These Are the 7 Best Toners for Dehydrated, Flaky Skin, According to Shoppers
Using a toner in your daily regimen can offer a multitude of benefits to the face and neck, especially if it's a formulation that specifically tackles your concerns, such as dry skin. Whether you've always dealt with dryness, have gone overboard on exfoliation, or simply live in a drier climate, regular applications of a hydrating toner can make all the difference in the feel and appearance of your skin.
But that's not all a toner can effectively bring to the skin; according to associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale's School of Medicine, Dr. Mona Gohara, applying a toner after cleansing the skin also paves the way for the rest of your products to absorb more effectively; "Old school toners had a bad rep for being too drying on skin. Newer formulations help add hydration and clear the canvas so to speak, so that other ingredients can penetrate better."
Like most skincare products, not all toners come with a one-size-fits-all approach. While some formulations contain acne-fighting ingredients, such as salicylic acid, which will do wonders for oily or combination skin types, Dr. Gohara, MD, suggests that those with dry complexions opt for nourishing ingredients like "hyaluronic acid, glycerin, or even a bit of rose water." It's also especially vital to avoid toners with alcohol, as the additive can contribute to a compromised moisture barrier and dry out the skin even further.
Navigating all the toner options available can be overwhelming, so we've done the work for you and rounded up the seven best hydrating toners to remedy your dry, flaky skin. You can thank us — and your fellow shoppers — later.
- Best Overall: Paula's Choice Skin Recovery Calming Toner
- Best Budget: Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water
- Best Splurge: Fresh Rose & Hyaluronic Acid Deep Hydration Toner
- Best for Sensitive Skin: Avène Gentle Toning Lotion
- Best Clean: Indie Lee CoQ-10 Toner
- Best Mist: Sukin Organics Hydrating Mist Toner
- Best Exfoliating: InstaNatural Glycolic Acid Toner with Vitamin C
Best Overall: Paula's Choice Skin Recovery Calming Toner
The Paula's Choice Skin Recovery Calming Toner sits at the top of the list for a handful of reasons; the lightweight, milky toner brings skin-defending antioxidants, essential lipids and skin-restoring ingredients to the skin, soothing redness, dry flakes, and dullness upon contact. Reviewers love the cooling effect it has , saying it "calms sensitive skin almost immediately," and even "helps locks in extra moisture" for eczema-prone complexions.
"The area around my nostrils and around my lips tend to be extremely dry, and it looked two shades darker than the rest of my face," wrote one Amazon shopper. "After using this product repeatedly, I saw my skin getting better. There is no nasty smell, and the product does not sting or burn whatsoever."
Shop now: $20; amazon.com
Best Budget: Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water
The Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water brings all the clarifying benefits of the brand's beloved original formulation, but with an extra hydrating boost; the addition of rose water and glycerin instantly soothes sensitive, flakey skin. Not only does it remove waterproof makeup and leftover grime without overdrying, but reviewers say it's irritation-free on their sensitive skin, including around the eye area.
"The rose water and glycerin are amazing humectants that lock in moisture, and my face is visibly vibrant and plump," shared one fan. "The rose water scent is very light, pleasant and non-irritating. The price point is excellent and the amount you get is lasting. I've had my bottle since the end of last year, and I've finished about three-fourths of it."
Shop now: $7; amazon.com
Best Splurge: Fresh Rose & Hyaluronic Acid Deep Hydration Toner
Described as a "true cult classic" by reviewers, this toner from Fresh Beauty remedies a variety of concerns, including large pores, dullness, and uneven texture. Equipped with the powers of hyaluronic acid, rose water, and angelica leaf extract, the deeply hydrating formula rejuvenates stressed-out skin, leaving it soft and supple with every application. Bonus: Each bottle contains real rose petals, making it all the more special.
Sephora shoppers claim their skin has "never been better" since adding the toner into their routine, and love how it doesn't "strip their skin," and instead leaves it feeling "wonderfully fresh."
Shop now: $45; sephora.com
Best for Sensitive Skin: Avène Gentle Toning Lotion
For those that struggle to implement new products due to extremely fickle skin, this gentle toning lotion from Avène is a safe bet. It helps to reset the skin's pH balance after over-cleansing, and even protects against pollution. Use it as a makeup remover, or as precursor to your moisturizer for additional soothing and hydrating benefits. Your skin will soak up the toner's main ingredient, thermal spring water, which has been clinically proven by 170 brand studies to calm the skin effectively.
It's "one of the best toners out there," claims one Avène customer. "I have searched for a gentle toner that is safe for sensitive skin and finally found it. This toner is great for skin prep and I use it twice daily before my serum and day or night cream. It has helped calm redness and dull sections of my skin."
Shop now: $20; aveneusa.com
Best Natural: Indie Lee CoQ-10 Toner
If you're seeking a paired-down, simple formula, the Indie Lee CoQ-10 Toner is one of the best options out there. It's free of alcohol, fragrance, parabens, and essential oils, and instead brings aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, chamomile, and cucumber to the skin, leaving it refreshed and nourished.
Ulta shoppers have bought and used multiple bottles — one person said they "can't keep track of how many they've gone through" — and refer to it as a "staple product" in their daily lives.
"This is my third repurchase of this incredible toner," shared one reviewer. "I love that it is multi-purpose and feels good on the skin, but more than that, it is effective. Love that it's clean, green, and in sustainable packaging."
Shop now: $34; ulta.com
Best Mist: Sukin Organics Hydrating Mist Toner
The vegan and cruelty-free formula from Sukin Organics features chamomile and rosewater to moisturize and purify stressed-out skin. It can be spritzed onto the face before and after using a cleanser, and even over makeup for a quick refresh. Amazon shoppers are fans of the light floral scent and say it keeps their skin "feeling wonderful throughout the day."
As one reviewer said, "I just recently discovered Sukin skincare products and have to say I love the ones I have tried. I wish there was more availability for them, so [I] really appreciate the ones offered on Amazon. The Hydrating Mist Toner is, like the rest I have tried, remarkable. My skin has never felt and looked better."
Shop now: $9; amazon.com
Best Exfoliating: InstaNatural Glycolic Acid Toner with Vitamin C
To refine the complexion without irritation, reviewers say the InstaNatural Glycolic Acid Toner with Vitamin C is the toner for the job. The exfoliating benefits of glycolic acid, brightening effects of Vitamin C, and hydrating powers of hyaluronic acid unite to minimize the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and large pores, and combat dullness. The multi-purpose treatment also preps the skin for a more effective absorption of the rest of your skincare.
"This toner has a very light smell and feels great on the skin, especially if you store it in your refrigerator," wrote one shopper. "Great for that dull-looking skin that needs a pick-me-up, or on a hot day when you just want something refreshing on your face. This toner is the best toner that I have ever used."
Shop now: $15; amazon.com