Toner, meet acids. Lightweight and floral-scented toners now sound somewhat dated with the existence of exfoliating toners. While the former still does its job of balancing the skin’s pH levels as well as remove makeup and dirt residue, reduce the appearance of pores and refreshes skin; exfoliating ones can also do the job while bringing your skin‘s health up a level.

These may sound abrasive because it feels as though you are exfoliating day and night, but it’s actually not. On average, your skin takes about a month to shed naturally — but the process takes longer as you age. Exfoliating toners simply help speed up the process. It micro-peels the top layer of the skin while being a gentle process (unlike physical scrubs) that you won’t even notice any flaking. There is a caveat — we won’t recommend acid toners to those who have sensitive skin (be sure to do a patch test first). But for oily skin or bumpy skin textures, go for it. It also helps remove excess sebum that lingers onto the skin, reduce the appearance of acne, and improve skin’s radiance.

How to spot an exfoliating toner? Other than the obvious ‘exfoliating’ or ‘clarifying’ label on the front of the bottle, look out for toners that contain an acidic ingredient. It could be alpha-hydroxy acids such as glycolic or lactic acid for normal or combination skin and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) such as salicylic for oily skin.

Before you head to the nearest mall to look through all the bottles, we’ve done the work for you and narrowed it down to six of our favourite exfoliating toners:

Jolin Lee
Senior Writer
Unlike most modern-day millennials, Jolin does not need caffeine or alcohol to power through the day (and night). Her eye for beauty is as sharp as her eyeliner flick, and she can spot your unblended eye makeup from a mile away.