The Best Toners For pH Balance

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If you’re looking for the best toners for pH balanced skin, try and choose a gentle toner with a pH level in the 4 to 6 range. As Dr. Joyce Teng told Elite Daily when discussing the best low pH cleansers, our skin is at its healthiest when it’s somewhere between 4 and 6 on the pH scale, so we should look for toners that fall into the same range. pH is measured on a scale from 1 to 14, with 1 being very acidic and 14 very alkaline.

As board-certified dermatologist Dr. Alicia Zalka, M.D., tells Elite Daily, our skin is naturally slightly acidic. “Skin relies heavily on its pH to be [at] a certain set point to achieve optimal functioning. The protective ‘layer’ of the skin that maintains the skin's health is known as the acid mantle. If the acid mantle is disturbed with a prolonged state of too high or too low pH, skin disorders and discomfort may ensue.” So picking toners and other skin care products that fall near our natural pH can help reduce the risk of irritation, skin sensitivities, dryness, and other things that are associated with a pH imbalance.

If you have oily skin, it’s okay to choose a toner that’s slightly more alkaline, Dr. Teng says. First, though, confirm that you do have oily skin (and not just dehydrated skin) by washing your face and seeing if there’s any tightness or dryness after applying moisturizer. If there is, it's more likely that your skin is dehydrated and that you should use low pH products to help your skin rebalance itself.

To shop the three best toners that fall into the 4 to 6 pH range, scroll on.

1. The Best pH Balanced Toner For Dry, Sensitive Skin

Designed for people with dry, sensitive skin, this fragrance-free toner from K-beauty brand Etude House has a pH of 5.5, according to the brand. Unlike some toners that can be overly drying, this one works to soothe and hydrate your skin using gentle ingredients like glycerin, madecassoside (a compound of centella asiatica), and panthenol. Use this after washing your face at night for an added layer of hydration (before applying the rest of your products), or in the morning after rinsing your face with water to refresh your skin and soak up oil without having to do a full-on cleanse.

2. The Best pH Balanced Toner For Oily Skin

If you have oily skin, try Paula's Choice Pore-Reducing Toner, which, like all of the brand’s toners, falls within the 5 to 7 pH level range (according to the brand, at least). Using niacinamide as the hero ingredient, this fragrance- and alcohol-free toner helps balance excess oil production and refines the appearance of enlarged, congested pores. Additional ingredients in here include glycerin, chamomile, panthenol, and ceramides to simultaneously nourish and hydrate your skin.

3. The Best ph Balanced Toner For Acne-Prone Skin

Witch hazel, which is a natural astringent, has been used for centuries to soothe irritated skin and treat mild wounds. That’s the key ingredient in this cult-favorite toner from Thayers, which combines witch hazel with moisturizers like aloe vera and glycerin to keep the formula balanced. The result is a gentle toner that’s especially ideal for acne-prone skin. Apply it after cleansing and before moisturizing like you normally would with a toner, or spritz it on your face throughout the day to refresh your skin. Thayers reports that their witch hazel products have a pH level of 5, and this particular toner comes in convenient spray bottle, though if you prefer to apply your toner with a cotton pad, you can buy the same product in a 12-ounce, non-spray bottle.


Dr. Alicia Zalka, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and founder, Surface Deep

Dr. Joyce Teng, M.D., PhD, Head of Pediatric Dermatology at Stanford Medical School