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These Toners Balance Combination Skin That's Both Oily and Dry

Good Housekeeping Logo By Beth Shapouri of Good Housekeeping | Slide 1 of 8: Combination skin can sometimes feel like it’s having an identity crisis. Dry in some places and oily in others, finding products that work for your whole face can feel a bit tricky sometimes. But in truth, toners (a.k.a. those liquid potions you swipe on after cleansing but before serums and moisturizer), are actually great for combination types. When you find the right one, “toners can help balance hydration and irritation on the cheeks, but can also balance pesky oil on the T-zone," says Paul Jarrod Frank, M.D., a cosmetic dermatologist in New York City and author of The Pro-Aging Playbook. And finding a formula that works without leaving you with parched and oily patches is easy, once you know what you’re looking for. How to choose the right toner for combination skinFirst, choose a toner that's alcohol-free, since alcohol can strip the skin and leave it dry, Dr. Frank advises. Then, seek out these ingredients that are great for combination skin, recommends Marie Hayag, M.D., a dermatologist and founder of 5th Avenue Aesthetics in NYC:Antioxidants. Search the ingredient list for add-ins like vitamin C, vitamin E, and green tea, as “they help prevent damage to your skin from free radicals and environmental pollutants," she says.Hydration boosters. Keep an eye out for the humectant hyaluronic acid as well as ceramides and fatty acids to help retain moisture by reinforcing the skin barrier. Gentle exfoliants. These include glycolic acid and Dr. Mayag's favorite, lactic acid. “It’s a good exfoliant that is not irritating on combination skin,” she explains, thanks to its large molecular size, which means it doesn’t penetrate too quickly or deeply.Now that you’d have the primer on these skin, well, primers, we’ve rounded up some of the best dermatologist-recommended toners for combination skin out there, with insights from Dr. Frank and Dr. Hayag, as well as Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab chemist Danusia Wnek and GH Beauty Lab Director Birnur Aral, Ph.D.

Combination skin can sometimes feel like it’s having an identity crisis. Dry in some places and oily in others, finding products that work for your whole face can feel a bit tricky sometimes. But in truth, toners (a.k.a. those liquid potions you swipe on after cleansing but before serums and moisturizer), are actually great for combination types.

When you find the right one, “toners can help balance hydration and irritation on the cheeks, but can also balance pesky oil on the T-zone," says Paul Jarrod Frank, M.D., a cosmetic dermatologist in New York City and author of The Pro-Aging Playbook. And finding a formula that works without leaving you with parched and oily patches is easy, once you know what you’re looking for.

How to choose the right toner for combination skin

First, choose a toner that's alcohol-free, since alcohol can strip the skin and leave it dry, Dr. Frank advises. Then, seek out these ingredients that are great for combination skin, recommends Marie Hayag, M.D., a dermatologist and founder of 5th Avenue Aesthetics in NYC:

  • Antioxidants. Search the ingredient list for add-ins like vitamin C, vitamin E, and green tea, as “they help prevent damage to your skin from free radicals and environmental pollutants," she says.
  • Hydration boosters. Keep an eye out for the humectant hyaluronic acid as well as ceramides and fatty acids to help retain moisture by reinforcing the skin barrier.
  • Gentle exfoliants. These include glycolic acid and Dr. Mayag's favorite, lactic acid. “It’s a good exfoliant that is not irritating on combination skin,” she explains, thanks to its large molecular size, which means it doesn’t penetrate too quickly or deeply.

Now that you’d have the primer on these skin, well, primers, we’ve rounded up some of the best dermatologist-recommended toners for combination skin out there, with insights from Dr. Frank and Dr. Hayag, as well as Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab chemist Danusia Wnek and GH Beauty Lab Director Birnur Aral, Ph.D.

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