Whether it comes to dry skin, a hydrating toner is a must to keep the skin refreshed and rejuvenated. The right toner can make a visible difference to your complexion.
And if you’re looking for an alcohol-free toner that won’t dry out your skin, you’re on the right article.
We’re here today to tell you about the benefits you’re missing out on, how to use a toner, and provide a list of our favourites based on your skincare concerns – and they’re all readily available in Malaysia. Best part? These hydrating toners are great for all skin types so oily girls will love them too!
Benefits of using a toner
Why should you use a toner? What benefits can it bring for your face?
Face toners help to remove any remaining residue from the previous skincare products you’ve used and allows for better absorption of the products you’ll apply later.
A good toner balances your skin’s pH level, boosts hydration, calms irritation, and much more because these days they are formulated with powerful properties to target an array of skin issues from acne to aging.
So don’t cross off a toner from your skincare routine, it’s not only essential to prep your skin for moisturising, but it also brings so many added benefits.
How to use a toner
After you’ve cleansed your face and patted it dry, it’s time to apply your facial toner. Simply soak a cotton pad with your toner and swipe it over your entire face and neck.
If you want to forgo the cotton pad, try putting a few drops into the palms of your hands and then lightly pressing them into your face.
Some toners also come in spray packs. Just spray the product onto your face about three to four times and pat the product into your skin for maximum absorption.
Hydrating toners can generally be used twice daily, once in the morning and once at night.
The next step after toning your face is following up with your favourite serum or essence. If you don’t have one, you can skip that step and go straight to moisturiser.
Or you can check out our breakdown of the Korean 10-step skincare routine to level up your skincare game.
Hydrating toner recommendations
1. Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner
With aloe, salicylic acid, and snail mucin, this toner not only hydrates your skin but also works as an exfoliant to de-clog pores and remove dead cells and excess oil.
This means you can enjoy less breakouts and a clearer complexion overall. Plus, this toner has anti-inflammatory properties to diminish redness and soothe irritations.
The Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner retails for RM39.90 on Shopee.
2. Cosrx Centella Water Alcohol-Free Toner
This water-based toner features 82% mineral water from Jeju Island and 10% Centella Asiatica Leaf Water. Centella Asiatica, or Cica or Tiger Grass, is a healing ingredient that helps soothe and calm irritated red skin.
The toner is low in pH, has no fragrance or preservatives so it can be used as a daily toner for even those with sensitive skin. It’s also a spray type toner so that means it’s easy to apply.
The Cosrx Centella Water Alcohol-Free Toner retails for RM43.12 on Hermo.
3. Eau Thermale Avène Gentle Toning Lotion
Specially developed for dry skin, this hydrating toner is formulated with thermal spring water and natural shine-controlling silicates to leave the skin feeling supple and matte.
It is a toner that will both refresh the skin and gently sweep away impurities. While this toner is low on the ingredients list, it has fragrance, which could potentially irritate those with sensitive skin.
The Eau Thermale Avène Gentle Toning Lotion retails for RM53.40 on Watson.
4. Fresh Rose Floral Toner
This rose water infused toner balances, softens, and hydrates the skin all at once. Suitable for all skin types, this toner can also be used to set makeup and refresh the skin throughout the day.
One thing we’d like to mention about this toner is that it has a pleasant rose smell. This is because it contains some fragrances which may not be ideal for those with sensitive skin.
The Fresh Rose Floral Toner retails for RM69 for 60ml and RM185 for 250ml on Sephora.
5. Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow PHA+BHA Pore-Tight Toner
If you love eating watermelon as much as we do, try this yummy toner out. The watermelon scent is sweet yet clean, reminiscent of a facial at a spa.
Instead of plain water, cactus water was used, giving it an extra hydrating and slightly sticky punch. While we love the delicious watermelon fragrance of this product, we know fragrance can be a sensitive skin’s worse nightmare.
The Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow PHA+BHA Pore-Tight Toner retails for RM70 for 40ml and RM160 for 150ml on Sephora.
6. Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal-Extract Toner
This lightweight hydrating toner is among Kiehl’s bestsellers and has been a mainstay of the brand since the 1960s. This tried and tested toner is said to be great for people with sensitive, oily, and acne-prone skin.
Real calendula petals are used, known to soothe and refresh troubled skin, and visibly reduce redness and blemishes. Just give the bottle a shake to get the petals out, because otherwise they’ll sink to the bottom.
The Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal-Extract Toner retails for RM152 on Shopee.
7. Klairs Supple Preparation Unscented Toner
Decorated in a clear plastic bottle, the unscented version of Klairs bestselling toner is a no-brainer on this list due to its lack of essential oils which have the potential to trigger issues for people with sensitive skin.
Even the scented version was considered a go-to product for many skincare junkies due to its lightweight formula and long list of beneficial ingredients like centella asiatica, aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, and more.
The Klairs Supple Preparation Unscented Toner retails for Rm15 for 30ml and RM58 for 180ml on Shopee.
8. Laneige Essential Power Skin Refiner Moisture
This watery toner was designed to improve hydration while providing various antioxidants. It contains fermented seaweed to energize and restore healthy skin turnover and hyacinth extracts to flush out harmful pollutants, so the skin stays clean and moisturised.
The only gripe we have about this product is that it contains a lot of fragrances including Butylphenyl Methylpropional, which can sometimes act as an allergen. So those with sensitive skin may not agree with this product.
9. Mamonde Rose Water Toner
Containing 90.97% rose water instead of regular water, this toner takes care of dead skin cells and skin texture for clearer, refreshed looking skin. Sensitive skin people should be careful with this product as it also has fragrances.
This hydrating toner is part of a flower toner line so if you’re not a fan of rose water, you could go for other types such as the chamomile pure toner or the flower honey toner instead.
10. Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner
A waterless gel-type toner, this product contains 91% of Astragalus Membranaceus Root Extract or Milk Vecht which has anti-aging, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory effects.
It is mild, easily absorbable into the skin and does not leave any residue or sticky finish. What we like about this product is the minimal amount of ingredients on the list as well as it being fragrance and dye-free.
The Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner retails for RM45.50 on Hermo.
11. Neutrogena Alcohol Free Toner
Formulated to provide clean and refreshing toning without the harsh, drying effects of alcohol, this toner gently removes impurities and does not strip the skin of its natural moisturisers.
One of the most affordable alcohol-free toners out there, this toner contains some fragrances and preservatives that may irritate sensitive skin such as Propylparaben.
The Neutrogena Alcohol Free Toner retails for RM14.23 on Shopee.
12. SOMEBYMI AHA-BHA-PHA 30 Days Miracle Toner
This hydrating toner both exfoliates and moistures, leaving healthy and even skin. Its AHA/BHA/PHA, papaya extract, and witch hazel extract work to remove dead skin cells and body wastes.
Niacinamide is also present in the formula, to help brighten the skin’s complexion. Although this toner has been tested for sensitive skin, it does contain peppermint oil which may be a mild irritant for some.
The SOMEBYMI AHA-BHA-PHA 30 Days Miracle Toner retails for RM44.85 on Shopee.
13. Simple Kind to Skin Soothing Facial Toner
This highly affordable facial toner is popular because of its price and simplicity. Chamomile is present in this toner to soothe and soften dry skin, while Witch Hazel tones and tightens pores.
We should mention that it does contain 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1, 3-diol which has the potential to develop allergies to the ingredient itself, so use with caution.
The Simple Kind to Skin Soothing Facial Toner retails for RM14.50 on Shopee.
14. Thayers Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera Astringent Toner
Although astringents are alcohol-based toners, they do have alcohol-free versions of this popular toner and are clearly named so there is no confusion when buying.
Aloe vera is present in the product to soothe and moisturise the face while witch hazel helps to shrink your pores and control oil production.
What we like about this hydrating toner is that it comes in many different flavours including an unscented version.
The Thayers Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera Astringent Toner retails for RM52 on Hermo.
15. Wardah Lightening Face Toner
You can’t go two steps from the doorway in a Watsons or a Guardian before encountering Wardah. The popular Indonesian brand is both affordable and has many different skincare lines.
Their lightening face toner helps to refresh skin and minimise pores with its seaweed extract, but it also contains fragrances, which are a downside for us.
The Wardah Lightening Face Toner retails for RM7.27 on Shopee.