By now, most people are familiar with the importance of incorporating moisturizers, serums, and sunscreen into their skincare routines. But if you're still not getting the radiance-boosting effects you're after, it might be time to invest in one of the best Korean toners for glowing skin.
Like most products in the vast universe of Korean beauty, Korean toners are pretty much nothing like what we've come to associate with typical Western toners. Whereas most Western-made toners
used to contain drying ingredients, like alcohol, and are associated with oily or acne-prone skin, Korean toners vary much more widely. Sure, some do work to clarify skin — but as Korean beauty authority Peach & Lily states, their main purpose should be to rebalance your skin. SokoGlam, another expert K-beauty resource, also notes that using the right toner can help increase the effectiveness of the products you apply afterward. All of this can contribute to a clearer, brighter-looking complexion, which is why it's worth taking the time to find a toner that suits your skin type, and that will fit in with the rest of your routine.
Ahead, you'll find 14 of the
best Korean toners to choose from; each of them works a bit differently, and some are better suited to certain skin types than others — but all of them will help boost your skin's natural glow.
You'll use these Korean toners the same way you would a standard toner: After cleansing, by applying a few drops onto your face with your palms or a cotton pad. But, you can also use them to give your skin a midday refresh, if your face tends to get extra-dry or extra-oily throughout the day.
Scroll on to learn more and pick the
best toner for your skin type. 1 The Cult Classic Also available on Walmart, $49
Keep skin feeling clean and looking clear with the cult-classic
Missha Time Revolution Clear Toner. A blend of fermented yeast extract and good-for-skin acids work to exfoliate and soften skin, while also preparing it to better absorb any products you apply after. Glycerin and sodium hyaluronate help balance out the potentially drying effects of the acids, making this toner a great choice for just about anyone looking to give their skin a radiance boost. Helpful Review: “I was skeptical at first of how much I'd like this even though a lot of people recommend it, but I truly do love it. I definitely notice if I don't use it, and on particularly hot and humid days I can get away with just wearing this and sunscreen without a moisturizer too. It just feels refreshing and nice. It's definitely going to stay in my routine.” 2 This Soothing Toner For Dry, Sensitive Skin Also available on Ulta, $22 and Walmart, $22
If you have sensitive skin that errs on the dry side, the
Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner is for you. The alcohol-free formula uses a blend of gentle ingredients, like centella asiatica and hyaluronic acid, to soothe and moisturize skin without disrupting its pH levels. In addition to being moisturizing and calming, one reviewer noted they discovered a whole new use for this toner, writing that after they had such positive results with it smoothing and softening the skin on their face, they also tried using it on their keratosis pilaris, which it completely eliminated. Helpful Review: “This is a product that I agonized over for two months before purchasing. I was initially skeptical that it would be an okay toner because I was concerned about the essential oils in it (I was afraid it would give me rashes) and the fact that it was a "moisturizing" toner (I thought it might make me break out). However, this was actually wonderful! [...]” 3 A Toner With Ceramides For Dehydrated Skin
One of the easiest ways to restore radiance to dehydrated skin is to quench its thirst — which is exactly what this powerful,
hydrating toner from AHC does. Rich in essential hydrating and moisturizing ingredients like ceramides, French seawater, and three different weights of hyaluronic acid, it will help restore moisture and hydration to seriously thirsty skin (despite it having a water-light consistency). Meanwhile, ceramides help form a moisture-trapping barrier to keep skin healthy and hydrated in the long-term; use it after cleansing, and/or as a midday refresh when your skin starts to feel dry or tight. Helpful Review: “I have dry dehydrated skin and the seasonal allergies play havoc on my skin. This was a really good 1st step in locking the moisture. The scent is refreshing without being oppressive. It smells clean and light. It’s almost like scented water but so much more.” 4 The Skin-Plumping Toner With Collagen
There's one ingredient you're bound to hear a lot about in Korean beauty: collagen. Collagen-rich products, like
this Etude House toner (a brand known for their effective line of collagen products, which also includes a cult-favorite moisturizer), work to improve skin's elasticity and plumpness, which can help skin look dewier, firmer, and more radiant, and feel bouncy and soft. Reviewers love the jelly-like texture, which feels refreshing and doesn't feel sticky. Helpful Review: “Hands down best toner I’ve used so far! You wont regret your purchase, the skin feels awesome just after applied, I have very sensitive skin and so far its been wonderful for my face, the smell is nice but not overwhelming (at least for me), definitely recommended and definitely will continue to purchase. This is one of my fav brands from Korean skincare & I use some others of their products as well.” 5 An Acne-Busting Toner With Exfoliating Acids Also available on Target, $20 and Walmart, $16
Acne-prone skin types will benefit from
this acid-rich toner from cult-favorite K-beauty brand COSRX. In this formula, a mix of AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids) and BHAs (beta-hydroxy acids) work together to exfoliate dead skin, which helps treat and prevent breakouts, resurface skin, and generally improve skin clarity, texture, and tone. All of this will contribute to a brighter-looking, softer-feeling complexion, which means over time: glowing skin. Plus, the spray-top bottle makes it a cinch to apply, while the Jeju-sourced mineral water in the formula prevents it from leaving faces feeling dried-out or tight. Helpful Review: “My redness and pigmentation have significantly gone down. I did a lot of research on this product and heard great reviews from friends and professionals. In the beginning of using it, my skin did purge because I think this product extracts the bad bacteria from the skin, but after a few weeks of using it, my skin is soft and smooth. My skin type is dry and acne prone.” 6 This Toner For Oily Skin Also available on Walmart, $14
Ideal for anyone with oily skin or enlarged, congested pores, the
Etude House Wonder Pore Freshener provides seven different benefits, which include rebalancing skin, regulating oil production, tightening pores, and more. It works more like a "traditional" toner in the sense that it's an astringent, but it still contains a handful of moisturizing ingredients that, according to reviewers, leave skin feeling "super smooth and soft." Helpful Review: "Only after a week of use, my blackheads and whiteheads are gone and the pores on my nose are almost invisible.” 7 A Balancing Toner For Combination Skin Also available on Sephora, $17
Keep the dry areas of your face moisturized and soft without making the oily areas feel sticky and clogged with the
Innisfree Green Tea Balancing Skin toner. It absorbs quickly without leaving behind a residue, which is essential for combination skin types, while leaving your face feeling refreshed and looking radiant. One reviewer commented, "Smells amazing and feels great. My skin is a lot calmer with this product. I apply it every night after cleansing and before a moisturizer. My combination skin is more hydrated and breaks out less." Helpful Review: “This product is great! I have sensitive skin and was worried that I would have a reaction to it. I’ve been using it for about a month now and there are no issues. It moisturizes my face and has a great smell! [...] I definitely noticed decreased redness and overall smoothness of my skin ever since I started using this. I will definitely buy this in the future!” 8 An Avocado-Rich Toner For Dry Skin Available on Walmart, $12
If your dry skin craves extra nourishment, feed it with a toner rich in moisturizing ingredients, like the
Skin Food Premium Avocado Rich Toner. Avocado extract, avocado oil, and ceramides restore and lock in moisture while strengthening skin, so it stays hydrated in the long run on its own. This toner may prove too rich for oily and combination skin types (its other ingredients include shea butter and macadamia seed extract), but it'll be a godsend for dry skin types that can't seem to get enough moisture. It also helps soften rough, flaky patches, so makeup goes on smoother, while providing skin with a dewy, radiant glow. Helpful Review: “Let me just start out by saying I have sensitive, dry, easily irritated skin that hates everything but the gentlest of products. HELL YES. And I have the kind of skin that gets tight and itchy even when I'm just washing dishes. When I'm actually splashing water on my face on purpose I need to follow up with a product that's equal parts gently soothing and tough on dryness, and this toner has definitely impressed me. Is it as nourishing as it claims to be? I tested it out for two weeks and can tell you I've seen a marked improvement in my skin's texture and glow, especially around my eyes and cheeks [...]” 9 A Multitasking Toner With Snail Mucin Also available on Walmart, $20
Snail mucin is a wildly popular ingredient used in Korean beauty products, including
this toner, thanks to its multitasking, skin-repairing benefits. Not only is it deeply moisturizing and super soothing, but it can also help even out skin tone, which makes it popular with people looking to fade unwanted scars from past breakouts. All of this, of course, will help skin appear clearer and "glowier." But obviously, it's not a vegan-friendly choice. Helpful Review: "[...] I love, love, love this toner. It goes on clear, absorbs into the skin like a dream and offers great hydration. It drastically reduced my acne scaring from when I was a teenager, and it keeps my adult acne triggered my hormones in check. My skin is so much more even now and it has great ingredients that WORK. [...]” 10 These Travel-Friendly Daily Toner Pads
These easy-breezy, travel-friendly daily
toner pads stand out from the pack because you won’t need additional cotton rounds and they’re designed to be safe for all skin types, including dry, oily, acne-prone, and sensitive skin. The main ingredients in this highly rated toner are salicylic acid and poly hydroxy acid, which remove dead skin and can make your skin smoother and more glowy. Helpful Review: “These worked super well to clear up my acne and brighten my skin. there is quite a lot of liquid in the bottom of the container so there is definitely enough for every pad. the pads themselves are smooth on one size and slightly textured on the other. they hold a lot of product and are very gentle on the skin. i would highly recommend this even if you have sensitive skin.” 11 This Brightening Toner With Rice Extracts
Rice extract is a popular ingredient in many Korean skincare products and this moisturizing
toner is no exception. Formulated with rice extract from the island of Gyodong, which is known as a clean and fertile land free of factories, it also contains Lotus flower extract and Centella Asiatica extract and is designed to brighten skin, cleanse, and moisturize. This pick is both a toner and an essence in one, which means you can expect a higher level of hydration than from most toners. It has a 4.6-star rating and has been tested by dermatologists. Helpful Review: “This is a 2-in-1 toner and essence that is a little thick. It provides not just hydration but also moisturizing benefits. Since I have oily-dehydrated skin so I only do up to two layers of the product to get the toner step and the essence step if I feel like I need it. Even after two layers I almost forgot to lock everything in with a moisturizer. My skin felt so soft and I can see my overall skin complexion become brighter.” 12 A Toner Spray With Marine Minerals
Formulated with 98% naturally derived ingredients, this toner and
essence spray is chockfull of brightening and hydrating plant extracts like tamarind and cucumber extracts, aloe leaf juice, Japanese green tea, and marine minerals. This pick is lightweight, smells like citrus, and can even help reduce acne scarring and make a big difference in skin texture. Helpful Review: “Not only is this amazing for your skin, but your lashes will grow in length and double in thickness. I’ve tried so many lash serums, and this works so much better than anything I’ve ever tried. Buy this, you will not regret it!” 13 This Exfoliating Toner With Natural Acids Also available on Sephora, $15
Exfoliate skin with the natural and effective ingredients you’ll find in this
toner, which includes willow bark (a natural beta-hydroxy acid), as well as watermelon extract and cactus water that add hydration back to your skin and lock moisture in. This soothing toner is ideal for all skin types, including dry, oily, combination, and sensitive skin. This pick is described as a “bouncy gel” that you can use with or without cotton rounds. Helpful Review: “This is the perfect moisturizer for summertime on my end! Very light on the skin (perfect when temperatures are high). I use it as a daytime moisturizer. The watermelon smell is very refreshing too!” 14 An Award-Winning Toner and Serum Also available on Sephora (5 Oz), $175, Bloomingdale’s (5 Oz), $175, and Neiman Marcus (2.3 Oz), $95
toner and serum is more expensive than others on the list, but it’s also an award-winning pick that was chosen as one of Allure’s 2018 Beauty Award winners. It contains just six ingredients — including green tea from leaves that are hand-picked on Jeju Island, bamboo sap and Red Ginseng — and it is considered a hybrid between a toner and a serum (something to keep in mind if the price tag makes you nervous). Many reviewers report that just a few drops of this highly rated toner are all that is needed to make skin feel softer and smoother — so one bottle goes a long way. Helpful Review: “This formula is amazing! Light watery texture with body, no scent, but the difference it makes in my skin it truly remarkable!”
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This article was originally published on
June 23, 2017