Toners are a match made in heaven for oily skin. They’re great for rebalancing the skin’s pH so it’s not too oily, and not too dry either. And if you have combination skin - read: an oily T-zone but normal to dry skin everywhere else - they can help reduce excess oil along your forehead, nose and chin, without drying out other areas of your face.
But what exactly is a toner?
Toners are one of the most misunderstood and confusing products in our skin care kits, partly because the original toners were all packed with drying and irritating alcohol so skin experts everywhere warned us against using them. But they’ve had a major makeover and now we’re not sure how we ever got by without them. Toners are designed to rebalance skin, which is especially important after cleansing as many face washes can leave skin stripped of its natural oils. Toners restore your skin’s pH level, do one last cleanse to remove any remaining traces of makeup from the skin, and moisten the skin pre-serum so that it can better absorb all the goodness you’re about to layer onto it. Depending on the ingredients inside your toner of choice, they can also rehydrate skin and provide a chemical exfoliation for clearer and brighter skin.
What to look for in an oily skin toner
If you’re looking for a good toner for oily skin, then one enriched with alpha hydroxy acids and/or beta hydroxy acids is a great place to start. Witch hazel also makes an excellent skin toner for oily skin because this natural plant-based astringent can help mop up excess oil, kill bacteria, and reduce inflammation - all big bonuses if you have acne-prone skin.
When should I use a toner
A toner should be used after your cleanser and exfoliant but before your serum and moisturiser. They are meant to be left on the skin and not rinsed off. Start by using your toner every second day; if you don’t experience any irritation then you can up your application to daily, if needed. Soak a cotton pad in your toning solution and wipe over your face.
If you’re on the hunt for the best toner for oily skin in Australia, shop this list of our favourites.
Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Pore-Reducing Toner
Oil-balancing, refreshing, lightly hydrating, and packed with antioxidants, this toner will take good care of your oily skin. And, as the name promises, it helps minimise the size of pores.
Murad Clarifying Toner
This toner is packed with all the essential ingredients you need to get your oily skin under control. Witch hazel helps tighten large pores and remove excess oil; algae extract helps normalise your sebum production; and grapeseed extract and vitamin E protect your complexion against free radical damage throughout the day.
La Roche-Posay Serozinc
Oily skin can be sensitive too, and if you suffer from both of these skin conditions, this is the toner for you. This drugstore toner pampers skin with a light mist that’s refreshing and mattifying. It contains just three ingredients - purified water, healing zinc sulphate and astringent sodium chloride, which work together to target excess oil and blemishes.
Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic 8% Toner
Both oil-controlling and moisturising, this glycolic acid toner works to normalise the skin’s sebum levels and leave skin clean and clear. It also contains sodium PCA to lightly hydrate, and witch hazel to target excess oil.
SkinCeuticals Equalizing Toner
Oil-free, alcohol-free and fragrance-free, this toner helps restore the skin’s pH mantle while also exfoliating (with the help of hydroxy acids) to clear clogged pores. It also has antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties to keep breakouts at bay.
Pixi Glow Tonic
Pixi Beauty’s best-seller costs less than $30 and works on all skin types. But what it does particularly well for oily complexions is getting your greasy shine under control (thanks witch hazel and glycolic acid), while still being gentle on skin. Kim Kardashian, Ellie Goulding and Jourdan Dunn love this toner.
Caudalie Beauty Elixir
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley has been a long-time fan of this multipurpose product. It ticks the toning boxes to get your skin’s sebum production back on track, while giving you a healthy radiance that can be so hard to achieve when you’ve got a whole lot of oily shine getting in the way.
Cosrx AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner
A toner is an important step in Korean skin care routines, so unsurprisingly they have some really exceptional toners. This one contains a high concentration of AHAs (10 per cent apple fruit water plus glycolic acid) and BHAs (10 per cent willow bark water) to exfoliate skin and clean out pores. And in true K-beauty style, it’s affordable, too.
Thayer Natural Remedies Witch Hazel Aloe Vera Formula Alcohol Free Rose Petal Toner
This cheap buy has a loyal following around the world as a go-to face toner for oily skin. It heroes witch hazel to sort out your oily woes, but also aloe vera to soothe irritation and hydrate, and this toner doesn’t contain any alcohol.