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12 Treatment Toners That Actually DO Something

They won't overstrip your skin, either
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Maybe it's because toners haven't been able to shake their bad reputation as astringents that dry skin. Or perhaps it's because they've long been viewed as an optional skin care step that's just a precursor to nutrient-rich serums. But whatever the case, even in a landscape in which we carefully assemble 16-step skin care routines, it's admittedly hard to get excited about swiping our faces with what's essentially zhuzhed up water...

Or so we thought: As it happens, the newest toner formulations are geared to do a lot more than their Sea Breeze-era predecessors. With active-loaded options made to resurface like a peel, hydrate or brighten like a serum and even serve as a makeup remover, these toners have us doing a double-take for their ability to do double duty. (Oh, and about that idea that toners leave skin feeling tight and dry? Ancient history.)

Ahead, see how this unsung hero has re-emerged as a powerful skin care treatment in and of itself — and get ready for toners to take center stage in your skin care routine. Really!

Image via Imaxtree

Those who have old school toner PTSD might feel hesitant, but if there's one formula that can change your mind, it's this one. Made by an award-winning molecular biologist, this alcohol-free formula relies on probiotics to boost the skin's healthy flora and bolster its barrier, along with hyaluronic acid to replenish moisture after cleansing and sulphur to boost collagen production.

Sure enough, it helped our skin feel what we think of as "normal" — that is, not tight, sticky or shiny, just fresh and balanced. And bonus: It's also formulated help regulate sebum production and minimize the appearance of acne in the process.

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InnBeauty Project has a tough time keeping this frequently sold-out toner in stock and we can see why: Inspired by the widely-loved Biologique Recherche P50 Lotion, this exfoliating treatment taps natural ingredients like sugarcane and sugar maple extract (which serve as natural sources of alpha hydroxy acids) and hydrating niacinamide to mimic the experience of delivering tighter-looking pores (and that singular apple cider vinegar scent) — and with zero irritation. Plus, at $26, it's significantly more affordable than the cult favorite treatment.

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Moon Juice Acid Potion, $42
This exfoliating toner (also inspired by P50 Lotion), boasts a whopping 25 percent alpha and beta-hydroxy acid content to slough off dead skin cells and stoke cell turnover. But don't let this heavy-duty acid complex fool you: other ingredients like adaptogenic reishi mushroom (included to calm skin) and niacinamide (which adds hydration) help make for a soothing experience (even if it does tingle a little).

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Looking for a slightly resurfacing power that's not quite as strong as the more heavy-duty treatment toners out there? This formula strikes a nice balance, offering 8 percent lactic acid and 3 percent glycolic acid mixed with fermented prebiotics to help maintain a stronger skin barrier that keeps acne at bay.

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