11 best toners for oily skin

Add a grease-busting but hydrating facial tonic to your daily beauty regime

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The Independent Online

Do you really need a toner? This is a question we’ve asked ourselves on many occasions, with every skincare and beauty brand supplying a variety of options but not often explaining how they can actually help us. And that leads to our next question: what do they actually do?

Well, to put your mind at ease, toners are useful and, with the right ingredients, can help tackle your skincare issues. Traditionally made for oily skin needing a little extra boost, there is now a toner for every skin type and problem. Toners help cleanse and reduce pore size by removing oil build-up, while adding back what cleansers take away – hydration and soothing properties. They also wipe away any make-up your cleanser has missed.  Toners are particularly important for those with oily skin, to help keep shine at bay. So we’ve tried many in our quest to find the best for oily skin and found 11 worth considering. 

1. Dr Hauschka Clarifying Toner, 100ml: £24.50, Feel Unique

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Dr Hauschka has created an oil-free, calming toner that claims to regulate oil production and tighten pores, which we think really works. Use morning and night by spraying over skin and rubbing in with clean fingers, or use a cotton pad if you’d prefer.  After use, we noticed our skin looked fresh and there was less oily residue across the forehead.  The plant ingredients of anthyllis, calendular and nasturtium also give it a subtle herbal fragrance.  We love how well this toner deals with oily skin and still leaves it looking radiant. 

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2. Origins Zero Oil Pore Purifying Toner with Saw Palmetto and Mint, 150ml: £16.50, John Lewis

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Origins’ Zero Oil collection is a great option for those who suffer from extremely oily skin. You can complete your full skincare regime (cleanse, tone and moisturise) with Zero Oil products and we especially like the toner. After cleansing, use a cotton pad to apply this product across your face. The Saw Palmetto plant ingredient has antiseptic properties and is effective at controlling oil production. We noticed less shine and the slightly minty smell wakes you up in the morning. 

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3. La Roche-Posay Seroznic Spray, 150ml: £5.65, Feel Unique

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Our favourite for on the go, this spray is designed to combat oily skin by reducing shine and a greasy appearance.  Simply shut your eyes, spray over your face and after a few minutes pat off any excess. You’ll soon feel fresh and oil-free. It’s an affordable price too, so there isn’t much to complain about here.

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4. Green People Toning Hydrating Mist, 100ml: £15, Green People

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The Green People works to create organic, natural skincare products, so you know what you’re putting on your face will be truly beneficial. The combination of organic aloe vera, orange blossom, rose water and marshmallow give this toner a fruity scent. After cleansing apply with a cotton pad, or you can spray whenever you need during the day onto your face neck or body, making it ideal for long plane journeys too. 

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5. Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal Extract Alcohol-free Toner: £34.50. Kiehl’s

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This alcohol-free toner from Kiehl’s is ideal for oily or problem-prone skin. Made with calendula petals - visible at the bottom of the bottle - it works to soothe your skin. Apply to problem areas with a cotton pad and after a few days you’ll start to notice your skin feeling softer and smoother.  Use with the matching cleanser for best results. 

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6. Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic, 200ml: £14.50, Boots

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Liz Earle is well regarded in the skincare world and its cleansing and toning duo are often raved about, and after trying both, it’s clear to see why. This Instant Boost Skin Tonic smells floral, with ingredients like aloe vera, cucumber, geranium and chamomile creating the scent. They also work to soothe the skin and leave it looking revitalised, which we felt it did. Although not specifically designed for oily skin, it also did a good job of removing oily residue.

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7. Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Skin Balancing Toner, 200ml: £18, Feel Unique

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This toner was great for reducing shine but didn’t leave our skin feeling too tight either. It also effectively cleared up any last traces of make-up, leaving our skin feeling clean and refreshed. We used with the matching oil-free cleanser and together they make an impressive pair. 

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8. Elemis Balancing Lavender Toner, 200ml: £22.50, Feel Unique

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We loved this lavender-smelling toner from Elemis. It claims to help rebalance the pH level of your skin and although we couldn’t test that, we did notice our skin felt fresh and looked radiant after use. You can also spritz it across your face during the day if your skin starts to look a little tired. And it’s alcohol free, so shouldn’t leave your skin feeling too dry either.

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9. Aesop B & Tea Balancing Toner, 100ml: £23, Liberty London 

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If you’ve ever visited an Aesop shop, you’ll know how well it caters for all types of skin with the large range of products available. This B (short for the moisturising ingredient Provitamin B5) and Tea (green tea) toner smells largely of green tea and if you add a splash to a cotton pad and apply morning and night, it will leave your skin feeling soft and refreshed.  

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10. Sisley Grapefruit Toning Lotion, 250ml: £61.50, John Lewis

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Ok, so it’s not cheap but if you have a bigger budget then French brand Sisley is a brand worth considering. This toner smells heavenly, if you like grapefruit that is, and feels gentle on your skin. It’s good at removing leftover make-up too and leaves your skin feeling tighter and brighter. Use twice a day with a cleanser and follow with a light moisturiser for glowing results. 

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11. Sukin Oil Balancing Clarifying Facial Tonic, 125ml: £9.95, Boots

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If you’re on a tight budget, then this is the one for you. Sukin is an Australian brand focused on natural skin and hair care products. This face tonic is good at picking up excess dirt and grime from your face, while tightening pores and refreshing tired skin. Made of white tea extract, pomegranate and bilberry extracts, there is no strong scent, which is great for those who don’t like smelling anything potent in the morning. 

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The Verdict: Toners for oily skin

Dr Hauschka is our winner for keeping skin looking fresh and combating oily skin well. For a cheaper alternative, try Liz Earle or Sukin for similar glowing results.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing

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