It's Time to Talk Toner

Even for the most low-maintenance routine, adding this little step after washing your face could up your whole skincare game.

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Gentlemen, though simply washing your face at the end of the day may seem like the easiest skincare regimen, hopefully with a dab of moisturizer, it turns out there's another (healthy) component you should consider adding to your nightly program: toner.

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According to Dr. Dendy Engelman, dermatologic surgeon with Manhattan Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery, toners for men have historically gotten a bad rap. "Most people mistakenly classify toners together with astringent and makeup remover when, in actuality, toner should be used post facial cleansing," Dr. Engelman tells us. "Toners are designed to restore your skin's PH, repair skin barrier production, and control hydration. All of this is important year-round, but it's especially important in the summer."

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"As with all skincare products," Dr. Engelman adds, "all toners are not made equal. It's important to evaluate your skin before making a purchase."

With that in mind, Dr. Engelman outlines the right toner for three different skin types—see which one suits yours best.

For Acne-Prone Skin

Alcohol-Free Hydrating Toner by Dickinson's, $7, drugstore.com.

Alcohol-based products might seem harsh, but when it comes to preventing breakouts, Engelman says these toners can actually be something of a skin-saver. "Toners containing alcohols or witch hazel remove excess oil from the skin," she explains. "I like Dickinson's Enhanced Witch Hazel Hydrating Toner. Witch hazel has natural astringent properties that can help to remove excess sebum [oil] from the skin and reduce inflammation of pimples. This toner is alcohol-free and formulated with hyaluronic acid, which moisturizes, and Vitamin E to nourish sensitive skin."

Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel Organic Aloe Vera Formula Toner by Thayers, $8, drugstore.com.
Herbal Mint Toner, $18, baxterofcalifornia.com.
Toner by Birchrose & Co., $16, urbanoutfitters.com.
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For Dry Skin

Essential Balancing Water, $58, sulwhasoo.com.
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For those who can't ever seem to moisturize enough, Engelman says PH balancing is key: "Toners with glycerin and hyaluronic acid can help hydrate the skin and prevent dryness. I like Sulwahsoo Essential Balancing Water which has a watery-gel like texture. Toners are essential in the K-Beauty routine; Koreans look to it to provide hydration and balance the PH of the skin."

4-in-1 Essential Face Tonic, $26, ursamajor.com.
Active Gel Toner, $58, osmiaorganics.com.
Antioxidant Hydramist, $42, dermalogica.com.

For Dull Skin

Cellular Brightening Toner, $65, diskincare.com.

Time can certainly take its toll on your natural luster—so should you ever feel like your natural glow is starting to fade, the right kind of toner can come to the rescue. "Toners with brightening agents or antioxidants are great for overall anti-aging and brightening," Engelman says. "I like Derm Institute Cellular Brightening Toner which contains a fruit extract, which is a significant source of vitamin C, a brightening agent."

Essential-C Toner, $28, murad.com.

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