Which Toner Is Best For Combination Skin?

Navigating the world of skincare can be overwhelming, especially when you have combination skin. This unique skin type, characterized by both oily and dry areas, requires a delicate balance of hydration and oil control. Welcome to Afterthought.

One essential step in any skincare routine is the application of a toner. But with so many options on the market, how do you choose the best one for your combination skin? This guide will help you understand the key factors to consider and what ingredients to look for when selecting the perfect toner.

Understanding Combination Skin

Combination skin typically features an oily T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin) and dry or normal areas on the cheeks and jawline. This dual nature means that your skincare products need to address both oiliness and dryness simultaneously. A well-chosen toner can help balance these differing needs, refine pores, and prepare your skin for the next steps in your routine.

What to Look for in a Toner for Combination Skin

  • Balancing Formula: The primary goal of a toner for combination skin is to balance oil production without stripping the skin of its natural moisture. Look for a formula that can hydrate the dry areas while controlling excess oil in the T-zone.
  • Hydrating Ingredients: Ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and aloe vera are excellent for providing hydration without making the skin greasy. These ingredients help maintain moisture levels in the dry areas.
  • Oil-Control Properties: For the oily parts of your skin, ingredients like witch hazel, salicylic acid, and niacinamide can help regulate sebum production and prevent breakouts. These components are effective in keeping the T-zone matte and less prone to acne.
  • Gentle Exfoliation: Mild exfoliants like alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) can help remove dead skin cells, unclog pores, and improve overall skin texture. However, ensure they are in low concentrations to avoid over-exfoliating and irritating the skin.
  • Alcohol-Free Formulation: Alcohol can be very drying and irritating, particularly for the already dry areas of combination skin. Choose an alcohol-free toner to avoid disrupting the skin’s natural barrier.
  • pH Balanced: A toner with a pH close to the natural pH of the skin (around 5.5) helps maintain the skin’s barrier function, preventing irritation and moisture loss.

Ingredients to Avoid

  • High Alcohol Content: As mentioned, alcohol can be extremely drying and can exacerbate both oily and dry conditions.
  • Synthetic Fragrances and Dyes: These can cause irritation and allergic reactions, especially in sensitive skin.
  • Harsh Astringents: Ingredients like menthol, camphor, and eucalyptus can be overly harsh and may lead to dryness and irritation.

How to Use Toner in Your Skincare Routine

  1. Cleansing: Start with a gentle cleanser suitable for combination skin. This helps remove makeup, dirt, and excess oil.
  2. Toning: Apply the toner using a cotton pad or your hands. Gently swipe it over your face, focusing on the T-zone and then the drier areas. This helps to balance the skin and prepare it for further treatment.
  3. Serums and Treatments: After toning, apply any serums or treatments. Ingredients like vitamin C, retinol, or peptides can be beneficial for combination skin.
  4. Moisturizing: Finish with a moisturizer that suits combination skin. Gel-based or lightweight lotions can provide hydration without feeling heavy or greasy.

DIY Toner Recipes for Combination Skin

For those who prefer natural remedies, making your own toner at home can be a great option. Here are a couple of simple recipes:

  • Green Tea Toner: Brew a cup of green tea and let it cool. Green tea is rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe and balance the skin. Store it in a spray bottle and use it twice daily.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar Toner: Mix one part apple cider vinegar with four parts water. Apple cider vinegar helps balance the skin's pH and has mild exfoliating properties. Use it sparingly, as it can be potent.


Finding the best toner for combination skin involves understanding your skin's unique needs and choosing a product that can balance hydration and oil control.

Look for toners with hydrating and oil-regulating ingredients, avoid harsh chemicals, and consider pH-balanced formulas. By incorporating the right toner into your skincare routine, you can achieve a healthier, more balanced complexion.

Remember, the key to great skin is consistency and patience. Give your skin time to adjust to new products and always patch test before introducing anything new to your routine. With the right approach, you can keep your combination skin happy and glowing.

Also Read : How To Use Face Wash, Toner & Moisturizer?

Back to blog