Review: Is The Kiehl's Calendula Toner Really Soothing For Oily Skin?

Botanic-powered skin soothing

What’s your favourite part of your skincare? For me, it’s always been applying toner. I enjoy the cooling, soothing, and moisturising feeling it gives. I’ve tried a lot of toners over the years — from drugstore to lower high-end — and have encountered the good, the meh, and the ugly. So, I was eager to try the best-selling Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal Extract Toner that’s been lauded for its gentle cleansing and soothing powers on normal to oily skin. Read on to find out how it went.

First impressions, claims, and packaging

Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal Extract Toner ingredients

The clear bottle gives you a glimpse into the toner’s hero ingredient.

The first thing that caught my eye was the calendula flower petals floating in the toner. It added to the natural, botanical feel of the product while also highlighting its hero ingredient, calendula. This flower has been used in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine for its soothing properties. The yellow petals, which are handpicked and inserted into the bottle, peek through the brown hue of the toner, floating freely inside the bottle.

Aside from calendula extract, it also contains allantoin (for soothing) and Great Burdock Root (for moisturising, soothing, and reducing oil). Even though it’s marketed as a toner, it can also be used as a makeshift patch treatment to soothe irritated skin. Simply soak a cotton round, put it in the fridge, and apply it to the irritated area. 

This toner also claims to be a great post-wash cleanser. It acts similarly to an astringent, but without the alcohol, harsh sensation, or dryness. It’s great for people with normal, oily, or combination skin types like me. Kiehl’s also claims that all their products were made for sensitive skin, since they’re paraben-, silicone-, mineral oil-, and dye-free, but since I don’t have sensitive or acne-prone skin, I cannot vouch for this.

Since it also contains citric acid, I expect to see some mild exfoliation or skin retexturing after several weeks of use.

In terms of packaging, the Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal Extract Toner has a no-nonsense bottle that lets you clearly see its contents. The snap cap of the bottle is quite snug, preventing any leakage. Interestingly enough, Kiehl’s also claims that the bottle is recyclable. It seems to tick all of the boxes for a cautious skincare user. So how did it fare with my combination skin?

Usage and application

Swatch and bottle of the Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal Extract Toner

The toner has a clear, natural brown hue that doesn’t stain the skin. In fact, it almost disappears on the cotton round!

Since the Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal Extract Toner is more fluid, I prefer to apply it using a cotton round. I soak one cotton round for my entire face, focusing it on my T-zone where I’m oiliest. After a week’s use, I’ve noticed that it keeps the area less shiny. It also doesn’t strip my skin or leave it red after application. My skin felt super hydrated, without any residue or stickiness. 

In terms of cleansing, I noticed that the cotton round manages to pick up facial wash residue well. I apply it while my skin is still a bit damp for extra rejuvenation. It’s quick-absorbing, with nearly no downtime, but it leaves a very refreshing feeling immediately after it comes into contact with my skin. I’ve also used it on its own at night, sans facial wash, if I didn’t wear makeup or sunscreen throughout the day. Even then, I didn’t see any visible negative reactions like clogged pores or breakouts.

As mentioned earlier, you can also use the toner as a treatment patch. I’ve done this several times when my skin felt itchy from the heat and noticed the sensation immediately disappear.

Final thoughts

A hand holding the Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal Extract Toner

It passed the vibe check and found its home on my vanity.

So is the Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal Extract Toner a must-buy for combination-oily skin gals like me? Without a doubt, it has my approval. It lived up to its claims of soothing the skin while having additional oil control perks.

I can see the price preventing a budget skincare shopper from buying it — prices start at PHP1450/~USD40 for 125ml — but its efficacy makes it worth every penny. If you have the means to invest in this product, you should definitely give it a whirl. It’s available in the Philippines on the Kiehl’s website and in-stores. If you live in Singapore or Malaysia, you can check it out on the brand’s local websites and stores too!

*The product was sent as a press gift. The views and the opinion of the reviewer are independent and purely editorial.

Next, see if the Ellana Cosmetics Glass-C Serum is the one to rule them all.

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