Great Skincare Addons – Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Pore-Reducing Toner – In-depth Review and Ingredient Analysis

Few people use toners daily and that’s a shame. Although toners are definitely not a must-have, they can be quite helpful in removing left over dirt and providing extra nutritious ingredients for your skin, that perhaps the rest of your skincare regime is missing. It’s hard to get all the right ingredients and in the right concentration, so why not add a toner to your regime to give you a little help?

I’ve previously wrote about some of the most nutritious toners in the market, if you missed those posts check out:

Great skincare addons – Paula’s Choice Resist Weightless Advanced Repairing Toner – In-depth review and Ingredient Analysis

Pixi Tonics – Which one is best?

I’ve come across another good candidate that I’ve been using for a while now, so let’s have a detailed look at the Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Pore-Reducing Toner.


Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Pore-Reducing Toner 2



The Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Pore-Reducing Toner doesn’t come with outer packaging.

The toner comes in a plastic sturdy bottle with a screw on lid. It has a typical toner, small hole opening which allows the liquid to flow out.

It is interesting to note that Paula’s Choice is going through some packaging re-designs. The white bottle show in the pictures of this post is the old packaging. The new product is in the same type of bottle but it’s all blue with white writing. The product is still called Skin Balancing Toner and the formulation is the same, just different looking packaging.



A 190mL bottle retails for £20 which makes it cheaper than the Paula’s Choice Resist Weightless Advanced Repairing Toner.

Considering the ingredients, it is cheap indeed. Some brands would charge way more for this, not to mention that the product is completely worth the cash. One bottle will last you 3 months+ depending on usage.

To get £7.50 off your first Paula’s choice order (minimum £25 order) click here. This is a personal discount code, not a promotion or affiliation.


Texture and Colour

The Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Pore-Reducing Toner is a colourless liquid with a water-like texture. It’s very easy to use, spread and it gets absorbed quickly.



This toner doesn’t contain fragrance but it has a very mild, refreshing lemon-like scent. However, you will likely not smell it at all while using it, unless you put your nose close to the product.


Skin compatibility

This product is compatible with all skin types but is better for combination and oily skin.

If you have sensitive skin you might still be able to use it as some of the irritant ingredients present in this toner are also commonly found in sensitive skin products! Plus, some of the ingredients in this toner, like ceramides (see Ingredients section below), could help reduce your skin’s sensitivity. If you are concerned, try a little at the back of your hand first.



This toner lasts for 12M. Paula’s Choice products are not animal tested and do not contain fragrance.

Here’s what the brand says about the product:

Tone down oily skin and minimize pores.

Restore the balance of your skin with this light hydrating toner. Potent antioxidants, soothing plant extracts and niacinamide help to tone down oily skin and refine pores. The lightweight formula provides optimal hydration, for smooth, clearer-looking skin.


Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Pore-Reducing Toner


Practicality of use – user experience

The Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Pore-Reducing Toner is very easy to use. The product comes out of the bottle with ease and in a slightly controlled manner.

The thin texture of the toner makes it easy to spread and get absorbed by the skin quickly.  It doesn’t leave any residues behind and its overall a pleasant experience.



I haven’t noticed huge skin changes from this toner but that’s expected. Toners are supposed to be addon products not major skincare items. As a result, if you notice major changes in your skin from using a toner (or other skincare addon) then it might be time to reconsider your entire skincare regime, as it might be missing vital ingredients that your skin is in dire need of.

With that being said, I thought that this toner did help a little with minimising my pores but I also use other products that help with that too, so it’s hard to attribute the entire effect on just this toner.

I think that this toner is absolutely worth the cash and your time as the ingredients are excellent, as far as toners go, and the experience is pleasant. This product will also remove the little makeup and dirt that is sometimes left behind after cleansing, and it will also nourish the skin. It doesn’t dry the skin but also doesn’t feel unnatural or sticky.

It’s a great skincare addon or pre-treatment to a good skincare routine and if you use it consistently it might even help tighter your pores while keeping as your skin as young as possible.


Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Pore-Reducing Toner 4



This toner contains 26 ingredients of which 23 will offer you some skin care benefit (some more than others of course), 0 ingredient negatives and 6 potential irritants.

The ingredients are overall very good and definitely one of the best out there when it comes to toners. This product will overall nourish your skin and offer benefits such as anti-ageing effects from its anti-oxidants, skin replenishing effects and more.

Additionally, this toner has a pH of 5, which is within our skin’s normal pH levels, meaning that it is a good product for maintaining healthy skin function. Even if you ignore all the skincare goodies, this product is good for ensuring that your skin has been returned to the right pH after cleansing etc.

How does this toner differ from the Paula’s Choice Resist Weightless Advanced Repairing Toner?

The two toners are actually very similar. The main difference between them is that the Advanced Repairing Toner contains peptides and phospholipids whereas the one described here contains ceramides. All of these ingredients are amazing for the skin so it might be worth alternating between the two.

To keep this article short, I am only listing the skin nourishing or skin positive/negative ingredients and ignoring the ones that only play formulation purposes. For the full list of these products’ ingredients scroll down to the “full list of ingredients” section.


Ingredient positives:

  1. Water (Aqua)based formulation.
  2. Glycerin – Found naturally in the skin so can be seen as a skin replenishing ingredient. A skin conditioner that helps improve and smooth the appearance of skin. A good moisturiser that is almost always present in moisturising products.
  3. Butylene glycol – Skin conditioner that can also prevent moisture loss from the skin. Sometimes also used as fragrance.
  4. Niacinamide– A form of vitamin B3 and a skin conditioner. A skin restoring ingredient that can improve the appearance of pores and fine lines, even out skin tone and reduce dullness.
  5. Polysorbate 20 – Can lubricate and sooth the skin.
  6. Adenosine – Skin restoring and soothing ingredient. Can improve the skin’s smoothess and has anti-ageing benefits.
  7. Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Flower Extract – A very good skin conditioner, anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, skin soother and absorption enhancer. The primary component of this extract is bisabolol, see benefits above.
  8. Arctium Lappa (Burdock) Root Extract – An anti-oxidant and skin soother. Some studies suggest that it is an anti-flammatory agent that could also potentially boost collagen synthesis.
  9. Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters – Hair and skin conditioner.
  10. Sodium PCA – Skin conditioner and naturally occurring humectant.
  11. Panthenol– Form of vitamin B5. A moisturiser and potential acne treatment.
  12. Sodium Hyaluronate – A hero compound, known as the “fountain of youth” molecule. Plays a major role in anti-ageing processes and is found in embryos in high concentrations. Can hold onto water 1000 times of its weight meaning that it is an amazing moisturiser by locking moisture in. Helps wounds and burns heal and it’s linked to increased collagen generation Also used as a temporary cosmetic filler. Check out: Hyaluronic acid – the fountain of youth?
  13. Ceramide NP – One of the naturally occurring lipids in our skin and therefore a skin replenisher compound. This is the most common type of ceramide found in skincare and can moisturise the skin, improve elasticity and even reduce lines and skin irritation. Check out:  What are ceramides and do they work in skincare?
  14. Ceramide AP – See above.
  15. Ceramide EOP – See above.
  16. Phytosphingosine – A natural phospholipid that can act as a skin and hair conditioner. Has water-biding, skin restoring and preservative properties.
  17. Cholesterol – One of the main lipids in our skin other than ceramides. A good skin conditioner and replenishing compound that can help maintain the skin’s healthy feel and appearance. Our skin naturally contains cholesterol, it works by strengthening the outer structure of the skin and protecting it from dehydration.
  18. Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate – A stable form of vitamin C. Can increase collagen production keeping the skin healthy and younger looking, reduce melanin production giving a brighter skin appearance and can even repair the effects of UV-exposure. This specific form of Vitamin C even has the ability to stimulate production of moisturising compounds in the skin. A hero compound. Check out: Vitamins C & E – Do they work in skin care?
  19. Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate – Can help moisturise and enhace the delivery of other ingredients. Can be used as an acne agent due to its anti-microbial properties.
  20. Caprylyl Glycol – A skin conditioner.
  21. Hexylene Glycol – Skin conditioner.
  22. Sodium Citrate – An anti-oxidant and preservative.
  23. Xanthan gum– Skin conditioner. Holds water and improves the shelf life of the product.


Ingredient negatives:



Ingredients that can cause irritation to some:

This is actually really case specific, as different people have different sensitivities and allergies. Just because a compound has been reported by some to cause sensitivity, it doesn’t mean you will have an issue. “Sensitizer” compounds being present is not a negative in my opinion, as this is the case with pretty much everything out there and funnily enough I’ve seen products that are targeted specifically for sensitive skin, containing some compounds that have been reported by some, or are known to be, sensitizers.

If you have sensitive skin or you are prone to skin sensitisation and unwanted reactions, try a little bit of this at the back of your hand first and consult a medical doctor if you are concerned.

Check out: What is sensitive skin? What are the causes and what can we do?

The following compounds present in this toner have been either proven or claimed by some to be sensitizers, irritants, allergens etc: Butylene Glycol, Niacinamide*, Cholesterol, Oleth-10, Hexylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol.

* Niacinamide – Usually not an irritant but since it is found in a product with acidic pH (pH 5), it can potentially hydrolyse and form nicotinic acid which in turn can cause irritation.


Full list of ingredients:

Aqua, Glycerin (hydration/skin replenishing), Butylene Glycol (hydration), Niacinamide (vitamin B3/skin-restoring), Polysorbate 20 (emollient), Adenosine (skin-restoring), Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Flower Extract (chamomile extract/skin-soothing), Arctium Lappa (Burdock) Root Extract (antioxidant), Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters (hydration/skin replenishing), Sodium PCA (hydration/skin replenishing), Panthenol (skin replenishing), Sodium Hyaluronate (hydration/skin replenishing), Ceramide NP (hydration/skin replenishing), Ceramide AP (hydration/skin replenishing), Ceramide EOP (hydration/skin replenishing), Phytosphingosine (hydration/skin replenishing), Cholesterol (hydration/skin replenishing), Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (vitamin C/antioxidant), Oleth-10 (texture-enhancing), Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate (texture-enhancing), Caprylyl Glycol (preservative), Hexylene Glycol (preservative), Sodium Citrate (pH balancing), Xanthan Gum (texture-enhancing), Trisodium EDTA (stabilizer), Phenoxyethanol (preservative).


Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Pore-Reducing Toner 3


This is one of the best toners out there with a reasonable price tag for the ingredients contained. It is similar but also slightly different to the Paula’s Choice Resist Weightless Advanced Repairing Toner and together they could make a great toner couple that will benefit your skin, no matter of what your needs are.

I highly recommend this product.

To get £7.50 off your first Paula’s choice order (minimum £25 order) click here. This is a personal discount code, not a promotion or affiliation.


I am not affiliated with any company or brand. These are my views and experiences.
Beauty is a very personal thing, we all have different skin, requirements and biological build which can influence things. What worked for me might not work for you and vice versa. Have you ever tried these products? Did they work for you? Let me know your experiences below!

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2 responses to Great Skincare Addons – Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Pore-Reducing Toner – In-depth Review and Ingredient Analysis

  1. Annie says:

    Thank you for your thought provoking blog. I have only just discovered Paula’s Choice and in fact ordered the 10% Niacinamide Booster today, as open pores are becoming a big concern for me as I grow older, so I was very interested to read your thoughts on the Toner. Many thanks

    Liked by 1 person

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