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Cheat Sheet: Here Are the Best Toners for Your Skin Type

Double down on your skin care goals by using a toner that works harder for you
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Though they may seem like an unnecessary step in your skin care routine, toners actually play a vital role in the health of your skin barrier and can contribute to a balanced, brilliant, healthy-looking complexion. As the name implies, they tone your skin by rebalancing your pH level (it should be right around 5.5), which gets disrupted when you cleanse your face. They also can target certain issues you may be dealing with, including large pores, acne, dryness, oily skin and even aging issues. Today, we're helping you determine which type of toner is best for your skin type — and we're throwing you some product recommendations while we're at it.

Image via Imaxtree

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Oily Skin & Large Pores
Oily skin and large pores tend to go hand-in-hand. This is because excess oil production allows the pores to fill up with oil, which makes them appear larger. One of the keys to reducing pore size, then, is to combat that excess oil production. Using a toner, in general, can help with this, but when seeking out a toner you can specifically target the issue of oil and texture with ingredients such as witch hazel, clay and niacinamide (vitamin b3).

Our top picks in this category are Origins Zero Oil Pore Purifying Toner with Saw Palmetto & Mint, $23, Fresh Umbrian Clay Pore Purifying Facial Toner, $36, and Sunday Riley Martian Mattifying Melting Water-Gel Toner, $25.

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Acne-Prone Skin
Sometimes oily skin and large pores can increase acne breakouts, but there are other contributing factors to keep in mind as well. These include the presence of p. acnes (the bacteria responsible for causing acne) and inadequate exfoliation, which can lead to clogged pores. For that reason, it's ideal to look for a exfoliating, bacteria-banishing ingredients, such as salicylic acid, sulfur, and willow bark, in addition to the oil-zapping ingredients we mentioned above.

Try Philosophy Clear Days Ahead Mattifying Clay Facial Toner, $22, Tarte Knockout Tingle Treatment, $39, and Murad Clarifying Toner, $25.

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Dry Skin
Some people are naturally born with drier skin, or they may be susceptible to dry skin because of the climate they live in. Dry skin also becomes more common as we get older, since our sebaceous glands (oil producing glands) slow down. Moisture is everyone's friend, but for dry skin types it's important to seek out ingredients in your toner that your skin happily soaks up, and then to follow up with an occlusive ingredient that locks it all in. We recommend ceramides (vitamin b5), oils, and hyaluronic acid. It's also wise to avoid drying or astringent ingredients.

Some excellent toners for dry skin include Missha Meditanical Rose Toner, $28, Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid, $39, and Kiehl's Ultra Facial Toner, $16.

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Fine Lines & Wrinkles
In addition to producing less sebum as we get older — which contributes to dryness, dullness, and laxity — we also begin to notice more issues with fine lines. Super moisturizing ingredients, including hyaluronic acid and fruit butters, can temporarily plump your skin to reduce fine lines, so seek them out. You can also use toners with ingredients that help combat fine lines over the long term, such as alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), collagen, and peptides.

We recommend checking out Peter Thomas Roth Un-Wrinkle Turbo Line Smoothing Lotion, $24, Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner, $18, and Etude House Moistfull Collagen Facial Toner, $17.

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