There's A Toner For Everything

To anybody who values a streamlined and edited skincare routine, toner can seem redundant—but this would be a mortal error. It's possible you've forgotten, but toning is essential. And the benefits are myriad: pH rebalancing, bacteria combating, pore refining, oil relieving, and many more. Think of it like a specialized boost for your cleansing routine—the wheatgrass shot in your detox smoothie, or the Skinnygirl brand Açai Water Enhancer to your Skinnygirl brand Pineapple Coconut Water. (This is not a sponsored post.) Skeptics will say that, yes, it's actually possible to live without toner, but that's probably because they probably haven't found the right one yet. If you've found yourself in that category, it's about time you met your match. Six suggestions below:

For acne: Erno Laszlo Light Controlling Lotion

"I don’t use a toner regularly, I find them too drying. I’m at the point with my skincare routine where washing my face is a lot, and weirdly enough, my skin has never been clearer. But I always have Erno Laszlo’s Light Controlling Lotion by my mirror. If I pop a zit, I immediately dip a q-tip into the bottle and swab the area to disinfect. It’s mostly alcohol, but has clove oil, which is an antiseptic. Keeps the area from getting too angry, and helps it heal quickly." —Annie Kreighbaum, Executive Editor

For reducing inflammation: Darphin Intral Toner

"In June, I took a red eye to Paris, dropped my stuff off at my hotel and marched immediately to the Darphin Institute for a facial that either lasted 15 minutes or two hours—I'm not sure because I slept through it. What I can recall from my time on the table however is that floral water sensation of Darphin's impeccable toner. Smells really wonderful and was exactly what I needed to get rid of plane-face (read: puffy, red, and dry)." —Emily Ferber, Editor

For fighting bacteria: Kiehl's Calendula Herbal Extract Toner

"If you’re looking for a gentle, alcohol-free toner with an apothecary vibe, this is the ideal choice. It’s herby without being heavy or cloying, and the allantoin inhibits bacterial growth. Plus it contains something called Great Burdock, which sounds like a throwaway character from Little House on the Prairie. It leaves my face feeling soothed and fresh, and the real flower petals floating in the bottle make it look like a freaky potion." —Nina Blass, Email Manager

For removing excess oil: Fresh Umbrian Clay Purifying Toner

"This one is insane. I don't usually care much for toner because it feels like straight alochol, smells like it, and I don't think it does much to my skin. The Fresh one is different, though—it's a milky-clay. Imagine that loveliness of rubbing your clay mask off with warm water, but in a toner bottle. I save it for super sweaty days or when I'm just feeling a little more oily." —Tom Newton, Photo Editor

For refining pores: Ole Henriksen Grease Tonic

"Originally I bought this because I needed to get rid of the blackheads on my nose. It's hard to find a toner that's well-balanced...something that distinfects and renews but doesn't dry you out, and the Ole Henriksen does the trick. It's got lactic acid, golden seal, and aloe, so it clears up oil around my nose and chin, but doesn't overly dry out my cheeks. Great for city summers and anything involving the subway." —Melissa Souto, Physical Product Manager

For sensitive skin: Kenzoki Fresh Lotus Water

"I've got pretty sensitive skin that doesn't react well to harsher toners with alcohol or citrus, and during the summer months all I really want is something refreshing. In the morning, I spray on the Kenzoki just before moisturizing and at night I'll use it with a cotton pad like a true toner. It's lovely and pleasant." —Anna Jube, Editorial Intern

For pH restoration: Clarins Toning Lotion With Chamomile

"Clarins Chamomile Toner is the skincare equivalent of sleepytime tea. I tend to cleanse with heavy-duty face washes, and the Clarins is the only toner I've met that can rebalance my skin. Otherwise, it has this amazing chamomile scent that I crave right before bed, plus a host of other fortifying ingredients. Truly a pleasure to use." —Brennan Kilbane, Assistant Editor

Photographed by Tom Newton.

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