11 Best Korean Hydrating Toners for Glowing Skin
Do you feel that toners are a waste of money and that you’re better off without one? Here’s why facial toners are essential and why you should include one in your regimen ASAP.
"Is a facial toner really necessary?”—this is a common question asked about face toners, and many people think it's a skippable step in their skincare routine. If you're one of them, you're missing out on the huge benefits of what this incredible liquid can offer you.
In this article, we'll explain what a toner does for your skin and why it's an vital part of your daily facial care routine to maintain a healthy, glowing complexion.
What is a face toner and what does it do?
Facial toners are typically water-based liquids that help remove last traces of excess oil, makeup, or residue stuck in the pores and prepare the skin for the next step of skincare.
In other words, they are the in-between skin care product for the final stage of cleansing, but before applying essence, serum or moisturizer.
Why are Korean facial toners different from old-fashioned astringents?
Face toners have received a bad reputation in the past few decades. Most people think of toners as the old-fashioned version that contains high levels of alcohol or witch hazel, which is too harsh for the skin. Today, toners are no longer just astringents that cause dryness, stinging or burning sensation.
In Korean skin care, toners play a positive role by making the skin glow from the inside out. Some of them are not only hydrating, but also target an array of skin concerns, such as excessive oiliness, redness, and acne breakouts.
Is a face toner really necessary?
Many people tend to omit a toner especially in their morning skincare routine, but once you find the right one for your skin type, using a toner is a great way to get enviable, glowing skin.
A good toner helps restore skin's pH level, boost hydration, soothe irritated skin or reduce the appearance of blackheads and enlarged pores.
What are the benefits of toner?
Toners can offer numerous benefits for any skin type if you use the right product that fits your current skin condition. These benefits include:
- Rebalancing the pH level of your skin
- Clearing away stubborn makeup and debris after cleansing
- Visibly reduce the appearance of pores
- Exfoliating dead skin cells
- Soothing redness and irritation
- Controlling excess oil and decongesting pores
- Boost hydration and nutrients
- Help improve the absorption of other products
- Keeping the blackheads away
- Improving minor breakouts and blemishes
When and how to use a face toner?
Facial toner should be applied with cotton pads or your (clean) hands at the last step of cleansing, as it removes any remaining dirt and product residue that may have settled in your pores after (double) cleansing.
Double cleansing means washing your face in two steps, first with an oil-based facial cleanser and then with a water-based face cleanser for an ultra-clean face. In the 10-step Korean skincare routine, exfoliation comes right before applying the toner.
After applying the toner, you don't need to wash it off—just let it sit on your skin for a bit so it can be fully soaked up, or press it into your face with your fingertips to help it absorb. In general, facial toners can be used twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening.
(Related blog post: How to do the 10-step Korean skin care routine? )
Do men need to use a skin toner?
It's a common assumption that a toner is only for women, especially those who wear makeup every day. The truth is that the right toner can take a man's basic skin care routine to the next level.
Here's why: men tend to have oily skin and are at higher risk for acne breakouts, and it's these skin types that can benefit the most from a toner.
Facial toners for men offer several benefits, from removing left-over grime, balancing the skin's pH, unclogging and tightening pores, to improving skin tone and texture.
11 Hydrating face toners for every skin type
Huxley Secret of Sahara Toner Extract It
This pH-balancing toner infused with more than 90% naturally derived ingredients and helps improve the skin's moisture barrier to prevent dryness and allow for better absorption of nutrients in subsequent steps.
This antioxidant-rich toner is packed with organic Sahara cactus oil and extract and other botanicals to deliver superior hydration and essential nourishment to the skin, leaving it plump and glowing.
💘 Check out Huxley Toner Extract It
Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner
Using 90% Astragalus membranaceus root extract instead of purified water, this gel-type toner focuses on rebalancing, revitalizing and replenishing moisture, antioxidants and nutrients to dry, dehydrated and dull skin.
Made with 7 gentle ingredients, this low-irritant toner is suitable for even the most sensitive skin types and is free of artificial fragrances, dyes, parabens, alcohol and other harmful chemicals. A great toner for those who like to use the 7 skin method.
*What is the 7-skin method? After cleansing your face, apply a toner or lightweight, watery essence seven times in a row to heal dry, dehydrated skin and give it a glow.
💘 Check out Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner
Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner
The base of this calming facial toner is 80% aloe vera juice, which acts as a humetact to draw moisture from the air and increase water content of the skin. The product is quickly absorbed into the skin without feeling heavy or sticky.
The K-beauty superstar, snail mucin, provides healing and brightening benefits, while salicylic acid gently exfoliates to give skin the clarity and radiance it needs.
💘 Check out Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner
Cosrx Full Fit Propolis Synergy Toner
Abundant with nutrients and antioxidants, Cosrx daily boosting toner is powered with 72.6% black bee propolis and 10% honey extract to help soften, smooth and visibly improve skin condition.
The powerhouse bee propolis boasts anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiseptic and healing properties - perfect for dehydrated, acne-prone and blemished skin.
Benton Snail Bee High Content Skin Toner
With a potent mixture of snail mucin filtrate and a hint of bee venom, this anti-aging formula hydrates, improves skin texture and repairs damaged, scarred skin.
This refreshing toner strengthens and improves the skin's barrier function, protecting it from harmful environmental factors and helping it retain moisture. It is free of harmful ingredients such as alcohol, synthetic fragrances and dyes.
💘 Check out Benton Snail Bee Skin Toner
Cosrx Centella Water Alcohol-Free Toner
A mist-type toner contains 82% mineral water from Jeju Island, 10% Centella Asiatica extract to soothe, clarify and hydrate skin while providing relief to irritated and sensitive skin.
This soothing toner helps restore optimal pH balance after washing your face. Ideal for all skin types, including sensitive, acne-prone, inflamed and red skin.
💘 Check Out Cosrx Centella Water Alcohol-Free Toner
Olivarrier Dual Moist Toning Lotion pH 5.5
This EWG-verified and Cosmos Organic certified mildly acidic toner is excellent for toning, moisturizing and protecting the skin.
Formulated with olive-derived squalene, hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid and ceramides that lock in moisture and regulate oil-moisture balance for a supple and comfortable complexion.
This vegan toner is animal-free, hypoallergenic and contains no parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, dyes, mineral oil or alcohol.
💘 Check out Olivarrier pH 5.5 Toning Lotion
Cosrx One Step Moisture Up Pad
Cosrx's All-in-One Moisture Pads are presoaked with a toner made with propolis extract and hyaluronic acid—a powerful, natural humectant that hydrates and provides skin with additional nutrients to fight off free radicals.
Propolis has excellent antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiseptic and anti-fungal properties that are effective in relieving blemishes, acne and redness. This is a very convenient way to moisturize the skin both in the busy morning and in the lazy evening.
💘 Check out Cosrx Moisturizing Toning Pads
Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Toner
Powered with 50% of three different types of hyaluronic acids including sodium hyaluronate which helps quench the skin’s thirst by acting as a moisture magnet.
Along with powerful humectants, it also contains birch sap, and phyto oligos, which restore a moisture-protecting barrier and leave skin feeling revitalized and well-treated.
Etude House SoonJung PH 5.5 Relief Toner
This ‘Soon Jung’ line is hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic and has a low pH level. It is specially designed for those who are looking for soothing, non-irritating and gentle skin care products.
This mildly acidic toner contains 97% naturally sourced ingredients, including Panthensoside™, which is composed of panthenol and madecassoside to soothe, hydrate and protect the skin. Free of potential irritants such as parabens, artificial fragrances and dyes.
💘 Check out Etude House Soon Jung pH 5.5 Toner
I’m From Rice Toner
A revitalizing, brightening toner with 77.78% Yeoju rice extract that combats dullness, dark spots, uneven skin tone, irritation, and dry and dehydrated skin.
The nutrient-rich formula contains niacinamide (vitamin B3) and purslane - known as a traditional Asian medicinal herb rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and anti-aging components.