The 9 Best Toners for Sensitive Skin in 2021

Using a toner can sometimes seem … unnecessary. You’ve cleansed your skin (twice), smoothed on all the oils, tended to your spots, and slathered on the moisturiser. So, why bother with a toner?

If you crave clear, even, comfortable skin, without a hydrating toner, you’re missing a big ol’ trick. But what happens if you’re a sensitive type? You break out easily, and your skin reacts badly far too often? Well, a toner for sensitive skin will gently help rebalance your skin and give it that good glow you’ve been looking for. You just need to get your hands on the perfect formula. Lucky for you, we’ve found a few of them and listed them down below.

Kiehl's Calendula Herbal Extract Toner 250ml - bottle is laying flat next to a cotton pad - 1200 x 800Kiehl's Calendula Herbal Extract Toner 250ml - bottle is laying flat next to a cotton pad - 1200 x 800

What does toner do for skin? A good, fragrance free hydrating toner will clarify your skin and remove any grime or excess oil. An alcohol free toner for sensitive skin won’t irritate your complexion or aggravate trouble spots. Pick a toner with soothing, hydrating ingredients to help your skin look fresher and clearer.

If you've always assumed a toner was too harsh for sensitive skin, we’ve done some research to help you figure out exactly what your skin needs.

Are Toners Good for Sensitive Skin?

If you suffer from red, patchy, irritated skin, a toner might be the last thing you’d think to reach for. While it’s true that an alcohol-laden, astringent toner will make your skin feel tight and uncomfortable, something with a list of caring ingredients could breathe new life into your skin.

Ingredients such as Aloe, Rose Water, and Hyaluronic Acid are kind to skin and work perfectly in a toner for dry sensitive skin. These skin-loving ingredients give your skin a boost of gentle hydration without causing any inflammation. The best toner for sensitive skin can actually help ease your skin worries by gently tending to your trouble spots.

Is Toner Bad for Dry Skin?

A toner that features astringent ingredients and a hit of alcohol will dry out already-dry skin. But a hydrating toner for dry skin will offer a level of gentle exfoliation and soothe dry patches. A hydrating toner spray also helps prep the skin so that creams and oils sink in quicker, giving your complexion a healthier, more even tone.

The best toner for dry skin will include Glycerine and Hyaluronic Acid to plump things out and help give skin a much-desired bouncy effect.

Why Does My Face Sting When I Apply Toner?

We’ll answer your question with another question: what is a good toner for sensitive skin? Well, it’s a formula that won’t make you feel dry, irritated, or super-tight. Though you might experience a slight tingle when you’ve applied a toner, you’ll want to avoid a full-on sting. If you’re experiencing severe discomfort or outright pain after using a product, it’s clearly best to try a gentler formula.

If your face stings after using a toner, it’s probably because the formula is quite astringent and not suitable for sensitive skin. The old myth would have us believe that if it stings, it means it’s working! But in truth, that’s not the case. With so many skin-loving toners available, there’s no need to pick one that hurts. Choose a formula that clears away debris and helps unclog your pores.

Pixi Toner - woman using a cotton pad to apply toner to her face - 1080 x 771Pixi Toner - woman using a cotton pad to apply toner to her face - 1080 x 771

What Toner Should I Use for Sensitive Skin?

A delicate, gentle toner with soothing ingredients such as Rose Water and Aloe will help get your sensitive skin back to beautiful. Alcohol-laden toners can be irritating for sensitive skin, so pick a toner that gently removes impurities and settles the pH balance of your skin.

Harsh weather, pollution, and even air conditioning can strip the skin of its natural protection. But a sensitive toner can help keep your face nourished and cared for. A toner that won’t dry skin out will include a blend of hydrating ingredients. If you experience redness or irritation after using a toner, you might want to change to a calming formula made especially for sensitive skin. To help you get on the right path, we’ve listed some of our favourites below.

For a Little Extra Comfort

If you’re struggling with your skin and want to give it a little extra comfort, Clarins Extra Comfort Toning Lotion could be just what you’ve been looking for. Designed to give very dry skin a comforting dose of hydration, this toner is extra mild and extra caring for those with sensitive, dry skin. Containing Bio-Ecolia to preserve the skin’s natural balance, Linden to refresh and soothe, and Sweet Almond and Marshmallow to moisturise and soften, this beautiful blend will clear and clarify troubled skin.

For a Little Extra Comfort

To gently lift away unwanted debris from the skin, use Clarins Extra Comfort Toning Lotion after cleansing your face. Tightening and brightening a dull complexion that’s been ravaged by pollutants, this formula moisturises, refreshes, and soothes every skin type. If you’re suffering with rough or dry patches, use this calming toner to make your skin smoother, softer, and perfectly prepped for moisturiser. And smoother skin means your makeup will apply more evenly! Use morning and night on a cotton pad, swiped over the entire face.

If you like your skincare to be packed full of botanical actives, Aesop’s range could be something you want to dip into. And what better way to start than with a gentle toner made to freshen and smooth your skin? Aesop Parsley Seed Antioxidant Facial Toner is an alcohol-free formula that features Parsley Seed, Lavender, and Blue Chamomile. Considered by some to be the best toner for sensitive acne prone skin, this formula will tackle clogged pores on even the most sensitive of skin.

Designed for daily use, Aesop Parsley Seed Antioxidant Facial Toner removes any last traces of grime and grease that are left behind. Use after you cleanse your skin to enjoy that super-fresh, super-clean feeling. Packed with caring antioxidants, the formula will help rebalance sensitive skin and even out skin’s tone. And there’s no need for cotton pads! Simply pour a small amount into your palms and rub together quickly. Then press your hands gently onto your face. It’s also a great product to freshen up with during the day when you need a lift!

If you really want to try a toner but your sensitive skin gives you second thoughts, Kiehl's Ultra Facial Toner might be your best bet. Unlike regular toners, this is an alcohol free toner in milky liquid form that will balance your skin’s pH levels. Perfect for all ages and skin types, the formula gets rid of surface dirt, excess oil, and lingering makeup. Working to refine the texture of your skin without damaging it, Ultra Facial Toner leaves your skin feeling hydrated, moisturised, and comfortable after every use. If you’ve got dry skin, this is an especially great formula for you.

In gentle yet effective Kiehl's Ultra Facial Toner, you’ll find soothing Squalane, Apricot Kernel Oil, Vitamin E, and Avocado Oil. Perfect at prepping your skin for moisturiser, this toner leaves your skin’s texture feeling more refined than ever. Makeup will apply easily, and your skin will appear clearer. After cleansing, pour this milky formula onto a soft cotton pad and smooth over the skin. To maximise the benefits, use in conjunction with the rest of Kiehl’s Ultra Facial range.

Pixi is known for its potent, skin-loving toners. And Pixi Rose Tonic is one of the top toners for sensitive skin. Rich in Rose Flower Water, this hydrating, replenishing formula refreshes the skin in a naturally soothing way. Rose Tonic is designed to help calm sensitive skin so it will feel smoother and more hydrated, look clearer, and be prepped for the next step in your skincare routine. Aloe Extract works to diminish redness and keeps the skin looking calm and soft.

Suitable for all skin types, especially dull, dry, and dehydrated skin, Pixi Rose Tonic keeps your skin’s tone even and your texture smooth. Cruelty-free and paraben-free, this nature-inspired formula helps minimise irritated patches. Perfect for use in both the morning and the evening, this toner is great at giving skin an extra hit of hydration. Glycerine works to give skin a plumper finish and helps make the formula kind enough for twice-daily use.

Dermalogica UltraCalming Mist is ideal for sensitive skin. Designed to suit those who suffer from redness and irritation, this caring mist calms any inflammation on the skin and keeps you feeling fresh. This travel-sized formula is perfect if you want to tone your skin throughout the day. Perfect for use on the go, only a few spritzes are needed to relieve redness and calm the skin down when it gets uncomfortable. This PETA-accredited mist helps restore the skin’s natural moisture barrier while infusing it with light hydration.

The perfect size for your handbag, Dermalogica UltraCalming Mist includes Glycerine, which helps the skin stay strong by retaining water. Aloe Vera Juice, Ginger Root, and Chamomile blend beautifully to reduce irritation and calm any redness. Oat Kernel Extract helps keep the skin cool and soothed. To use, cleanse the skin and pat it dry. Spritz the formula onto damp skin and let it settle before adding any creams. Spray on at intervals throughout the day to pep things up and keep your skin feeling comfortable.

Sometimes a little luxury can go a long way. If you’re hoping to combat the signs of ageing, reach for SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion, a potent toner with skin-clearing appeal. The light, silky, alcohol-free formula works to soothe the skin while lightly exfoliating. It removes any impurities while maintaining the skin’s hydration levels. The blend of AHA and Pitera encourages radiant, healthy-looking, conditioned skin. This treatment toner gently penetrates the skin to leave pores clearer, and the watery texture sinks in almost instantly.

SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion 160ml works to get rid of all the complexion imperfections that frustrate you when you look in the mirror. Impurities are cleared to reveal your skin’s natural radiance. Vitamins, Amino Acids, Organic Acids, and Minerals combine to gently exfoliate and close any open pores. This formula is also great at tackling signs of sun damage, helping give skin a more youthful appearance. Skin stays smooth even when exposed to potent pollutants and daily aggressors. How to apply skin toner? Simply soak a cotton pad and gently wipe over your T-zone, neck, and cheeks.

This rehydrating toner-mist might be the best toner for sensitive combination skin. Formulated with Jeju Aloe Extract, the formula leaves tired, dehydrated skin looking and feeling fresher after every spritz. Free of any artificial fragrances, parabens, or minerals, this facial mist revives dull-looking skin for a livelier, more vibrant appeal. The fine particles in innisfree Aloe Revital Skin Mist energise stressed skin so you feel calmer. Aloe Vitalizing Energy is a unique blend of Jeju Aloe Vera and Madecassoside that works to improve the skin’s natural moisture barrier.

Perfect for use during the day or as part of your morning and evening skincare routine, innisfree Aloe Revital Skin Mist leaves sensitive skin soothed and refreshed after every spritz. Spray the product over your face with your eyes closed to enjoy the cooling sensation. The formula can be applied to the skin before or after makeup and whenever your skin feels dry. It’s the perfect pick-me-up!

If you suffer from oily patches, acne breakouts, and blackheads, this calming, healing toner could be something new for you to try. Kiehl's Calendula Herbal Extract Toner helps soothe the skin and bring it back into balance. Hand-harvested Calendula petals and Great Burdock Root work together to cleanse away any impurities with a caring, kind approach. This is a great toner for oily sensitive acne prone skin. It helps remove blemish-causing bacteria and promote balanced, even skin.

Use Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal Extract Toner to leave your skin feeling clean and soothed. The healing Calendula petals are hand-picked from the Marigold Flower. Marigold is a flower that’s been used in traditional Chinese medicine for many centuries for its restorative properties. To use this unique, loving formula, simply moisten a cotton pad with the toner and sweep it over the face after cleansing. Use as often as necessary to see the soothing effects.

If you’re experiencing too much shine, La Roche-Posay Serozinc Toning Mist should help settle things down with just a quick spritz. Perfect for all skin types but especially those that experience breakouts, this spray targets acne and excess oil. Cooling to help calm any irritation, the cult classic is formulated with just 3 ingredients. Zinc Sulphate helps mattify the skin and reduce the appearance of pores.

Those with oily skin constantly battle shine, blemishes, blackheads, and large pores. This La Roche Posay toner for sensitive skin works to combat excess sebum on the skin. It’s also the perfect solution to keep irritated skin comfortable all day long. La Roche-Posay Serozinc Toning Mist is free of fragrance and also works beautifully as a base for your makeup. This easy-to-use mist is your first step to clearer, calmer, blemish-free skin.

If you’re someone who struggles with sensitive skin, you might’ve always avoided toners. Because old-school toners have a reputation for drying the skin out, it’s not hard to guess why you’ve stayed away. But a gentle formula made with skin-soothing ingredients will add hydration, tackle your trouble spots, and help even out your skin’s texture. If you haven’t tried a facial toner yet, now’s the time to give one a go!

Brand and product inclusions are at the sole discretion of Adore Beauty’s highly trained Customer Service team. We do not seek or accept payment from brands or individuals listed in our guides.

This article has been updated on 15/02 to replace discontinued products with our recent product recommendations. Gemma from our Customer Service team has helped to bring you our most recommended products and up-to-date information.

Ok, let's recap! What are the 9 Best Toners for Sensitive Skin in 2021?

  1. Clarins Extra Comfort Toning Lotion

  2. Aesop Parsley Seed Antioxidant Facial Toner

  3. Kiehl's Ultra Facial Toner

  4. Pixi Rose Tonic

  5. Dermalogica UltraCalming Mist

  6. SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion 160ml

  7. innisfree Aloe Revital Skin Mist

  8. Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal Extract Toner

  9. La Roche-Posay Serozinc Toning Mist

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