Good toners are surprisingly difficult to find, which is why we’re happy to report that Dr. Sturm’s fragrance-free Balancing Toner is a worthy contender in this category. The straightforward formula may not be as robust as others we’ve reviewed, but it gets the job done to replenish skin and doesn’t contain the usual irritants many other toners contain (such as drying alcohol, astringent witch hazel, or fragrance). As for the price, it’s definitely eyebrow-raising, so we’ll leave it up to you to determine if it’s within your budget.
Packaged in an opaque bottle that protects the ingredients from detrimental light and air exposure, this toner’s liquid consistency sinks right into skin without a tacky finish. It delivers an instant hit of hydration that is beneficial for all skin types.
As you’ll find in many of Dr. Sturm’s products, this toner is front-loaded with . Purslane is a powerhouse antioxidant rich in vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids—all of which contribute to visibly healthier skin by reducing oxidative damage and inflammation. Here it’s combined with a soothing probiotic strain that may help improve skin’s microbiome. Beyond that, you’re getting a fairly standard blend of ingredients that attract and retain moisture. It’s not a shabby mix, but it’s not overly impressive either.
As for the brand’s claim that this toner helps regulate skin’s pH after cleansing, don’t get overly excited about that (most cleansers already leave skin pH-balanced, as cosmetic chemists usually take formulary steps to ensure this). Likewise, the claim that Balancing Toner can reduce enlarged pores is a stretch—there’s nothing in the formula that has a significant impact on pore size or function.
Those claims aside, Balancing Toner still earns our praise as a good-for-skin formula.
- Front-loaded with powerhouse antioxidant purslane to help improve skin’s healthy appearance.
- Hydrates and replenishes skin—minus a sticky, tacky feel.
- Packaged to protect its light- and air-sensitive ingredients.
- Gentle and fragrance free (unlike many other toners).
- Not as robust of a formula compared to our top-rated toner reviews.
The super soft and mild BALANCING TONER can be used daily as part of your skincare routine. Applied after cleansing, residue from makeup and removes excess oil, while regulating the skin’s delicate pH balance that can be altered even by the alkalinity of tap water. Suitable for all skin types, the BALANCING TONER helps to reduce the appearance of pores by removing oil build-up, leaving your skin ready to apply moisturizer.
As the founder behind her namesake line, Dr. Barbara Sturm has a long history as a physician specializing in aesthetics. As the story goes, Dr. Sturm translated the science from her clinical research on inflammation into what has now evolved into her line of “molecular” skin care products.
The brand is self-described as being “formulated for those who yearn for an uncomplicated, yet highly effective skincare regime that provides hydration, nutrition and regeneration glow.” So, do the products live up to the hype? Yes… and no.
As with most skin care brands, some of Dr. Sturm’s products are well-formulated while others fall short. While many of the formulas are beneficial, we have to point out that they’re not quite as robust in terms of a well-rounded mix of ingredients when compared to the top formulas that we review. That doesn’t make them bad, it’s just less state-of-the-art than we’d anticipate, especially at such a high price point.
One thing that stands out as a positive is that the formulas tend to steer clear of irritating fragrance and other known skin sensitizing ingredients. Dr. Sturm is also known for using beneficial antioxidants, including super antioxidant purslane.
On the downside, a handful of the products come in jar packaging, which compromises their efficacy. As for the cost, we’ll leave it up to you to decide if it’s within your budget.
To learn more about the brand in their own words, visit drsturm.com.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.