Astringent toners of the past were notorious for being harsh and alcohol-filled, but these days more toners are formulated for use on sensitive skin, thanks in part to K-beauty that popularised gentle toners that hydrate and balance your skin.
These are the best toners for sensitive skin. Not only do these toners’ specialised formulas help your other products absorb better, but they also contain skin-soothing ingredients like rose water, hyaluronic acid, and aloe.
If you have sensitive skin, take note to avoid toners with alcohol and artificial fragrances as they will leave your skin feeling tight and irritated. There is also a special method for applying a toner when you have sensitive skin: instead of using a cotton pad, warm a few drops of the product between your palms, then gently tap and press your hands into your skin.
Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal Extract Alcohol-Free Toner
This facial toner from Kiehl’s has been selling like hotcakes since the 1960’s, which is more than enough proof that it must be one of the best toners around for people with sensitive skin.
The cult-favourite formula includes hand-picked Calendula flower petals (a traditional Chinese medicine ingredient known for soothing properties) and Great Burdock Root Extract to create a gentle cleansing and soothing alcohol-free facial toner. Use it daily to gently cleanse and refresh your skin without harsh synthetic drying agents, and you’ll realise why you should never skip out on toners again.
The product has also won the Best Toner (Readers’ Choice) at the Daily Vanity Beauty Awards!
Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal Extract Alcohol-Free Toner retails at SGD59 in Kiehl’s stores.
SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion
Gentle yet clarifying, SK-II’s Facial Treatment Clear Lotion removes stubborn impurities after your cleanse and prepares your skin for the rest of your regimen. The toner uses multiple AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids), such as citric acid, lactic acid, and malic acid, to gently slough off dead skin cells, dirt, and debris to balance sensitive, acne-prone skin.
To bump up your skin’s moisture levels, the toner also contains SK-II’s signature PITERA™, a natural bio-ingredient that holds over 50 micronutrients like vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and organic acids. This proprietary ingredient conditions the skin, strengthens your skin’s barrier, and prevents surface damage as you go about your day.
Use it twice a day after cleansing for radiant, smooth skin.
WHAMISA Organic Flowers Deep Rich Essence Toner
Formulated with natural ingredients that are non-irritating and absolutely free from alcohol, WHAMISA’s facial toner helps to restore long-lasting hydration and in turn, healthy skin.
The hydrating formula is absorbed deeply through the layer of skin in seconds without clogging pores, so even those with oilier sensitive skin can enjoy the refreshing feeling it leaves on the skin. You’ll also get to indulge in the toner’s natural floral scent that smells like spring throughout the year!
WHAMISA Organic Flowers Deep Rich Essence Toner retails at SGD35.64 on Amazon.sg.
Banila Co Dear Hydration Toner
Made for dry and sensitive skin, Banila Co’s new hydration toner may not be as famous as their cleansing balm just yet, but we’re certain that this affordable product will become a fan favourite soon.
The highly viscous toner easily seeps into the skin and infuses it with a blend of mint and basil extracts to calm irritated skin that’s been affected by pollution. It also comes with the brand’s patented hydration system to bring moisture back to the skin with bamboo extract and lotus flower extract – essentially killing two birds with one stone!
Banila Co Dear Hydration Toner retails at SGD9.90 on Watsons.
Etude House Soon Jung pH 5.5 Relief Toner (Must-try!)
Etude House’s Soon Jung range is free of potential irritants such as fragrance, artificial colours, and parabens, and the toner is no exception.
At first glance, you might be skeptical because the consistency of the toner looks just like water, but fans have claimed that adding this to their skincare routine has been a complete game-changer that can calm and soothe red skin within a week.
Muji Sensitive Skin Toning Water (High Moisture)
Muji has developed a skincare line catered specially to sensitive skin, and one of its star products is the Toning Water (High Moisture).
One of the main ingredients in the Toning Water is natural water drawn from a cave in Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture in Northeast Japan: this ultra-soft mineral water has been naturally filtered for years and penetrates comfortably into the skin without irritating it.
In addition, this toner is completely free from irritants such as artificial colouring, mineral oils, parabens, and alcohol, so you can use this wallet-friendly option to hydrate any type of skin.
Muji Sensitive Skin Toning Water (High Moisture) retails at SGD13.90 for 200ml in Muji stores and Lazada.
Hada Labo Gokujun Hyaluronic Lotion Moist
Although it is labelled a lotion (as with most Japanese toners, this holy grail is described as more like a “super-thin, ultra-lightweight liquid” that sinks into your skin to deeply moisturise it, leaving it plump and dewy.
As one of the first few skincare products that popularised hyaluronic acid in recent years, this has gained a cult following all over the world for working on all skin types and all skin problems – really no reason not to give this a shot!
innisfree No Sebum Toner
One of the worst combinations that you can have is sensitive AND oily skin – unlike other people who can use harsher astringents to clear and control excess sebum, you often have to settle with using toners that can only keep your irritation in check but not deal with the oily problem.
innisfree’s No Sebum Toner checks all the right boxes in this aspect – it is enriched with Jeju natural minerals and mint to control sebum and refine skin texture, but also contains naturally-derived salicylic acid to gently exfoliate your skin.
That being said, we still recommend using this once every two days first if you have highly sensitive skin – once you observe that your skin does not react badly to it, go ahead and use it regularly for best results!
innisfree No Sebum Toner retails at SGD19 in innisfree stores and Lazada.
Dear, Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner
The Supple Preparation Facial Toner from dear, Klairs is one of the K-beauty brand’s bestsellers and has received reviews as glowing as the skin it gives its regular users.
This vegan toner removes excess dirt and sebum while restoring pH balance. Amino acids are added to reduce irritation and provide deep hydration, and the plant extracts in its formula gives it a mild herbal smell that is pleasant.
Pat it lightly into your skin after cleansing – the viscous toner is rapidly absorbed into the skin while prolonging hydration by more than 20% than conventional toners with hyaluronic acid and beta-glucan, so you can enjoy a refreshed and hydrated feeling for hours.
Avène Eau Thermale Gentle Toning Lotion
Anyone with sensitive skin would have heard of Avène’s Thermal Spring Water, the ingredient that soothes and calms even the most irritated of skin.
Formulated with this magical ingredient for its healing properties and enriched in silicates, this alcohol-free toner naturally hydrates your skin while protecting it from harsh environmental aggressors – a must-have if you have dry, sensitive skin!
Lush Breath of Fresh Air (Most refreshing!)
Need a breather from life? Or want to take a break from bad skin days? All you need to do is spritz some of this refreshing goodness and you’re good to go!
Lush describes this as the most refreshing of all their toner waters and is best used to tone and balance the skin. Its rose absolute will help to reduce redness whilst patchouli oil is cooling and astringent on the skin.
Lush Breath of Fresh Air retails at SGD21 for 100ml and SGD33 for 250ml in Lush stores.
Caudalie Beauty Elixir
Beloved by celebrities and makeup artists worldwide, the Beauty Elixir was inspired by Queen Isabelle of Hungary’s famous elixir of youth, which was said to give her a complexion so radiant that she charmed the King of Poland, who was thirty-five years her junior.
This innovative toning mist is often used as a priming base and setting spray between layers of makeup for a long-lasting and smooth finish. Make sure to shake it before use, as this paraben-free, vegan, and all-natural toner does not contain emulsifier in the formula!
Caudalie Beauty Elixir retails at SGD24 for 30ml and SGD70 for 100ml on Sephora.
su:m 37° Water-full Radiant Hydrating Glow Toner
su:m37’s brightening toner with hydrating and whitening functions is the key to glass skin without having to put your skin through harsh exfoliation and chemical peels.
Gently pat the watery toner into your skin after cleansing for instant hydration with a cooling effect, and continue usage for a clear, radiant complexion that you never thought possible with sensitive skin that turns red easily.
su:m 37° Water-full Radiant Hydrating Glow Toner retails at SGD80 in su:m37’s boutiques and Zalora.
Son & Park Beauty Water
Created by celebrity makeup artists Son Dae Sik and Park Tae Yun, both of whom championed the dewy “no makeup, makeup look”, Beauty Water was the product that catapulted the brand into fame
Beyond cleansing your skin and preparing it for the next skincare step, Beauty Water also mildly exfoliates with willow bark and papaya extract to help sweep away dead skin cells, revealing brighter skin tone and smoother texture. It is formulated with gentle ingredients like lavender water, rose water, and orange fruit extract as well so that your skin is sufficiently hydrated – a true multi-tasker!
Thayers Alcohol-Free Unscented Witch Hazel Facial Toner with Aloe Vera Formula (Best value!)
Beauty junkies worth their salt would definitely have heard about the original formula and famous rose water variation that earned this series of toners over 10,000 positive reviews on Amazon. However, if you have very, very sensitive skin that reacts badly to fragrances, you may have had to give these a miss just to be on the safe side.
With that in mind, the brand also launched an unscented formula that still keeps the best properties of their time-honoured formula to cleanse, tone, moisturize, and balance the pH level of the skin. In addition to containing certified organic Aloe Vera, Thayers also uses certified organic, non-distilled Witch Hazel that’s grown exclusively for the brand, so you know that you’re using only the best ingredients on your skin.
It also doesn’t hurt that this is one of the most affordable options in the market because our wallets are just as sensitive as our skin!
Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Toner
Rose petals are deeply revered in skincare for their astringent and antibacterial power, which strengthens skin while fighting against the bacteria that cause the acne.
It may sound like a very harsh product, but Fresh’s rose toner is well-known for being a gentle one that softens the skin and refines the appearance of pores for a healthy-looking complexion. The mild formula cleanses the skin and clears it of surface debris, pollution particles, and residual impurities while leaving it feeling refreshed and prepped for the rest of your skincare routine.
Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Toner (Most hydrating!)
Isntree’s Hyaluronic Acid Toner was crowned the #1 Toner by Koreans in 2016, and in a country where sensitive skin is a prevalent issue, it is a telling sign that this works amazing well on sensitive skin.
For starters, the product contains a whopping 50% hyaluronic acid to replenish rough and dehydrated skin. It also contains glycerin, which helps to heal wounds and seal in moisture so that your skin looks radiant and supple. Now you know the Koreans’ secret to dewy skin!
Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner
Packed with skin-benefitting ingredients such as aloe (soothes and moisturises), salicylic acid (helps reduce sebum and contains anti-inflammatory properties), as well as snail mucin (stimulate collagen production and enhance skin healing), Benton’s Aloe BHA Skin Toner has been highly raved about as one of the best clean beauty products that work.
This toner hydrates and preps your skin to help with the absorption of skincare products in the next step in your routine, and has been said to effectively clear acne as well. It is little wonder then that people have even repurchased it for the fourth time and counting!
COSRX Centella Water Alcohol-Free Toner
The healing properties of Centella Asiatica Leaf Water are well-known in the skincare industry, which is why COSRX has added it to this toner so that it can relax and comfort stressed-out skin In addition, you’ll find Jeju mineral water included in the formula, meant to improve skin condition while providing vitamins and minerals.
Use this mist toner regularly and spritz it on whenever your skin starts feeling dry or itchy to see more supple and moisturised skin over time.
COSRX Centella Water Alcohol-Free Toner retails at SGD14.90 on Lazada.
Primera Alpine Berry Water Toner
Primera’s skin-quenching toner’s power ingredient is Alpine Berry Complex™—a potent blend of wild strawberry sprouts with natural moisturising factors known to survive in the harsh Alpine region and antioxidant-rich blackberries—to deliver intense hydration and radiance, while helping protect skin against environmental factors.
Besides the proprietary natural, it is also formulated with hyaluronic acid that delivers moisture that the skin needs while improving its texture. Artemisia extract, a soothing botanical, is also added to strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier.
Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Enriched Calming Toner
You know that you’ll only be getting the best from a no-nonsense brand that promises effective, research-based skincare.
The Enriched Calming Toner is hydrating toner that soothes dry, flaky skin and helps to recover moisture loss while infusing skin with anti-ageing antioxidants. The carefully blended formula contains essential ingredients dry skin needs to improve and help defend against dehydration, environmental stress, and ageing, including glycerin, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E.
Although being packed with so many benefits may make it sound too much for those with weakened skin, you’ll be happy to know that this is suitable even for those with skin prone to eczema! This is definitely one of the best toners for sensitive skin you can find.
Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Enriched Calming Toner retails at SGD35 on Paula’s Choice website.