facial toner products

What Is a Natural Toner? Treat Your Skin with the Best Ones.

Last Updated: May 4, 2022

Looking for a toner that isn't harsh on your skin? Why not switch to a natural toner? Here at Grove we know about natural—dive in and find the best natural toners for your specific skin.

What does a toner do to your face?

Toners clean, calm, and prepare your skin to absorb serums, moisturizers, and makeup. They’re considered a must for truly healthy skin.

Including a top natural toner in your skincare routine is a quick, easy way to ensure your face is clean, yet supple—and ready for moisturizer and makeup.

But why a natural toner, you ask? Read on to learn about harsh chemicals that may be hiding in your normal skincare products and follow along with our guide to the best natural toners you can try instead so you (and your face) can truly shine.

What does toner do for your face?

Similar to lightweight barbells toning up your muscles, a facial toner is a lightweight liquid that tones up your skin.

More specifically, toners help remove residue from cleansers, makeup, oil, and dirt.

Typically they have a thin, astringent consistency that will refresh, tighten, and unclog pores. The best toners also hydrate, leaving your skin texture more balanced and ready for the next step in your skincare routine.

Can toners be bad for your face?

Some conventional skincare brands create toners that contain hidden, harsh chemicals. These types of toners can be bad for your face, especially if you have sensitive skin or are prone to eczema.

Beware of possible skin reactions to the following ingredients:

  • strong>SD, denatured, isopropyl, and benzyl alcohol, which can strip your skin of natural oil (sebum)
  • Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, which can cause redness, inflammation, and drying
  • Phthalates, parabens, and petroleum, which are possible carcinogens

All of these ingredients can leave your skin dry and flaky, or in some cases, cause your skin to overcompensate and produce too much sebum, resulting in breakouts.

The thing is, your skin will always strive to rebalance its pH level. pH stands for “potential” and “hydrogen,” or your skin’s water level. High-quality toners (like toners made with natural ingredients) help your skin’s pH level by both deeply cleansing and hydrating, leaving your skin balanced, serene, and moist.

What is a natural toner?

Unlike toners with high levels of synthetic chemicals that can leave skin feeling Death Valley-dry, natural toners feature much gentler, plant-based key ingredients that work to cleanse, hydrate, and balance skin.

Ingredients to look for in natural toners

Astringents deeply clean your pores.

Look for witch hazel, rose water, mint, green tea, vinegar, and plant-derived alcohols such as cetyl, stearyl, behenyl, and cetearyl alcohol.

Exfoliators remove dead skin cells

Exfoliants remove dead skin cells. Ingredients such as willow bark, tea tree oil, and rosehip oil help polish your skin, reduce bacteria, and get your glow on.

Emollients moisturize and soften your skin.

Effective hydrators include hyaluronic acid, honey, aloe, vegetable glycerin, and algae.

Essential oils provide natural scents and a range of benefits to skin.

Oily skin: Try skincare with geranium, rosemary, frankincense, neroli, clary sage, tea tree, or lemon

Dry skin: Try skincare with lavender, chamomile, or sandalwood

Hyperpigmentation: Try skincare with carrot seed, pomegranate, or ylang ylang

Mature skin: Try skincare with rose, myrrh, or patchouli

If you want to know more about which essential oils are best for specific ailments and purposes … we, of course, have a guide on essential oils too!

Grove Tip

Suss out beneficial alcohol additives in your skincare

Not all alcohols are skin-strippers (sounds a bit naughty, but you know what we mean).

Look for these prefixes: cetyl, stearyl, behenyl, and cetearyl, which mean they’re plant-based and have more fatty acids that are kinder to skin.

What are the best natural toners for the face?

A good quality toner will contain natural ingredients that gently address a multitude of skin types and issues, from cleansing to tightening to hydrating.

While you can create a DIY toner (we have a recipe for you at the bottom of the page), it’s generally easier to find a natural toner that mixes all of the good ingredients together for you.

That’s why we’ve gathered some remarkable natural toners here at Grove that customers and our staff love. Whatever your skin type, you’ll find our best natural toners below—they’re the best because our Grove members reviewed them that way.

1. Kari Gran Essential Hydrating Tonic

The brand: Founders Kari Gran and Lisa Strain believe in the beauty of simplicity, and it shows. When Kari faced health issues in her 20s, she began experimenting and creating her homemade skincare products.

The brand’s products contain no added water for sustainability too! Plant-derived, organic, wild-harvested, and non-GMO ingredients that are pure, clean, and oil-based recipes come together in an easy routine meant to transform your skin and get you out the door and into the world.

The toner: Available in lavender or rose, the Kari Gran Essential Hydrating Tonic is simplicity at its best. Customers rave about the quality of this organic toner, and what makes Kari Gran stand out even more is how easy the skincare regimen is. Cleanse, spritz the tonic, then combine tonic and serum to make an instant moisturizer. That’s it.

Grove member Kacey K. says “I’m really enjoying this tonic. I use it with aloe Vera after cleansing. I noticed that I don’t get that feeling of skin tightness when this is used. I’m a much bigger fan of the lavender than the rose, but both are nice and neither are very strong scented.”

2. Indie Lee CoQ10 Toner

The brand: Founder Indie Lee survived a brain tumor that doctors suspected could have been caused by a conventional skincare product. This was the catalyst for her journey into building an amazing natural skincare company, one that’s known for its commitment to education as well as clean products.

The toner: Indie Lee's CoQ-10 Toner balances your skin and provides excellent hydration, thanks to its alcohol-free mist that features antioxidant CoQ10 and hyaluronic acid for a protective, priming step in your skincare routine.

Grove member Nichelle M. wrote “I have combination sensitive skin that is prone to breakouts and allergies. I wanted to try this one out because it has no alcohol and the ingredients list is honestly awesome. It did not disappoint. I was slightly nervous about some of the reviews complaining about scent. I think those are older reviews from their previous formulation that had bitter orange. The scent is really light and lovely and it makes my face feel amazing. It feels very calming. I often wake up with my skin feeling much calmer after applying it at night. Hands down best toner I've ever used.”

3. OSEA Sea Minerals Mist

The brand: OSEA was the first business to sign the Compact for Global Production of Safe Health and Beauty Products in 2002. Founders Jenefer and Melissa Palmer have worked relentlessly to create a truly cruelty-free, plant-based collection of top-quality beauty products.

Many are crafted from bioavailable, certified organic seaweed combined with steam-distilled and cold-pressed essential oils, among other natural ingredients from around the world.

The toner: Osea Sea Minerals Mist is seriously like walking along the ocean’s edge at dawn. It’s designed as a cooling, nourishing elixir for your face—soothing and softening the skin to create a balanced and toned complexion.

Let this infusion of organic Patagonian seaweed, Dead Sea salt, and aloe vera wash over you like an ocean wave.

Grove member Bruce E. says “This isn't my sole toner, because once in a while I want something a little stronger, but I enjoy this is my primary every day toner when I use the Osea Ocean Cleanser. I find using a more aggressive toner twice a day strips my skin, and this product gives some light toning and feels fresh on your face. Like the cleanser, it is so gentle you might no think it's doing anything, but I feel the ingredients doing their job. A nice cooling feeling.”

4. Rooted Beauty Balancing Facial Mist Toner

The brand: Rooted Beauty has its roots in providing clean beauty products featuring the brand’s signature R7 complex. This exclusive combination of antioxidant-rich extracts from plant roots helps nourish skin.

The toner: This skin toner contains the special R7 root-based complex that includes nutrients found in the following roots: marshmallow, burdock, yucca, ginger, panax ginseng, licorice, and angelica. This is then combined with other plant-based ingredients and essential oils to address specific skin issues.

Grove member Katie E. writes “The mild tea smell is so soothing. I love how refreshing this spray feels. Love it!”

Grove tip

Can you make a DIY natural toner?

You can DIY just about anything, toners included.

You’ll find lots of recipes out there, but they generally contain the following:

  • 6–8+ oz water, which you can infuse with fresh cucumber
  • ½–¾ cup witch hazel
  • ½–¾ cup rose water
  • 1–2 tablespoons aloe vera
  • Up to 20 drops of essential oils, depending on needs of skin and preference

  • Always do an allergy patch test first with a diluted version of your DIY recipe.

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