By Jade Yeo
Here at NYLON, I’m best known as “the Beauty Writer with sensitive skin.” An accurate introduction, really. Since my teens, I’ve been plagued with a double whammy of reactive and acne-prone dermis. Hence, choosing the right beauty products for myself gradually became akin to conducting a science experiment. Even after scrutinising the ingredient list, I still have to cross my fingers and hope I don’t get a nasty rash or breakout. If a product works, I’ll cling on tight and pray it never gets discontinued. That’s something I won’t have to worry about with Kiehl’s bestselling formula, the Calendula Herbal-Extract Alcohol-Free Toner.
Calendula: Kiehl’s most iconic flower yet
There’s always been hype surrounding Kiehl’s Calendula collection, and it’s there for good reason. The brand’s #1 bestselling range worldwide is recognised for its soothing, hydrating properties, and it’s been recommended to those with sensitive skin since the birth of its toner. The moment the Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal-Extract Toner was welcomed to the world in the 1960s, it became an instant hit. 5 bottles of the Calendula Toner are sold per minute globally, and more than 1 million bottles were sold across Asia just last year. Though it has a remarkable 4.9/5 star rating given by countless reviewers struggling with problematic skin, I found myself skeptical about its efficacy at first – that is, until I tried it out myself.
Before I jumped on the bandwagon, my knowledge of calendula was incredibly limited. Its flowers are lovely to gaze at, but I wasn’t aware these vibrant orange blooms packed major healing power too, tracing back centuries of use in both ancient Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine. That definitely piqued my interest. Those dreamy calendula petals floating around with every tilt are actually hand-picked and placed into every bottle manually. Basking in full sun every August, whole calendula flowers are harvested, cultivated without pesticides. You’ll find approximately 93 delicate petals in every 250ml bottle, so to preserve them, they’re sorted by hand and sun-dried – no additional processing or artificial heat required.
Calendula extract and petals are recognised as skin soothers, rich in anti-inflammatory polysaccharides, saponins, and flavonoids, which all work to comfort the skin, so it makes sense to reap the beauty benefits of these blooms – a clever move made by Kiehl’s back in the day. Apart from its primary ingredient, the Calendula Herbal-Extract Alcohol-Free Toner’s powered by a blend of herbal extracts, nourishing panthenol, hydrating Great Burdock, as well as allantoin, an anti-bacterial compound found in the hairy perennial Eurasian herb known as comfrey root.
For most skincare minimalists, toners are often dismissed as an unnecessary step in a beauty regimen. Well, here’s some news for you: this one’s radically transformed my complexion. Yup, Kiehl’s petal-powered offering is far cry from every other alcohol-laden formula on the market, and it’s become an essential I reach for right after cleansing. Using a soaked cotton pad, I swipe it all over my face, taking it down to my neck and chest as well (let’s not neglect those areas). Each time, it leaves my skin feeling refreshed and hydrated while pacifying my flushed complexion. A major plus, since it eliminates the need to mask my tomato tone with a heavy, full-coverage foundation. Most importantly, it doesn’t contain any alcohol and fragrance, what my finicky skin certainly appreciates.
$59 (250ml) & $90 (500ml)
Travel and lifestyle blogger Charlene Tan (@charlene22) swears by it too, touting the toner as the only product to keep her skin calm. Read her full review here. The toner doesn’t just appease sensitive sides, though. It works wonders on oily, blemish-prone complexions too. A couple of stubborn spots decided to camp out on my greasy cheeks recently, but after a few uses, they’ve retreated, appearing much less angry on a fresher, more even-toned canvas. The more you use the toner, the healthier and more balanced combination and acne-prone skin will feel. It’s no wonder the brand has numerous loyal customers returning to get their toner fix for as long as 9 to 10 years!
Not sure about you, but once I get hooked on a product, I’m compelled to delve into the entire range. That’s how I discovered two new favourites: the Calendula Deep Foaming Facial Wash and the Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration Masque. Picking up on the success of their toner, Kiehl’s launched this accompanying cleanser and masque, which unsurprisingly rose to cult status soon after they were launched. Here’s what I thought of them.
When it comes to cleansing, soap-free is the only way to make my skin happy. Having harnessed the time-tested power of calendula once again, Kiehl’s has carefully chosen an amino acid-based surfactant that lathers up a gentle foam yet deeply cleanses the skin, combining it with hydrating glycerin as well as a vegetable-based surfactant to up its cleansing power. What I’m left with after every rinse is skin that’s smooth and healthy – none of that dry, squeaky-clean feel I despise. Just like Sylvia Chan (@sylsylnoc) from Night Owl Cinematics, “I use this every day and I love that it deep cleanses while keeping my skin moisturised.” Head over here for more of what she has to say.
Of course, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Kiehl’s definitely felt this way when they introduced their Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration Masque last year, which comes highly recommended by our Editor-in-Chief; myself now too. Like the toner, this gel mask is chock-full of calendula petals and added aloe vera that feels oh-so refreshing when I slather it on my face.
Blogger Khaw Xin Lin (@xinlinnn) loves “the delightful calming scent and lightweight gel texture that bursts upon application” to help soothe stressed-out skin in a flash, and I couldn’t agree more. Check out her full review here. So if you’ve got dehydrated skin, a terrible case of sunburn, or are just looking for an instant pick-me-up, I’d suggest reaching for this one. I keep mine in the fridge to give its cooling sensation an extra boost, great for days when I’m feeling bogged down by the humid weather.
Just like us here at NYLON, Kiehl’s believes that all customers should #TryBeforeYouBuy to ensure that every product is suitable for your skin type. You can pop by any Kiehl’s store today for a Calendula Trio Trial Kit! Sign up for your samples here.
Collect your Calendula Collection Trial Kit at any Kiehl’s store today!
Don’t miss Kiehl’s May Calendula Specials! Receive a complimentary travel-sized Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution, travel-sized Ultra Facial Cream, and a Kiehl’s travel pouch when you purchase the Calendula Cleanser & Toner duo.
Kiehl’s #PoweredByPetals Calendula set, $108
Take your love for the Calendula Masque to the next level. Get a free limited edition Kiehl’s Masque brush with every purchase of the Calendula Masque.
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