Meet the product you can’t (and shouldn’t) live without: the exfoliating toner. Exfoliation is the key to bright, glowing skin, and it’s a step in your skincare routine that you definitely shouldn’t skip. Exfoliating toners are gentle formulas designed to increase cell turnover and dissolve dead skin tissue leaving you with glowy, radiant skin. Sounds awesome right? Exfoliating toners use ingredients like alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) to loosen the dead skin cells that clog pores and prevent our skin from looking its best. AHAs are acids that promote cell turnover, while BHAs cut through grime and get rid of all that oil and skin-clogging bacteria.
Using a liquid exfoliant after you cleanse your face removes the gunk that prevents products from absorbing into your skin and performing their best. However, too much of a good thing is not a good thing, and how often you use an exfoliating toner comes down to your skin type and its sensitivity. Interested? Good—keep reading. Our proprietary algorithm takes into account editorial mentions, rave reviews, and social media buzz to carefully curate and rank the Top 10 exfoliating toners you need in your skincare routine. Keep scrolling to discover the ones that made the cut. Opening image: glossier.com
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Youth To The People Kombucha + 11% AHA Exfoliation Power Toner
WHAT IT DOES: This exfoliating toner is formulated with 8% lactic acid and 3% glycolic acid, and it's balanced with prebiotics like kombucha black tea and tree bark ferments to enhance the skin's microbiome, reduce shine, and unclog pores.
HELPFUL TIP: Use this product three to five times per week, gradually working your way up to nightly use. Apply sunscreen afterward to prevent damage to the skin.
Caudalie Vinopure Natural Salicylic Acid Pore Minimizing Toner
USERS SAID: “Smells amazing, feels amazing, and my skin is literally like butter. After one day, I saw visible differences in the appearance of my pores and my skin is soooo bright and clean looking!”
FROM THE EXPERTS: In a clinical self-evaluation test of 30 volunteers with twice-daily application, 97% agreed skin was immediately refreshed. After 28 days, 91% agreed skin was purified. After 56 days, 83% agreed pores looked tightened.
SK-II Facial Treatment Essence
USERS SAID: “This is the first beauty product that I am actually passionate about because it makes a noticeable difference in my skin tone. This essence has cleared up my complexion and reduced blackheads. My face is smooth and soft.”
FUN FACT: This exfoliating toner is formulated with pitera, an ingredient derived from fermented yeast that imitates the skin’s natural moisturizing factors.