My first brush with K-Beauty was definitely years ago because of how perfectly glass-like the skin of celebrities is, that I found myself thinking I needed whatever they were using, even if it meant paying for exorbitant delivery fees.

When it comes to the actual shopping for skincare, the first category I delved right into was toner pads, because hey, that’s the first step after cleansing and should be easy to pick out, right? Wrong. Suffice to say, I was spoilt for choice. I added the iconic COSRX One Step Original Clear Pad to the cart — the OG of all OGs in the realm of toner pads — spiralled down the rabbit hole of K-beauty, and the rest was history.

Fast forward many years later, toner pads are essential in our skincare routine and are multitasking pads that solve multiple skin concerns. If you are struggling with textured, unbalanced and irritated skin no matter your skin type, toner pads can be a lifesaver. Hydrate, soothe, calm — the winning trifecta to start your clear skin journey.

Here are some toner pads that are the talk of the town now, which can also help with better absorption of your skincare products to follow.

Daily Toner Pad, $32.08, Needly from Shopee

Credit: Shopee

Let’s talk about green flags in skincare. Unscented and fragrance-free ones are definitely the brightest shade of green because they are ideal for sensitive skin and prevent unwanted breakouts from added chemicals. This is also how you can tell, at a glance, why the Needly Daily Toner Pad is such a best seller. What sets it apart from other cotton rounds also lies in its specialised power to treat textured, bumpy skin, congested pores, and acne-prone skin, by incorporating BHAs and PHAs which gently exfoliate and remove impurities to unveil a brighter, more flawless complexion. The comparatively massive, but definitely comfortable, size of the toner pad is almost double that of regular ones, making it incredibly easy to sweep across your face or as a mask pack that covers a larger surface area. 

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No.5 Vitamin-Niacinamide Concentrated Pad, $23.76, numbuzin from Shopee

Credit: Shopee

Struggling with dark spots, post-acne marks and hyperpigmentation? This numbuzin toner pad has got your back. Formulated with Vitamin C, Vitamin E, 5% niacinamide, coenzyme Q10, and glutathione, they work in synergy to fade stubborn scars and hyperpigmentation, all the while hydrating your skin and preventing oxidative damage as well as wrinkle formation. This toner pad also addresses uneven skin texture and dull, tired skin, with its ability to brighten complexion through gentle exfoliation via the incorporation of PHAs and LHAs with aid from the dual-side 100% cotton pads. Perforated on one side and a smooth jelly texture on the other, this particular toner pad soaked in all its essence is an antioxidant powerhouse created to fight against signs of ageing and clearing up of skin.

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Deep Vita C Pad, $49, from Medicube

Credit: Medicube

Taking vitamin water to a quite literal level in terms of skincare, Medicube Deep Vita C Pad targets melasma and lacklustre skin to bring forth a brighter complexion. Crowned with the nickname of ‘Liquid Gold’, the addition of sea buckthorn in this toner pad helps with maintaining a youthful appearance as well as packing hydration into the skin. It also removes dead skin cells with just a swipe and improves overall radiancy. Get ready for a glow like never before as well as a visible difference when treating hyperpigmentation and blemishes. 

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Heartleaf 77 Clear Pad Double Pack, USD$59 (S$80), Anua from Olive Young

Credit: Olive Young

Following the success of the brand’s best-seller, the bottled Heartleaf 77 % Soothing Toner, locals are also starting to pick up Anua’s toner pads as well. With the similar formulation of 77% heartleaf extract that everyone loves and swears by, their toner pads also have the extra addition of PHAs that help to gently buff away dead skin cells. They also work better in terms of sebum control and minimise enlarged pore size. It is formulated with a low pH which restores the oil-moisture balance of your skin, making it perfect for daily use and especially useful for sensitive, acne-prone skin.

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Madagascar Centella Quick Calming Pad, from $26.89, SKIN1004 from Shopee

Credit: Shopee

The shorter the ingredient list, the better for your skin. Highly raved for their sunscreen on multiple social media platforms, the Quick Calming Pad from SKIN1004 is not to be missed from the brand’s lineup as well. The no-nonsense 10-ingredient crescent moon-shaped pads are soaked with 49% highly purified Centella Asiatica extract, specially formulated to instantaneously calm the skin from inflammation and redness, including rosacea. These toner pads also offer a great deal of hydration by locking in moisture and soothing sensitive skin types. Be prepared to keep this toner pad in your rotation and feel refreshed with every swipe! 

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Dive In Multi Pad, $28, Torriden from Shopee

Credit: Torriden

We all know Torriden for their Dive In serum and soothing moisturising cream, but their essence-soaked cotton rounds deserve the spotlight, too. If you simply detest reaching for so many bottles of product in the morning while rushing for work, this is your one-stop solution to provide instant moisture to your skin. Loaded with the same iconic 5D formula, which also refers to 5 types of high, medium and low molecular weights of hyaluronic acid in varying sizes for maximum hydration, these toner pads are the perfect companion for travelling and fuss-free application.

Unlike exfoliating pads, these ones by Torriden are thin and have increased adhesivity to deliver the most product into the deepest layers of your skin. They are most suitable for a mask pack, but a sweep across the face or spot hydration allows for a quick boost and keeps your skin nourished. It also helps relieve irritated skin and provides a cooling effect for the hottest of days.

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Text: Georgia Lam/HerWorld