Just like face serums, toners are also great for targeting prominent skin concerns. If you’re dealing with hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tone, melasma, or dark spots, the best brightening toners supercharge your skincare routine and maximize your results. But where do you go from here? What makes a toner “brightening” anyway?
First of all, a brightening toner should contain at least one active ingredient that’s known to brighten the skin. These include vitamin C, niacinamide, azelaic acid, tranexamic acid, arbutin, and chemical exfoliants. However, the cause of your hyperpigmentation is also important in deciding which one to go for.
For example, if you’re dealing with pigmentation from sun damage and UV exposure, go for brightening toners made with vitamin C as well as other antioxidants. If you’re dealing with acne marks, toners that are formulated around niacinamide can work wonders.
Below, we dive into each of these ingredients to help you find the best one for your skin type. Now scroll down for the best brightening toners.
The Best Brightening Toners
This is an all-around amazing toner that utilizes niacinamide to brighten the skin and even out its tone. But as we always say, you get more out of a multi-tasker like niacinamide when you pair it with other ingredients in a way to better target skin concerns.
So in addition to niacinamide, the alcohol-free toner also packs a vitamin C derivative to boost radiance. Plus, it has arbutin, which is another pigment-corrector that’s gentle on the skin. The toner has a hydrating base made with hyaluronic acid and is a great one for all skin types.
Hydroxy acids like glycolic acid smooth out the skin by exfoliating it. In the meantime, they diminish fine lines, pores, and reduce hyperpigmentation. This one combines glycolic acid and lactic acid to prompt cell turnover and even out the skin tone and texture.
Moreover, the toner packs additional radiance-boosters like niacinamide, azelaic acid, kojic acid, and vitamin C, all of which work to brighten the skin and fade discolorations. The super brightening toner replenishes the skin and soothes it with vitamin B5 as well.
Formulated with niacinamide and an impressive blend of botanicals, the brightening toner is powered by antioxidants. It has resveratrol, an antioxidant that reduces free radical damage, and a standalone potent pigment-corrector. In addition, it has polyphenols derived from green tea.
And they’re equally effective in fading dark spots and protecting the skin against oxidative stress. Signal peptides help with collagen production while hyaluronic acid boosts hydration. With its antioxidant-rich formula, the toner is fantastic for brightening aging skin.
If you have dry and/or sensitive skin, this is the best toner to brighten your skin without irritating it. It’s made with gluconolactone, a polyhydroxy acid, that gives surface-level exfoliation. Gluconolactone is also a humectant, meaning that it hydrates the skin.
The addition of 3% niacinamide supports the skin barrier while improving the skin tone. The toner is super gentle, and also helps with textured skin, fine lines, and dullness. It’s cruelty-free, alcohol-free, and fragrance-free. Not to mention, budget-friendly!
This one clears up the skin with 7% glycolic acid. The potent formula reduces acne and acne marks while providing major anti-aging benefits like softening the look of fine lines and wrinkles. Plus, it has arbutin, which is a naturally occurring derivative of hydroquinone but does not bear the side effects associated with hydroquinone (1).
It’s the safest alternative to target discolorations! Antioxidant-rich green tea and white tea extracts target UV-induced hyperpigmentation while aloe calms the skin. The alcohol-free toner exfoliates the skin to reveal smoother, and brighter skin.
In case you’re not aware, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that directly affects melanin production. It not only reduces dark spots but also prevents the formation of new ones. This one utilizes vitamin C together with vitamin E and ferulic acid. This antioxidant blend works amazingly well on UV-induced discolorations.
The brightening toner has caffeine to boost microcirculation, hyaluronic acid to boost hydration, and aloe to reduce inflammation. Naturally-derived salicylic acid exfoliates the skin and kills acne-causing bacteria. It’s perfect for all skin types but especially great for oily and combination skin.
Speaking of oily skin, this is another toner made with salicylic acid to fight hyperpigmentation from acne. Salicylic acid exfoliates the skin and unclogs pores to clear up acne and prevent future breakouts. It has silver for its anti-bacterial properties, which is great for acne-prone skin.
Plus, niacinamide keeps excess oil in check while helping to even out the skin. The toner has nutrient-rich thermal water as well as lactic acid to replenish oily and dehydrated skin. It clears up the complexion and leaves it glowing.
This one targets discolorations with vitamin C, niacinamide, and resorcinol. The latter is a potent skin brightener itself and combined with the rest, it boosts clarity and radiance.
The Korean toner also has fermented yeast to nourish the skin and reduce inflammation. And it packs soothing aloe as well as antioxidant-rich botanicals too.
This completes our round-up of the best brightening toners to reduce dark spots and fade hyperpigmentation. To avoid irritation, remember to pay attention to the ingredients of your other skincare products.
For example, avoid using vitamin C and exfoliants in the same routine. Similarly, avoid using two different exfoliating products in the same routine. And lastly, remember to use sunscreen daily. Because sun exposure is one of the main causes of hyperpigmentation.