Home Skincare 9 Best Toners With Lactic Acid

9 Best Toners With Lactic Acid

by Gabbi

Have you been looking for a toner that will actually make a difference in your skin? Perhaps one that can make your skin more firm, bright, and clear?

Look no further than a toner with lactic acid. These magnificent toners will do just that and more because of the miracle-like power of lactic acid and other botanical super-ingredients.

Long gone are the days of astringent toners that dry up your face. Toners with lactic acid actually do the opposite!

So, what are the best toners with lactic acid? The best toners with lactic acid will be the right dosage for your skin type, have a pH balance of 3.5 or above, and contain soothing ingredients for calm and radiant skin after exfoliation.

Keep reading for our recommendations for the best lactic acid toners on the market, and how you can pick the best one for you.

What Exactly Does Lactic Acid Do?

Lactic acid is a naturally-occurring compound that is produced as a result of fermentation of dairy or plant products. It can be both vegan and non-vegan, so pay attention to the labels if this matters to you.

Regardless of its source, lactic acid is a powerful ingredient for skincare.

It is a type of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), which means it naturally exfoliates your skin by increasing cell turnover and removing dead skin cells from the surface of the skin and from within your pores.

This process allows your fresh, new, and more evenly-pigmented skin to come to the surface, which looks much brighter and younger.

Additionally, lactic acid keeps your skin naturally hydrated, which makes it a unique type of AHA. If you’ve experienced dryness with other alpha hydroxy acids, you might have better luck with lactic acid.

Some studies have shown that lactic acid can even stimulate the production of collagen, literally reversing signs of aging like fine lines and sagginess. 

To keep it short, lactic acid can make your skin look plumper, younger, brighter, and more hydrated. 

What’s Not To Love?

Lactic acid is often added to different skin care products – from creams to serums and everything in between.

We really love using it in toners. Because lactic acid is an AHA, it can be somewhat irritating to skin, especially for people with sensitive skin.

Using it in a toner makes the application a little more gentle – since toners usually have lower concentrations of the acid and come with additional soothing ingredients. 

Toners allow you to get the benefits of lactic acid without the worries of irritating your skin.

Buyer’s Guide

When looking for a toner with lactic acid, you want to be aware of a few factors that will affect how well the product works for your individual skin.


Different toners have different concentrations of lactic acid, which are usually listed on the package. 

For example, 12% lactic acid is considered a very high dose, not suitable for very sensitive skin or for daily use. That being said, it’s potent enough to penetrate your skin, make it significantly firmer and thicker, and effectively fade age spots.

For a moderate option, a concentration of 5% can still get the job done, especially on the surface layer of your skin, without the risk of significant irritation.

For very sensitive skin, you might want to consider a toner with 2% or less lactic acid, so that you can still get the exfoliating benefits with zero irritation.

For most people with normal skin, staying under 10% is considered a good starting point.

pH Balance

Did you know that your skin’s average pH is 4.7? That’s right, your skin’s outer layer is acidic, which is why lactic acid and other AHAs work so well on it.

But some products are more acidic than others, and disrupting your skin’s natural pH balance can cause more harm than good.

Toners with lactic acid can have a wide range of acidity levels depending on their concentration of the AHA or other added ingredients.

We recommend that you stick to a toner that has a pH balance of 3.5 or above. Anything below that would be too acidic and could damage the outer layer of your skin.

Soothing Ingredients

It’s rare to find a toner that has only one ingredient. So when picking one out, pay close attention to the other ingredients and pick those that have soothing properties.

Because lactic acid is a chemical exfoliant, it can be helpful to offset it’s affect on your skin with calming botanicals like aloe, chamomile, green tea, ceramides, niacinamides, and others.

If you are interested in targeting other skin issues, like acne, you might want to look for a toner that has additional blemish-fighting additives as well.

Best Toners With Lactic Acid

RankProductKey Features
1.Clarity Rx Brighten It 10% Lactic Acid SolutionPure lactic acid and water, pharmaceutical
2.REN Clean Skincare Glow TonicGentle, hydrating, good for sensitive skin
3.PCA Skin Nutrient TonerAntioxidants, softening and brightening
4.Youth To The People + 11% AHA Exfoliation Power TonerCitrus bioflavanoids, cruelty-free
5.Gallinée Face VinegarPrebiotics, pH balancing, restoring
6.Pestle and Mortar NMF Lactic Acid Facial TonerIdeal for sensitive skin, radiant complexion
7.Lactic Rescue TonerGreat for acne-prone skin, witch hazel
8.Herbloom Kombucha Plant Biome TonerTriple hyaluronic acid, kombucha, probiotics
9.Moon Juice Acid PotionGlycolic and salicylic acid, citrus, daily use

1. Clarity Rx Brighten It 10% Lactic Acid Solution

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While not technically a toner, this lactic acid solution is very versatile and can be used as a toner or a treatment, depending on user preference.

With the highest lactic acid concentration of all products on our list, this one is exclusively for those who know their skin can handle the powerful exfoliation. Do not use this if your skin gets irritated easily.

Warnings aside, we love this product because of its simplicity – it’s pure water with lactic acid. Nothing else.

Reviews demonstrate that this product is incredible at erasing dark spots, smoothing out skin texture, and brightening the complexion.

We love that it’s a pharmaceutical grade form of lactic acid that can be bought over-the-counter for those who need it.

Not only that, but this solution contains no other ingredients to be concerned about – so you know exactly what you’re getting when you use it.

2. REN Clean Skincare Glow Tonic

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If you’re looking for a gentle toner suitable for daily use on sensitive skin, look no further.

The REN Clean Skincare Glow Tonic combines the power of three powerful brightening ingredients in small concentrations – 4% lactic acid, salicin, and azelaic acid precursor. 

All three work to gently exfoliate and brighten the skin, reduce dark spots, and even out the skintone.

It’s formulated specifically for daily use without irritation. It’s a godsend for dry skin because of how hydrating this toner is.

Overall, we think this is a very reputable and well-rounded lactic acid toner that would be a great starting point if you’re worried about the sensitivity of your skin. 

3. PCA Skin Nutrient Toner

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Another bestseller that we can’t ignore is the PCA Skin Nutrient Toner. This baby is chock full of antioxidants, vitamins, and pumpkin wine.

That’s right, pumpkin wine.

It smells like fall, gently exfoliates the skin, and even makes aging skin appear noticeably more youthful. What more can we ask for?

We think this is one of the best lactic acid toners for aging skin because in addition to fading dark spots and exfoliating, it makes the skin feel soft and supple. Many reviewers note that it fills out fine lines and brings a youthful glow to their complexion.

The antioxidants and vitamins nourish the skin from the inside while the gentle concentration of lactic acid works its magic on the surface layer of the skin.

There is a reason that this toner is so often recommended by dermatologists and estheticians – it really works. If you’re entering that stage of life where fine lines are making their appearance – try this product.

4. Youth To The People + 11% AHA Exfoliation Power Toner

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We love this power toner because it contains 8% lactic acid, 3% glycolic acid, and a blend of black tea kombucha that serves as a prebiotic for the skin.

Because of the higher lactic acid concentration, it’s not recommended that you use it daily, maybe aim for 3-4 times a week instead. 

In addition to its active ingredients, this toner contains citrus bioflavonoids that work at removing pollution from the skin.

The result – smaller pores, softer texture, brighter complexion.

Perhaps not suited for people with sensitive skin, this toner would work well for normal skin as well as folks who are looking for those clean and cruelty-free guarantees. This brand abides by Europe’s list of banned ingredients and never puts parabens, fragrances, phthalates or other harmful ingredients into their products.

5. Gallinée Face Vinegar

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Don’t let the name fool you, this product is so much more than a vinegar. A blend of lactic acid, hibiscus and apple cider vinegar, this toner balances your skin’s pH and infuses it with prebiotics using patented technology.

The product is amazing for oily skin – it actually works to reduce your sebum production and soothes redness caused by breakouts.

In the meantime, the gentle dose of lactic acid works its way through the surface of the skin to shrink pores and erase blemish scarring.

Not only does it have cosmetic effects, it helps to heal your skin’s microbiome so that you end up with healthier skin going forward. 

We think this is a great toner for anyone with oily, sensitive, or breakout-prone skin.

6. Pestle and Mortar NMF Lactic Acid Facial Toner

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For another gentle option, don’t miss Pestle and Mortar’s toner. This product features a gentle concentration of 5.34% lactic acid and a pH level of 3.8 making it a great choice for sensitive skin and daily use.

Reviewers suggest that it works surprisingly well on all skin types and leaves users with a radiant and glowy complexion.

Like other lactic acid toners, it is heralded for reducing dark spots, fading fine lines, and exfoliating dead skin cells to reveal smooth and supple skin.

NMF stands for natural moisturizing factor, which naturally occurs on the skin to keep it hydrated and protected. With age, NMF decreases, so it’s important to replenish it with products like this toner. 

A great gentle option for sensitive and aging skin, we’d recommend this toner for anyone over the age of 35.

7. Lactic Rescue Toner

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First of all, we adore that this toner is “wildcrafted in small batches” – doesn’t that just make you feel like you’re using a magic potion?

This toner may be a little bit magical indeed, according to the slew of overwhelmingly positive reviews it gets.

Crafted with 10% lactic acid, niacinamide, glycolic acid, and a blend of botanicals, this toner is great for acne-prone skin that can handle some acidity.

Featuring ingredients that both fight signs of aging and reduce breakouts, this toner tops it off with soothing essential oils and botanicals including witch hazel, cucumber, aloe vera, ginger, green tea, orchid, and bergamot.

Although not ideal for very sensitive skin due to its high acid concentration, the soothing qualities of the other ingredients in this toner can offset and reduce some irritation enough where moderately-sensitive skin can handle it quite well.

If you love infusing the medicinal properties of nature into your skincare routine, don’t miss out on this wonderful potion.

8. Herbloom Kombucha Plant Biome Toner

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If you’re looking for a toner that’s extra hydrating, look no further than this Herbloom Kombucha blend!

It contains a triple hyaluronic acid technology with the hydrating properties of lactic acid, all while quenching your skin’s thirst for nourishment.

The toner is about 80% real green tea kombucha, which is chock full of probiotics and antioxidants. The probiotics help strengthen the microbiome and skin barrier (keeping hydration in) while the lactic and hyaluronic acids moisturize the skin from within.

Like other AHA toners, this one does a good job at exfoliating dead skin cells and evening out the skin tone.

It’s gentle enough for sensitive skin and contains fruit and floral extracts that provide additional soothing and calming effects – no need to worry about irritation here. 

Overall, we think this one is an absolute must for someone with dry or sensitive skin.

9. Moon Juice Acid Potion

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This powerful toner combines several different exfoliating acids, including glycolic, phytic, lactic, salicylic, and citric acids for a total concentration of 25%.

For anyone who needs a powerful solution – this is it. This product has thousands of positive reviews from people who struggled with clogged pores, acne, and dark spots for decades, who are now waking up with clear glowing skin thanks to this miracle potion.

Although the total acid concentration is high at 25%, the actual concentration of lactic acid is 5% – which is great for daily use on normal skin. 

This product is our top pick for those who want smooth bright skin and also struggle with some acne and blackheads – the glycolic and salicylic acids in this blend are great at targeting those issues.

Tips For Using Lactic Acid Toners

Regardless of which toner you decide to go with, follow the tips below for best results and minimal irritation:

  • Make sure not to expose your skin to direct sunlight 
  • Either use the toner at night only, or wear SPF 30 over it during the day
  • First time users should start gradually – use 3-4 times a week instead of every day until you know how your skin responds
  • Slight tingling is normal immediately after you apply lactic acid 
  • If redness and irritation persists, reduce use to 1-2 per week
  • If your skin handles daily use well, continue to use it 1x per day

As you can see, there are a lot of great lactic acid toners on the market for every skin type. For anyone looking to clear up their complexion, reduce dark spots, and reverse signs of aging, a good lactic acid toner can be an effective way to do just that.

Up Next: Best Lactic Acid Cleansers

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