14 Best Exfoliating Toners for Smooth Brighter Glowing Skin

Updated: January 7, 2021
best exfoliating toner for face

In the 90s, toner was mostly used to treat acne for teenagers, and then alcohol was used as the main ingredient in toner to dry up pimples. Next, it was found that alcohol has some side effects like stripping out the natural moisture of the skin. Now, alcohol-free toners are available with a skin-friendly formula like exfoliating toner.

Toners come into two forms — hydrating toner and exfoliating/brightening toner. Hydrating toner is used for dry, dehydrated, sunburnt, or aged skin to make the complexion smoother, younger, and softer.

The exfoliating toners are mainly formulated with chemical-based liquid exfoliants like AHA (glycolic, lactic, citric, or malic acids) and BHA (salicylic acid). The main purposes of these liquid exfoliants are to loosen up dead skin cells that clog pores and cause acne, blackheads, and whiteheads while also minimizing uneven tones & texture and dark spots.

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Some exfoliating toners also contain soothing, hydrating, and anti-aging ingredients like aloe vera, vitamin C, or rose water to improve overall skin.

In addition, an exfoliating toner preps your facial skin to absorb other products carefully. A board-certified dermatologist, Kavita Mariwalla says, “Using liquid exfoliants can help skin-care products that follow to penetrate more effectively, as they can dissolve the connection between skin cells. Think of it like loosening up cement between bricks.”

Thus, a liquid exfoliant gives you clearer, glowier, softer, and more youthful skin. Luckily, I know some of the best quality drugstore exfoliating toners of the market that I listed below to incorporate your skin’s needs.

The best exfoliating toner for face

1. Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid TonerMario Badescu Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Toner

It reduces dullness and gently exfoliates dead skin cells. Mario Badescu can be a good exfoliating toner for you as this toner accelerates the skin cell turnover for making your skin younger and more glowing. Equally good for combination, dry, or oily skin.

2. The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning SolutionThe Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7 Percent Toning Solution

It is another quality brand for gentle exfoliation, clean brightness, and preventing acne formation. This tonic formula improves the skin’s texture with regular use. It gets rid of dead skin cells, dirt, and extra oils giving you visibly clean skin.

3. bareMinerals Poreless Exfoliating EssencebareMinerals Poreless Exfoliating Essence

This facial toner is made with superfruits and prebiotics. It leaves your skin looking fresh, smooth, and refined. Suitable for all skin types. This toner minimizes the appearance of larger pores.

4. PCA skin Nutrient TonerPCA skin Nutrient Exfoliating Face Toner

It is an exfoliating pumpkin toner to nourish and lighten the skin. Use it over your face and neck. This toner contains vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, and premium ingredients that gently exfoliate dull skin for a radiant glow.

5. Some By Mi AHA BHA PHA 30 Days Miracle TonerSome By Mi AHA BHA PHA 30 Days Miracle Toner Korean

It is a Korean exfoliating, brightening, and anti-aging facial toner. A good exfoliation for dry sensitive skin. Use this toner to smooth out dullness, dead skin cells, irritated skin, extra sebum, and blackheads.

6. touch Glycolic Acid Tonertouch Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Toner for face

This anti-aging and exfoliating AHA toner improves uneven tones & textures, treats acne, minimizes pores, reduces wrinkles, and dullness. It has no oil or alcohol. touch toner contains natural aloe vera, witch hazel, rose water, and 7% glycolic acid.

7. InstaNatural 7% Glycolic AHA TonerInstaNatural 7 Percent Glycolic AHA Toner Exfoliating

It is rich in alpha hydroxyl acids, lactic acid, vitamin C, and glycolic acid. This brightening and exfoliating astringent tonic is for the face to remove pores, blackheads, scars, dark spots, suntan, hyperpigmentation, flakes, etc. It also glows and hydrates the skin.

8. PETERTHOMASROTH 8% Glycolic Solutions TonerPETERTHOMASROTH 8 Percent Glycolic Solutions Toner

It is an exfoliating toner with glycolic acid and witch hazel. It helps brighten, clarify, and smooth out the appearance. It effectively gets rid of excess oil, dirt, and impurities.  Also, this toner improves the look of fine lines, dark spots, wrinkles, and uneven tones.

9. boscia Resurfacing Treatment Tonerboscia Resurfacing Treatment Toner for Exfoliating Skin

It is formulated with apple cider vinegar. Cruelty-free, vegan, natural skincare. Age-defying and exfoliating face toner to exfoliate, revitalize, and lighten the skin. It softens the look of wrinkles for a brighter youthful complexion. It stimulates the skin’s natural ability to produce collagen keeping the skin toned and wrinkle-free.

10. Yes To Grapefruit Daily Exfoliating TonicYes To Grapefruit Daily Exfoliating Tonic

It is packed with 95% natural ingredients. It is a brightening glow-boosting daily exfoliating facial tonic for dull, uneven, and dry skin. It is enriched with 10% fruit acids, AHAs, BHAs, and antioxidants. It gently exfoliates all dead skin cells from the face and neck.

11. COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment TonerCOSRX AHA BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner Mild Exfoliation

It is a K-beauty exfoliating facial spray toner. It is moisturizing, mildly exfoliating, vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, hypoallergenic, and dermatologist tested. COSRX toner maintains the skin’s optimal pH level keeping the complexion healthy.

12. LAVO Glycolic Exfoliating TonerLAVO Glycolic Exfoliating Toner

Glycolic acid toner 10% facial astringent for oily skin, acne, normal skin, combination skin, wrinkles, and fine lines. It contains lactic acid and vitamin C. Perfect for men and women. LAVO exfoliating toner drugstore scrubs away dead skin cells, diminishes sun damage, reduces age spots, cleanses clogged pores, and helps newer cells.

13. Sunday Riley C.E.O. 15% Vitamin C Brightening TonerSunday Riley C E O 15 Percent Vitamin C Brightening Serum

It is anti-pollution, anti-aging, and brightens hyperpigmentation. Apply one to two pumps to clean the skin in the morning or night. My friend, Arpita has dark spots on her face and Sunday Riley C.E.O. toner is lightning them up. It exfoliates the upper layer of the skin revealing out a smooth glow.

14. DERMA E Essentials Radiance TonerDERMA E Essentials Radiance Toner

This exfoliating facial toner is blended with glycolic acid & rooibos. 100% vegan and cruelty-free. It helps tone, tighten, and brighten for a youthful glow. It revives, detoxifies, and purifies for a fresh appearance. Glycolic acid is the holy grail for exfoliation and helps remove the layer of all dead cells from the complexion.


Using pads, wipe an exfoliating toner over your face at night before applying a serum or moisturizer to get a radiant glow in the morning. As this product contains acid-based exfoliants or astringents, it may increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun and you may experience sunburn if you don’t use sunscreen and limit out sun exposure while using an exfoliating toner. And every time, when you use a new product, try to gauge your skin slowly.


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