June 20, 2024


Trailblazing shopping quality

We tried toners from Boots, Beauty Pie and The Body Shop and the cheapest ‘changed our world’ – Elle May Rice

Keeping your skin clean and fresh is a must, especially after a long day of being out and about or spending hours wearing makeup.

Toners are a great way to ensure that all of your makeup is completely removed at the end of the day, helping to clear out your pores so dirt doesn’t build up and cause blackheads or spots. They also help prepare the skin to effectively absorb your moisturiser and other skin treatments, so they’re a pretty important part of any skincare routine.

With so many toners available from different brands, it can be somewhat overwhelming choosing the right one for your skin. Everyone has different skin types and skincare woes, so it’s essential to find a toner that suits yours best.

READ MORE: I tested five foundations to find the best full coverage and a £6 product won

We tried a few different cleansers from Beauty Pie, The Body Shop and Kylie Skin, which is available at Boots, to try and find our go-to product. Stores including Boots and Superdrug have a large selection of products available, ranging from bargain buys to luxury brands, and of course you can buy direct from beauty websites and Amazon.

Some toners come with a hefty price tag, and it can be so disappointing when you spend all that money on something that doesn’t work. We’ve done some research for you to help the decision making process a bit easier – here’s our verdict:

Dr Glycolic Pore-Purifying Glow Toner

I like sticking to a skincare routine when and where it’s possible, but when products stop working it can be helpful to change things up. A few months ago, during a particularly bad breakout, I came across the Dr Glycolic Pore-Purifying Glow Toner on beauty site Beauty Pie – and it has changed my world.

Made with glycolic acid, niacinamide and multi-fruit AHAs, the toner is said to “exfoliate dead, dulling skin cells to reveal a smoother, healthier looking face in a flash”. And do that, it does.

Dr Glycolic Pore-Purifying Glow Toner
Dr Glycolic Pore-Purifying Glow Toner

A little goes a long way with this toner, just a drop on a pad of cotton wool will do your whole face. No matter how awful my skin feels, this toner offers an instant refresh, clearing out my pores and leaving my face feeling bright, smooth and like I’ve just left the spa.

Price: £14.50

Where to buy: Beauty Pie

Rating: 5/5

The Body Shop Skin Clearing Mattifying Tea Tree Toner

I don’t often use toner, as I prefer how my skin feels and looks after just cleansing and moisturising. I get the occasional spots and some toners in the past have made my skin worse.

I came across The Body Shop’s Tea Tree range in store and noticed that it’s recommended for blemished skin. I decided to buy the gift set to sample some of the products and see if it would work on the odd spots I get. The set comprises a small 60ml bottle of the Skin Clearing Mattifying toner, a facial wash and spot oil.

The Body Shop's Tea Tree toner.
The Body Shop’s Tea Tree toner.

The toner has quite a strong smell, but I didn’t let this put me off. I applied a few drops of the product to a cotton pad and wiped and dabbed it over my face. I found a little goes a long way, and after a few minutes, my skin felt quite dry and tight.

This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it suggested the product had already got to work drying out any blemishes. You definitely need to apply a moisturiser afterwards, as my skin remained quite dry. I didn’t really see any difference to my skin after using the toner for a week, but I imagine with longer use you may start to see results.

Price: £8.50 (250ml)

Where to buy: The Body Shop

Rating: 3/5

Kylie Skin Vanilla Milk Facial Toner

Whether you love or loathe the Kardashian/Jenner clan, you’ve no doubt heard of them and the variety of brands and products they’ve either created, or have a hand in. While I’ve never seen a single episode of the hit reality show that made them household names, I’m always keen to try out hyped-up products to see if they measure up.

Kylie Jenner’s eponymous skincare range has an army of fans, with a staggering 5.5 million followers on its Instagram page, as well as thousands of five star reviews. On the hunt for a new toner to help ease unwanted redness and enlarged pores, I went to Boots and picked up the Kylie Skin Vanilla Milk Facial Toner.

It’s not cheap, costing £27 for 236ml, and comes in a gorgeous Millennial-pink bottle with white text. I am a bit of a sucker for lovely packaging as most of my skincare is housed in a cute lilac crate on my bathroom windowsill, meaning it’s all on show.

The toner is alcohol-free, with moisturising glycerin, squalane, apple extract and avocado oil which, according to online product descriptions, helps “smooth and improve the appearance of pores”. It smells beautiful, with a hint of vanilla that creates a fresh, clean aroma – I’m a big fan of products that smell clean and this certainly ticks that box.

It’s gentle enough to use both morning and evening and doesn’t leave my skin feeling tight or irritated. I bought it quite a few months ago and have used it twice a day since purchasing it and there’s still about a fifth of the bottle left. I’m not sure that makes it worth its price tag as I’ve had much cheaper toners that have lasted the same length of time.

Overall, my favourite thing about this product is the delightful fragrance. I haven’t noticed much improvement in the visibility of my pores, nor has it helped with the occasional hormonal breakout. I’ve enjoyed incorporating it into my skincare routine but I feel there’s other toners on the market that will do just as good of a job, or better, for a fraction of the price.

Price: £27

Where to buy:Boots and Kylie Cosmetics

Rating: 3/5

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