If your only experience with toner was in your high school days, chances are you remember the harsh, alcohol-infused liquid that always seemed to make your skin worse. Thanks widely in part to the rise of Korean-inspired beauty routines, in which toning is an essential step, toners are bigger than ever, and they've majorly improved by nixing the alcohol in favor of gentler exfoliating and skin-soothing ingredients. Finding the best alcohol-free toners comes down to determining exactly what kind of results you're looking to achieve.
If you're looking for extra hydration for your dry skin, keep an eye out for a toner that includes several moisturizing and smoothing ingredients like rose water, glycerin, vitamin B5, and hyaluronic acid. On the opposite end of the skin care spectrum, excessively oily types should look for your classic astringents like witch hazel, or a gentle pore-clearing exfoliant like glycolic acid. Sensitive skin types can also benefit from these alcohol-free toners — especially if you look for a formula that's free of common irritants, like synthetic fragrances, and instead includes skin-soothing ingredients like aloe vera and chamomile.
When it comes to application, toners are meant to be applied just after cleansing to get rid of any excess dirt and oil before moving onto your serums and creams. This will also make any products you use afterwards more effective, since a clear, clarified surface will allow them to more easily penetrate the skin.