If you have oily skin, you know what it’s like to wash your face and apply moisturizer but still look greasy by the end of the day. This is why you should use a toner that helps control shininess and decrease the appearance of pores.
How does one pick a toner that shrinks pores and prevents shininess? The top choices on this list are all made for your specific facial condition and several of them are under $20 to make it even better.
Best Toners for Oily Skin & Large Pores: Our Top 8 Picks
In a hurry? For those with little time to spare, here are our top picks on the market right now:
1. Best Overall: Proactive Hydrating Facial Toner For Sensitive Skin
- Fights hyperpigmentation.
- Effective against acne.
- Doesn’t leave the skin dry.
Proactive advertises this toner as an ideal solution for tightening pores, fighting acne, and balancing pH levels, and users tend to agree.
Customers report that this product is great at smoothing out your skin tone and fighting hyperpigmentation such as acne scars. They also state that it’s effective against acne and teenagers describe clearing up their face within a month.
This toner is alcohol-free, which means that it’s less drying on the face. It’s enriched with botanical extracts such as the hydrating and anti-inflammatory aloe vera and chamomile for a sense of calmness.
The active ingredients that fight oil and reduce the appearance of pores include glycolic acid and witch hazel. The former exfoliates and prevents dead skin cells from multiplying, while the latter helps clear up acne blemishes and reduces inflammation.
It also contains vitamin B, which is needed for healthy skin cells. Another ingredient is the pH-adjusting sodium hydroxide, and this helps your skin appear hydrated and plump.
Unlike some other exfoliating toners, this Proactive one doesn’t cause dry spots, according to users. But it does take some time to see the full results of using this product, so be patient. Do note that there are parabens on the ingredient list, which may have some dangers associated with them, but only in high amounts.
One bottle should last you for around three months.
2. Best Hypoallergenic: Neutrogena Oil- and Alcohol-Free Facial Toner
- Doesn’t irritate.
- Soothing and hydrating.
- Oil- and alcohol-free.
- Minimizes pores.
- Gets rid of dirt properly.
Neutrogena advertises this toner as suitable for cleaning your face well without stripping it of moisture. Made from an alcohol-free formula, they claim that it won’t cause stinging.
Buyers agree that this product doesn’t burn or irritate the skin, but rather soothes and moisturizes it. One user states that their face feels silky after applying the Neutrogena toner.
Ingredients include panthenol (vitamin B5), which is beneficial for hydration. The toner is oil-free though, which makes it non-comedogenic, so you won’t be clogging your pores in the process. Reviewers describe it as feeling very similar to water itself.
Customers also state that it minimizes pores effectively and is great at getting rid of left-over makeup and dirt. Some state that they see results in the form of a brighter skin tone within minutes of application.
Unfortunately, this toner doesn’t have an acne-fighting effect, so keep that in mind. It also has parabens inside.
3. Best for Textured Skin: Thayers Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel Facial Toner
- Evens out skin texture.
- Fights discoloration.
- Mild scent.
- Antioxidant-rich plant extracts.
Thayers promote this product as controlling acne and oil, minimizing pores, and reducing inflammation.
With active ingredients such as witch hazel, it does have anti-inflammatory properties. Another ingredient is lavender, which is calming for the skin. This toner also has hydrating components such as aloe vera and glycerin.
It contains grapefruit seed oil, which is non-comedogenic and doesn’t clog your pores. It’s rich in vitamin E and research has shown that it improves skin’s moisture. There are many antioxidant-rich plant extracts in it as well. To top it off, this toner is alcohol-free and won’t strip you of hydration.
Users praise this toner for its ability to even out skin tone and texture. People with acne scars and blemishes report improvements after using it.
Compared to other witch hazel products, customers also feel like this one has a more pleasant and mild scent. It does contain uncategorized fragrance though, so keep this in mind if you’re sensitive to these substances.
4. Best Budget Choice: Clean & Clear Essentials Deep Cleaning Facial Astringent
- Fights whiteheads and blackheads.
- Evens out skin tone.
- Doesn’t leave grease on your face.
Here’s an affordable toner that contains salicylic acid, which is great at treating acne and has an exfoliant affect.
Users agree that this product dries out whiteheads and clears pores successfully. Some also feel that it helps with cystic acne. Customers report seeing a brighter face within days.
The formula is oil-free, so it won’t clog your pores. Buyers recommend using a hydrating moisturizer after this toner because it can be quite drying, maybe because it contains alcohol.
The scent is reportedly rather pleasant and not overpowering.
When it comes to controlling shine, customers also report its effectiveness. It gets rid of that greasy feeling that no one likes. Note that a little goes a long way and you only have to apply a few drops to a cotton ball to thoroughly cover your whole face.
You can also use the toner to fight pimples on your body, according to buyers.
When using products with salicylic acid—such as this one—make sure to avoid using any other exfoliants. It could damage your skin otherwise.
5. Best for Sensitive Skin: Paula's Choice Pore Reducing Toner for Oily Skin
- Gentle on sensitive skin.
- No added fragrances.
- Pore reducing.
Paula’s Choice advertises this toner as being pore-minimizing, as well as fighting the effects of aging.
There are no parabens in the product and it’s free from added fragrances which is good for sensitive skin. But do note that it contains chamomile extract and that this plant has a natural smell that most find welcoming and subtle.
Customers state that this toner doesn’t have a scent otherwise. It’s gentle on the face and doesn’t sting when applied.
Users also say that they see a significant reduction in the size of their pores after using this product and that it cleanses well while still hydrating.
Despite being advertised as anti-aging, some users don’t report much of an effect on this, while others feel like it tightens their skin.
The toner also contains jojoba oil, which is known for fighting acne. It also has a skin-restoring ingredient, which is niacinamide (vitamin B3). This helps regulate oil production. The hydrating components include glycerin, ceramides, and panthenol.
6. Best Spray: Yonka Facial Sprays Oily Skin Toner
- Very hydrating.
- Has a pleasant smell.
This popular alternative comes in spray form, making it a unique choice. You apply it by closing your eyes and spraying it all over your face from a distance of approximately 1 foot.
One great thing is that you can reapply it to your face throughout the day for a hydration boost. You also don’t need cotton balls or pads for application, which reduces your waste matters.
Yonka advertises this product as regulating oil production, hydrating the skin, and tightening pores. There are limited reports, however, where pore minimization is concerned.
Customers do agree that it feels moisturizing and leaves a fresh, clean after-effect. They really like that it doesn’t leave the skin in a dry state after application. It keeps the face glowing without being greasy.
Ingredients include the calming agent lavender, rosemary with antiseptic properties, and the anti-inflammatory geranium. It’s also free from parabens and alcohol.
Users love the fresh scent that’s not too flowery or overpowering.
Do note that this product is the most expensive on our list.
7. Best for Fine Lines: Paula's Choice Resist Weightless Advanced Repairing Toner
- Makes skin firmer.
- Reduces pores.
- No added fragrances.
- Free from parabens.
If you struggle with oily and mature skin, this is a great alternative.
Paula’s Choice describes this toner’s capabilities as reducing pores, fine lines, and wrinkles, and promotes it as paraben-free and free from fragrances.
According to buyers, it helps reduce pores and regulates grease well. It’s not sticky but lightweight, and doesn’t strip your face of moisture. Users also feel that this toner does a good job at tightening the skin’s appearance.
Active ingredients include niacinamide, which controls oil production and minimizes wrinkles and fine lines, among other things. Other components are glycerin for hydration and hyaluronic acid which helps increase skin elasticity and prevent wrinkles.
This toner also contains citric acid as a pH-adjuster.
It does take some time for this product to show its full effects, so use it consistently for a month or two before evaluating it.
8. Best Toner Pads: Apple Cider Vinegar Acne Face Toner Pads
- 100 percent natural ingredients.
- Suitable for sensitivities.
- No artificial fragrances.
- Evens out skin tone.
If you’re looking for comfort and convenience, pre-soaked toner pads are a good choice. It’s quick and easy to apply this type of toner since you just pick up a single pad, swipe it all over your face—except from around your eyes—and you’re good to go.
These pads contain several acne-fighting ingredients such as witch hazel and tea tree oil. All products from Hello Cider contain apple cider vinegar which is known for balancing the skin’s pH and reducing blemishes.
This product doesn’t contain any chemicals or preservatives and is made of 100 percent natural products. All the ingredients are labeled as organic to boot.
Users report that it does wonders for sensitive skin, perhaps because it’s free from added chemicals and from artificial fragrances. People say that this product reduces redness and evens out your complexion. It’s effective against acne as well.
Note that the apple cider vinegar has a strong, sour smell that might be unpleasant for some. According to customers, the added vanilla extract helps the scent from being overwhelming and they report that the smell disappears once the product sinks into your skin.
Toner for Oily Skin & Large Pores: Buyer’s Guide
How Do I Know if I Have Oily Skin?
These are some of the common features that people with this facial condition will recognize:
- Excess oil.
- Greasy or shiny face throughout the day.
- Acne-prone skin.
- Large pores.
An overproduction of oil is what causes someone to have oily skin. Note that for some individuals, this is a reaction to your skin being too dry. Your glands then try to compensate by producing more sebum. Hormonal imbalances and genetics are other factors that cause the oily effect.
This is why it’s important to avoid stripping your face of moisture if you have this skin type, since it might only make your problems worse.
These are some basic things a good toner for oily skin should do:
- Get rid of leftover dirt and makeup.
- Be mattifying.
- Minimize pores.
- Provide moisture.
- Balance pH.
Find products with these anti-inflammatory or acne-fighting ingredients:
- Witch hazel: Anti-inflammatory and eases irritation.
- Salicylic acid: An exfoliant that’s also good at fighting acne.
- Lavender: Calms irritation and reduces redness.
- Tea tree oil: Antibacterial properties and gets rid of impurities.
- Glycolic acid: Exfoliant that fights acne.
Hydrating ingredients include:
- Aloe vera: Naturally hydrating plant that has healing properties.
- Glycerin: Hydrates the outer layer of the skin.
- Ceramides: Creates a barrier that traps moisture in the skin. Paula's Choice Pore Reducing Toner for Oily Skin includes this ingredient.
- Panthenol: Helps the face retain moisture.
To balance pH, look for:
- Sodium hydroxide.
- Citric acid.
- Apple cider vinegar.
A Few No-Nos
Alcohol is a common ingredient in some facial toners. But many people reported skin dryness and stinging after using them. These days there are many alcohol-free products on the market for this reason.
Parabens are linked to hormonal changes in our bodies. Some research states that they can potentially contribute to cancer, but studies are inconclusive at this time. To be on the safe side, avoid parabens when you can.
Yonka Facial Sprays Oily Skin Toner and a few other toners on this best-of list are paraben-free.
Also, avoid oil-based toners since you don’t want to add more grease to your face. Comedogenic oils can clog your pores, but non comedogenic ones, such as grapeseed, won’t. Neutrogena Oil- and Alcohol-Free Facial Toner is a good example.
How Do You Use a Toner?
When it comes to skincare, you should generally go by the rule of lightest to heaviest. That means applying the most lightweight product first, and then moving on to heavier and thicker products.
Apply toner first thing after cleansing, it’s light by nature and has a liquid consistency similar to water. When applying it, you can put some product on clean fingertips and then pat your skin gently. Or, put the solution on a cotton pad or ball and wipe it all over your face, except on the area around your eyes. You can apply any leftover product to your neck.
What is a Good Skincare Routine for Oily Skin?
A skincare routine similar to these steps below could benefit you:
- Wash your face with a cleanser. This should be an oil-free product that has exfoliating properties as well. The Clean & Clear Pore Cleanser is an affordable pick.
- Apply toner. Preferably an alcohol-free one that refines pores and controls grease.
- Put on some serum that helps with your specific skin issues. Skinfood Peach Sake Serum controls sebum and tightens pores.
- Use an oil-free moisturizer that has a lightweight consistency such as gel or liquid lotion to avoid clogging your pores. I’d recommend CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion that contains ceramides.
You can also use a facemask once a week. Preferably one that deep cleans your pores such as a clay mask. This step should be done after cleansing and before applying toner.
It’ll also do you good to consider exfoliating with a chemical exfoliant or scrub about once a week to prevent any build-up of dead skin cells that can clog and enlarge your pores. This should also be done after cleansing.
Final Verdict: Which Toner is Best for Oily Skin & Large Pores?
To sum up, a good toner for oily skin reduces grease, refines pores, moisturizes, and controls pH. They also include anti-inflammatory and acne-fighting ingredients. But preferably not alcohol and parabens.
In my eyes, the best toner for oily skin and large pores is Proactive Hydrating Facial Toner For Sensitive Skin. It’s alcohol-free and hydrates well. It also contains exfoliating and acne-fighting substances.
If you’re sensitive to irritants such as alcohol and fragrance, go for Neutrogena Oil- and Alcohol-Free Facial Toner instead. If you struggle with discoloration and blemishes, Thayers Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel Facial Toner is your best pick.