Three Skin-Soothing Elixirs

Our beauty editor searches for the best toners

My adolescent acne scars run more than skin deep (see: my enduring prejudice against salicylic acid washes and astringent toners).

While I’ve given salicylics second and third chances (and they continue to give me cystic bumps), I hadn’t touched a toner until a month ago, when a crop of sting-free elixirs came across my desk. I gave them a try; these three made it into my permanent product rotation.

Fresh Black Tea Age-Delay Instant Infusion
I stumble into face-numbing wind tunnels daily. Splashing on this milky potion ($48) after cleansing soothes ruddy, chapped skin. Rosewater keeps my tone even, and hyaluronic acid helps absorb and hold the moisture of the serums and lotions I layer on top.

Tracie Martyn Absolute Purity Toner
I hold the British facialist’s natural formulas in the same high regard I do my derm-approved potions: They get results. Swabbing on the olive leaf and white tea tincture ($60) in the morning helps deflect UV rays throughout the day. Hawthorn berry and azelaic acid kill bacteria and prevent clogged pores (a.k.a. my monthly breakouts).

Pixi Glow Tonic
With its skin-tightening, shine-abolishing effects, this glycolic acid and ginseng liquid ($29) feels the most like the toners of my youth. The main difference: My face feels refreshed, not dry. After washing, I buff my cheeks and forehead with a soaked cotton round. Leftover grime dissolves, and my complexion looks like I just performed a mini at-home enzyme peel.

Photos: George Clerk / Getty Images / Courtesy of Sephora; Courtesy of Tracie Martyn; Courtesy of Pixi Beauty