The Best Toners for Every Skin Type

Toners are an important part of the skin-care equation, especially if your end goal is dewy, luminous skin. However, a lot of people still don’t know what exactly toners are or what they do. Board-certified dermatologist Tiffany Libby explains that a toner is designed to help remove the debris your cleanser might have missed and to prep your skin for the next step in your routine. “I think of them more as an adjunct or add-on to your skin-care routine,” Libby tells Allure.

Toners of the past were known for their astringent properties, which often dried skin out. Today, however, toner formulations have been improved to target an array of skin concerns, such as the loss of collagen or excess oiliness that can lead to breakouts — all made with varying ingredients, depending on your skin-care goals.

Board-certified dermatologist Sapna Palep tells Allure toners that hydrate and smooth out fine lines often contain antioxidants, amino acids, and hyaluronic acid. While toners that treat acne often include salicylic or glycolic acid.

Just as there are different ingredients for you to choose from, there is more than one way to put product on. Application is very easy and Libby says it’s really up to an individual’s preference: you can use your hands or cotton pads (Palep’s preference). And beyond the traditional bottled liquid, toners can also come in other delivery systems, such as gel sticks and face mists. (Libby particularly loves the spray formulations.)

But with so many toners out there in the market, it can be difficult to know what to pick for your specific skin needs. Scroll down to find the right toner to add to your skin-care routine.

Kate Somerville Liquid Exfolikate

If adding a toner to your mix feels like an unnecessary middle step, the Best of Beauty-winning Liquid Exfolikate by Kate Somerville may change your mind. Think of this toner, packed with alpha hydroxy acids and fruit enzymes, as a multi-purpose treatment that helps get rid of dead skin buildup so that your products absorb better. Spritz it on a night right before your moisturizer and sunscreen.

$58 (Shop Now)

Clean & Clear Lemon Juice Toner

Some facial toners use alcohol to clear away dirt and oil, but it can seriously dry skin out. Clean & Clear’s Lemon Juice Toner does the exact same thing, sans the stripping alcohol. There’s also vitamin C in this Allure Best of Beauty 2020 winner to help brighten and even dullness and dark spots.

$6 (Shop Now)

Mamonde Rose Water Toner

Mamonde Rose Water Toner is made with 90 percent rose water to give skin an intense boost of hydration. Not only will your skin will feel soft after using it, you’ll also get that dewy look that so many of us are constantly chasing.

$23 (Shop Now)

Pixi by Petra Glow Tonic

If you’ve been using and loving the Pixi by Petra Glow Tonic for as long as I have, you know it’s basically magic in a bottle. It’s made with hero ingredients — such as glycolic acid, aloe vera, and witch hazel — recommended for clearer, softer skin.

$29 (Shop Now)

Boscia Resurfacing Treatment Toner

Those who are blemish-prone will want to pay special attention to the Boscia Resurfacing Treatment Toner. It contains alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids (like glycolic and salicylic acid) to gently remove dead skin cells and clear pores of dirt and grime — both of which will prevent breakouts in the long run.

$28 (Shop Now)

Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid Moisturizing Toner

Can a toner really be moisturizing? The 2019 Best of Beauty winner Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid answers that question and more. Thanks to a formula full of ceramides, an ingredient that helps restore any lost moisture, skin is left feeling soft and supple after every use.

$39 (Shop Now)

Ole Henriksen Balancing Force Oil Control Toner

Ole Henriksen Balancing Force Oil Control Toner is made with a powerful blend of glycolic, salicylic, and lactic acids to control excess oil production without stripping away too much moisture. Plus, the 2019 Best of Beauty winner has a refreshing eucalyptus and peppermint scent that makes it a joy to use.

$29 (Shop Now)

Too Cool For School Rules of Mastic Facial Tonic

As the only mist on this list, Too Cool For School Rules of Mastic Facial Tonic doubles as a toner and hydrating spray you can use in the morning and then throughout the day. It contains ceramides and mastic oil, which strengthens the skin’s resiliency and helps heal damaged skin.

$14 (Shop Now)

E.L.F. Cosmetics Supertone

The E.L.F. Supertone toner livens up dull and tired skin, thanks to exfoliating glycolic acid, while soothing aloe reduces redness and inflammation.

$8 (Shop Now)

Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Facial Toner

I came to the Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Facial Toner because I have an unhealthy obsession with all things rose, but I stayed because it’s just that damn good. The 2017 Best of Beauty winner contains rose fruit extract, rosewater, and angelica leaf extract — all known for their nourishing and soothing properties. Plus, it’s alcohol-free, so it won’t dry your skin out.

$45 (Shop Now)

Laneige Cream Skin Toner & Moisturizer

Laneige Cream Skin Toner & Moisturizer is a two-in-one formula that both strengthens skin’s natural defense barrier and moisturizes. Double the hydration, double the fun?

$33 (Shop Now)

Lumene Glow Lumenessence Brightening Beauty Lotion

Lumene Glow Lumenessence Brightening Beauty Lotion contains only the best ingredients to get you glowy skin. Yes, it has vitamin C, but it also has wild arctic cloudberry, which helps fight off oxidative damage and strengthen your skin’s natural defense barrier.

$15 (Shop Now)

Milk Makeup Matcha Toner

Milk’s Matcha Toner is truly unique for many reasons, but the obvious? It’s a solid, gel-stick toner, made with anti-inflammatory matcha green tea and oil-wicking kombucha, to soothe skin and prep it for its next skin-care product.

$28 (Shop Now)

ALLURE article

The $5 Eyeshadow That Totally Upgrades Your Work-From-Home Face

If you love glitter and sleeping in (who doesn’t), you’ve come to the right place. This liquid eyeshadow is the one-swipe stop for brightening your “rolled from bed to desk” eyes. 

As someone who constantly experiments with makeup, I was excited to try E.l.f. Liquid Glitter Eyeshadow to add sparkle to my face — little did I know it would soon become a staple of my quarantine morning routine. Despite the uptick in tie-dying and hair dying trends, quarantine hadn’t felt like the time to try out pink eyeliner or teal mascara. However, spending most of the day looking at my reflection on Zoom calls made me appreciate even the smallest effort. In an attempt to mix things up beyond changing which room I used as my office, I started using a swipe of this glitter shadow in silver and a light layer of mascara to freshen up my face, and I immediately became hooked. 

Vegan and cruelty-free, this accessible shadow comes in metallic neutrals and playful colors to liven up your WFH regimen. The tube has a lip-gloss style applicator that easily swipes the product onto your lids in one fell swoop. Best practice is to swipe from the inner corner outwards then let it dry. If you try to touch up before it dries, you may inadvertently remove some of the glitter as it’s still wet and malleable. The glitter stays on for a day’s work and comes right off with one swipe of your makeup remover when its job is done. 

This shadow hasn’t gone unnoticed by Amazon shoppers, landing itself in the top 50 best-sellers for eyeshadow. If your daily routine is in need of an affordable upgrade, then keep scrolling to shop this quarantine-brightening product

INSTYLE article

The 13 Best E.L.F. Makeup and Skin-Care Products

As said by Allure editors:

“Because E.L.F.’s makeup and skin-care offerings are incredibly affordable and effective, wanting to fill up your cart with everything the beauty brand has to offer is a little too tempting. (We’ve all be there.) Add in the fact that you can pick up the products at your local Target, Old Navy, and drugstores, and you’ll start wondering if E.L.F. wants you to directly deposit your paycheck into its account.

We rounded up some tried-and-true product picks from Allure editors to make shopping E.L.F.’s vast beauty selection a little easier, more efficient, and kinder to your wallet. You’re welcome. Many of our recommendations even have a Best of Beauty Awards and Readers’ Choice Awards to their names, like best eye shadow brush and best lipstick, so you know they’re going to be amazing additions to your beauty routine. Keep scrolling to see which highlighter, eye shadow palette, and skin-care products we swear by.”

E.L.F. Luminous Poreless Putty Primer

Unlike the original version, which has a slightly mattifying effect, E.L.F.’s Luminous Poreless Putty Primer leaves the skin with a subtle dewy finish whether you choose to wear it alone or under makeup. So if you want to minimize the appearance of your pores and get a radiant glow, look no further than this primer.

Buy $10

E.L.F. Gentle Peeling Exfoliant

If you’ve never experienced the wonders of a peeling gel, allow this Best of Beauty winner to be your introduction. Straight out of the pump, it looks like a clear gel. However, when you start rubbing it onto skin, it turns into little balls. Why? The Gentle Peeling Exfoliant picks up the dead skin cells and other grime on your face and rolls it up like eraser dust. It’s incredibly satisfying and leaves skin smooth and radiant.

Buy $10

E.L.F. Cream Contour Palette

The Best of Beauty-winning Cream Contour Palette contains four different matte creams — a trio of bronzes (taupe, fawn, and caramel) and one yellow-beige hue for brightening. Each are rich and intensely pigmented but once blended out, they seamlessly melt into skin for a natural-looking sculpted finish.

Buy $8

E.L.F. SuperBrighten Peel Pads

E.L.F.’s SuperBrighten Peel Pads may not cost you much — and yet, they actually rival some of their more expensive competitors on the market. Formulated with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), citrus (from lemon peel oil and lemon fruit extract), and witch hazel, these exfoliating treatment pads work by gently buffing away excess dead skin, which, in turn, gives the appearance of a more radiant complexion.

Buy $10

E.L.F. Lip Exfoliator

Swipe the brand’s sugar-spiked Lip Exfoliator over your chapped lips to smooth away flakiness in seconds. Your lips will be happier and even a bit plumper once you’re done.

Buy $4

E.L.F. Solid Sponge Cleanser

Washing your makeup tools doesn’t have to be a chore. Keep the Solid Sponge Cleanser near your sink, so you remember to dip dirty brushes and sponges directly into it when they need a washing. (There’s something soothing about swirling them around the charcoal-infused disc.)

Along with pristine brushes, your skin will love that you’re cleaning your brushes with the detoxifying ingredient, as it’s been said to help prevent future breakouts. And let’s be real, we’ll take all the help we can get.

Buy $4

E.L.F. Prismatic Highlighting Duo

Not even E.L.F. is immune to the holographic makeup hype. These color-shifting powders may look petal pink and lilac in the pan, but when brushed onto cheekbones, they transform into a hot pink and sky blue.

Buy $4

E.L.F. Jelly Pop Water Gel Moisturizer

Made with watermelon fruit extract (yum), glycerin, and castor oil, E.L.F.’s Jelly Pop Water Gel Moisturizer soothes redness and re-hydrates parched skin in one fell swoop. It’s also super-fast-absorbing, making it an especially great option for the summer months when we’re sweating more and tend to favor lighter products.

Buy $8

E.L.F. Bite Size Eye Shadow Palette

Available in eight different shade options, E.L.F.’s Bite Size Eye Shadow Palettes (as in the same ones that went viral on TikTok earlier this year) make creating a put-together eye look easy as pie. The quad shown here is “cream & sugar” and contains a combination of neutral-toned, shimmery and matte shadows that work on almost every skin tone. Plus, the formula of these shadows is über-opaque, yet also so easy to blend.

Buy $3

E.L.F. Moisturizing Lipstick in Velvet Rope

Allure editors aren’t the only ones obsessed with E.L.F.’s Moisturizing Lipstick in Velvet Rope — our readers are, too. Velvet Rope, which is a cherry red with a golden sheen, won a Readers’ Choice Award this year for its creamy, hydrating formula that lasts all day long.

Buy $4

E.L.F. Baked Highlighter

Read our guide to the best glow-givers of the year yet? If so, then you already know E.L.F.’s best-selling Baked Highlighter made the cut.

Despite technically being a powder, its ultra-buttery, featherlight formula melts into the skin like it’s nothing and never looks cakey worn on top of foundation and concealer. It also contains skin-loving ingredients like vitamin E, jojoba, and apricot seed oils, which is a nice added bonus.

Buy $4

E.L.F. Beautifully Precise Eyeshadow Brush No. 201

Blending eye shadow ain’t easy. The Beautifully Precise Eyeshadow Brush No. 201, which recently won a Best of Beauty Award, will do all the work for you with as little effort as possible. You can pack color onto your lids with the short, dense bristles before sweeping the fluffy ends over the edges to soften them in seconds.

Buy $6

E.L.F. Mad For Matte Holy Smokes Palette

With all the latest palettes packed with terracotta and peach shades, the E.L.F. Mad For Matte Holy Smokes Palette has a much-welcomed mix of both warm- and cool-toned hues. On the right side, you have a peachy cream, blue-toned gray, and more neutral shades for laying down a clean base. Or, of course, you can wear just one by itself for a more minimalist look.

On the left side, you have a gorgeous teal, sapphire blue, and soft black for making your smoky eye fantasies a reality. (Hence the name Holy Smokes.) You can make sure they are all blended well with the shades situated in the middle of the palette.

Buy $10

ALLURE article

E.L.F. Bite-Sized Eyeshadow Quads

These quads came out as an affordable response to Natasha Denona’s mini 5-pan palettes, and here I’m exploring just how amazing of a job ELF Cosmetics has done, again!

These palettes deliver mini eye magic in a perfect size. The luxe formula is creamy, blendable, & ultra-pigmented. 

  • 8 ultra-pigmented palettes
  • A mix of matte & shimmer shades
  • Easily blendable formula
  • Perfect size for your purse and travel

Buy on ELF’s website $3
Buy at ULTA $3

E.L.F. Seriously Satin Lipsticks

This product comes right on the tiptoes of Fenty’s Satin lipsticks and a myriad of other brands who are straying away from the matte craze we all went through to introduce new comfortable but long-lasting formulas.

This new release from E.L.F. has blown my mind! The silky-smooth satin lipstick hugs the curves of the lips and provides the intense color payoff to rock any look. 

The obsession with minimalistic/”a la KKW Beauty” packaging is echoed in this product, but at a way more affordable price of $4.

  • One-swipe pigmentation
  • SIlky, smooth satin feel
  • 10 rich colors

Buy them on E.L.F.’s website

12 Best Drugstore Eyeshadows That Start At Just $5

Of all the products in your makeup bag, the one that allows you to show the most creativity is your eyeshadow. The colored powders in those little pans highlight the most expressive part of your face. The looks you dream up can be anything from subtle to glam, and eyeshadows come in every color to match any mood or outfit. However, palettes can get pretty pricey. That’s where drugstores come in. 

Affordable brands like Maybelline, L’Oréal Paris, NYX, and more make shadows that stack up to the quality of high-end brands—and sometimes even out-perform them. Although drugstore eyeshadows used to be entry-level products beauty lovers first experimented with in middle school, they’re now staples in the makeup kits of professional artists and beauty influencers alike.

  • Maybelline Total Temptation Eyeshadow + Highlight Palette

    Patrick Ta, go-to makeup artist of Gigi Hadid, Adriana Lima, and Shay Mitchell, thinks that this palette is “the perfect drugstore eyeshadow option.” He loves the blendability of the shades and says you can create both natural and smokey eye looks with it. Plus, the metallic shades double as face highlighters so you can glow all over.
  • ColourPop Give It To Me Straight Palette

    For a bronze smokey eye, Henney says that there is no palette better than this one. She loves that the metallic tones work to give the center of the eye a pop. She also regularly brings it when she is doing makeup for swimwear campaigns because it creates when she calls a “beach babe eye.”
  • Wet n Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow 10-Pan Palette

    You can’t really go wrong with a $5 eyeshadow palette, especially when the quality is as good as this one is. It comes in four different shade ranges so you can select the one that best fits your mood, or collect them all—for less than the price of one high-end palette. Makeup artist and YouTuber @RawBeautyKristi says that these palettes are a go-to of hers when she needs something both affordable and quality, and emphasizes that Wet N Wild is an “underrated drugstore brand.”
  • Karity Nudes and Rudes

    Bartlett also reaches for this palette when she needs to create a neutral look. She loves that each of the shadows are highly pigmented and blendable, and it comes with 21 total hues in the palette. It’s versatile enough to create both natural and dramatic looks.
  • Maybelline The Burgundy Bar Eyeshadow Palette Makeup

    Celebrity makeup artist and #DewyDumpling Instagram phenomenon Nam Vo, who works with everyone from Rosie Huntington-Whiteley to Kylie Jenner, uses this palette to create what she describes a “warm dumpling eye,” because the entire set is subtly metallic and warm-toned.
  • NYX Professional Makeup Prismatic Eyeshadow

    Vo is also partial to this metallic baby pink shadow single. She gently taps it into the center of the lid to give a glossy shock of glitter to any eye look, especially when she wants to give off a sweet, “innocent” vibe.
  • E.l.f. Mad for Matte Eyeshadow Palette

    Beauty YouTuber and founder of Dominique Cosmetics, Christen Dominique, loves how the shadows in this palette are buildable in coverage and are universally flattering on a variety of skin tones. It also comes in sleek black packaging that will look great both in a makeup flatlay and sitting on your vanity countertop.
  • Milani Bold Obsessions Eyeshadow Palette

    Beauty influencer Foinika Kay—also known as @ExteriorGlam—says this palette is one of the best ones that she owns. Though it falls on the pricier side of drugstore palettes, she loves how pigmented it is, and that the shades are so different that you can create a plethora of fun looks.
  • BH Cosmetics Opalescent 24 Color Shadow Palette

    Kay also really loves this BH palette for its long-lasting power. It has a ton of neutral shades ranging from golds to pinks, and it even has a few purples thrown in, so you can go for a more neutral, soft-glam look.
  • NYX Swear By It Shadow Palette

    Beauty influencer and musician Bri Hall swears by this palette, pun intended. The color diversity, as well as the mix of textures and finishes, makes it an easy go-to for the makeup lover on-the-go. She loves that it has a combination of warm and cool tones, and regularly reaches for this palette whenever she’s in a pinch.

ELLE article

Buffy Brows

Beautiful Charlotte for a photo shoot!

Products:
ELF Cosmetics eyebrow pencil and Brow Wow gel
MAC Cosmetics Bronze bronzer, Peaches blush, Doublegleam highlighter, Honeylove lipstick
Juvia’s Place Warrior II eyeshadow palette.

(Disclaimer: I do have Charlotte’s consent to post her images on designated websites including Facebook, Instagram, WordPress, and use in my digital portfolio.)

Tatcha Silk Canvas VS. E.L.F. Putty Primers

Beauty lovers about lost their minds when a luxury brand Tatcha released their infamous Silk Canvas primer, with claims to smooth the complexion and appear practically poreless.

At $68USD for 20g of product, this primer gained popularity very quickly. As we know, drugstore brands like to jump on the “popular” train and create a cheaper alternative.

When ELF Cosmetics introduced their Poreless Putty primer, hundreds of reviews and YouTube comparison videos emerged. Needless to say it was a success, as the company added Matte and Luminous versions of this primer to the lineup.

At $8USD for 21g of product, this primer provides the same results as its luxury counterpart, and you only need the smallest amount to give the results you’re looking for.

Purchase the Tatcha Silk Canvas primer.
Purchase the ELF Poreless Putty primer.

Have you tried either of these products? Let me know in the comments below!

Drugstore Dupes for Tarte Shape Tape Concealer

  • Covergirl Trublend Undercover Concealer – Conceal, shape and brighten with this new full coverage concealer. The large, fluffy doe applicator ensures an easy, even application and the velvety, smooth formula leaves behind a matte finish that lasts all day. With 30 shades that match 99% of skin tones, it’s easy to find your perfect hue.
  • Rimmel Stay Matte Concealer – This soft-matte concealer has a slightly creamier texture compared to Shape Tape’s drier formula, so naturally, it’s a winner for concealing undereye discoloration without settling into fine lines or looking dry. But this budge-proof and shine-controlling concealer still lives up to its long-wearing promises. Once it sets down, this product stays in place the majority of the day and it won’t smear or fade—even through a sweaty spin class.
  • L’Oreal Infallible Full Wear Concealer – This drugstore drop is another almost-identical dupe, from its extra-large doe to the formula. Like most of their complexion products in the Infallible line, this matte concealer-contour cream hybrid also lives up to its long-wearing claims. However, because we don’t sleep in our makeup (a beauty no-no), we can’t attest to a 24 hour wear time. It does, however, hold beautifully for a solid 10-12 hours.
  • ELF 16 Hour Camo Concealer – This full-coverage concealer is probably the closest dupe to the Shape Tape and it’s only $5. It only launched last year and has already achieved an impressive fan following. It’s formulated with a similarly lightweight matte formula and pigment-rich full coverage finish that doesn’t look heavy under the eyes.
  • Makeup Revolution Conceal & Define Concealer (not shown but used up!) – This beauty guru-approved concealer was one of the first products touting a nearly identical formula to Shape Tape’s, going viral in the beauty sphere after its initial launch. Similar to the Shape Tape, Revolution’s concealer is highly pigmented and matte so you can attain full coverage without having to build up a ton of product and avoid the dreaded cakey effect from multiple layers.

Do you use any of these concealers? What are your other favourites? Let me know in the comments below!

BeautyBlender Alternatives

By now we’ve all heard of THE Beauty Blender – the magic sponge for flawless makeup. Since it came out in 2007 (13 years ago) there definitely appeared many alternatives at competitive prices.

Some of my personal favourites are:

EcoTools Total Perfecting Blender $4.99
Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge $5.99
E.L.F. Cosmetics Makeup Sponges $5.00-$10.00
Juno & Co Microfiber Fusion Sponge $6.00

Morphe Sponges (individuals and sets) $6.00-$16.00
Japonesque Kumadori Beauty Sponge $9.00
NYX Cosmetics Flawless Finish Blending Sponge $10.00

L’Oreal Blending Sponges $11.00-$13.00
Sephora Collection Sponges $19.00
Fenty Beauty Precision Makeup Sponge $22.00

Of course there is a myriad of textures, colors, functions, etc. Please consider your personal needs and online reviews if you’re unsure whether it’ll be right for you. And if it’s not – on to the next one! Sponges should be replaced around every 3 months, due to product buildup and bacteria. As well, please wash your sponges after every single use.

What are your favourite makeup sponges? Do you use them or brushes alone? Let me know in the comments below!