A good skincare routine is vital to keep oily skin under control. Of course, removing your makeup and cleansing are obvious steps to stave off the shine, but toning is easily forgotten. Toner is the crucial step that helps rebalance the skin's pH and prepares it for any further treatments, and can completely change the game for those with oily skin in both the short and long term.
Whether you're after a toner for sensitive, acne-prone skin or skin with large pores, an alcohol-free or cruelty-free product, or you're trying to choose between budget buys or brands like Clarins and Kiehl's, we've broken down the steps to follow in finding your perfect pick. We'll also share our top 10 products available from Amazon, John Lewis and Boots.
The skin's sebaceous glands, found under the skin's surface, naturally produce sebum, which is an oily substance made of fats. The production of sebum is healthy, as it helps to protect the skin from infection, and keeps the skin from drying out by moisturising it.
However, oily skin can occur when the sebaceous glands produce excess oil, resulting in a "shiny" or "greasy" appearance of the skin. In addition to this, oily skin can be more prone to clogged pores, which can result in breakouts and the pores appearing larger, all of which can lead to imperfections in the skin's surface.
For these reasons, it is important to keep the level of oil production under control, for smooth and clear skin. Toners can help to clean and reduce the appearance of the pores, while also tightening the cell gaps after cleansing, as well as balancing oil production.
In this section, we'll dive into what exactly you should be looking for in your oil-combating toner, including which ingredients will work in your favour and which you should exercise some caution with.
Your skin should generally be at a pH level of 5.5, which is slightly acidic. Oily skin tends to be a higher pH, so finding a toner that is going to restore your skin's natural pH level is important. We advise looking into the ingredients of your toner to best gauge how it will interact with your skin.
To specify, we are focusing on alcohols like ethanol, methanol, isopropyl or ethyl. Alcohol was once a very popular ingredient in skincare targeted for oily skin, as it has antiseptic properties that kill bacteria, and it can often feel very comfortable on oily skin as it dries quickly meaning that you don't feel like there is any leftover product on your face.
Precisely the reason that it can feel so instantly comfortable is that it can contribute to the breaking down of the skin's natural barrier, which can conversely cause it to make your skin more susceptible to bacteria or other outside aggressors.
Moreover, alcohol can cause the skin to dry out a little bit too much. When the skin becomes very dehydrated, it can then be encouraged to produce more oil leading you into another cycle of oily skin!
Oily skin tends to be more resilient than dry skin, and sometimes it can handle these ingredients, and even benefit from their presence in small amounts. However, we strongly advise being careful when using a product with a high alcohol concentration or even consider going alcohol-free.
The active ingredients in your skincare are the ingredients that deliver the product's desired effects. For a toner, your active ingredients will be the ones working to rebalance the oil levels in your skin! Active ingredients we recommend looking for fall under the category of Alpha Hydroxy Acids, or AHAs.
These are acids derived from foods whose main benefit is to improve skin cell turnover rate – that is, the rate at which your skin renews. This is important as it stops your pores from getting clogged, improves the absorbency and effectiveness of your skincare, and clears away excess oil from the skin.
Specific AHAs we advise that you look out for are glycolic, citric, salicylic, and lactic acids. You will find that they help to remove dead skin cells and excess oil from the face, improving your complexion and tackling acne, too.
One of the most frustrating results of having oily skin is that it can result in more frequent acne breakouts, which can lead to scars or discolouration.
If you have experiences with the after-effects of acne breakouts, we advise looking for a toner that includes ingredients like niacinamide and vitamin C. These both help to correct hyperpigmentation, which is what causes those scars and discoloured patches to be so visible!
Although some toners will be marketed as specifically for oily skin, we also advise keeping an eye out for properties such as 'balancing', 'clarifying', 'purifying', and 'refining'. Oily skin is caused by irregularity in sebum production, so ultimately you are looking to regulate it again, and these terms let you know that they'll help with that.
If you have super oily skin, we also recommend looking for toners that promise to be 'mattifying' and 'astringent'. Although these may not be suitable in the long-term (they can eventually dry out the skin for some people), on a short term basis they can really help reduce the appearance of shine by stripping your face of excess oils.
It is becoming increasingly common for us as consumers to look into the origins of our products, and to understand what goes into making them. Skincare enthusiasts are no different, and brands understand this.
Increasingly, we see skincare being produced in cruelty-free ways (by eliminating the presence of animal products or derivatives) and using more sustainable, natural ingredients. Choosing which products you put on your face is a very personal decision, so when making your selection be sure to check if the manufacturer lets you know how their products are being made.
Now that we've covered the ingredients to keep an eye out for, and the aspects to take into consideration, let us take you through our top toner selection. Some of our choices are for very oily skin, while others are for combination to oily, so you're sure to find the perfect toner for your skin type!
|Key Ingredients||Camphor, menthol, sodium PCA|
|Additional Properties||Astringent, soothing|
|Key Ingredients||Coneflower extract and vitamins C & E, rice amino acids, orange fruit extract|
|Additional Properties||Revitalizing, brightening|
|Key Ingredients||LHA (Lipo-Hydroxy Acid), salicylic acid|
|Additional Properties||Micro-exfoliant, hypoallergenic, astringent|
|Key Ingredients||Natural salicylic acid, grape-Seed polyphenols|
|Additional Properties||Purifying, refining|
|Additional Properties||Cleansing, rebalancing, purifying|
|Key Ingredients||Lavender, saponins from quillaja wood, sweet betty flower|
|Additional Properties||Balancing, softening|
|Key Ingredients||Calendula petals, natural extracts|
|Additional Properties||Balancing, soothing|
|Key Ingredients||Organic thyme essential oil, organic barley water, salicylic acid|
|Additional Properties||Purifying, mattifying|
|Key Ingredients||tea extract|
|Additional Properties||Balancing, pore-refining|
|Key Ingredients||Meadowsweet, witch hazel|
|Additional Properties||Purifying, detoxifying|
Purifying Toning Lotion
B & Tea Balancing Toner
Thyme Perfecting Toner
Calendula Herbal Extract Alcohol-Free Toner
Balancing Lavender Toner
Grapefruit Toning Lotion
Vinopure Clear Skin Purifying Toner
Effaclar Clarifying Lotion
Blue Astringent Herbal Lotion
An Aquatic Plant Formula That Will Naturally Restore a Healthy Balance of Bacteria
Rebalance Your Skin Gently With Added Provitamin B5
An Ethical, Budget-Friendly Choice to Purify and Mattify
A Soothing Toner With Gentle Natural Ingredients
A Gentle Solution to Rebalance the Skin
A High-End Toner to Clarify and Prepare the Skin for the Rest of Your Routine
Refine and Rebalance With This Sensitive-Skin-Friendly Toner
An Astringent Toner for Sensitive Skin
A Toner Rich in Active Ingredients to Help Combat Skin Imperfections
A Cornerstone Toner and Treatment for Combating Oily Skin and Imperfections
|Key Ingredients||Meadowsweet, witch hazel||tea extract||Organic thyme essential oil, organic barley water, salicylic acid||Calendula petals, natural extracts||Lavender, saponins from quillaja wood, sweet betty flower||Grapefruit||Natural salicylic acid, grape-Seed polyphenols||LHA (Lipo-Hydroxy Acid), salicylic acid||Coneflower extract and vitamins C & E, rice amino acids, orange fruit extract||Camphor, menthol, sodium PCA|
|Additional Properties||Purifying, detoxifying||Balancing, pore-refining||Purifying, mattifying||Balancing, soothing||Balancing, softening||Cleansing, rebalancing, purifying||Purifying, refining||Micro-exfoliant, hypoallergenic, astringent||Revitalizing, brightening||Astringent, soothing|
|Volume||200 ml||200 ml||150 ml||500 ml||200 ml||250 ml||200 ml||200 ml||180 ml||250 ml|
As you've probably noticed on your search for shine-reducing skincare, there are dozens of products on the shelves catering to oil-prone complexions. To help you decipher which of them will really work for you and your skin, take a look at our related articles.
It can be frustrating to deal with oily skin, as it can be all too easy to do too much or not enough! Hopefully we have been able to help you in narrowing down your choices for the perfect toner to add to your skincare routine to help combat the shine.
Author: Hannah Kato
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