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2021 Top 3 Hydrating Acne-Fighting Toners

Our #1 Pick Helped Us Clear Breakouts, Shrink Pores, And Reduce Oiliness

Facing Fertility
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Facing Fertility
2021 Top 3 Hydrating Acne-Fighting Toners Skin Care Product Review and Ranking
Nowadays, shopping for a face sunscreen that is gentle, natural, and actually works can be frustrating and time-consuming. Our panel of experts have done the work for you.

Disclaimer: This article is not sponsored by any of the brands/products mentioned. We independently research, purchase, test, and compare the best products that meet our standards for pregnant and nursing mothers. Always consult with your doctor.

Most acne-fighting toners are ridden with harsh, skin drying alcohols that can cause more harm than good. Acne and oily skin, especially on mature skin (people over the age of 35), is also caused and exacerbated by the skin being dehydrated. Our top 3 toners work smarter to control oiliness by replenishing your skin with the water-based hydration that acne-prone, oily skin is craving.

Ask any esthetician or dermatologist and they will strongly recommend using a toner after face cleansing. After discovering our top 3 cleansers for hormonal acne, we wanted to continue with our search for the best toner for clear, poreless, dewy not oily skin. We need a balanced toner that swipes away any leftover impurities, oil, and acne-causing bacteria while providing hydration.

For mature, acne-prone skin, we want a toner that does it all:

1) Helps remove any leftover impurities even after thorough cleansing,

2) Provides mild exfoliation to remove pore-clogging dead skin cells and improve the absorption of skincare products,

3) Contains acne bacteria-fighting ingredients,

4) Restores the skin’s pH to maintain a healthy skin barrier that can hold onto hydration,

5) Hydrates the skin after cleansing and does not leave a tight feeling in the skin,

6) Helps reduce the look of pores

If you are not seeing clearer, brighter skin day after day from your skincare routine, it might be time to upgrade. Acne and oily skin can take months to clear but by using the right skin care products you can help soothe breakouts sooner.

Whether you are dealing with hormonal acne, acne caused by wearing masks, combination skin (dry in some areas, oily and acne-prone in other areas of the face), or mild breakouts all of a sudden, we understand your frustrations and are here to help.

Our top 3 tested and proven multi-tasking toners for mature, acne-prone skin are available at Sephora and free of ingredients that could cause more harm than good.

Ultimately, our #1 pick does all 6 functions, avoids the 3 common acne-triggering ingredients, and is safe for pregnant and nursing mothers. Even after your skin is cleared up, our #1 pick is still hydrating enough to use daily on normal skin types to help keep breakouts a thing of the past.

3 Ingredients To Look For In A Toner for Oily Skin

Acne is caused primarily by acne-causing bacteria such as (P. acnes), the buildup of dead skin cells clogging pores, and excess oil usually triggered by dehydrated skin. We discovered the 3 types of ingredients that all of our top toners had in common, which directly combat these 3 acne triggers:

  • Natural Antibacterial Ingredients: invigorating tea tree oil, spa-essential eucalyptus oil, and refreshing rosemary water, these naturally-sourced and minimally processed ingredients work effectively like benzoyl peroxide to help clear acne-causing bacteria without the harsh dryness.
  • Pore Unclogging Mild Exfoliants: using a facial scrub or exfoliating facial mask may be too harsh while you have active breakouts. Over-exfoliating can damage the skin barrier and cause dryness. Instead, try daily, gentle exfoliation by using a toner soaked cotton pad for clear, baby smooth skin.
  • Oil-free Hydrating Ingredients: instead of an alcohol base, the top 3 toners use a hydrating and soothing glycerin base. Although glycerin is common and affordable, it is not to be overlooked as an effective hydrator for even sensitive skin types. Our #1 pick even has sodium hyaluronate for powerful, lasting hydration.

Dehydrating our skin by over-cleansing and stripping away that essential moisture damages our skin barrier by disrupting our skin’s microbiome and can cause premature fine wrinkles to start developing.

Just as we mentioned in our top 3 cleansers for hormonal acne article: if your toner or any skin care product leaves your skin feeling tight a few minutes after using it, it is drying out your skin and causing more harm than good.

2 Common Ingredients to Avoid in Toners

Another major factor that our top 3 toners of 2021 shared is that they also are free of these 2 common skin care ingredients:

  • Alcohol: Many toners that are allegedly formulated for acne-prone or oily skin use a base of alcohol (usually alcohol denat.)to reduce oil and give the look of poreless smooth skin. This is because alcohol causes skin dryness, which triggers our pores to shrink temporarily. Although certain alcohols in moisturizer formulas are not drying, alcohols in toners can cause a back-firing effect where the skin produces more oil.
  • Menthol: Menthol gives our skin a minty, refreshing feeling that also works as an astringent to help shrink the look of pores. However, menthol in toners can cause skin dryness like alcohols do. Instead, look for natural peppermint (mentha piperita) to get the same refreshing feeling with all the antibacterial and astringent benefits without the damaging dryness.

Most toners in the market contain alcohol and/or menthol to give you the sensation and temporary visual of squeaky-clean, poreless skin. However, the after-effects and long-term consequences of skin dryness are not worth these short-lived benefits.

Using gentle, naturally sourced ingredients is key. We want to be as gentle as possible with our skin when dealing with acne and breakouts.

Especially with active breakouts, our skin is very sensitive and needs nourishing hydration.

Benzoyl peroxide is a common (yet skin drying) acne bacteria fighting ingredient. However, studies show that tea tree oil and rosemary oil may be just as effective but much more gentle (1). To learn more about tea tree oil for acne here.

Our promise

Let's face the truth: women are the beauty industry's most important customers but we're not getting the VIP treatment we deserve.

Due to the lack of regulation, there are certain chemicals present in many skin care products can interfere with our hormonal health.

Our experts only review products that are safe for use on pregnant and nursing women and mothers.

Healthy is beautiful; and beauty should never cost us our health.

meet our team

facing fertility blog editor and professional esthetician

Esthetician & MUA Rebecca Byrne

Rebecca always had an eye for aesthetics and glam. She is a licensed master cosmetologist from Atlanta who enjoys teaching others about natural skincare and the power of makeup.

facing fertility blog editor and skincare expert

Skincare Expert Stephanie Ivonne

Stephanie is a former Esthetician turned freelance beauty and wellness educator. Although a busy mom to two teenage boys, she still keeps up her active lifestyle with yoga and 10k runs.

facing fertility blog writer and natural skincare expert

Writer Mrinalini Sachan

Mrinalini is a skincare enthusiast who loves to try new products to share her honest views. After her battle with hormonal acne, she is an expert on choosing natural products that keep breakouts at bay.

facing fertility natural skincare blog author michelle lee

Senior Writer Michelle Lee

Lover of all things Kbeauty, Michelle believes that beauty is health. With news of her first pregnancy, she began learning about natural skincare and finding new products that fit her standards.

2021's BEST HYDRATING TONER FOR ACNE

best brightening serum 2020 cell forte rejuvenation serum
Overall Rating: (
4.75
/5)
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Top 3 Hydrating Acne Toners of 2021

Skin Care Expert Tested for Weeks and Approved for High Quality Performance

The Forté Serum

cell forte

cell forte skincare the forte serum best serum 2021

$120 $180

50mL

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
Overall Rating: (5/5)

Soothing: 5/5

Hydrating: 5/5

Brightening: 5/5

Wrinkle Smoothing: 5/5

Best For:
Sensitive, Mature, Dry, and Oily Skin Types

Key Ingredients:
EGF, Nourishing 9 Peptides™, Arbutin, Sodium Hyaluronate

The Revitalizing Hydrating Serum

la mer

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$245

30mL

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
Overall Rating: (4.4/5)

Soothing: 5/5

Hydrating: 4.5/5

Brightening: 3/5

Wrinkle Smoothing: 5/5

Best For:
Sensitive, Mature, and Dry Skin Types

Key Ingredients:
Sodium Hyaluronate, Miracle Broth™, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8

The Night Serum

dr. barbara sturm

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$315

30mL

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
Overall Rating: (4.1/5)

Soothing: 4/5

Hydrating: 4.5/5

Brightening: 4/5

Wrinkle Smoothing: 4/5

Best For:
Mature, Dry, and Oily Skin Types

Key Ingredients:
Sodium Hyaluronate, Purslane Ferment Extract, Poria Cocos Extract

#1

Squalane + BHA Pore-Minimizing Toner

Biossance

$

28

4.0

($

7.00

/oz)

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#2

Problem Solution Toner

Belief

$

28

6.75

($

4.15

/oz)

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#3

Balancing Force™ Oil Control Toner

Ole Henriksen

$

32

6.5

($

4.92

/oz)

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Overall Rating: (
4.75
/5)
Hydrating
(
5
/5)
Smoothing
(
5
/5)
Acne-Fighting
(
4
/5)
Pore Shrinking
(
5
/5)
Overall Rating: (
4.5
/5)
Hydrating
(
4
/5)
Smoothing
(
5
/5)
Acne-Fighting
(
5
/5)
Pore Shrinking
(
4
/5)
Overall Rating: (
4.25
/5)
Hydrating
4
/5)
Smoothing
4
/5)
Acne-Fighting
5
/5)
Pore Shrinking
4
/5)
Best For:
Normal, Combination, and Oily Skin Types
Best For:
Combination and Oily Skin Types
Best For:
Combination and Oily Skin Types
Key Ingredients:
Squalane, Willow Bark, Sodium Hyaluronate, Rosemary Water
Key Ingredients:
Tea Tree Oil, Calendula + Oat Extracts, Ferment Filtrates, Sodium Hyaluronate
Key Ingredients:
Witch Hazel Water, Glycolic + Lactic + Salicylic Acid, Peppermint + Eucalyptus Oils
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Squalane + BHA Pore-Minimizing Toner

Squalane + BHA Pore-Minimizing Toner

Biossance

$

28

4.0

Overall Rating:
(
4.75
/5)
Pore Shrinking
(
5
/5)
Acne-Fighting
(
4
/5)
Smoothing
(
5
/5)
Hydrating
(
5
/5)
Best For:
Normal, Combination, and Oily Skin Types
Key Ingredients:
Squalane, Willow Bark, Sodium Hyaluronate, Rosemary Water
visit website

The Multi-Tasking Toner

Finally, a toner that does it all! Whether you have severe acne or combination skin with occasional breakouts, all of our skincare testers were impressed with the Squalane + BHA Pore-Minimizing Toner by Biossance.

Packaged in a gorgeous green glass bottle, the Squalane + BHA Pore-Minimizing Toner defines luxurious, natural, and smart skincare. 

As mentioned earlier, dryness can trigger an overproduction of oil. Therefore, we need to replenish the essential moisture in our skin to help prevent our skin from oiliness.

Squalane has a fatty acid profile that is very similar to sebum, our skin’s natural oil. This toner provides a small yet effective dose of squalane to hydrate the skin. However, the toner never feels oily or has an oily feel to it. 

Pros:   

  • Extra safe for pregnant/nursing mothers with no salicylic acid*
  • Hydrating formula leaves skin hydrated and balanced
  • Gentle yet effective natural antibacterial ingredients
  • Mild gentle exfoliants leave skin smoother
  • Removes impurities and refreshes skin

 Cons:

  • Pricey at $7/oz

*always patch test and with consult with your dermatologist or primary care provider

Final thoughts on the Biossance Toner

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Squalane + BHA Pore-Minimizing Toner made our #1 pick because it is especially gentle and safe for pregnant and nursing mothers. However, if you are pregnant or nursing, to err on the safe side always consult with your doctor before trying a new product.

While salicylic acid as a topical skincare ingredient is safe for most pregnant and nursing women, oral salicylic acid (aspirin) is confirmed as not safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Nonetheless, many of us may want to avoid salicylic acid in skincare during pregnancy and/or breastfeeding to be extra safe.

Fortunately, the Biossance toner does not have any salicylic acid.

Instead, the toner is formulated with a base of willow bark extract, which provides the pore-unclogging beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) in a different form as salicylates. Salicylates cannot be converted to salicylic acid by the skin, which makes willow bark extract a safe alternative to salicylic acid(2).

The Squalane + BHA Pore-Minimizing Toner did not cause any skin sensitivity and helped clear breakouts within a few weeks of daily use. For best results, use a cotton pad soaked with toner to swipe away any impurities and acne-causing bacteria.

About the Author

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Squalane + BHA Pore-Minimizing Toner

Problem Solution Toner

Belief

$

28

6.75

Overall Rating:
(
4.5
/5)
Pore Shrinking
(
4
/5)
Acne-Fighting
(
5
/5)
Smoothing
(
5
/5)
Hydrating
(
4
/5)
Best For:
Combination and Oily Skin Types
Key Ingredients:
Tea Tree Oil, Calendula + Oat Extracts, Ferment Filtrates, Sodium Hyaluronate
visit website

The Botanical Buffet

Belief is a brand that is centered on water-based hydration and herbal ingredients. Just like our #1 pick, the pregnancy safe* Belief toner is free of salicylic acid. Plus, this toner is enriched with brightening licorice extract to help fade acne scars.

Did you know that tea tree oil can work just as effectively as benzoyl peroxide without the drying side effects? The Problem Solution Toner was launched as part of its acne care collection with tea tree oil as its key ingredient.

Pros:   

  • Extra safe for pregnant/nursing mothers with no salicylic acid
  • Gentle yet effective natural antibacterial ingredients
  • Provides skin microbiome nourishing ingredients
  • Mild gentle exfoliants leave skin smoother
  • Removes impurities and refreshes skin

 Cons:

  • Not suitable for dry or normal skin types

We love how the Problem Solution Toner provides a powerhouse of natural ingredients to not only help clear breakouts but also strengthen the skin microbiome for healthier skin.

The Problem Solution Toner provides a combination of:

  • Acne-fighting antibacterial ingredients tea tree oil and rosemary extract,
  • Soothing ingredients oat, chamomile flower, and centella asiatica extracts,
  • Skin microbiome strengthening ingredients soybean and barley ferment filtrates, and
  • Hydrating ingredients sodium hyaluronate, glycerin, and vitamin B5.

Final thoughts on the Belief Toner

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By nourishing our skin barrier and microbiome with gentle, hydrating products and not over exfoliating, our skin can hold onto hydration longer. This helps ward off wrinkles and acne triggered by dehydrated skin.


We recommend using the Problem Solution collection by belief to clear breakouts and control oiliness, then try out their original best-selling Aqua Bomb hydrating collection.

About the Author

facing fertility natural skincare blog best serum 2021 cell forte skincare the forte serum
2021 Top 3 Hydrating Acne-Fighting Toners

Balancing Force™ Oil Control Toner

Ole Henriksen

$

32

6.5

Overall Rating:
(
4.25
/5)
Pore Shrinking
4
/5)
Acne-Fighting
5
/5)
Smoothing
4
/5)
Hydrating
4
/5)
Best For:
Combination and Oily Skin Types
Key Ingredients:
Witch Hazel Water, Glycolic + Lactic + Salicylic Acid, Peppermint + Eucalyptus Oils
visit website

The Minty Refresher

Move over menthol, the Oil Control Toner by Ole Henriksen is enriched with natural peppermint extract to help boost circulation and shrink pores without the dryness.

Along with aromatic eucalyptus leaf oil, a few drops of the Oil Control Toner will take you right back to the spa.

The best part is that eucalyptus oil provides antibacterial benefits to sweep away acne-causing bacteria.

Pros:   

  • Thoroughly removes oil and impurities deep in pores
  • Boosts blood circulation and shrink the look of pores
  • Gentle yet effective natural antibacterial ingredients
  • Multiple exfoliants leave skin smoother and brighter

 Cons:

  • Not suitable for dry or normal skin types
  • AHA exfoliants may cause sensitivity, consider starting with night time only use and always use sunscreen before sun exposure

If you have very oily skin that still feels a bit oily even after face washing, this is the toner that will leave you feeling refreshed and looking matte.

With a balanced combination of glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acid, the Oil Control Toner helps unclog pores and remove dead skin cells for baby smooth skin that looks brighter. Instead of an alcohol base, the hydrating witch hazel water base helps shrink pores as an astringent.

Final thoughts on the Ole Henriksen Toner

visit website

We recommend starting with nighttime use only before using the Oil Control Toner for your morning and nightime routines.

Although this was our #3 pick, it is still an amazing product that beats out most of the acne toners available. For best results, make sure to thoroughly replenish hydration with an oil-free super serum. Check out our #1 best natural serum of 2021 for clear, bright, and youthful-looking skin at any age.

References

1 https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/essentials-oils-for-acne

2 https://www.drlauranicholas.com/blog/2020/07/16/which-skincare-acids-are-safe-in-pregnancy

3 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/282716344_Studies_on_inhibitory_effect_of_eucalyptus_oil_on_sebaceous_glands_for_the_management_of_Acne

Our promise

Let's face the truth: women are the beauty industry's most important customers but we're not getting the VIP treatment we deserve.

Due to the lack of regulation, there are certain chemicals present in many skin care products can interfere with our hormonal health.

Our experts only review products that are safe for use on pregnant and nursing women and mothers.

Healthy is beautiful; and beauty should never cost us our health.

meet our team

facing fertility blog editor and professional esthetician

Esthetician & MUA Rebecca Byrne

Rebecca always had an eye for aesthetics and glam. She is a licensed master cosmetologist from Atlanta who enjoys teaching others about natural skincare and the power of makeup.

facing fertility blog editor and skincare expert

Skincare Expert Stephanie Ivonne

Stephanie is a former Esthetician turned freelance beauty and wellness educator. Although a busy mom to two teenage boys, she still keeps up her active lifestyle with yoga and 10k runs.

facing fertility blog writer and natural skincare expert

Writer Mrinalini Sachan

Mrinalini is a skincare enthusiast who loves to try new products to share her honest views. After her battle with hormonal acne, she is an expert on choosing natural products that keep breakouts at bay.

facing fertility natural skincare blog author michelle lee

Senior Writer Michelle Lee

Lover of all things Kbeauty, Michelle believes that beauty is health. With news of her first pregnancy, she began learning about natural skincare and finding new products that fit her standards.

2021's BEST HYDRATING TONER FOR ACNE

best brightening serum 2020 cell forte rejuvenation serum
Overall Rating: (
4.75
/5)
shop now

subscribe for
exclusive coupons

Become a VIP

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