Best Salicylic Acid Toners RAYDAR

Published: January 9, 2023

Last Updated: November 16, 2023

The 10 Best Salicylic Acid Toners of 2023

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Best Salicylic Acid Toners RAYDAR

The world of salicylic acid toners is yours to explore. Salicylic acid is an excellent addition to any skincare regimen, whether you are just starting out or have been using a toner for years. It helps with acne, helps prevent future outbreaks, and even helps with skin pigmentation. This comprehensive guide will explain the many benefits of salicylic acid for the skin and help you choose which products will work best for you.

Among the most effective ingredients for clearing up acne, salicylic acid stands out. This powerful chemical exfoliant penetrates deeply into the skin to eliminate these problems from the inside out, while also reducing redness and preparing the way for glowing, clean skin. Salicylic acid, a common component of acne treatments, may be effective against whiteheads by reducing the buildup of dead skin cells and oil in the pores.

It also aids in the removal of dead skin cells, which helps to maintain clean pores and avoid the onset of acne. One of salicylic acid’s many uses is as an anti-inflammatory. In other words, if you have acne-prone skin, applying it straight to your zits may help decrease inflammation and redness. We rounded up some of the best toners out there to help you start and hopefully end your search for the right one!

1. Ole Henriksen Balancing Force Oil Control Toner
  • Effective oil control
  • Clarifying and refreshing
  • Brightening properties
View at OLE HENRIKSEN View at Sephora

To help even out your skin tone and reduce the appearance of pores, use Ole Henriksen’s Balancing Force Oil Control Toner, an alpha hydroxy acid toner.

This oily-skin toner is formulated with a mild clarifying agent that works to remove dirt and oil from pores without drying out the face. This toner has a stimulating, fresh eucalyptus aroma and is infused with a potent combination of beta hydroxy acid (BHA) and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), including salicylic, glycolic, and lactic acids.

“This is hands down my favorite toner! Great for oily skin, and I notice when I skip this step in my routine,” shared one reviewer.

2. Moon Juice Acid Potion
  • Effective exfoliation
  • Skin texture improvement
  • Enhanced skin radiance
View at Moon Juice View at Sephora

A good toner will help your other serums and creams penetrate deeper into the skin, so it’s important to find one that works for you. Given the above, we recommend trying Moon Juice’s Acid Potion as an effective salicylic acid toner.

With its 25% Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) and Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) mix, your skin will benefit from glycolic acid’s ability to dissolve dead skin and sticky debris and lactic acid’s promotion of new cell growth. The formula also contains salicylic acid extracted from willow bark—an substance recognized for its ability to help unclog pores.

“I use this every day, along with the plump potion and I feel like it does a great job of preparing my skin for the day’s events,” explained one skincare enthusiast.

3. Revolution Skincare 2% Salicylic Acid Toner
  • Effective exfoliation
  • Acne treatment
  • Skin smoothing
View on Revolution Skincare View at Amazon

Acne, pimples, and breakouts may all be avoided with the help of Revolution Skincare’s 2% Salicylic Acid Toner. Since it includes 2% salicylic acid, this moisturizing liquid is great for daily blemish prevention because it exfoliates the skin and penetrates deep into pores to break up trapped debris and sebum.

Marshmallow extract is also used to aid with moisture retention and reduce inflammation.

According to one reviewer, “Been using for two weeks now, my skin texture has improved, and pores are smaller. I will continue using it until it is finished. There is no smell to it as it’s fragrance-free and really gentle on your skin.”

4. Kiehl's Daily Refining Milk-Peel Toner
  • Gentle exfoliation
  • Hydration and nourishment
  • Brightening effect
View on Sephora View at Kiehl's

LHA, a salicylic acid derivative, is the exfoliating ingredient in this light toner. It works by dissolving impurities and sloughing off dead skin cells, revealing fresher, younger-looking skin below.

Formulated with 23% emollients and almond milk for an extra dose of illuminating action, this dual-action milk-peel toner from Kiehl’s gently exfoliates and detoxifies while restoring the skin’s moisture levels for a more refined complexion. It’s gentle enough for delicate skin yet efficient enough to clean your face thoroughly without leaving your skin dry.

“Oh wow, this is such a nice toner! I tried this out for its gentle exfoliating factor,” stated one buyer. “This toner helps remove any remaining residue after cleansing and properly preps my skin for my next step.”

5. Glossier Solution
  • Natural and minimalist approach
  • Quality ingredients
  • Vegan options
View on Glossier View at Sephora

Here’s a more gentle approach to exfoliation that can leave your skin feeling fresh and looking radiant. If you use this exfoliating toner once a day, you’ll see a difference in the look of your acne scars, redness, and pore size in only a week or two. 

With the help of a 10% acid blend, dead skin is loosed and swept away, leaving behind a smoother, softer, and more radiant face. Alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), beta hydroxy acid (BHA), and polyhydroxy acid are the three types of acids found in this compound (PHA).

The 0.5% concentration of salicylic acid in this Glossier formula is effective for unclogging pores and reducing the appearance of blackheads and breakouts by dissolving oil bonds that hold dead skin cells to the skin.

6. Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting Exfoliant
  • Gentle exfoliation
  • Suitable for most skin types
  • Reduces blemishes and blackheads
View at Paula's Choice View at Amazon

This skin-perfecting exfoliator from Paula’s Choice contains salicylic acid and is mild enough to be left on overnight. The fast-acting serum immediately clears and reduces enlarged pores, smoothes out fine lines and wrinkles, brightens and evens out skin tone, and sheds dead skin cells. 

The fluid consistency is easily absorbed by the skin, reducing the appearance of fine wrinkles and enhancing the overall effect of uneven pigmentation or sun damage. After washing and toning your face, you may use this product twice daily for optimal results.

“Even after just the first use, my acne was so much less inflamed. I suffered from acne for years and was on Accutane since nothing worked. My skin recently started flaring up again, and this cleared it in less than a week,” explained one buyer.

7. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Clarifying Solution
  • Effective for acne-prone skin
  • Gentle exfoliation
  • Non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic
View at Ulta View at Amazon

The salicylic acid in this clarifying toner works gently to exfoliate the face, reducing the appearance of acne and leaving the skin feeling silky smooth. Glycolic acid is used in a light exfoliating process that leaves skin feeling smooth and helps diminish the appearance of minor flaws like blackheads and whiteheads.

If you have oily or acne-prone skin and are looking for a daily moisturizer that won’t weigh you down, try La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar Clarifying Solution. This toner removes dirt and oil without irritating the skin.

8. Neutrogena Rapid Clear 2-In-1 Fight & Fade Acne Toner
  • Effective acne treatment
  • Dual action formula
  • Easy application
View at Neutrogena

Neutrogena’s Rapid Clear 2-In-1 Fight & Fade Acne Toner is a great option if you’re searching for a toner that can help lessen the frequency and severity of breakouts. Clear your face with the aid of the 2% salicylic acid in this toner and reveal a smoother, more even skin tone.

Glycolic acid is also used in the mix to hasten the removal of dead skin cells and reduce the visibility of acne scars. It has been shown in studies to lessen the size, redness, and swelling of acne lesions in as little as 8 hours.

As told by one reviewer, “This product is great for getting rid of dark spots and marks if you have acne. It’s very easy to find. High-quality I’d recommend this to someone who struggles with getting rid of marks acting. Keep it in your cabinet.”

9. Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow PHA +BHA Pore-Tight Toner
  • Effective exfoliation
  • Hydration and soothing
  • Pore-tightening
View at Glow Recipe View at Sephora

As a key step in the process, a toner prepares and hydrates the skin so that the remainder of the products may be absorbed more effectively. The revolutionary composition of Glow Recipe’s Watermelon Glow PHA +BHA Pore-Tight Toner has both moisturizing ingredients and pore-tightening actives to effectively reduce the appearance of pores and keep skin properly hydrated. 

Among the most efficient chemicals for minimizing the look of pores and blackheads, salicylic acid from willow bark is a key component in the formulation of mild but effective pore actives like phytic acid and lactic acid. This toner has a dual purpose of both exfoliating and moisturizing, so it’s like getting two for the price of one!

10. iNNBEAUTY Down To One AHA + BHA Resurfacing Acid Toner
  • Exfoliation and smoother skin
  • Improved skin texture
  • Enhanced skincare absorption
View at iNNBEAUTY PROJECT View at Sephora

The lactic acid, salicylic acid, and citric acid in this formula effectively breakdown dry, flaky skin. In addition to removing blackheads, it smooths out the appearance of your skin for a more youthful glow.

If you want something mild for your skin, try iNNER BEAUTY’s Down to One AHA + BHA Resurfacing Acid Toner. Vitamin B3 is included in the composition, and it helps your skin retain its moisture while also enhancing its tone and texture. In addition, the bilberry extract in it helps to make your skin seem more radiant.

“This stuff is amazing! It is saving my face. I used to use too many acids on my face and just too many products in general. So I switched to it, using less products and more skin barrier protection type products,” shared one buyer.

That’s it! We hope you have a ton of fun trying out these products and experimenting with your own recipes. Remember to be careful when using acids, keep your skin protected from the sun, and always check with a dermatologist before starting any new skincare routine.

What to Look for in Salicylic Acid Toners

Ingredient Concentration

When purchasing a salicylic acid toner, it’s important to consider the concentration of salicylic acid in the product. A concentration of 0.5 to 2% is typically suitable for over-the-counter products. If you’re new to using salicylic acid, it might be best to start with a lower concentration and work your way up as your skin adjusts.

Skin Type Suitability

Salicylic acid can be drying, so it’s important to ensure that the toner is suitable for your skin type. If you have oily or combination skin, salicylic acid can help to control oil and prevent breakouts. On the other hand, if you have dry or sensitive skin, you might want to opt for a toner with lower salicylic acid concentration or look for a product that also contains hydrating ingredients.

Additional Ingredients

The ingredients that accompany salicylic acid in your toner can make a big difference to its overall effect on your skin. Ingredients such as witch hazel can offer additional astringent benefits, while ingredients like aloe vera or glycerin can provide soothing and hydrating properties. Analyzing the ingredient list can help you find a toner that delivers more than just the benefits of salicylic acid.

Alcohol Content

Many toners contain alcohol, which can be drying and irritating for some skin types. If you have dry or sensitive skin, you might want to look for an alcohol-free toner. Remember, alcohol-free does not necessarily mean it’s free of all types of alcohol. Fatty alcohols, like cetyl, stearyl, and cetearyl alcohol, are actually beneficial for the skin.

pH Level

The pH level of your salicylic acid toner is also an important factor to consider. Salicylic acid is most effective in a product with a pH between 3 and 4. This ensures the acid can exfoliate the skin effectively, unclog pores, and combat breakouts. Some manufacturers will provide this information on the packaging or their website, but if not, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask.


What does salicylic acid do?

Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that’s known for its ability to exfoliate the skin and unclog pores. It penetrates into the pores of the skin to dissolve dead skin cell buildup and exfoliate the skin, which can help reduce the appearance of acne, blackheads, and whiteheads. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to calm redness and inflammation associated with breakouts.

Can I use a toner after salicylic acid?

After using a product with salicylic acid, such as a cleanser or a leave-on treatment, you can certainly follow up with a toner, provided it is not overly harsh or drying. Using too many strong ingredients at once can irritate and dry out the skin. If you’re using a salicylic acid product and a toner, it’s recommended to choose a toner that is alcohol-free and has soothing ingredients to balance out the potentially drying effect of the salicylic acid.

How does salicylic acid work?

Salicylic acid works by softening and dissolving keratin, a protein that forms part of the skin structure. This helps to loosen dry, scaly skin, making it easier to remove. When used in acne treatment, it can penetrate into the pore to dissolve dead skin cell buildup and help to clear the blockage, reducing the likelihood of pimples and breakouts.

Can you use a salicylic toner everyday?

The frequency of use of a salicylic acid toner depends on your skin type and tolerance. If your skin is oily and acne-prone, you might be able to use it daily. However, if your skin is dry or sensitive, it may be better to start using it a few times per week, and only increase frequency if your skin tolerates it well.

It’s important to remember to use a moisturizer afterwards, as salicylic acid can be drying, and to use sun protection, as it can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun. As with any skincare product, if you notice any signs of irritation, such as redness, peeling, or discomfort, it’s recommended to stop using the product and consult with a dermatologist or skincare professional.

Is salicylic acid safe to use during pregnancy?

Topical salicylic acid, like that found in toners, is considered generally safe for use during pregnancy in small amounts. It’s commonly used in over-the-counter acne treatments and skincare products. The concentration usually found in these products is typically 2% or less, and only a minimal amount is absorbed through the skin.

However, it’s always advisable to speak with your healthcare provider or a dermatologist before using any new skincare products during pregnancy, including toners containing salicylic acid.