Oily skin creates a dilemma. It’s essential to cleanse it without drying it out because dehydrated skin will try to compensate by producing too much oil. Then, it’s crucial to moisturize it, but it’s necessary to use something lightly hydrating to prevent an oil slick by lunchtime.
It’s not easy to find the balance unless you use one simple trick. Toning your skin between washing and moisturizing helps keep excess oil in check. It also provides a more thorough cleansing to keep pores clear.
What can you use to tone your skin? We prefer the best astringents for oily skin, especially alcohol-free ones. Check out our top picks here, then scroll down to learn more about astringents for oily complexions.
|The best astringents for oily skin||Why we love them|
|La Roche-Posay Effaclar Astringent Face Toner||
|Alba Botanica Natural Acnedote Deep Clean Astringent||
|Bioré Witch Hazel Pore Clarifying Toner, with 2% Salicylic Acid||
|RAYA Camphor Astringent||
|Dickinson's Witch Hazel Astringent||
|Kiehl's Blue Astringent Herbal Lotion||
|Glycolic Acid Toner 10% by LAVO||
|The Body Shop Seaweed Oil-Balancing Toner||
- 1 What can astringents do for you?
- 2 How to use an astringent
- 3 Are there side effects to using an astringent?
- 4 Best Astringents for Oily Skin in 2023
- 4.1 La Roche-Posay Effaclar Astringent Face Toner
- 4.2 Alba Botanica Natural Acnedote Deep Clean Astringent
- 4.3 Bioré Witch Hazel Pore Clarifying Toner, with 2% Salicylic Acid
- 4.4 RAYA Camphor Astringent
- 4.5 Dickinson’s Witch Hazel Astringent
- 4.6 Kiehl’s Blue Astringent Herbal Lotion
- 4.7 Glycolic Acid Toner 10% by LAVO
- 4.8 The Body Shop Seaweed Oil-Balancing Toner
- 5 Conclusion
What can astringents do for you?
We found that people who search for toners for oily skin are actually looking for the best astringent for acne. These include ingredients like:
- Witch hazel
- Salicylic acid (or willow bark, the natural alternative)
- Citric acid (like lemon juice)
- Alpha-hydroxy acids (including glycolic and lactic)
All of these astringents remove excess oil and exfoliate which is excellent for preventing acne breakouts. They also improve blood circulation, balance the pH, and stimulate healing to clear up pimples. Finally, they tighten the skin to make pores look smaller (1).
Board-certified dermatologists like Dr. Heidi Goodarzi and Dr. Corey L. Hartman recommend adding an astringent toner to your skincare routine. They say that it will not only help with blemishes, but it also leaves the skin more radiant and prepared for other active ingredients in a moisturizer, for example.
How to use an astringent
It literally takes less than a minute to use astringent. After washing your face, pat dry and put a little astringent on a cotton pad. Gently sweep the pad upward along your T-zone (chin, nose, and forehead). Swipe your cheeks next if they tend to get oily. (You can also treat your neck if you struggle with breakouts there). Wait a few seconds until the toner dries and apply moisturizer.
Are there side effects to using an astringent?
It’s normal for the skin to feel cool or tingly for a little bit after using an astringent. However, if the skin burns or becomes red, rashy, extra-dry, or itchy, stop using the astringent. Also, persons with eczema and rosacea are more likely to suffer side effects and should probably consult with a dermatologist and avoid astringents.
Best Astringents for Oily Skin in 2023
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Astringent Face Toner
Hands down, here’s the best toner for oily skin and open pores. Say goodbye to those big blackheads on your nose. If you use this toner daily, it’s going to give them a nice, deep cleanse and tighten them up. Not only will your skin feel cleaner and softer, but your tone will also be clearer.
The key ingredient is lipo-hydroxy acid, a derivative of salicylic acid that exfoliates, removes excess oil, and renews the skin. Thankfully, the formula contains no oil or parabens and it’s been allergy-tested for sensitive skin. The only thing you need to worry about is keeping it away from the delicate area around the eyes.
On the downside, it contains denatured alcohol, but this shouldn’t be a problem for oily skin. The possible drying effects are counterbalanced by thermal spring water and glycerin for a light dose of moisture.
- Best toner for oily skin and large pores
- Has lipo-hydroxy acid to unclog pores, remove excess oil, exfoliate, and tighten the skin
- Oil-free, allergy-tested, paraben-free
- Not alcohol-free or fragrance-free (although it’s not strongly scented)
Alba Botanica Natural Acnedote Deep Clean Astringent
We think this is the best astringent for oily acne-prone skin because it’s proven to reduce breakouts overnight. Seriously, it shrinks pimples in eight hours. And 70% of the users surveyed said that their skin was clearer within a week.
The magic comes from the well-known anti-acne medication called salicylic acid. In this formula, it’s blended with willow bark extract, the natural source of this beta-hydroxy acid. (By the way, if you’re allergic to aspirin, please don’t use any products with salicylic acid or willow bark).
Salicylic acid dissolves oil and exfoliates dead skin to unclog pores. When the pores are clear, they look smaller and are unlikely to turn into pimples. The same ingredient also calms inflammation to reduce redness.
Just imagine the benefits. Hold a saturated cotton ball on that little red spot and let the toner sink in before bed. Chances are, your skin will be clear and smooth before morning with nary a pustule in sight.
Of course, this is a dermatologist-tested product. It’s free from artificial fragrances, parabens, phthalates, and dyes that could irritate the skin. Thankfully, it’s also cruelty-free and vegetarian.
Still, it’s not alcohol-free and it contains a wide variety of botanicals and essential oils. Therefore, if you have plant allergies, please check the label before using it.
- Best astringent for oily, acne-prone skin
- Uses salicylic acid to unclog pores and clear the complexion
- Shrinks pimples overnight
- Not alcohol-free
Bioré Witch Hazel Pore Clarifying Toner, with 2% Salicylic Acid
Here’s the budget-friendly best drugstore astringent for oily skin. Bioré makes a variety of different toners, and we like this one best for oily skin. It has two of the best astringents to ward off acne: salicylic acid and witch hazel. The combination clarifies the complexion to calm oil production and keep pores clear.
A closer look at the formula shows that it’s not alcohol-free, and unfortunately is both artificially colored and fragranced. This could be a problem if you have sensitive skin. Otherwise, the cooling sensation and clean aroma make it pleasant to use.
- Best drugstore astringent for oily skin
- Clears up and prevents acne
- Not alcohol-free, contains an artificial fragrance and dyes
RAYA Camphor Astringent
If you live in LA, you might be familiar with the brand RAYA. It operates a chain of spas and develops its own line of skincare products including this soothing astringent with camphor and eucalyptus. It’s ideal for oily and acne-prone skin because it’s naturally antibacterial. Moreover, it keeps excess oil under control for a shine-free complexion.
Instead of water, the base ingredients are aloe vera gel and lemon juice. They ensure the skin gets a dose of healing moisture and balance the pH. Vitamin C evens out skin tone for more radiance and less discoloration and redness.
Happily, not only is the astringent cruelty-free and made in the USA, but it’s also paraben-free.
- Developed by a well-known Los Angeles spa
- Features camphor, eucalyptus, aloe vera gel, and lemon juice with other natural ingredients
- Balances and brightens the complexion, controls oil production
- Fights acne
- Do a patch test on a small spot and wait a day to see how you react if you have sensitive skin
Dickinson’s Witch Hazel Astringent
You’re going to hear about people complaining that this is not an alcohol-free astringent. They’re not wrong because wood grain alcohol is used to distill witch hazel, the main ingredient. Still, this is one of our favorite astringents not just because it’s a classic, but because there’s literally only one component: witch hazel. There are no fillers, additives, or chemicals.
Why is witch hazel so good for oily skin? For one, it doesn’t dehydrate the face like alcohol-based formulas or even salicylic acid. It can soothe redness while it provides a more thorough cleansing than washing alone can do. It’s no wonder that people have been using witch hazel on their skin for more than one hundred fifty years.
- Classic and pure, 100% witch hazel formula
- Cleanses the skin, calms redness
- Not for rosacea-prone complexions
Kiehl’s Blue Astringent Herbal Lotion
Do you compare prices between sites when you shop? So do we, and here’s the best deal we found (at the time of writing). This distinctive blue toner for oily skin doubles as aftershave that prevents razor rash. It’s been on the market for over fifty years because it’s excellent for calming oily skin.
It features menthol, camphor, and witch hazel for extra soothing power. It also helps the skin stay hydrated with aloe and sodium PCA.
Although it’s not alcohol-free, the conditioning ingredients keep skin soft and comfortable.
- Unique blue-colored astringent lotion that doubles as aftershave to prevent razor bumps
- Has camphor, menthol, and witch hazel for maximum soothing power
- Conditions with sodium PCA and aloe
- Not alcohol-free
Glycolic Acid Toner 10% by LAVO
Exfoliate and tone at the same time. This astringent battles acne and preps the skin so moisturizers sink in deeper. It also helps erase acne scars and sun damage over time.
The formula is acidic for a reason. We talk a lot about balancing the pH, or acid level, of the skin. That’s because keeping the pH low, or acidic, does two important things. First, it prevents dehydration, and second, it defeats acne-causing bacteria.
Soaps and some cleansers raise the pH, but toners like this one put things back in balance. What’s more, it calms inflammation and redness with aloe and calendula.
Lastly, it has an invigorating fragrance and makes the skin tingle pleasantly. If all of these features don’t win you over, the brand offers a lifetime satisfaction guarantee.
By the way, it’s not alcohol-free, but at least alcohol is one of the last ingredients.
- Exfoliates and tones, allowing a moisturizer to penetrate better
- Battles acne-causing bacteria and balances pH
- Calms inflammation and prevents dryness
- Not alcohol-free
The Body Shop Seaweed Oil-Balancing Toner
This astringent is suitable for both combination and oily skin, plus it’s alcohol-free. As you might expect from The Body Shop, it contains exotic natural ingredients including Irish moss and red algae to rejuvenate the skin.
Moreover, it removes those pesky traces of waterproof makeup that didn’t come off when you washed. It does all this and conditions without the typical stinging caused by astringent formulas.
Nevertheless, there’s a disappointing downside. The formula is flush with parabens, an unfortunate choice of preservative for a product that remains on the skin.
- Suitable for combination and oily complexions
- Removes makeup
- Conditions the skin without stinging
- Not paraben-free
If you have oily skin, add an astringent to your routine and reap the benefits. The right toner removes excess oil and keeps pores clear for a shine-free complexion. It can also help prevent and clear up acne.
We hope our reviews helped you discover your new favorite astringent toner today. Feel free to leave us a comment below about your experience with it.
1. https://www.rxlist.com/how_do_astringents_work/drug-class.htm HOW DO ASTRINGENTS WORK? Medical Author: Nazneen Memon, BHMS, PGDCR, Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Sarfaroj Khan, BHMS, Reviewed on May 11, 2021, accessed December 17, 2021