Best toner for sensitive skin

Tried & Tested: Best toner for sensitive skin, 8 of them

I believe there are two types of people in this world: People who use toners religiously and people who do not. As you can guess, I belong to the former, in toners we believe. Toners are formulated to treat different skin concerns, however, what they have in common is to tone the skin, balancing its pH level, removing makeup residue and provide hydration. For me, as a person struggling with redness and weak skin barrier, calming and hydrating toners are my go-to.

If you are looking for toners, and confused as to what they are, here is a quick answer.

Finding the best toner for sensitive skin can be broken down into 3 simple steps:

Step 1: Check the toner labels carefully

When it comes to sensitive skin, you have to be extra careful. Best toner for sensitive skin is the one that includes the following:

  • Alcohol free
  • Hydrating
  • Fragrance free
  • Gentle
  • Skin friendly ingredients

Step 2: Know your skin type

Different skin types need different treatment, and different toners.

Hydrating toners are specifically formulated for dry or combo skin and combine hydrating and soothing ingredients.

Gentle toners target those with sensitive skin. These are the toners that support skin barrier with ingredients like ceramides, for example. Plus, they are alcohol and fragrance free to avoid any skin irritation.

Oil-controlling toners include BHAs like salicylic acid, or Niacinamide for oil control and redness.

If you want to dig deep to the toner mystery, check out our blog post on how to choose the right toner for your skin type!

Step 3: Learn your ingredients

Having sensitive skin means having a somewhat compromised skin barrier, do you need ingredients that will help you strengthen it. From personal experience, (and from science perspective) we find these ingredients to be a MUST in your toner:

  • Centella Asiatica
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Allantoin
  • Jojoba oil
  • Niacinamide (aka Vitamin B3)
  • Calendula extract
  • Aloe Vera
  • Colloidal Oatmeal
  • Chamomile Extract
  • Antioxidants
  • and the list goes on …

Centella Asiatica and Aloe Vera are specially popular in K-beauty, along with ingredients like mugwort, green tea, powerful antioxidants. Just like other skincare products, Hyaluronic Acid and Niacinamide are the BFFs of sensitive skin. Generally, best toners for sensitive are the ones that are soothing, nourishing, brightening and gentle on the skin.

Now that we have covered the basics of how toners work, it is time to move on to the list o best toners for sensitive skin.

Top product picks: Best Toner for Sensitive skin line (and yes, it includes many K-beauty toners)

#1. [Dear] Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner

best toner for sensitive skin
Courtesy of Amazon
The Good
  • Non-irritating
  • Fragrance and alcohol free
  • Has Hyaluronic Acid and Centella
  • Gets absorbed very well
The Bad
  • So far, so good

Best for: Sensitive skin

Main ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, Centella Asiatica, Beta Glucan

This Korean is no strange to most people, because *spoiler alert*, they’ve got great products. This toner by Dear Klairs checks all the boxes for being nominated as the best toner for sensitive skin. The formula has sensitive skin friendly names like Hyaluronic acid, Centella Asiatica and a less-known name, Beta Glucan for preventing moisture loss. It also has Licorice Extract, for evening out the skin tone.

Being a non-irritating toner free of alcohol and fragrances, this one is the holy grail toner in the K-beauty world!

#2. COSRX Centella Water Alcohol-Free Toner

Best toner for sensitive skin
Courtesy of Yesstyle

The Good

  • Alcohol-free
  • Infused with Centella
  • Affordable
  • Very soothing

The Bad

  • Just the best sensitive skin toner!

Best for: Sensitive, acne prone skin

Main ingredients: Centella leaf water, Panthenol, Allantoin, Sodium Hyaluronate

Ok, I’ll be honest, the review for this one is biased. Because I am absolutely in love with this toner! It is very lightweight, you can barely feel it on the skin. The toner comes in a spray bottle, which is very easy to use. It immediately dries down on the skin. I have sensitive skin prone to breakouts, this is one of the toners that helps with it, and calms my skin down when it experiences extra redness. What’s more is that, it has nourishing ingredients like Panthenol, Allantoin, and Sodium Hyaluronate – a type of Hyaluronic Acid.

#3. Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Enriched Calming Toner

Best toner for sensitive skin
Courtesy of Paula’s Choice

The Good

  • Hydrating texture
  • Has Niacinamide and antioxidants
  • Calms irritated skin and redness

The Bad

  • Can react on very sensitive skin

Best for: Dry, Sensitive skin

Main ingredients: Vitamin C, Niacinamide, Sodium Hyaluronate

If you have dry, flaky skin that needs a moisture boost, you have come to the right place! This toner by Paula’s choice is packed with lipids, antioxidants, Sodium Hyaluronate and Vitamin B3. It targets extremely dry skin (even with eczema) and dehydrated skin. While removing the traces of makeup, it makes sure that skin’s moisture level is preserved.

That said, I had read some online reviews about it causing allergies. So, do a small patch test if you have extremely sensitive skin.

#4. PURITO – Centella Green Level Calming Toner

Best toner for sensitive skin

The Good

  • Soothing
  • Alcohol-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Formulated with Centella Asiatica

The Bad

  • The texture might not be for everyone

Best for: Oily/Acne prone, Sensitive skin

Main ingredients: Centella Asiatica, Panthenol (Vitamin B5), Sodium Hyaluronate

Another hydrating K-beauty toner made with Centella! Centella balances the skin’s moisture barrier and soothes irritated skin. Did you know that Sodium Hyaluronate has smaller molecular size so it can penetrate into the deepest layers of the skin? That way, it keeps the skin well hydrated. Plus, it is alcohol-free, fragrance and witch hazel free. Recycling packaging makes it a more environmentally friendly alternative to other top sensitive skin toners out there.

Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal Extract Toner

Best toner for sensitive skin
Courtesy of Sephora
The Good
  • Has Calendula extract
  • Comes in different sizes
  • Good for redness
The Bad
  • Expensive
  • Has a scent

Best for: Combination and Sensitive skin

Main ingredients: Calendula Extract, Allantoin, Great Burdock Root (for oil control)

This one being one of the best toners for sensitive skin on Sephora, has been around for a while. If you have combo skin that is on the sensitive side, this might be your best shot.

Calendula extract is great if you have inflamed, irritated sensitive skin due to its amazing soothing properties. Another soothing and moisturizing ingredient here is Allantoin, so together they make a great pair. What I like about this toner is that in comes in different sizes. So, you can get the mini-size first to try and see if it works. It is an alcohol-free formula, but it does have a scent. So, bear that in mind.

I’m from Rice Toner (K-beauty FTW!)

Best toner for sensitive skin
Courtesy of I’m from
The Good
  • Very lightweight
  • Fragrance free and vegan
  • Packed with hydration
  • Can be used an essence
The Bad
  • Little doesn’t go a long way

Best for: Dehydrated, Sensitive skin

Main ingredients: Goami Rice extract, Niacinamide, Ulmus Davidiana Root Extract

If you think the best sensitive skin toner is a weightless, a hydrating toner and essence in one made from rice, I think you will love this one, as much as I did. Check out the I’m from Rice Toner review if you want more details.

best toner for sensitive skin

The quick recap is that it is made with 77.8% Goami Rice extract, Niacinamide, Ulmus Davidiana Root Extract that has anti-inflammatory benefits. The rice extract and Niacinamide brighten the skin, giving it a natural glow. The rice extract has been popular in Asia for a long time because it is rich in proteins, fatty acids and antioxidants. It is a highly concentrated formula, as it is the brand’s philosophy to use single ingredients in one product. I think it definitely paid off in a good sense.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Wild Oat Hydrating Toner

Best toner for sensitive skin
The Good
  • Rich in antioxidants (oatmeal)
  • Very soothing
  • Helps reduce redness
The Bad
  • The milky texture might not be for everyone

Best for: Dry, Normal, Sensitive skin

Main ingredients: Colloidal Oatmeal, Wild Oats, Honey

I am just going to cut to the chase here: This is the best toner for sensitive skin people swear by on Sephora. There are also reviews about how it is good for dry and combination skin. Colloidal oatmeal and wild oats combo really play well with each other here.

Oatmeal is one of the A-listers for sensitive skin, as it nourishes even itchy skin and fight against free radicals that wreak havoc on damaged skin. It comes as no surprise that FDA has recognized it as a “skin protectant” due to these numerous skin benefits. Honey in the formulation is also a great addition to the antioxidant feature, along with Hyaluronic acid (Sodium Hyaluronate).

fresh Rose & Hyaluronic Acid Deep Hydration Toner

Best toner for sensitive skin
Courtesy of Sephora
The Good
  • Hyaluronic acid infused
  • Alcohol free
  • Non-stripping
The Bad
  • Has fragrance
  • Pricey

Best for: Dry, Combination and Sensitive skin

Main ingredients: Rose fruit extract, Rosewater, Angelica Leaf extract

Another community favourite toner for sensitive skin! Infused with rose fruit extract and rose water, this toner is moisturizing and soothing. It tones and hydrates the skin beautifully without stripping it off. The packaging is fancy, and it does bear a striking resemblance to the Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal Extract Toner that we mentioned in this list. Long story short, if you like anything with rose scent, you are going to like this one.

Final Verdict on toners for sensitive skin

While all of the above mentioned best toners for sensitive skin do a great job, our heart belongs to the K-beauty stars. [Dear] Klairs Supple Preparation Facial Toner and the runner upCOSRX Centella Water Alcohol-Free Toner are the shining stars of this list for the price point and efficiency. They check all the boxes for being the best toners for sensitive skin.


Generally, toners are used to remove excess oil or makeup residue off the skin after cleansing. These days they are used for skin prep, making the best steps of the routine get absorbed better. They also offer different features like brightening, hydrating or oil controlling.

Toners for sensitive skin are especially beneficial, because they provide additional hydration and act as the glue that hold the whole routine together.

Best toner for sensitive skin is gentle, lightweight, alcohol and fragrance-free, and is made with skin supporting ingredients like Centella Asiatica, Calendula, Niacinamide (see the boxed list above). Toners for sensitive skin should also be hydrating, so, products infused with Hyaluronic acid, Colloidal oatmeal, fatty acids are also the way to go.

Toners and essences are kind of similar in terms of their properties. Essences are a big part of Korean skincare routine. Put simply, the main difference is that toners balance skin’s pH level and depending on your skin type, they are formulated with different ingredients, just like the list we put up of best toners for sensitive skin. An essence, however, targets hydration and preparing your skin for the next steps. Also, toners are in liquid form, essences can have thicker consistencies.

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