• Top 26 Best Japanese Toners in 2021 - Tried and True! (Minon, Fancl, and More) 1
  • Top 26 Best Japanese Toners in 2021 - Tried and True! (Minon, Fancl, and More) 2
  • Top 26 Best Japanese Toners in 2021 - Tried and True! (Minon, Fancl, and More) 3
  • Top 26 Best Japanese Toners in 2021 - Tried and True! (Minon, Fancl, and More) 4
  • Top 26 Best Japanese Toners in 2021 - Tried and True! (Minon, Fancl, and More) 5

Top 26 Best Japanese Toners in 2021 - Tried and True! (Minon, Fancl, and More)

The Japanese skincare routine has quite a few steps. There’s cleansing; then the first step after cleansing is toning. To help you ease into Japanese skincare, we ordered the 26 most popular toners from Japan’s e-commerce giants (such as Amazon, Rakuten, and @cosme) and tested them all. We also invited a specialist and had her compare the following:

1. Application (How It Feels on Skin)
2. Hydration

This is how we tested and found the most exceptional Japanese toners. We also consulted our specialist about skincare–for example, we asked about how to properly put on toner and the order in which we should apply toner, lotion, and essences. We share all this information at the end of the article, so stay tuned.

Experts featured in this article

Aiko Kawakami
  • Last updated: 06-04-2021
  • 26,839 views
Table of Contents

Top 26 Best Japanese Toners

First off, let's introduce the 26 best Japanese toners available online. They were ranked by how well they did on our tests and given an overall grade ranging from D to A+.

1

POLARed B.A Volume Moisture Lotion

$77.44

JapanesePOLA Red B.A ボリュームモイスチャーローション
ApplicationA
HydrationA+
Overall scoreA+
2
Japaneseオルビスユー ローション
ApplicationA
HydrationA
Overall scoreA
3
JapaneseFANCL モイストリファイン 化粧液I
ApplicationA
HydrationA
Overall scoreA
4
JapaneseIPSA ザ・タイムR アクア(医薬部外品)
ApplicationA
HydrationB
Overall scoreA
5
Japaneseアクアレーベル ホワイトアップ ローション
ApplicationB
HydrationA
Overall scoreA
6
Japaneseロート製薬 肌ラボ 極潤ヒアルロン液
ApplicationC
HydrationA+
Overall scoreA
7

Sofinajenne Moisturizing Toner for Combination Skin

$29.50

Japanese花王 ソフィーナ ジェンヌ 混合肌のための高保湿化粧水
ApplicationA+
HydrationC
Overall scoreA
8
Japaneseソフィーナボーテ 高保湿化粧水
ApplicationA
HydrationC
Overall scoreB
9
Japaneseネイチャーラボ リッツ モイスト ローション
ApplicationC
HydrationA
Overall scoreB
10

Daiichi SangyoMINON Amino Moist Moist Charge Lotion I

$14.62

Japanese第一三共ヘルスケア ミノン アミノモイスト モイストチャージ ローションI
ApplicationA
HydrationD
Overall scoreB
11
Japaneseエスト ザ ローション
ApplicationA
HydrationD
Overall scoreB
12
JapaneseETVOS モイスチャライジングローション
ApplicationA
HydrationD
Overall scoreB
13
Japanesed プログラム モイストケア ローション W(医薬部外品)
ApplicationA
HydrationD
Overall scoreB
14
Japanese富士フィルム アスタリフト モイストローション
ApplicationB
HydrationB
Overall scoreB
15
Japaneseアイム ディープシリーズ ディープモイスチュアローション
ApplicationB
HydrationB
Overall scoreB
16
Japaneseアルージェ モイスチャーミストローション II
ApplicationB
HydrationB
Overall scoreB
17
Japaneseアクセーヌ モイストバランスローション
ApplicationB
HydrationC
Overall scoreC
18
Japanese常盤薬品工業 なめらか本舗 化粧水NA
ApplicationB
HydrationC
Overall scoreC
19

Asahi GroupSuhada Shizuku Placenta Toner & Essence

$17.60

Japaneseアサヒグループ食品 素肌しずく ぷるっとしずく化粧水
ApplicationC
HydrationB
Overall scoreC
20
Japanese良品計画 化粧水・敏感肌用
ApplicationB
HydrationD
Overall scoreC
21
Japaneseハーバー研究所 ディープモイスチャーローション
ApplicationC
HydrationC
Overall scoreC
22
Japaneseナチュリエ ハトムギ化粧水 スキンコンディショナー
ApplicationC
HydrationD
Overall scoreD
23
JapaneseP&Gプレステージ(同)フェイシャル トリートメント エッセンス
ApplicationC
HydrationD
Overall scoreD
24
Japaneseセザンヌ化粧品 スキンコンディショナー 高保湿
ApplicationC
HydrationD
Overall scoreD
25
Japaneseアルビオン 薬用スキンコンディショナー エッセンシャル
ApplicationD
HydrationB
Overall scoreD
26

Kikumasamune BreweryNihonshu Skin Care Lotion

$7.71

Japanese菊正宗酒造 日本酒の化粧水 高保湿
ApplicationD
HydrationC
Overall scoreD

Compare the Best Japanese Toners

Image
1
POLA Red B.A Volume Moisture Lotion 1

POLA

2
ORBIS u Lotion 1

ORBIS

3
FANCL Moist Refine Lotion I 1

FANCL

4
IPSA The Time R Aqua 1

IPSA

5
Aqualabel White Up Lotion II 1

Aqualabel

6
Hada Labo Gokujyun Hyaluronic Acid 1

Hada Labo

7
Sofina jenne Moisturizing Toner for Combination Skin 1

Sofina

8
Sofina beauté Moisturizing Toner 1

Sofina beauté

9
NatureLab LITS Moist Lotion 1

NatureLab

10
Daiichi Sangyo MINON Amino Moist Moist Charge Lotion I 1

Daiichi Sangyo

11
est The Lotion 1

est

12
ETVOS Moisturizing Lotion 1

ETVOS

13
d program Moist Care Lotion W 1

d program

14
Fujifilm Astalift Moist Lotion 1

Fujifilm

15
Rice Force Deep Moisture Lotion 1

Rice Force

16
Arouge Moisture Mist Lotion II 1

Arouge

17
acseine Moist Balance Lotion 1

acseine

18
Nameraka Honpo Soymilk Isoflavone Toner 1

Nameraka Honpo

19
Asahi Group Suhada Shizuku Placenta Toner & Essence 1

Asahi Group

20
MUJI Light Toning Water High Moisture 1

MUJI

21
HABA Deep Moisture Lotion 1

HABA

22
naturie Skin Conditioner 1

naturie

23
SK-II Facial Treatment Essence 1

SK-II

24
Cezanne Skin Conditioner High Moist 1

Cezanne

25
Albion Medicated Skin Conditioner Essential 1

Albion

26
Kikumasamune Brewery Nihonshu Skin Care Lotion 1

Kikumasamune Brewery

Name

Red B.A Volume Moisture Lotion

u Lotion

Moist Refine Lotion I

The Time R Aqua

White Up Lotion II

Gokujyun Hyaluronic Acid

jenne Moisturizing Toner for Combination Skin

Moisturizing Toner

LITS Moist Lotion

MINON Amino Moist Moist Charge Lotion I

The Lotion

Moisturizing Lotion

Moist Care Lotion W

Astalift Moist Lotion

Deep Moisture Lotion

Moisture Mist Lotion II

Moist Balance Lotion

Soymilk Isoflavone Toner

Suhada Shizuku Placenta Toner & Essence

Light Toning Water High Moisture

Deep Moisture Lotion

Skin Conditioner

Facial Treatment Essence

Skin Conditioner High Moist

Medicated Skin Conditioner Essential

Nihonshu Skin Care Lotion

Features

Hydration is Top Class! A Gel Toner That Leaves Skin Shiny and Supple

An Anti-Aging Toner That’s Earned Its Fair Share of Glowing Magazine Reviews

Feels Light and Refreshing, but Don’t Worry–It Moisturizes!

Absorbs Quickly–Leave Skin Noticeably Softer Within Seconds

Gives You Soft, Smooth Skin With None of the Stickiness

Amazing Quality for the Price; The Formula’s Heavy, but it’s Also the Most Hydrating

Wraps You in the Scent of Flowers and is Properly Hydrating

Hydrating, Despite Being Lightweight; We’re Partial to the Floral Scent

Hydrating Despite Being a Cheap Drugstore Cosmetic With a Strong Scent

Lightweight Formula, but Leaves Skin Feeling Plump and Soft

Sinks Slowly and Steadily into Skin, but Hydration was Sorely Lacking

Blends Right into Skin, but Might Not be Enough for Stressed Skin

Absorbs into Skin Without a Trace, but Hydration was Below Average

A Generous Amount of Product, but it Feels Sticky

Carries Within it Rice Power Extract No. 11! Feels, However, Exceedingly Normal

Nothing Really Stands out About How it Feels or Moisturizes

Alcohol-Free and Fine on Sensitive Skin but Not Great Packaging

The Low Price Tag Makes This Toner Easy to Turn To

Felt like Gel yet Hydration was Just Average

It Felt Sticky Despite Not Being That Hydrating

Nice Pump, but Not for You Unless You Like Thick Toners

Go Ahead and Use Huge Amounts at Once, but Don’t Expect Much Hydration

So This is All the Hydration the Almighty SK-II Has to Offer?

The Bottle’s Huge–We Just Wish It Had a Pump

Unique Scent Might be a Deal-Breaker

Don’t Like Sake? Then You Won’t Like This Toner

Price$77.44$33.07$13.37$48.32$12.36$13.75$29.50$22.58$12.56$14.62$99.66$36.89$28.54$34.40$80.00$32.87$44.32$6.72$17.60$13.90$34.00$11.99$179.00$6.91$45.05$7.71
JapanesePOLA Red B.A ボリュームモイスチャーローションオルビスユー ローションFANCL モイストリファイン 化粧液IIPSA ザ・タイムR アクア(医薬部外品)アクアレーベル ホワイトアップ ローションロート製薬 肌ラボ 極潤ヒアルロン液花王 ソフィーナ ジェンヌ 混合肌のための高保湿化粧水ソフィーナボーテ 高保湿化粧水ネイチャーラボ リッツ モイスト ローション第一三共ヘルスケア ミノン アミノモイスト モイストチャージ ローションIエスト ザ ローションETVOS モイスチャライジングローションd プログラム モイストケア ローション W(医薬部外品)富士フィルム アスタリフト モイストローションアイム ディープシリーズ ディープモイスチュアローションアルージェ モイスチャーミストローション IIアクセーヌ モイストバランスローション常盤薬品工業 なめらか本舗 化粧水NAアサヒグループ食品 素肌しずく ぷるっとしずく化粧水良品計画 化粧水・敏感肌用ハーバー研究所 ディープモイスチャーローションナチュリエ ハトムギ化粧水 スキンコンディショナーP&Gプレステージ(同)フェイシャル トリートメント エッセンスセザンヌ化粧品 スキンコンディショナー 高保湿アルビオン 薬用スキンコンディショナー エッセンシャル菊正宗酒造 日本酒の化粧水 高保湿
ApplicationAAAABCA+ACAAAABBBBBCBCCCCDD
HydrationA+AABAA+CCADDDDBBBCCBDCDDDBC
Overall scoreA+AAAAAABBBBBBBBBCCCCCDDDDD
Link

Introducing the Expert Who Lent Us Her Knowledge

This time around, we borrowed the expertise of a skincare specialist, who’s a well-known face both in magazines and on the web.
Introducing the Expert Who Lent Us Her Knowledge
〈Aiko Kawakami〉
Skincare Specialist

She's a skincare specialist who's got over 20,000 consultations under her belt. She approaches skin with a combination of scientific evidence and experience, using her knowledge of dermatology and cosmetic ingredients to help women become even more beautiful, down to their fingertips.

She's the representative of the board of directors over at ANSEM (Association of Nail & Skin Experts Maestro) and an instructor at the JCLA (Japan Cosmetic Licensing Association). She's also made numerous media appearances.

How We Tested the Toners

How We Tested the Toners
We then tested for each of the following things:
Test ①: Application (How It Feels on Skin)
Test ②: Hydration

Test ① Application (How it Feels on Skin)

Test ① Application (How it Feels on Skin)

First, we looked at application, plain and simple. We rounded up volunteers from several departments and had them try out all the products. They then talked about things like if they liked the texture and the fragrance, if the packaging was convenient, and so on.

We were Partial to Pump Bottles, Light Formulas, and Heavenly Smells

We were Partial to Pump Bottles, Light Formulas, and Heavenly Smells
Lighter textures slid into skin, just like that. There was no sticky residue, and it left our face feeling soft and smooth. Pump bottles were just overwhelmingly easier to use than bottles with screw-on caps.
In particular, it seemed like RMK’s toner was universal; many of our staff gave it two thumbs up for both its texture and fragrance.

Test ② Hydration

Test ② Hydration

Next, we looked at how hydrating the toners were. We used a moisture analyzer and compared the state of our skin before application to its state one hour after application.

Thicker Formulas Tended to be More Hydrating

Thicker Formulas Tended to be More Hydrating
Toners that were noticeably heavier (some so thick, they felt like gel) were a cut above the rest–when it came to hydrating power, at least. Unfortunately, the opposite held true as well; the lighter a toner was, the less moisturizing it tended to be.
Hydrating toners also tended to count BG, glycerin, and hyaluronic acid among their ingredients.
Aiko Kawakami
Skincare Specialist
Aiko Kawakami
If you don't like to feel oily, try using toners that contain glycerin or diglycerin. And if you're looking for hydration, rather than being fixated upon hyaluronic acid and glycerin, look for ingredients like glycogen. It's a polysaccharide made up of sugars that store water.

How to Choose Japanese Toner – Buying Guide

There are a lot of Japanese toners out there, so it's understandable you'd feel a little lost. That's why we’d like to introduce two things you should look out for when choosing toner.

Actually, it doesn’t really matter how “moisturizing” a toner is. Because of how the human body is constructed, it’s difficult for liquids to permeate skin. Well, then, if we aren’t supposed to care so much about hydration, then just what are we supposed to pay attention to?

Get Toner with a Texture and Scent That Appeals to You

Get Toner with a Texture and Scent That Appeals to You
At the end of the day, it’s best to choose a toner that just feels good. Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to texture, so when possible, try out the testers at the store or take a few samples home

Depending on the brand, you can get light toners that disappear into the skin or heavier toners that leave you a bit sticky–and one isn’t necessarily better than the other.

And you’d be surprised at how many people stop using a toner because of its fragrance. A lot of toners have that “cosmetics smell,” like getting a whiff of the makeup section at Macy’s. So we recommend you make your purchase after you’ve checked for scent and how your skin feels after application.
Aiko Kawakami
Skincare Specialist
Aiko Kawakami
I recommend choosing toner based on its texture and scent. It has an effect on what comes after—how easily your serum goes on, for instance, or how long your makeup lasts.

Fragrance will actually travel all the way to the hypothalamus, where it affects the secretion of hormones—it's a valid factor to consider when making your choice.

Look for Something Moisturizing

We know we said that checking for hydration isn’t that big of a priority, but there’s no point in choosing a toner that’s all water and no humectants, right?

Check for a Hydrating Ingredient or Two

Check for a Hydrating Ingredient or Two
It’s helpful to at least know what ingredients are supposed to be hydrating. Here are some of the more popular ones in Japan.

  • BG: Butylene glycol retains a lot of water, but it’s not as sticky as glycerin. It’s a type of polyalcohol and is found in many cosmetics and skincare products.

  • Glycerin: Another type of polyalcohol, said to be the most absorbent. Other forms and names include glycerol and diglycerin.

  • Sodium hyaluronate: The salt form of hyaluronic acid, which is produced by the body to moisturize skin. Though similar often used interchangeably with hyaluronic acid, sodium hyaluronate is smaller, allowing it to more easily penetrate skin. It becomes more effective when applied in conjunction with glycerin.

  • Collagen: Also produced by the body. In its original form, it’s a protein fiber that cannot be effectively absorbed by the skin. It permeates farther after it has been broken down into low molecular weight collagen.

  • Trehalose: A type of sugar. Because of its outstanding ability to retain water, it’s used as a moisturizing ingredient in many cosmetics.

In addition to these, many brands are also coming out with new and unique hydrating ingredients.

Ethanols Do Not Equate to Dry Skin

Ethanols Do Not Equate to Dry Skin
You might’ve heard sometime, somewhere that toners that contain ethanol are dehydrating. However, ethanol is not a drying ingredient by nature. It might feel like it’s tightening up your skin, but that does not necessarily equate to dehydration.
Therefore, don’t feel like you have to avoid all toners that include ethanol. At the very least, we’ve tested all of our toners (some of which contain ethanol) for hydrating power–and hopefully, that gives you some piece of mind.
Aiko Kawakami
Skincare Specialist
Aiko Kawakami
It gets a bad rap because it feels like it's tightening up your skin, but ethanol that is used in cosmetics is neither an antiseptic nor dehydrating. That's because ethanol that's used in disinfectants and ethanol that's used in skincare must be present in different concentrations.

If you are allergic to alcohol or have atopic dermatitis, then ethanol is of course out the question. However, usually, ethanol is plentiful and easy to use, so many people should like it.

The Best Way to Use Toner

You went through all that trouble to find a toner that’s right for you–now you have to learn how to use it. Here are some tips and tricks.

Warm to Body Temperature, Then Slowly Massage

Warm to Body Temperature, Then Slowly Massage
Pour, push, or squeeze some product onto the palm of your hand. Then cup the toner between your palms, warming it until it’s about body temperature. That’ll help it seep into your skin. If you gently squeeze your palms together, it’ll help the toner heat right up.
After the toner’s body temperature, rub your hands together so that product covers the entirety of both palms, then slowly massage it into your face. You want to gently press it in. Don’t slap yourself.

Lock in Moisture With a Good Lotion

Lock in Moisture With a Good Lotion
It doesn’t matter how good the toner is; if you don’t seal it in with a oil, all the moisture is going to evaporate. After you apply toner, make sure you lock it in with lotion. It’d be ideal if you can use a lotion from the same product line, but it’s not necessary.
You can also use a serum or essence to seal in the toner. However, you’ll need a lot of product to do so, so we wouldn’t call it cost-effective. You especially don’t want to do this if you’re using expensive stuff.

Douse Cotton Pads Until They're Soaking Wet

Douse Cotton Pads Until They're Soaking Wet
If you use a cotton pad to apply your toner, there’s one thing we absolutely want you to do: make sure there’s not a single dry spot. In other words, when applying toner with a cotton pad, make sure you soak the pad through. You want it to look like the picture on the right, not the one on the left.
It seems like a waste of product, but there’s a reason we’re stressing this. If there is a single dry spot on your cotton pad, then it’s going to soak up healthy oils from your skin. That might actually be one of the reasons your skin is dehydrated.
Of course, the same holds true for toner masks. Make sure all cotton pads are thoroughly soaked before laying them on your face, and remove all cotton pads before they start drying out.
Aiko Kawakami
Skincare Specialist
Aiko Kawakami
There's no point in applying toner with a cotton pad if there's any dry patches on it. If that feels like a waste to you, then it's better not to use cottons pads at all.

In general, you don't want to use cotton pads to apply toner. However, if you have rough hands from chores or the like, then I recommend soaking some cotton pads in toner and making yourself a toner mask.

Add to Your J-Beauty Arsenal

Add to Your J-Beauty Arsenal

There's more to a Japanese skincare routine than just toner! Here are some other great products we've tested and ranked.

Summary

Your skin is constantly exposed to irritants–the sun’s rays, wind, air itself–and dries out quickly. Try to keep everything we talked about today in the back of your mind, pick out a good toner, and nurture your skin every day so it can stay glowing and beautiful far into the future.

Author: Yukina Matsuda/Translation: Jasmine Li/Photos: Koichi Miura, Yoshio Yoshida

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