Skincare Products » Best Toner for Oily Skin in 2022

Best Toner for Oily Skin in 2022

The Glowsly editors independently test and choose the best products. We may receive commissions on purchases made from the affiliate links.

Toners are some of the most misunderstood skincare products, but when you have oily skin, they can be surprisingly beneficial to your routine. The toner category has undergone many changes over the years, to the point that the term now applies to just about any liquidy leave-on product. Ultralight, water-based toner formulas are magnificent delivery systems for active skincare ingredients, especially when your skin is too oily for heavy serums and creams. 

The right toner for oily skin will give a slight hydration boost while loading you up with balancing and pore-minimizing ingredients. You can even find formulas with additional soothing, acne-fighting, or brightening properties. 

We’ve curated a list of the best toners for oily skin, focusing on ingredients that solve the most common oily skin concerns. Whether you’re acne-prone, sensitive, dehydrated, or just looking for a boost, one of these toners will deliver the results your skin needs. 

Best toner for oily skin overview

How we chose the best toners for oily skin

To compile this list, we researched manufacturer specifications, including claims, ingredient lists, and more to create a short list of the top toners for oily skin. Then, we combed through detailed product descriptions, published research, ratings, and reviews to find the best toner for each category.

Our picks for the best toner for oily skin

Best overall
Bliss Disappearing Act Toner

What we love

  • Formulated to minimize pores and control oils
  • Gentle, fragrance-free
  • Additional hydrating and nourishing effects

What we don’t love

  • Mild, minimal results

This budget-friendly toner from Bliss is our top overall pick for a few reasons. It’s simple enough to complement most skincare routines without any confusion, and it’s gentle enough for sensitive skin. Most importantly, it features niacinamide — one of the most beneficial ingredients for oily skin. 

Niacinamide is a do-it-all vitamin with antioxidants for skin brightening and soothing. Most impressively, it’s been found to reduce pore size and the amount of sebum on the skin within a few weeks of use. The name “Disappearing Act” is apt. 

The fragrance-free formula includes a few skin-loving extracts, like green tea, rosa canina, mushroom, and oat. Sodium hyaluronate and glycerin also add a nice hydration boost. That said, we consider niacinamide relatively mild and gentle — it does a lot but very slowly. Don’t expect a dramatic difference in your skin right away.

Benefits: Mattifying, pore-reducing, calming | Size: 10 fl oz

Best budget
E.l.f. Pure Skin Toner

What we love

  • Oil control
  • Pore reduction
  • Sensitive-skin friendly and hydrating

What we don’t love

  • Glycolic acid can be photosensitizing
  • Can feel a little sticky

This is a gorgeous formula at a very budget-friendly price. It includes niacinamide for oil control and pore reduction, along with calming allantoin and oat milk. It’s gentle and fragrance-free, so it’d be fantastic even if your skin is sensitive.

Hyaluronic acid, aloe, glycerin, and a ceramide blend ensure that your skin will be left plumped and hydrated, although they also contribute to a slightly sticky feeling on the skin. It could hydrate beautifully under your daily sunscreen in lieu of a heavy moisturizer.

It does contain a very small amount of glycolic acid, a type of exfoliator from the alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) family. Since it shows up quite low in the ingredient list, it’s probably not enough to exfoliate. Even so, make sure to wear sunscreen when using this toner since AHAs can be photosensitizing.

Benefits: Calming, pore-reducing, hydrating, barrier-repairing | Size: 5 fl oz

Best for acne-prone skin
Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

What we love

  • BHA exfoliates and unclogs pores
  • Gentle, nonirritating formulation
  • Soothing green tea

What we don’t love

  • A little pricey

This liquid exfoliant went from being a cult favorite to a mainstream bestseller. It’s our top pick for acne-prone skin, thanks to its flawless formulation of beta hydroxy acid (BHA) — more commonly known as salicylic acid. 

Salicylic acid is an exfoliant that removes dead skin buildup and unclogs pores. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, it also eases inflammation, which can help with active blemishes.

Nowadays, there are plenty of BHA toners available. What makes this product unique is that it’s formulated at the perfect level of acidity and without any denatured alcohol or fragrances that could irritate the skin. 

In addition to BHA, it also includes soothing green tea and multiple hydrating agents. We think it’d be a great option even if you’re prone to sensitivity, but as with any exfoliant, it’s important to introduce it slowly and gradually.

Benefits: Exfoliating, pore-clearing, pore-reducing, calming | Size: 4 fl oz

Best brightening
Good Molecules Niacinamide Brightening Toner

What we love

  • Brightening formula with arbutin and vitamin C
  • Niacinamide for oil control
  • Hydrating

What we don’t love

  • Thicker than many other toners

This toner is ideal if you have oily skin and are prone to hyperpigmentation. It’s made with a good amount of mattifying, pore-reducing niacinamide, which also has benefits when it comes to pigmentation

Additional brightening ingredients include 3-O-ethyl ascorbic acid (a form of vitamin C), arbutin, and licorice root extract. The blend also contains a lot of glycerin, making it a hydrating option. 

None of these active ingredients are particularly intense or resurfacing, so it’s a safe bet even if your skin is sensitive. That said, the texture is a little richer than the average toner, which may leave your skin a bit shiny.

Benefits: Brightening, mattifying, pore-reducing, hydrating | Size: 4 fl oz

Best exfoliating
The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

What we love

  • Even surface exfoliation
  • Lightly soothing and hydrating
  • Budget-friendly

What we don’t love

  • Must be used with sunscreen

This beige-pink liquid, made with 7% glycolic acid, single-handedly put AHA back on the map — and on everybody’s skin. Whereas BHAs like salicylic acid are oil-soluble, AHAs like glycolic acid are water-soluble. That means that while glycolic acid won’t necessarily unclog your pores, it’ll give an even surface exfoliation for overall smoother skin. 

Suppose you’ve tried salicylic acid and found that it didn’t exfoliate enough or that your skin simply didn’t like it. In that case, glycolic acid can be a wonderful alternative or add-on (just watch out for irritation from over-exfoliation). 

The rest of this fragrance-free formula is soothing and hydrating, thanks to Tasmanian pepper berry, ginseng, aloe, and glycerin. It’s the ideal balance of gentleness and thorough exfoliation for most skin types aside from the ultrasensitive. Just note that glycolic acid can make the skin photosensitive, so be sure to use sunscreen regularly if you want to add it to your routine.

Benefits: Exfoliating, pore-clearing, pore-reducing, smoothing | Size: 8.12 fl oz

Best budget for acne
Peach & Lily Peach Slices Acne Exfoliating Toner

What we love

  • Affordable
  • Exfoliates thoroughly with both AHA and BHA
  • Soothing ingredients

What we don’t love

  • Sunscreen is a must

This is another excellent exfoliating toner for acne-prone, oily skin. It’s a little more affordable than our Paula’s Choice pick, but it includes the same superstar acne-fighting ingredient: salicylic acid. 

This BHA’s pore-unclogging effect is bolstered by a touch of lactic and glycolic acids, providing that surface exfoliation. This makes it a slightly more potent exfoliant, so gradually introduce it into your routine, and make sure to use SPF.

The other ingredients here are geared toward soothing active inflammation, including Centella Asiatica and allantoin.

Benefits: Exfoliating, pore-clearing, calming | Size: 4.05 fl oz

Best soothing
COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid

What we love

  • Ultra-mild exfoliation
  • Hydrating and soothing effects
  • Niacinamide for oil control

What we don’t love

  • Not as powerful as the marketing suggests

From CosRX, this toner is formulated based on K-beauty principles that champion gentle, nonirritating ingredients in small percentages, even if that means slower skin gains. While this product’s marketing makes it seem like an intense exfoliator, it’s actually made with betaine salicylate, an ester of salicylic acid without much independent research proving its efficacy. 

So why are we recommending it? Simply put, betaine salicylate paired with willow bark extract (which is sometimes also considered a BHA) makes for a soothing combination for those with oily, sensitive skin. It offers the ideal level of resurfacing for those who can’t tolerate full-strength exfoliants, and if your skin is acne-prone, it could help calm down active breakouts. 

The formula also includes pore-minimizing niacinamide and hydrating agents butylene glycol and sodium hyaluronate.

Benefits: Calming, pore-reducing, hydrating | Size: 3.38 fl oz

Best splurge
Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow PHA+BHA Pore-Tight Toner

What we love

  • Very gentle and mild exfoliation
  • Diverse range of skin benefits
  • Gorgeous packaging and scent

What we don’t love

  • Contains fragrance
  • A little pricey

This toner from Glow Recipe delivers exactly what we want from a luxury product. It has a unique texture and scent, making it incredibly fun to use, it looks gorgeous in the bottle, and it has a lovely blend of ingredients that are effective but not intense. 

The main ingredient is PHA, or polyhydroxy acid — an exfoliating molecule that’s more gentle than other chemical exfoliants, like glycolic or salicylic acid. We think that even those with sensitive skin could use it every day. That said, if you’re sensitive to fragrances, the added scent might be an issue.

There’s also BHA here, but in the forms of soothing willow bark extract and mild betaine salicylate — in other words, it’s not comparable to the potent 2% salicylic acid toners on our list. The rest of the blend is very diverse and contains hydrating, soothing, and anti-aging ingredients.

Benefits: Mildly exfoliating, hydrating, calming, anti-aging | Size: 5.07 fl oz

Best hydrating
Hada Labo Goku-jyun Clear Lotion

What we love

  • Lightweight
  • Not sticky
  • Good for sensitive skin

What we don’t love

  • No additional skin benefits

One of our favorite tricks for oily skin is patting on a hydrating toner instead of having to layer on moisturizer and sunscreen every morning. Since it’s so light, it’ll sink in quickly, so you can follow it up with your sunscreen. Fewer heavy layers mean happier skin! 

So which hydrating toner should you choose? There are plenty out there, but the Japanese-made Goku-jyun option is a fan favorite. It feels light and watery, but it’s packed with a few types of hyaluronic acid as well as butylene glycol and glycerin. 

This blend of humectants pulls water into the skin, countering dehydration without any heaviness. Plus, the skin is plumped up by hydrating, which can help your pores look smaller. This product doesn’t include much beyond the basic hydrating agents, though, so it’s a solid choice if you have sensitive skin or your routine is already loaded with intense products.

Benefits: Hydrating, pore-minimizing | Size: 5.7 fl oz

Best refreshing
Thayers Rose Petal Facial Toner

What we love

  • Astringent witch hazel tightens and soothes
  • Refreshing and lightly hydrating
  • Gorgeous rose scent

What we don’t love

  • No long-term skin benefits
  • Contains fragrance

If you want a simple, lightly hydrating toner that’ll help you feel refreshed, this is a classic. It’s made with a blend of glycerin, witch hazel, and rose water, making for a hydrating yet slightly astringent formula (aka immediate but temporary tightening and soothing). 

It’s not a complex product, and none of these ingredients are what we’d consider high-powered, but that just means you can use it throughout the day as needed. It does contain a fragrance, though, so avoid it if you tend to be sensitive to scents.

Benefits: Hydrating, temporarily pore-reducing, soothing | Size: 12 fl oz

Tone it up 

When you have oily skin, nothing is worse than having to layer on a ton of thick or greasy skincare products — even if they supposedly contain oily-skin friendly ingredients. Toners, with their liquid texture, are as light as can be. They deliver the same pore-clarifying ingredients without making your skin feel overloaded. 

Our top pick from Bliss will fit easily into any routine and features plenty of oil-controlling, pore-minimizing niacinamide. That said, if you want a toner that’ll double as a hydrator, exfoliant, or skin-brightening treatment, you have many options to choose from. 

How to pick the right toner for you

When you have acne-prone or oily skin, the key is to choose a gentle, non-comedogenic toner without any harsh ingredients. Take your personal skin concerns into account to ensure the toner delivers the desired effects. 

Ingredients to look for

Niacinamide is one ingredient we always love to see in a toner for oily skin. This molecule is gentle and nonirritating, yet it seems to do just about everything. It can reduce oil production, minimize pores, protect from premature aging, and brighten the skin, just to name a few of its benefits. 

Exfoliants like glycolic, salicylic, and lactic acid can also help, especially if you need to clear away breakouts, pigmentation, texture, or dead skin buildup. Salicylic acid is especially useful when it comes to unclogging pores. 

Finally, you can look for soothing or astringent extracts like Centella, green tea, or witch hazel if you experience redness or sensitivity. Humectants like glycerin and hyaluronic acid are also great if you want your toner to hydrate your skin. 

Ingredients to avoid

We’re way past the days of drying out oily skin with intense astringents. Avoid alcohol-laden formulas that can dehydrate the skin when shopping for a toner. We spoke with Dr. Anna Chacon who told us that “dehydrated skin frequently produces excessive sebum to compensate for the lack of moisture in the skin.” You don’t want it to lead to skin that’s simultaneously tight, flaky, and greasy. 

Additionally, avoid any ingredients that don’t play well with your skin. You may want to avoid fragrances if your skin is both sensitive and oily and skip exfoliants if your skin barrier is compromised. It’s also important to avoid any oily, heavy ingredients that can make your skin feel extra greasy, although you’re generally not likely to find them in a toner. 

Skin concerns

  • Large pores. Exfoliating toners renew the skin and promote a smoother appearance. Niacinamide can help minimize pores long-term, while witch hazel can offer a temporary tightening effect. 
  • Acne-prone. Toners with salicylic acid will unclog pores, while soothing ingredients will help calm down redness and inflammation. 
  • Sensitive. Look for fragrance-free, alcohol-free toners with soothing ingredients. You can use toners with exfoliating acids — but introduce them slowly and carefully.
  • Hyperpigmentation. For pigmentation or post-acne marks, look for skin-brightening toners with exfoliating acids, niacinamide, licorice root, and vitamin C. 
  • Dehydration. Toners can add a ton of hydration to the skin without making it feel greasy. Look for glycerin, hyaluronic acid, butylene glycol, and propylene glycol, especially near the top of the ingredient list. At night, you should still use a proper moisturizer for oily skin


Is toner needed if you have oily skin? 

We consider toner an optional skincare step, but it also depends on the rest of your skincare routine for oily skin and the particular toner you choose. For example, if you have acne-prone skin, a toner with salicylic acid could become your must-have exfoliant and acne-fighter. 

Can I use toner every day if I have oily skin?

Yes! Most toners are designed for daily use. Be careful with exfoliating toners, though. Use them a few times a week in the beginning, and only increase your frequency if you don’t see any signs of irritation. 

What’s the best toner for oily, acne-prone skin?

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant is the best toner for oily, acne-prone skin. It’s gentle, non-comedogenic, and nonirritating, but it includes 2% salicylic acid to exfoliate, unclog pores, and fade blemishes.