The path to choosing the right toner for men could be a bit tricky for those who are not familiar with the offerings in local drugstores and beauty shops. Men's skin also needs tender care because lathering bar soap on the face just does not cut it anymore, given the kind of environment we live in and the stress and pollutants that come with it.
Most often, however, men are oblivious to what their skin type is and what kind of care and pampering it requires. In this article, we'll provide you with a guide on your toner purchases, with some comments and tips from dermatologist Dr. Katrina Erika Habaluyas Luz. We have also culled a list of the top 10 toners are in the market today.
Dr. Katrina Habaluyas Luz is the face behind Ask Your Derma. She is a board-certified dermatologist in Metro Manila. She is also an educator and digital creator on all things skin, hair, and nails. She is a Diplomate of the Philippine Dermatological Society and offers online video consultations. You can also catch her on her Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube channel.
Our recommendation articles are carefully researched and crafted by the mybest Philippines team of writers and editors. To stay true to our company’s mission and vision to help users’ selection process easier, we also collaborate with experts from various fields to ensure that our content stays factual and useful.
The expert oversees the Buying Guide only, and does not determine the products and services featured.
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Toners have evolved from what used to be a typical astringent to products infused with minerals and amino acids ideal for treating one's specific skin concern, such as maintaining pH balance and moisture on the skin surface.
Toners are called the way they are because they aid the skin in retaining a healthier and natural skin tone, as opposed to facial skin darkened by gunk, blackheads, and the like. With the way toners are produced, they flawlessly remove unwanted debris, excess oil, and dirt off your skin, while cleansing clogged pores and giving them a smaller appearance in the process.
To tone or not to tone? Now, that is the question! First of all, what are toners? Toners used to be equated to alcohol-based astringents used for reducing oiliness of the skin. However, new toners are now more versatile. They're usually water-based. Some may still act as astringents but there are newer ones such as hydrating toners or "active"-infused toners.
Toners have these potential benefits:
Here are some key points to consider:
For more detailed information, read through our buying guide below.
The efficacy of toners largely depends not only on the ingredients which comprise it but, most especially, on your skin type which any men should be meticulously conscious about when buying toners. Your skin should be taken beyond its face value, to say the least.
Most men are not normally bothered by the sizes of their pores but, generally, they care about breaking out and how to put an end to it. They should go for products with salicylic acid as the main ingredient as it removes the excess oil and dead skin while gently exfoliating the skin surface, increasing collagen production, and cell regeneration.
Witch hazel, on the one hand, known for its botanical astringent properties, is all the rave for cleansing and tightening pores, and at the same time purifying, refreshing, and healing the skin. Alcohol may be your best friend as a potent ingredient in refining pores while slowing down the tendencies of breakouts by preventing gunk from getting cozy inside the pores.
On the other hand, bentonite clay forms from volcanic ash containing minerals namely, magnesium, iron, and calcium, which absorbs substances it comes in contact with which is good for removing impurities from the skin to treat acne and reducing the risk of skin infections.
Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid that is lipid-soluble, making it an attractive ingredient for oily skin. It penetrates inside pores and removes oil and debris. A study by Pagnoni, A. et al., which delved into the clinical evaluation of a salicylic acid toner, showed a significant reduction in blackheads both in clinical grading and subject self-assessment after using a salicylic acid toner.
Witch hazel, on the other hand, has been used topically as an astringent and anti-bacterial treatment for skin to alleviate inflammation caused by acne. Between the two, I'd go for salicylic acid as it has more science backing it up. Make sure to patch test before adding either to your regimen.
People with dry skin should stay away from toners with high alcohol concentration and salicylic acid. With this skin type, alcohol may not be exactly what you'd bargain for, as it dries out your face more than it does others.
Instead, look for products containing glycerin, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, and other essential oils and fruit extracts as their active properties soften, and nourish and smoothen the skin.
If you have dry skin, definitely you'd need to avoid an alcohol-based or astringent toner as it can dry out your skin further and even strip it off its natural oils.
There are hydrating toners now in the market which contain ingredients such as hyaluronic acid or glycerin. These can give you extra hydration. But of course, your moisturizer and hydrating serums can achieve the same results.
Dryness in men's faces is often caused by shaving creams of harsh substances and a lack of overall skincare. Besides, in light of the more strenuous activities men engage in, their skin runs the risk of over-exposure to stressful physical conditions. These are the three blunders that lead their skin from dryness to sensitivity.
Natural moisturizing factors found in most amino acids are key in restoring and retaining the moisture inside the stratum corneum of the skin. Chamomile, aloe vera, lavender, and rose oils are just a few toner components for the benefit of your sensitive skin. Toners with alcohol should be avoided at all cost.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and, thus, are critical to metabolic function. Natural moisturizing factor (NMF), which provides intracellular hydration, is derived from the breakdown of filaggrin (an important protein in the skin). It is broken down into... guess what? Yes, free amino acids, including histidine, glutamine (glutamic acid), and arginine.
These amino acids remain inside the skin cells and avidly bind to water. So if you have sensitive and/or dry skin, amino acids can maintain the skin’s hydration and give an overall healthy appearance.
This skin type simultaneously has an oily T-zone stretching across the forehead and down the nose and chin, and dry surfaces in the other areas of the face. To address this, it's best to find toners with lactic acid, coenzyme Q10, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin.
Products with such formulations gently hydrate the skin and soothe sensitive skin areas as well. This evens out the oiliness in some areas while retaining moisture where it is most needed.
If you have combination skin, you'd want to look for a toner that addresses both the oily T-zone and the dry areas of the skin. A good balance would be a lightweight hydrating toner.
Remember, hydrating toners would still come in varying textures and consistencies. So for combination skin, a thin or lightweight hydrating toner may be a good choice! The best would be to try it out and see how your skin reacts and feels after application. For this one, balance is key!
Though skin aging is inevitable, some toners can help mitigate the appearance of tired and mature-looking skin. For men who want to achieve younger-looking skin, choosing toners enriched with free-radical-targeting vitamins, such as Vitamin C, and glycolic or alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) is also all the rage in the upkeep for aging skin.
AHA allows the resurfacing of smoother and younger skin from below through its chemical exfoliant potent in dissolving dead skin cells bonds. Unlike lactic acid, glycolic penetrates the skin more deeply due to its water solubility.
Soothing toners containing strong antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds while remaining free of synthetic fragrances, parabens, and alcohol should be the go-to components for toner designed for aging, sensitive skin.
Clinical trials have shown the effectiveness of hydroxy acids in reversing the effects of photoaging, improving wrinkles, skin elasticity, and hydration. For mature skin, a good option is glycolic acid. AHAs' benefits include exfoliation, reduction of fine lines and wrinkles, collagen synthesis, skin lightening, and moisturization.
In addition to AHAs, certain vitamins have also been shown to provide anti-aging benefits. Niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3 has been shown to improve fine lines and wrinkles, dark spots, blotchiness as well as elasticity.
Vitamin C, an antioxidant, has been shown to protect the skin from UV-induced damage. Vitamin E, another antioxidant, has been shown to prevent UV-induced skin damage and can also improve moisture content and barrier function of the skin.
Just because your skin is neither dry nor oily does not grant you the excuse to skip your toner. Ingredients such as hyaluronic acid will give you a hydrated, softer look and feel, so don't forget to add this to your cart.
Don't skimp on toners with additives like cucumber extract, aloe vera, rose, chamomile extract, and hyaluronic acid. These ingredients maintain the skin's health and pH levels while leaving you with that calm and relaxed look on your face.
The great thing about normal skin is that it can tolerate a wider range of ingredients, and thus, you can choose a product based on preference. This doesn't mean that you're 100% off the hook when it comes to irritation. Patch testing is a must before adding any new player to your regimen.
If you don't mind that much, you may also invest in products to complement the toner of your choice. You might want to wash your face first before the toner ritual. Moisture your face, as well, before hitting the sack.
Watch your diet, too. You are what you eat, so they say. So when you skimp on the nutrients, minerals, and vitamins essential in maintaining your body and skin's health, it will show on your skin.
Toners are but topical, band-aid solutions to your skin nightmares. You have to cure your skin from within. So, next time you hit that 'Add to Cart' button on your phone, be sure to familiarize yourself with these tips.
Usually, the basics of a skincare routine are: cleanse, treat, moisturize, and protect (sunscreen!). Definitely, it would be good to create a skincare routine that is suited to your skin type and skin needs.
Aside from a skincare routine, an overall healthy lifestyle can give you so many benefits. This includes eating healthy, exercising, and avoiding bad habits such as smoking. Healthy skin is more than skin deep!
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Facial Fuel Energizing Tonic for Men
An Invigorating and Energizing Toner Infused With Caffeine
Clinique for Men
Oil Control Exfoliating Tonic
Say Goodbye to Acne and Excess Oil
The Face Shop
The Gentle for Men Anti-Aging Toner
Formulated With Botanical Extracts for Anti-Aging
SOME BY MI
AHA-BHA-PHA 30 Days Miracle Toner
An Effective Toner for Removing Dead Skin Cells
Witch Hazel Pore Clarifying Toner
Perfect for Deep Cleansing and Restoring Skin Balance
SOME BY MI
Galactomyces Pure Vitamin C Glow Toner
Keeps You Looking Younger by the Day
Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
A Mild Exfoliating Toner for Improving Skin Tone and Texture
Hyaluronic Essential Toner
Great for Skin Softening and Minimizing Pores
Leaves a Matte Finish Without Drying the Skin
Micellar Cleansing Water
A Cleanser and Toner in One
This toner can guarantee a hydrated and comfortable finish, even for newly-shaven skin. Formulated with Vitamins C and E and caffeine with bamboo extracts, it helps calm and soothes the skin for an invigorated and revived appearance.
It's best for fighting signs of fatigue and even gives your skin a boost of cooling sensation to wake you up! This one is definitely a great product to use after you shave. And while it's on the pricier side, its benefits certainly make it a worthwhile investment!
If you struggle with keeping shine and excess sebum under control, this product is for you. It's a daily exfoliator that can help remove oil build-up and unclog pores aside from lifting away dirt and impurities. Unlike other oil-control products that tend to be harsh on the skin, this one does its job while keeping your skin hydrated as well since it contains glycerin.
It also has witch hazel in its formulation to target blackheads, acne, and other inflammatory skin conditions. And just like any Clinique skincare product, this one is dermatologist-tested and free of parabens, oils, and fragrance.
If you're looking for a solution for the fine lines and moisture loss associated with aging skin, look no further than this one from The Face Shop. It's formulated with a patented British Essential Complex, a concentrated blend of British willow bark and currant extracts that work to revitalize the skin and improve its elasticity.
This anti-aging treatment was created without heat to preserve the strength of its active ingredients, ensuring that you get a product that's as potent as can be. It also has a sophisticated masculine fragrance that would appeal to a wide range of users.
Tagged by users as the best-selling anti-acne toner in all the regions in Southeast Asia, this product is packed with potent exfoliators such as AHA, BHA, and PHA to remove dead skin cells. Many people have also sworn by its effectiveness at minimizing the appearance and occurrence of their acne.
Some By Mi Miracle Toner moisturizes and hydrates the skin while working to tighten the pores and removing stubborn blackheads and whiteheads. It also contains centella asiatica and tea tree extracts to soothe and reduce redness and irritation.
Celebrated for its ability to fight acne and blackheads, witch hazel is one of the most beneficial ingredients you can find in skincare. This product is chock full of it and can remove up to 99% blemish-causing dirt and oil. Despite its powerful acne-fighting properties, it's gentle enough for daily use and is dermatologist-tested and hypoallergenic.
Reviewers say that this toner shows dramatic results even at the first application. They love how it leaves their skin looking and feeling clean without drying it out. If you want a gentle product that restores the pH balance of your skin, you can't go wrong with this one!
This toner combines galactomyces and vitamin C to mitigate the appearance of aging skin. These two components create a highly brightening effect and improve skin moisture and elasticity. Free of artificial colors and fragrances, parabens, and other potential irritants, this is a safe product even for those with sensitive skin.
However, it does take a while to see visible results; it can take as long as 28 days for blemishes, scars, and dark under eyes to fade. Rest assured, though, that this product really works to nurture your skin back to a youthful glow and is definitely worth the wait!
This exfoliating toning solution is packed with many skincare heavyweights, such as glycolic and amino acids, ginseng, Tasmanian pepper berry, and aloe vera. It's been dubbed by beauty experts as the answer to dullness and uneven texture, thanks to its mild exfoliating properties that lead to improved skin radiance and brightness.
However, because of its glycolic acid content, it is contraindicated for those with sensitive, compromised, or peeling skin. Other than that, this is good for other skin types. This vegan formulation is also free of fragrances, alcohol, oil, and parabens.
Smile Skin Hyaluronic Essential Toner doesn't just cleanse and remove dirt from your skin. It also contains hyaluronic acid for nourishing and hydrating the skin, as well as hyssop and zeolite to refine the appearance of pores and clear blackheads.
Aside from that, it uses rosemary leaf extract to reduce blemishes and fine lines. Its allantoin content also helps to soothe sensitive areas. This unique blend of various ingredients makes it versatile and suitable for all skin types, which probably explains why it's such a cult favorite.
Non-comedogenic, alcohol-free, and hypoallergenic, this cleansing agent will leave your skin feeling fresh and clean, sans the stinging, dryness, and tightness that you'd find with other products. Adding this gentle toner to your daily skincare ritual is a great step towards clean and healthy-looking skin.
It effectively removes excess oil and dirt missed by your facial wash. Ideal for everyday use and readily available in your local drugstore or its online counterparts, this can easily be a staple in your facial cleansing routine.
With the perfect blend of glycerin and alcohol denat, this micellar water lifts away dirt and oil and can be used as both a toner and cleanser. Its hypoallergenic formulation makes it suitable for oily and acne-prone skin without causing irritation. It also leaves your skin with a mattifying finish and is free of any unnecessary fragrance.
This product is an instant fix for those days when you feel too tired to wash your face. All you need are a couple of cotton pads, and with just a few swipes, you can clear away the sunscreen and any other products you apply to your skin.
Toners are usually applied after washing your face and before moisturizing it. Put ample amounts of the product on a cotton pad or cotton ball and dab away on the face, without exerting so much pressure.
You may skip cotton pads all together should you find it wasteful. Simply put drops of the toner unto your palms and press gently to your face. Keep in mind that toners are neither substitutes for washing your face nor are they replacements for moisturizers.
A good approach in developing a skincare routine is identifying your skin concern - is it texture? dullness? hyperpigmentation? dryness? This way you can develop a skincare routine that targets your individual issues.
Remember, toners are not a must! But they can definitely achieve certain goals for your skin, not to mention add an extra step of self-pampering. When in doubt, ask your dermatologist!
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of patch testing before adding a new player to your regimen. Apply the product to a small area behind the ear, side of the neck, or on the underside of your jaw. Wait for 24-72 hours to see if there is any allergic reaction taking place. Remember, individual results can vary, but this is a good way to test a product before adding it to your regimen.
You can also start slow - meaning try the product twice a week and slowly build up from there. Always listen to your skin!
The skin happens to be the largest organ in your body, if you didn't already know that. Going the extra mile with overall skin care pays a hundred fold in the long run.
Skincare for men need not be complicated when you have the right products in your kit. Aside from a facial wash, a toner that's suitable for your skin type is certainly a good addition to ensure that your face is clean and free of impurities. We hope that our list of recommended products and our buying guide have helped steer you in the right direction for healthy, blemish-free skin!
Author: Aibel E. Ugay
Re-editor: R. Umlas
Our buying guide was carefully researched and crafted by the mybest team of writers and editors, in collaboration with the expert featured in this article. We used the buying guide as a basis for choosing and ranking the product recommendations, and we looked at reviews and ratings from different E-commerce sites like Lazada, Shopee, and more.
No. 1: Kiehl's | Facial Fuel Energizing Tonic for Men
No. 2: Clinique for Men | Oil Control Exfoliating Tonic
No. 3: The Face Shop | The Gentle for Men Anti-Aging Toner
No. 4: SOME BY MI | AHA-BHA-PHA 30 Days Miracle Toner
No. 5: Bioré | Witch Hazel Pore Clarifying Toner
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When you purchase products mentioned in the article, part of the sales may be returned to mybest.
The descriptions of each product is referenced from the content available from the manufacturer, e-commerce sites etc.
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