If Vitamin C Serums Don’t Work For Your Skin, Try These Vitamin C Toners

Best Vitamin C Toners

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Not all toners have to exfoliate your skin to make it glow. Some do that with vitamin C! Though many ingredients can brighten your skin, nothing holds a candle to vitamin C when it comes to boosting radiance on dull, lackluster, uneven skin. And we’re here to help you find the best vitamin C toner for your skin. But wait! Why would you want to use a vitamin C toner when everyone else’s is gobbling on vitamin C serums?

Simple -a vitamin C toner is going to be very easy on your skin as opposed to an average vitamin C serum. Let’s put a pin on this for a second and talk about how vitamin C fits perfectly well into a base like a face toner and the unique benefits of a vitamin C toner.

A vitamin C toner is made with ascorbic acid and/or its many forms like magnesium ascorbyl phosphate. Vitamin C toners are powered by the antioxidant benefits of the vitamin. So they help you deal with sun damage caused by free radicals, boost your skin’s collagen production, even out your skin tone, and fade skin discolorations too (1).

As face toners are usually water-based skincare products, they hydrate, balance, and replenish the skin. Not to be confused with astringents, a face toner has a very skin-friendly pH level, which is around 5. These types of toners, the ones with active ingredients like vitamin C, fall under the category of treatment toners. So hydrating your skin is the least they can do.

Face serums, on the other hand, contain a high concentration of the active ingredient formulated into a base made for increased penetration. And increased penetration usually translates to increased irritation. So a vitamin C serum, though usually more effective than a toner, is more penetrative. Also, vitamin C requires a pH level of below 3.5 to work best (2), which is a problem when you have dry, sensitive, and reactive skin.

Now, coming back to my point, using a vitamin C toner can be the better choice if you have sensitive skin, if vitamin C serums tend to cause redness and irritation, or if you want to layer your products more easily. And needless to say, toners are usually way cheaper than face serums.

The good thing is that finding the best vitamin C toner for your skin is much easier than finding a serum. Most of them deliver vitamin C into the skin with a very hydrating, and nourishing base. And some contain stable vitamin C derivatives, which are gentler on the skin and agree with the average pH level of a hydrating face toner. Let’s dig in!

The Best Vitamin C Toners

Keep reading to find the best vitamin C toners to address sun-damaged skin, uneven skin tone, and hyperpigmentation.

Pixi Vitamin-C Tonic

Pixi Vitamin-C Tonic - Best Vitamin C Toner For Face

Pixi made it a breeze to exfoliate with glycolic acid all thanks to Glow Tonic. And Pixi Vitamin C Tonic is just as gentle on the skin. It contains pure ascorbic acid accompanied by ferulic acid for higher antioxidant benefits. The toner is alcohol-free and also packs hyaluronic acid, aloe, and green tea to calm. You can use it twice daily to brighten the skin layer by layer and reduce skin discolorations without irritating your skin.

Key Ingredients: Vitamin C, ferulic acid, willow bark extract, aloe, green tea
Size: 3.4 oz/ 100 ml
Good To Know: Cruelty-free, alcohol-free

Murad Environmental Shield Essential-C Toner

Murad Environmental Shield Essential-C Toner - Best Vitamin C Toner for Oily Skin

The whole Essential-C collection by Murad, including the vitamin C cleanser, is like the antidote for stressed, sun-damaged, city skin. I don’t know why they decided to change the packaging from spray to bottle, but I’m glad they kept the formula. This is an antioxidant-rich anti-aging toner that comes with vitamins A and E on top of vitamin C. So you get a good dose of protectants against free radicals. Plus, it has licorice extract to amplify the brightening effects of the toner. And it infuses the skin with several amino acids to hydrate, plump, and soften the skin. If you have oily skin, the added witch hazel is going to help with inflammation and excess oil too.

Key Ingredients: Vitamin C, vitamin E, amino acids
Size: 6 oz
Good To Know: Cruelty-free

Versed Weekend Glow Daily Brightening Toner

Versed Weekend Glow Daily Brightening Toner - Best Drugstore Vitamin C Toner

This one is pretty unique in that it targets skin discolorations with the help of an impressive bunch. This is actually an exfoliating toner made with glycolic and lactic acids. But again, the pH level of the toner doesn’t allow super harsh exfoliation where your skin burns or feels irritated. While the exfoliants gently resurface the skin and fade scars and spots, a very stable form of vitamin C, combined with azelaic acid, niacinamide, and kojic acid, boosts radiance. The drugstore toner is alcohol-free and super affordable.

Key Ingredients: Vitamin C, glycolic acid, azelaic acid, kojic acid, panthenol
Size: 4 oz/ 120 ml
Good To Know: Vegan, cruelty-free, alcohol-free

Lumene Glow Lumenessence Brightening Beauty Lotion

Lumene Glow Lumenessence Brightening Beauty Lotion

If you prefer a very low-key exfoliation, you can try this one as it’s made with plant extracts that are natural sources of exfoliating acids. Your skin isn’t going to feel a thing. It hydrates with humectants and helps improve the skin texture and tone with ascorbyl glucoside. The gentle vitamin C toner is easy on the skin and charges the skin with antioxidants while diminishing acne marks and dark spots. And oh, it smells like fresh oranges!

Key Ingredients: Vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, witch hazel, sugar cane extract
Size: 5.1 oz/ 150 ml
Good To Know: Vegan, cruelty-free

No7 Radiance+ Vitamin C Glow Toner

No7 Radiance+ Vitamin C Glow Toner

Speaking of acne marks and things that smell amazing, if you’re dealing with stubborn acne marks and your skin is prone to acne, you have to try No7 Vitamin C Toner. It’s the perfect combination of exfoliants and brighteners, which strengthens your hand against hyperpigmentation from acne. It’s made with a very popular and effective vitamin C derivative called 3-O-ethyl ascorbic acid in a concentration of 2%. What’s more is that it packs willow bark extract, which is a natural source of salicylic acid. So you get to unclog pores and prevent acne too. It treats but does not dehydrate your skin.

Key Ingredients: Vitamin C, willow bark extract, aloe
Size: 6.7 oz

Cosrx AHA BHA Vitamin C Daily Toner

Cosrx AHA BHA Vitamin C Daily Toner - Best Korean Vitamin C Toner

Similarly, this is another multi-tasking toner that exfoliates too. It utilizes glycolic acid and salicylic acid to exfoliate the surface of the skin and unclog pores. So right off the bat, it’s madly brightening and smoothing for the skin. The super gentle vitamin C derivative helps clear up the skin and reveals a brighter complexion. The Korean vitamin C toner also has niacinamide, which helps balance excess oil on the skin too. It’s alcohol-free, and fragrance-free, and also soothes the skin with vitamin B5. So overall, this one offers a gentle way to manage skin discolorations without freaking your skin out.

Key Ingredients: Vitamin C, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, panthenol, niacinamide
Size: 5.07 oz/ 150 ml
Good To Know: Alcohol-free

Some By Mi Galactomyces Pure Vitamin C Glow Toner

Some By Mi Galactomyces Pure Vitamin C Glow Toner

If you’re a fan of K-beauty but a vitamin C derivative isn’t going to cut it, this is the next best thing. Galactomyces Pure Vitamin C Glow Toner contains 1% ascorbic acid. The signature fermented yeast nourishes the skin and strengthens the skin barrier. The toner evens out the skin with the help of niacinamide and resorcinol too. Plus, the hydrating effects are instantly visible all thanks to the replenishing base of toner.

Key Ingredients: Vitamin C, niacinamide, fermented yeast, allantoin
Size: 6.76 oz/ 200 ml

Renee Rouleau Moisture Infusion Toner

Renee Rouleau Moisture Infusion Toner

OK, it is a little bit costly. But this is as potent as a face serum. Unlike clear, water-based toners, this one is like a liquid moisturizer with a runny texture. Because it’s made for maximum hydration. So it has emollient oils that feel light on the skin. And to help brighten dry, dehydrated skin without damaging the skin barrier, it’s made with a vitamin C derivative. It soothes the skin with vitamin B5 and supports the skin barrier with niacinamide too. And it’s great for dry, redness-prone, sensitive skin that can’t tolerate regular vitamin C products.

Key Ingredients: Vitamin C, vitamin E, niacinamide, blackberry oil
Size: 6 oz/ 180 ml
Good To Know: Vegan, cruelty-free

Rodial Vit C Brightening Tonic

Rodial Vit C Brightening Tonic - Best Vitamin C Toner for Aging Skin

This is a truly glow-boosting vitamin C toner. It promotes smoother skin with its blend of exfoliants, which are glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acid. The acid complex is the anti-aging trifecta to accelerate skin turnover, boost collagen production, and soften the look of fine lines and wrinkles. The stable vitamin C derivative helps to reverse sun damage and minimize hyperpigmentation. I know it doesn’t justify the price but this one has a self-dispensing bottle like a push-down acetone dispenser, which prevents unnecessary slips and drips.

Key Ingredients: Vitamin C, lactic acid, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, panthenol
Size: 200 ml
Good To Know: Cruelty-free

InstaNatural Vitamin C Facial Toner

InstaNatural Vitamin C Facial Toner

Last but not least, I wanted to include this because who doesn’t love a toner mist? The misting action is amazing especially during summer when you want to collect skin benefits but also freshen up the skin. This one sprays vitamin C into the skin accompanied by licorice extract to amplify the illuminating effects. But it’s not just that, the toner also contains plant-derived antioxidants with known anti-inflammatory benefits. Green tea, chamomile, and Centella Asiatica have excellent calming and soothing benefits while helping the skin bounce back from free radical damage.

Key Ingredients: Vitamin C, witch hazel, licorice extract, lavender oil, green tea
Size: 4 oz/ 120 ml
Good To Know: Vegan, cruelty-free

So these are some of the best vitamin C toners on the market. There’s a vitamin C toner for every skin type and for every budget. So if you can’t seem to make vitamin C serums for your skin, a vitamin C toner can be a great alternative.

Vitamin C Toner FAQs

References:

  1. Al-Niaimi, F., & Chiang, N. (2017). Topical Vitamin C and the Skin: Mechanisms of Action and Clinical ApplicationsThe Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology10(7), 14–17.
  2. Telang P. S. (2013). Vitamin C in dermatology. Indian dermatology online journal4(2), 143–146. https://doi.org/10.4103/2229-5178.110593
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