and polyphenols, which have been shown to help prevent the signs of aging and skin damage. Soaking a bit of this ancient elixir on a cotton pad after your cleanser will help eliminate the bacteria that are the building blocks for acne and inflammation. Its natural astringent properties also “cool” and “tighten” the skin, making it perfect for treating irritated and itchy spots (insect bites included). This one-ingredient wonder does it all, and is super affordable- we love this one by Thayers.
Not every toner is built the same. Some prefer their toner to moisturize, some to kill acne-causing bacteria, and others to exfoliate. However, nobody wants their liquid exfoliant leaving their skin raw and exposed. Introducing this fabulous lactic acid- infused toner by Freck. Super gentle yet effective on the skin, instead of drying out the oil like a harsh astringent, it helps lift away the dead skin cells and junk often left behind by your cleanser. The lactic-acid is a great exfoliating ingredient for sensitive skin. Plus, cactus flower and kelp extracts further add to this toner’s soothing properties.
Oatmeal may be a staple breakfast item, but did you know that it has also been recommended by traditional derms and doctors to help soothe sensitive skin? Fans of natural and holistic skincare have been using colloidal oatmeal to calm sensitive skin for a long time. Wild oat extract and propolis (a magical, healing ingredient known to be the byproduct of making honey), hydrate, soothe, and strengthen. Put a couple of drops on a pad and prepare to feel refreshed without agitating unruly skin!
Beta Hydroxy Acid (also known as salicylic acid), is the perfect acne-fighting companion. It sheds built-up layers of skin, and penetrates deep to kill acne-causing bacteria before it even has a chance to strike. This toner doubles as a gentle, leave-on exfoliating treatment that sloughs off dead skin, unclogging pores and leaving your skin smooth and texture-free. BHA is also a great anti-aging ingredient- it prevents wrinkles, brightens, and evens out the skin tone. It has a lightweight texture that absorbs quickly into the skin, and does double duty on clearing and minimizing enlarged pores. A cult favourite amongst the beauty community, this treatment is better off being used 1-2 times a week at the start- don’t worry, you can always build up as you go along (you’re probably going to want to once you start seeing the results).
Definitely on the pricier end of toners, but we wouldn’t be putting it on here if it wasn’t worth the splurge. What we love about this brand is its integration of both eastern and western medicine into its skincare. This dewy face mist includes a blend of all-natural, botanical and herbal ingredients, such as bespoke flower essences and essential oils of Persian rose, white oak, neroli, river cane bamboo, aloe, and more. Hydrating and invigorating, this mist will calm your senses and make every trip to your sink feel like a spa experience. Breathe in the calming scents and prepare to say “ahhhhhh…” against your better judgement.
Another bougie toner we just had to include- this perfectly delicate, perfectly soothing face mist enrobes you in a gorgeous bouquet of exotic scents. Antioxidant-rich rose, jasmine, vanilla, and cocoa invigorates your senses, while aromatic jasmine ties in this alluring symphony of scents. This toner has the coolest ingredients such as colloidal silver, which has natural anti-bacterial properties and helps tame acne. Witch hazel is another star of the show you now know all too well, helping to further cleanse the skin and shrink pores.
It has been known for millennia that some of the best skincare ingredients out there can be found in the depths of the sea. Instead of growing a mermaid tail, dive into this refreshing toner by Osea, a california-based brand obsessed with ocean-derived ingredients. Algae stimulates cell renewal, and block enzymes that break down hyaluronic acid and collagen; in short, it keeps you young! Aloe vera calms irritated skin, and dead sea salt is rich with unique minerals for the skin. Feel one with the water with every spritz of this magical ocean tonic.
We had to add another exfoliating toner to the list. This toner is an absolute win for the oily-skinned and acne-prone. It is made with a blend of both natural AHAs and BHAs. They work in tandem to slough off dead skin, keep oil production in the skin regulated throughout the day, and deep clean the pores. Willow bark extract is a natural BHA (or salicylic acid) that goes deep into the pores to dissolve excess oil. Lactic acid is a natural AHA from yeast and works more on the top layer of skin, doing away with surface-level impurities. A derivative of azelaic acid brings this acne-fighting combo home by helping fight redness. A must-have to keep acne and uneven skin at bay!
Last but not least, we’ve included this delightfully floral toner by Savor Beauty. This delicate bouquet of floral extracts is chock-full of benefits. Lavender, a sensorially calming favorite, calms and reduces redness; rose water hydrates and soothes; neroli blossom balances oils; finally, lemongrass reinvigorates tired skin cells. We love supporting an indie brand- this potent potion is made in small batches in upstate New York, so you can rest assured that every bottle is crafted with tlc.
Armed with new skincare wisdom, we hope you venture out into the world making good, clean choices- your skin will thank you!