11 Best Toners for Oily Skin 2019: Get Clear Skin Fast

best toner for oily skin


As a person with oily skin, I’ve used toners since my teen years. Why? Because they give you totally clean skin that soaps and cleansers, no matter how pure they are, can’t. Toner is recommended as part of the multi-step Korean Beauty skin care regimen for a reason.

I’m betting blemishes have been a bit of a problem for you too. All the toners for acne prone skin on our list have been vetted by this slick-faced soul sister, because I have fought breakouts and blackheads for life.

Potent botanicals top the list of my favorites, with my top pick being the all natural Moroccan rose water toner from InstaNatural. This gentle, non-drying formula fights inflammation and irritation, while hydrating and cleansing.

Here are our 11 Best Toners for Oily Skin, because you deserve to put your best face forward, every single day.

What Is the Best Toner for Oily Skin?

organic rose water toner Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Light lovely scent
  • No irritating artifician ingredients
  • Great for all skin types
Price: $13.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
vichy toner, oily skin toner, toner for oily skin Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Perfect for sensitive skin
  • Hydrates and tones
  • Affordable luxury brand
Price: $17.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
thayers rose petal witch hazel, oily skin toner, toner for oily skin Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Alcohol free
  • Fights inflammation
  • Naturally antioxidant formula
Price: $8.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
neutrogena toner, oily skin toner, toner for oily skin Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Best buy
  • Leaves skin soft
  • Doesn't strip skin
Price: $5.98 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
epionce purifying toner, toner for oily skin, best toner for oily skin Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Good for acne
  • Cool on the skin
  • Skin brightening
Price: $27.26 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
clinique clarifying lotion, oily skin toner, toner for oily skin Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Leaves skin deeply clean
  • Lots of formulas for different skin
  • Huge bottle lasts a long time
Price: $24.50 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
la roche posay effaclar, oily skin toner, toner for oily skin Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Contains excellent exfoliaters
  • Clears breakouts
  • Gentle and soothing
Price: $14.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
truskin naturals toner, oily skin toner, toner for oily skin Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Tough on acne
  • Organic formula
  • Pore minimizing
Price: $15.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
clarins toner, oily skin toner, toner for oily skin Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Non-drying formula
  • Good for sensitive skin
  • Smells fresh
Price: $12.88 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
michael todd toner, oily skin toner, toner for oily skin Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Vegan formula
  • Bright lemon scent
  • Non-drying formula
Price: $19.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
glycolic acid toner, oily skin toner, toner for oily skin Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Glycolic acid exfoliates
  • Naturally antibacterial
  • Skin soothing aloe vera
Price: $19.97 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Our Top Pick: InstaNatural Rose Water Facial Toner

    • Moroccan rose water is soothing and hydrating
    • Naturally minimizes irritation that leads to more breakouts
    • Hydrates and tones without over-drying
    • Natural skin brightening vitamin C formula
    • Doesn't smell much like roses
    • Can be too drying for some
    • Some packaging issues reported

    Made from pure Moroccan rose water, InstaNatural’s toner is suitable for anyone with oily, dry, sensitive or combination skin. Since there are no artificial ingredients this all natural formula actually preps your skin for moisturizing, cleansing and toning. Great to use prior to exfoliation or before moisturizer, it hydrates and reduces irritation.

    Rose water is soothing, hydrating and skin revitalizing, so its benefits are many. The lovely natural scent is a total bonus in our opinion, and because it’s so gentle, it’s especially helpful for those with irritable and acne prone skin issues. Because it balances your skin’s pH, it gives those with troubled complexions an option that doesn’t increase irritation, which can often lead to even more breakouts.

    With naturally occurring vitamin C, this toner is skin brightening and leaves your skin feeling refreshed, rather than taut and dry. Plus it can do double duty as a makeup setting spray, and be spritzed on as a refreshing midday moisturizer. And a big bonus is that rose water is known to shrink pores. We all definitely vote for that.

    For those with especially acne prone skin, we recommend you follow up with InstaNatural Retinol Serum. Gentler than Retin A, this serum smells like fresh squeezed orange juice, dries without any stickiness, and leaves oily skin looking amazing.

  2. 2. Best Toner for Sensitive Oily Skin: Vichy Pureté Thermale Perfecting Facial Toner

    • Great for sensitive oily skin
    • Alcohol free
    • Leaves skin feeling clean, yet hydrated
    • Affordable compared to other luxury brands
    • May not be best for the most oily complexions
    • Not effective for every user
    • Odd to be considered a makeup remover and toner

    One thing many of us with oily skin lean toward is picking an alcohol based toner to dry out some of that grease we produce in abundance. Sometimes that choice can actually backfire. Drying out your skin can, in some cases, actually cause you to produce more oil. Additionally, it can irritate your skin, especially if it’s sensitive, which oily skin often can be.

    This super gentle, alcohol free toner could be a great solution to giving you clearer skin, without irritation. Naturally, Vichy Pureté Thermale perfecting toner is made with that famous French mineral spring water from the preserved region of Auvergne, which is rich in 15 minerals. That immediately makes your skin feel refreshed and clean, removing every last trace of makeup, dirt and surface oils, without distressing your skin.

    While it won’t leave your skin feeling tight, which might take you some time to get accustomed to, it will leave your skin feeling smooth, fresh and moisturized. A perfect gentle cleanser to use on your sensitive oily skin is Vichy Micellar Cleansing Water. Once you’ve removed all your makeup, the gentle Vichy toner is the perfect follow up. Both are quite reasonably priced, compared to many in the luxury category.

  3. 3. Amazon’s Choice: Thayers Alcohol-free Rose Petal Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera

    • Alcohol free
    • Anti-bacterial and filled with antioxidants
    • Helps fight inflammation including under eye puffiness
    • Very affordable
    • Not drying enough for some
    • Can cause skin irritation or breakouts
    • Fragrance can be overwhelming
    • Not effective for every user

    Witch hazel is a natural astringent that’s been around for centuries. Beneficial for cleaning away residue and oils, this natural astringent is also great for keeping your skin clear, without drying it out. Witch hazel has a naturally high concentration of polyphenols, which are both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, meaning you can feel good about using this product on your face.

    This formula has a super pleasant, light rose petal scent, and it’s also infused with another one of our fave natural skin soothing and healing ingredients, aloe vera. Witch hazel is an adept acne fighter because it naturally decreases bacteria on your skin, often a factor in acne. Used frequently, at the first signs of breakout, it can help to shrink blemishes before they become large and painful.

    Another super side benefit to this best toner for oily skin is that it helps to reduce your under eye bags, without drying your sensitive skin in that area. Because this toner is alcohol free, it’s excellent for every skin type, in addition to its wicked prowess as an astringent for oily, and acne prone skin.

    Save an additional ten percent when you buy Thayers witch hazel in the two-pack, and the per ounce price goes down even further if you buy the three-pack.

  4. 4. Best Buy: Neutrogena Alcohol & Oil-Free Toner

    • Seriously affordable
    • Leaves skin soft and feeling hydrated
    • Doesn’t sting or burn
    • May not be best for super-oily skin types
    • Can be a bit drying on sensitive skin
    • Fragrance is off-putting to some
    • Can cause irritation in some

    I have to admit it. I stumbled upon this oily skin toner in Arizona, where I ended up for an extended stay due to a family emergency. Having only packed an airline-worthy size of my regular toner, I was out, and still had two weeks before heading back home.

    In a climate that has me washing my face three or four times a day, I was searching for something that wouldn’t be too drying. Since I’ve cleansed with that good old clear bar of Neutrogena soap since my teen years, I felt confident this brand would deliver the goods. Frankly, it did – and at a shockingly low price.

    This alcohol and oil-free Neutrogena toner did a great job of keeping me grease free, while leaving my skin soft, smooth and feeling clean. Infused with non-stripping conditioners, it leaves your skin feeling hydrated, but still refreshingly clean. It absorbed and dried quickly, giving me just enough time to touch up my face and run back out the door.

    It never stung, or felt harsh, despite how many more times I was cleansing than normal. If you have sensitive skin, it’s hypoallergenic and is a super choice for frequent washers. For serious acne fighting, Neutrogena Rapid Clear 2-In-1 Fight & Fade Acne Toner dissolves away oil and reduces pimple size, swelling and redness fast, plus it helps exfoliate and fade post pimple brown spots.

  5. 5. Epionce Purifying Toner

    • Leaves skin clean and clear
    • Cool and refreshing
    • Contains naturally brightening botanicals
    • Dermatologist created
    • Super spendy
    • Small bottle
    • Packaging doesn’t include ingredient list

    I’ve long been a fan of a certain brand of toner for my still oily skin, (I’ll tell you which one later in this post,) and sometimes it takes some convincing to get me to try something new, especially when I’m happy with what’s working. After all the decades of toner use, I definitely have pretty distinct opinions about what works for my skin.

    The kicker with this product is that I received the Epionce Purifying Toner to try out, and because I’m a huge fan of more natural skin products, this one struck a chord with me. After using it twice a day for the past week, I have noticed absolute results. My acne-prone skin looks clean, clear and bright, to the point that my husband even mentioned how pretty it looks.

    That alone makes me a raving fan. This toner for oily skin removes excess shine, dirt and debris, and it did indeed reduce my minor breakouts, especially around my nose and chin. This medical grade cosmeceutical feels super cool and refreshing on your skin. It doesn’t strip your natural oils, like lots of the harsher oily skin toners do.

    My skin didn’t feel tight, dry or stinging, after using it. Then I discovered this product has a few tricks up its sleeve, starting with willow bark, a natural skin brightener. Added to that, it also has grape seed extract, which actually helps to shield your skin from environmental damage, and lavender that helps to calm inflammation.

    Orange extract also adds skin brightening vitamin C. Menthol and cucumber extracts leave your skin feeling refreshed and cool, meaning this will likely be my toner choice for the summer. This formula also includes salicylic acid, which means it’s especially effective at sloughing off dead cells and giving your complexion a fresh and renewed look.

    Because the Epionce skin care line was created by a dermatologist, I also feel safe using it on my skin, especially my face. The other plus – a nifty spray bottle, which means you don’t over pour and waste any of this toner. Because it isn’t cheap, I don’t plan to spill a drop.

  6. 6. Clinique Clarifying Lotion #3

    • Great for oily and combination skin
    • Removes every last trace of makeup
    • Great for men and women
    • Huge bottle lasts a long time
    • Expensive compared to some
    • Can sting or burn on irritated skin
    • Salicylic acid can be too harsh for some
    • The most oily skin may need the stonger Clarifying Lotion 4

    After years and years of trying to manage my oily complexion, I finally found an oily skin toner that did the job – CLINIQUE Clarifying Lotion. While it’s kind of silly that they refer to it as lotion, since it’s a clear, watery, toner, this stuff really works.

    Initially, back in the days when I was younger and oilier, I started by using their number 4 clarifying lotion solution, a major oil fighter. Now that I’m slightly more mature, I’ve moved to this number 3 solution.

    This bottle of pink toner really is a miracle worker for oily and combination skin types. It never stings or burns, and it leaves your skin shiny and fresh feeling, without a trace of makeup. Used in the morning before makeup, and before bed after you’ve cleansed thoroughly, it seriously helps clear up breakouts, and eliminate blackheads.

    Also developed by a dermatologist, you can feel secure using it on your skin, especially if you’ve got an acne prone complexion that you tend to over-scrub to tackle the problem. This best toner for oily skin helps to deeply clean pores, and because it’s made with salicylic acid to exfoliate, it sloughs away old, dead skin cells, flakiness and makeup residue. It also makes your skin more receptive to your favorite moisturizing products, which, even if you have oily skin, are important.

    Clinique does have a three-step skin care system that’s super effective and worth trying if you want to experiment with all their products for oily skin.

  7. 7. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Clarifying Facial Toner

    • Contains two power hitters – glycolic and salicylic acid
    • Exfoliates as well deeply cleans pores
    • Helps to eliminate blackheads and breakouts
    • Gentle enough for older skin
    • Can be too harsh for sensitive oily skin
    • Expensive for a small bottle
    • Can be drying
    • Contains alcohol

    If you’re coping with serious acne, this oily skin toner from La Roche-Posay could be your new skin saver. The Effaclar line was developed specifically for people with acne issues, and this toner packs a powerful punch with some serious acne fighters.

    Effaclar toner features two heavy hitters – glycolic acid to deeply clean pores, removing dirt, oil and makeup that cleansers simply can’t get to. This ingredient exfoliates, and leaves your skin ready to breathe and soak up an oil-free moisturizer, post cleanse. This ingredient is frequently found in the most effective and popular over-the-counter facial peels.

    It also has salicylic acid to clear any remaining residue from your skin, leaving it smooth and fresh. It’s particularly effective for clearing up blackheads and blemishes. Again, this awesome toner was developed by dermatologists, and that makes a big difference, when you’re talking about your face.

    One of the most popular brands in Europe for people with acne prone skin, La Roche-Posay also has 3-Step Acne Treatment System that, in test groups, has helped minimize acne by 60 percent. While I’ve only tried the toner, the kit is worth a shot if you’re at wits end with your problem skin.

  8. 8. TruSkin Naturals Daily Facial Toner

    • Natural and organic
    • Healing and soothing botanical ingredients
    • Helps to minimize pores, fine lines and wrinkles
    • Pump spray reduces waste
    • Pretty spendy for a small bottle
    • Can be too drying for some
    • Heavy witch hazel fragrance
    • May irritate sensitive skin

    If you have oily or acne prone skin, glycolic acid can be your friend. It assists in sloughing off old, dead, pore clogging skin cells that can often lead to breakouts, and uneven skin tone. It’s also great for quickly minimizing those darned brown spots that a breakout always seems to leave behind.

    This TruSkin Naturals toner combines lots of powerful acne fighters including anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory witch hazel, skin brightening vitamin C, healing aloe vera and glycolic acid in a powerful combo that leaves your skin extra clean and clear. It helps to minimize pores, and even diminish fine lines and wrinkles.

    It’s also filled with other botanicals we love, like licorice, ginseng, cooling cucumber, calming chamomile and calendula, a gorgeous orange blossom that has been used by naturalists for centuries as a natural bacteria fighter. It leaves your skin smooth, soft and hydrated, while tackling tough oil and acne issues.

    This natural and organic formula comes in a misting pump bottle, which means you’ll waste less and keep more on your cotton pad. And because it isn’t cheap, that counts. Another thing we love? The fact that you can use this product for up to three months, and if you don’t love it, they’ll refund your money with no questions asked. With a risk free guarantee, no wonder we picked it as a best toner for oily skin.

  9. 9. Clarins Toning Lotion

    • Leaves skin clean, but not dried out
    • Alcohol free formula
    • Good for sensitive oily skin
    • Lovely fragrance
    • Spendy for a small bottle
    • May irritate some people’s skin
    • Not effective for every user

    You might be more inclined to think of Clarins when it comes to beauty and makeup, rather than skincare. But as with many of the best cosmetics companies, they’ve defined that the best way to make their makeup products perform is when your skin is at its best.

    This Clarins toning lotion is one of several products that can help kickstart that process. This alcohol-free toner is formulated specifically for oily and combination skin, to leave it clear of the day’s debris, without leaving your skin dry. With wonderful botanicals, like purifying sage and iris extracts, it leaves skin smooth and radiant, but not tight or dry.

    It helps to balance your complexion, as well as toning and tightening pores. With a witch hazel and water base, this toner is gentle, non-stinging and smells lovely. For even better results, consider an exfoliating face wash like the Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser that features tamarind fruit acids and micro-scrubbing pearls to deep clean and gives your face a fresh sheen.

  10. 10. Michael Todd Organic Lemon AHA+DMAE Toner

    • 96 percent organic and 100 percent vegan
    • Skin brightening and face firming formula
    • Lemon aroma is delicious
    • Leaves skin clean but not tight or dry
    • On the spendy side
    • May irritate sensitive skin
    • Not as drying as some prefer
    • Packing problems reported

    If you love the aroma of lemons like I do, you’ll fall in love with this citrus laden Michael Todd toner. Filled with tons of good stuff, and none of the bad stuff, this toner is perfect for oily and oily/combination skin, to deeply cleanse and remove cleanser and makeup residue so your skin feels fresh and refined.

    This oily skin toner is blended with DMAE and alpha hydroxy acid to firm, lift and tighten your skin. It helps to diminish the appearance of fine lines, breakout blotches, and discolorations, to give you more even-toned radiant looking skin. Witch hazel and organic aloe add to this powerful concoction, fighting inflammation and promoting skin healing.

    Because this toner is alcohol free, it helps maintain your skin’s natural pH balance, and preps it for your favorite serums and creams to work most effectively. This 96 percent organic, 100 percent vegan formula is never tested on animals, which gives you some added peace of mind.

    Because this toner has alpha hydroxy acid, you might want to keep in mind that it may make your skin more sun sensitive, so be sure to always use a minimum of SPF 15 on your face, (which you should do regardless.) We’re also pretty enamored with the Michael Todd Charcoal Detox Deep Pore Gel Cleanser that gets rave reviews from us and others for its pore minimizing performance.

  11. 11. LAVO Glycolic Exfoliating Toner

    • Most concentrated glycolic acid formula
    • Exfoliates and reveals clearer skin
    • A little goes a long way
    • Contains skin friendly natural botanicals
    • High glycolic acid concentration may be too harsh for many
    • On the expensive side
    • Scent is quite strong and floral
    • Can cause tingling or burning sensation on application

    We’ve talked about all the reasons you might want to consider glycolic acid skincare products, but they bear repeating. Glycolic acid, one of the alpha hydroxy acids, effectively exfoliates and brightens your skin, helps to diminish sun and pimple spots, and increases the rate at which your skin renews itself. Sounds a bit like the fountain of youth.

    This glycolic acid toner has 10 percent glycolic acid, so it’s absolutely the strongest of any of the toners I’ve talked about. This Lavo toner also features some of my favorite skin soothing ingredients, including healing aloe vera and anti-microbial calendula, both of which will make your skin feel calm and cool, as well as hydrated.

    This cruelty-free formula also helps to tighten pores and dries with a matte finish that is perfect for applying serums, moisturizers and makeup. Because this formula is pretty strong, you might want to test it out for just two or three days a week at first, to be sure you don’t have a reaction. If the 10 percent glycolic acid formula irritates your skin, you might try the LAVO 5 Percent Glycolic Acid Toner.

Oily skin toners have come such a long way from when we slathered our faces with rubbing alcohol, back in the day. Now they're gentler, but lots more effective, thanks to a host of ingredients, both natural and man-made, that do some pretty amazing stuff.

You'll find many with aloe vera, a healing and skin soothing ingredient that's been used for centuries. You'll also see calendula flower, a bright orange bloomer that's known for its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.

Skin brightening willow bark, citrus extracts, and vitamin C add to the benefits of many of these toners, plus those ingredients also fight excess oil and acne. You'll also see skin soothing cucumber, chamomile and ginseng. Many toners on our list use organic witch hazel as a key ingredient, known for its ability to reduce inflammation and oil, without drying or stripping your skin.

Of course, there are a few other heavy hitting non-organic ingredients in these toners, two of which are glycolic acid, and salicylic acid, exfoliating powerhouses, that slough off dead cells and flakes, brighten and firm, and reduce the look of pores, fine lines and wrinkles.

On the downside, glycolic acid, and alpha hydroxy acids in general, can make your skin more irritable and sun sensitive, so if you're using products with it, you'll want to be sure to use facial sunscreen, with a minimum SPF 30, to keep from getting burned. One of our best toner picks also features DMAE, which helps to target and reduce the buildup of pigmentation, helping to diminish age spots and sun damage.

Keep in mind, these toners are targeted specifically toward people who are struggling with oily skin, and the resulting breakouts from it. They're likely too drying for more sensitive skin types, although we have included several that are especially for sensitive oily skin. And while many are a bit of an investment, isn't clear skin worth almost any price?

See Also:

Best Moisturizers for Oily Skin
Best Primers for Oily Skin

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