Time to
Reconsider Toner

Best facial toner for men Best facial toner for men

Time to

Yes, it’s another step in your grooming routine, but a welcome one

I get it guys. You're not looking to add minutes (or expense) to the time and effort that you put into looking good. You've got your grooming routine down and it probably doesn't include splashing some toner on your face. But I'm here to tell you that you should consider it.

Why? Because it's the key to skin that looks and feels great; that's free of irritation and excess oil. You want smaller pores? A brighter complexion? Less breakouts? Then you need some toner. These liquids are meant to refresh and balance the skin after cleansing. They prep the skin for the rest of your routine and because they provide a hydrated, healthy base, your skin actually absorbs your regular serums and moisturizers better—thus, making them even more effective.

Never used a toner before? Well, you're not alone. I hadn't used one since my acne-riddled teen years, so I understand that the perceived need for toner is low. But I'm telling you, swiping this seemingly simple potion over your face makes a huge difference. As in, you'll start to notice results in about 48 hours. Especially as we head into the summer, when your face gets sweaty and greasy, a toner is designed specifically to remove excess oil, as well as to reduce redness and clear out pores—all without compromising your natural skin barrier. Put another way: A toner is your secret weapon against grimy, shiny and blotchy skin.

Toners are also particularly helpful to those who shave on the regular. Use it as part of your pre-shave regimen to properly clean the skin before the razor does its work. Or apply a post-shave splash to help unclog pores and prevent ingrown hairs. And while it is an extra step, it's as easy as dousing a cotton ball or pad and swiping it across your face. Trust me, the effort is minimal when compared to the myriad of benefits.


Best Facial Toner
for Men in 2024

Best All-Around

Highly effective without stripping or dehydrating sensitive skin, this one is great for combination skin or those who don't know what kind of skin they have. Suitable for all skin types, but heavily skewed towards those who suffer from dry or irritated skin, this toner calms stressed-out complexions with cucumber extract, aloe and allantoin (often found in herbal medicine).

Cucumber herbal toner,
$25 by Kiehl's


If you've got dark spots, acne scars or just uneven skin tone that you'd like to brighten and even out, this Vitamin C toner will work to improve the look and texture of skin with several types of the potent vitamin, along with niacinamide (which eases redness and irritation) and natural AHA and BHAs to smooth and firm up the skin.

Vitapair C toner,
$20 / $16 by Nature Republic

Sensitive Skin

Named for its inclusion of provitamin B5 (a form of panthenol) and green tea extract, this toner contains fortifying antioxidants to balance skin without being too bracing or irritating. There is no alcohol and no acids, so it's incredibly gentle but will hydrate and nourish the skin, prepping it for the rest of your routine.

B & Tea balancing toner,
$55 by Aesop


Best Drugstore

When it comes to bare bones, classic toner, witch hazel is the go-to. This old school formula from Thayer's is easy to find, affordable and yet still highly effective. The unscented, alcohol-free splash balances the skin barrier and removes impurities while calming stressed skin with aloe vera.

Alcohol-free unscented toner,
$10.95 by Thayer's


If you've got acne or problematic pores, this toner is packed with ingredients (willow bark and naturally derived AHA and BHAs) that work to clear out the gunk from skin and prevent future buildup while reducing the overall appearance of pores. But unlike other acne-fighting toners, this one is extra hydrating with squalane to prevent drying.

Pore-minimizing toner,
$30 by Biossance


A favorite of celebrity groomers with a cult following, this was the first we tested and it lived up to the hype. The beta hydroxy acid supercharges the natural exfoliation process, helping it shed dead skin while shrinking enlarged pores. Green tea extract soothes and evens out skin tone. Over several weeks, skin was noticeably smoother and more firm.

Skin perfecting BHA toner,
$35 by Paula's Choice

Applying toner illustration

How to Apply

After washing and drying your face, apply the toner. You can use a cotton pad, but I've heard from facialists that it's preferred to used your hands to press and massage the product into your skin—especially in crease-prone areas like around your mouth and under your eyes.

What Does
“Balancing” Mean?

Our skin is naturally acidic, typically with a pH balance of between five and six (on a scale from zero to 14). Washing your face can get that balance out of whack due to the alkaline nature of soap. Your skin then needs to work overtime to return to its normal levels (resulting in excess oil or pimples), but a toner helps restore this balance quickly.

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