The summer heat seems unbeatable this year, with unprecedented heatwaves and humidity wreaking havoc on our skin. And as beautiful as sunny, cloudless days are this time of year, we must mention the UV damage (can you imagine our horror!) our skin is suffering during summer.
Where does that leave our skin? Unfortunately parched, unbalanced, overheated, and sun-damaged! For our skin to recuperate, we’re turning to Asian skincare, which is renowned for its expertly formulated products that combine traditional Asian ingredients with tried-and-true skincare ingredients to promote healing and regeneration of skin.
In particular, we’ll be introducing our favorite Asian beauty toners for the summer, all thin in consistency to absorb quickly and seamlessly into the skin. The last thing we want from our toners during a hot and sticky summer is a tacky, filmy finish! Not only will these impart a cooling effect on overheated skin, they’ll also deliver a myriad of other benefits to aid common summer skin problems!
Best Toners for Summer
Hada Labo Gokujyun Hyaluronic Acid Lotion
It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Hada Labo is Japan’s favorite skincare brand! Their hyaluronic acid-centered products are both gentle on the skin and impressively hydrating, with their Gokujyun Hyaluronic Acid Lotion being a standout in a star-studded lineup. This lotion (what is essentially a toner in Japanese terms) is light but packs an intensely hydrating punch. It combines three types of hyaluronic acids (hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid, acetyl hyaluronic acid Na, and hyaluronic acid Na) to instantly deliver moisture into the skin and preserve the skin barrier’s optimal hydration level.
Hada Labo’s Gokujyun Hyaluronic Acid Lotion is perfect for prepping the skin for the rest of your skincare routine, as it sinks into the skin without leaving any residue that can lead to pilling with layering. But, if you so wish, you can layer this fan-fave Japanese toner to boost hydration and skip moisturizer altogether! It’s THAT effective.
Etude House Soon Jung PH 5.5 Relief Toner
Etude House’s Soon Jung collection is the very definition of “simple is best!” With minimalist yet sleek packaging, their pH 5.5 Relief Toner may resemble a rather fancy artisan water sold in the fridge of your local Whole Foods to the unassuming eye. The consistency is exactly like water too, a thin and clear liquid with zero viscosity. But do not be fooled! This water-like toner contains Etude House’s trademarked Panthensoside, a combination of panthenol (a skin protectant and humectant) and centella asiatica-derived madecassoside (a skin-repairing powerhouse), to promote wound-healing and soothing. With 97% naturally-derived ingredients and a pH of 5.5, the Etude House Soon Jung pH 5.5 Relief Toner is the toner for sensitive, temperamental skin.
This skincare wonder delivers not only hydrating and soothing benefits, but also balances and cools down overheated skin. Exactly the remedy for too much fun in the sun!
23.5°N Rice Soothing Active+ Essence
There’s very little we can say about this unreal, born-from-a-fantasy essence that Anthony Harper hasn’t already covered in his review on the Glowie Blog! 23.5°N’s Rice Soothing Active+ Essence was made for summer-sensitive skin, with its two major benefits being soothing and brightening!
Like the other products in 23.5°N’s Rice Soothing line, this essence is packed with locally-farmed rice ferment filtrate and rice extract from Yunlin County in Taiwan. Rice ferment filtrate gently exfoliates dead skin cells while brightening dull skin and fighting free radicals from UV exposure with kojic acid. In addition, rice extract also hydrates and soothes, a much-needed treat for sun-irritated and dehydrated skin! The Rice Soothing Active+ Essence is on the slightly viscous side of watery, and absorbs into the skin quickly—it’s fantastic for layering and giving your skin all the lost moisture from the summer heat.
If you find your skin to be sensitive, red, and unevenly toned during summer, this is the essence that will target all of those concerns!
KEEP COOL Soothe Bamboo Toner
Like the Etude House Soon Jung pH 5.5 Relief Toner, Keep Cool’s Soothe Bamboo Toner has the same consistency as water! That’s because it consists of 85% bamboo water, which is rich in silica, antioxidants, minerals, and amino acids. Bamboo water is incredibly refreshing on overheated, thirsty skin, and provides deep hydration along with everyone’s favorite humectant: hyaluronic acid!
And let’s talk about some of the other unsung heroes in this toner’s formulation! Japanese honeysuckle extract, an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory botanical ingredient, is especially suitable for acne-prone, sensitive skin, while polyglutamic acid seals in moisture and improves skin elasticity.
If you really want long-lasting hydration, Keep Cool recommends using the Soothe Bamboo Toner for a toner pack! Just soak thin cotton pads in the toner and apply onto your forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin—anywhere that needs hydration, really! This method of application acts as a makeshift, DIY sheet mask of sorts, preventing the toner from evaporating and ensuring that moisture is delivered deep into the skin. Neat, huh?
CosRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner
CosRX’s AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner often gets overlooked for the BHA Blackhead Power Liquid and AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid (which are both FABULOUS, by the way), so we’re here to sing its praises! Unlike the BHA and AHA Power Liquids, the AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner comes in a spray bottle for even easier application. It’s, as you would expect, thinner and more watery than the Power Liquids, with the fine mist evenly covering the face. And it combines the best aspects of the Power Liquids with both betaine salicylate (BHA) and glycolic acid (AHA)! This toner mist gently exfoliates dead skin cells and removes impurities with BHA, while brightening skin and increasing the rate of cell turnover with AHA.
Instead of using plain water, CosRX uses apple fruit water in this toner instead, which contains vitamins and minerals to hydrate and soothe the skin. Most importantly, it also contains polyphenolic antioxidants to eliminate free radicals before they damage the skin, a major benefit for skin suffering from UV exposure! Apple fruit water further optimizes the brightening and exfoliating benefits of AHA and BHA to round out a synergistic toner that’s light yet effective for summer.
While you should always be using sun protection anyway, make sure to apply sunscreen the mornings after using this toner, as BHA and AHA products do increase the sun-sensitivity of skin!
Haruharu WONDER Black Rice Hyaluronic Toner
In case you missed it, the Haruharu Wonder Black Rice Hyaluronic Toner had a little viral moment on the skincare side of TikTok, and for good reason! This refreshing toner provides clarity to dull skin with fermented rice extract, an antioxidant-rich ingredient that protects skin against free radicals and promotes skin cell regeneration. It is also formulated with bamboo shoot bark extract to even skin tone while hydrating the skin with hyaluronic acid and strengthening the skin barrier with tamarind seed gum!
The entire list of ingredients is a wonder to behold, with hanbang ingredients like Korean pasque flower extract, lichen extract, and sansho extract lending their antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Plus, panax ginseng root extract provides an anti-aging dose that brightens and firms dull and loose skin, combating the premature skin aging triggered by UV exposure. All skin types and conditions, from sensitive to mature to acne-prone, can benefit from Haruharu’s flagship toner!
Give your sun-ravaged skin a reprieve from excess heat and humidity with these light and refreshing Asian beauty toners! Whether you’re in need of a brightening toner to fight free radicals and even skin tone, or a hydrating and soothing toner to replenish overheated skin, you can be sure to find a new Holy Grail toner in this list.
We wish you a happy (and sun-protected) summer!