Not all toners were created equal. Many of us started our skincare regime back in the day when a toner was mostly supposed to be the finishing step in cleansing, remove any trace of makeup and grime. It was also supposed to prevent oiliness, and as teens and young twenty-somethings most of us used extremely drying toners (Clinique, anyone?) with a shocking alcohol content. Even the milder ones that started appearing on the market twenty years ago were not exactly gentle. Eventually toners lost their appeal and many people, me included, no longer used them twice a day. For the last five years or so I've been mostly using Japanese-style hydrating toners (usually labeled as "lotion" though it's a sticky liquid) of the kind that you tap onto your skin and help it absorb creams and serums. There's also plain old rosewater that works well, with or without added glycerin, or witch hazel that adds a clarifying action.
While I've been mostly faithful to Kanebo Sensai Collection Lotion II (I'm on my third or fourth bottle), I have been playing with other mild toners here and there, such as Elemis Soothing Apricot Toner (part of an excellent Elemis travel set) and Sisley Floral Toning Lotion (I always seem to have a small bottle or two around from various gift-with-purchase events). Neither one is a must-have or an irreplaceable item, but both are nice and I use them for freshening up and before I put on my makeup.
Sisley Floral Toning Lotion is closer to the Japanese idea of a toner/lotion. I don't have a full ingredient list but the active ones (according to Nordstrom) are rose, cornflower and witch hazel floral waters. It's not as sticky as the one by Kanebo Sensai, so basically I'd say it's a glorified (and very elegant) witch hazel toner. I like it a lot, actually, and if you compare by volume, at $100 for 8.4oz the Sisley product is actually cheaper than the $70/4.2oz Kanebo. I like the freshness of this toner and the soothing sensation it gives post face washing. I have yet to spring for a full size bottle, but those GWPs are an excellent source. Available at select department stores.
Elemis Soothing Apricot Toner is more of a traditional toner albeit a very nice one. Maybe I shouldn't like it as much as I do because it's loaded with stuff like fragrance and dye, but it's a very pleasant and pampering product, or at least gives the illusion of one. The apricot scent is pretty strong but I don't mind. I find that I like it best for use before going out for the night: I always do a quick cleanse and refresh prior to starting my makeup. The Elemis travel set I got at the last Nordstrom anniversary set will probably last me until the nest one, when I fully intend to buy another one (a full size is $36/6.8oz at Nordstrom and Ulta). A travel set is a Nordstrom exclusive.