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BATTLE OF TONERS: KIEHL’S Calendula Toner VS FRESH Rose Deep Hydration Facial Toner

Hello beautiful people! Now with MCO is being extended, you absolutely have no excuse for not showing enough love to your skin ;)

 My previous post that I wrote back in 2018 regarding a product comparison reviews between two famous Korean toners had garnered an astounding 20k blog views and still counting. I am shook. 
You may read it here

So this time, I’m bringing back toner comparison reviews between my top 2 favourite brands- Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal Extract Alcohol-Free Toner VS Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Facial Toner.


My skincare routine had evolved tremendously over the years, gradually switching from Korean products to Western/higher end Asian skincare products. 

I know this is completely opposite of the norms (people normally switched from Western to Korean especially during the period where the K-wave hit the hardest), but K-beauty has unfortunately lost its mojo on my skin.

Brace yourself for Battle of Toners 2.0.

Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal Extract Alcohol-Free Toner

The Calendula toner was my first product from Kiehl’s during my transition from K-beauty to western beauty and I have been using it religiously ever since then. And I never regretted my decision.

As a pharmacist, I am always amazed about the origins of Kiehl’s. Kiehl’s was a pharmacy more than a century ago in New York’s East Village and had grown from humble beginnings to one of the most notable skincare brands today. This apothecary brand actually produced the Calendula toner 60 years ago and it’s still today’s Holy Grail of toners. Or more like the OG of facial toners.

Alright, history lessons aside.

The Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal Extract Toner is formulated as an alcohol-free toner infused with handpicked Calendula flower petals. It is suitable for Oily, Combination, and Sensitive skin. It claims to balance skin’s natural oils and removes remaining residue, dirt, and debris. And of course, that’s exactly the function of toners. It helps to calm, soothe, and refresh skin.

Calendula, or scientifically known as Calendula Officinalis, or colloquially known as pot marigold, is a trusted  and popular herb with many medicinal properties and skincare benefits for many centuries. This amazing flower have anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, soothing, and even wound healing properties. I actually came across an academic paper about a systematic review of Calendula and wound healing properties.

You may read more about its benefits here and here

Besides Calendula, this product also contains Allantoin and Great Burdock that helps in soothing and hydration.

You will see the real handpicked petals of Calendula dancing gracefully in the bottle of toner and if you’re lucky, you’ll get some petals landed on your cotton pad. Like any Kiehl’s products, it got the classic apothecary package design. Apply right after cleansing for restoration of skin pH balance and immediate soothing effect. It can also be used as a mask, by soaking cotton pads with toner and place over areas that need extra love and care (eg. Red, inflamed areas).

Comes in three sizes (125ml, 250ml, 500ml), each priced at RM95.00, RM160, and RM255 respectively.   

When I first started using Kiehl’s Calendula toner, I could immediately see positive results, most probably because my previous skincare routine is not working on my skin anymore. I was very into BHAs and AHAs back then and it was pretty harsh and damaging on my skin although I only used them a few times a week. I needed something to reset my skincare routine and to allow my skin to recuperate on its own. Kiehl’s Calendula toner immediately calmed the redness of my skin and allow it to heal faster. I could see that my skin does not look inflamed and my acne looked less red and angry.

Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Facial Toner.

After hearing many great reviews about this miracle rose water, I decided to see it myself. I personally love Fresh Rose face mask because I can feel instant hydration effect after using. I was hoping the toner can deliver the same results for my skin on a daily basis. Like Kiehl’s, Fresh also started out as an apothecary in Boston and has grown into a cult favourite.

The Fresh Rose Deep Hydration toner claims to minimize pores, clears skin of leftover impurities, softens, and increase hydration by 46% for 6 hours.

Also an alcohol-free formulation, the star ingredient is rose.  The Fresh Rose Deep Hydration toner contains rose fruit extract, rose water, rose flower oil, Angelica leaf extract, and of course, hyaluronic acid. I am very impressed with the list of ingredients because there are so much rose goodness in them!

 Rose water has countless benefits such as the usual anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, hydration as well as maintaining skin pH balance. On the other hand, Fresh Rose Floral Toner mainly contains rose water, if you prefer something more lightweight. Fresh Rose Deep Hydration toner is more of an upgrade version of its predecessor.

This rose-laden product is definitely much more to this than meets the eye. It does hydrate and removed residue from pores like it claimed, as proven by the visible dirt left on my cotton pad. It also contains real delicate rose petals floating in the rose-infused solution. However, the petals seem to never able to escape from the bottle, probably due to its narrow opening. The sweet rose scent is so soothing during toner application. It made my skin care routine felt so therapeutic and relaxing.

Comes in two sizes (100ml, 250ml), each priced at RM107.00 and RM203 respectively.

I fell in love with its scent of roses. Literally like a rose bath on my skin, just like Fresh said. Roses are anti-inflammatory as well, hence it took care of the redness of my skin. I did feel hydrated but its hydration effect is not as powerful as the Rose face mask. I also like how it helps to purify my pores once more after cleansing. Perhaps the impurities on my cotton pad brought me satisfaction.


Rose vs Calendula
Both are alcohol-free formulations, floral infused toners with real petals. Rose and calendula are wonderful flowers rich in skincare benefits giving the toners soothing and hydrating properties. Kiehl’s is marketed for normal to oily skin types while Fresh is meant for all skin types.

In my experience, Kiehl’s Calendula toner lacks of hydration effect when compared to Fresh Rose toner. However, Kiehl’s is a winner for its soothing power. It definitely calmed my skin especially during active breakouts.

Is Kiehl’s a dupe for Fresh?
No, I don’t think so. Both toners are unique in their own ways and each of them solves different skin concerns, although Kiehl’s is like RM40 cheaper than Fresh. If you have sensitive skin with redness as your primary concern, Kiehl’s is a great choice of toner. 

If dry skin is your main concern, Fresh Rose toner is probably the best. Kiehl’s does have another range of hydration collection that includes the Ultra Facial Oil-Free Toner. As for me, I will normally alternate between these two toners, depending on my skin condition on that day.

Stay safe & stay home,


  1. I'm currently using the Fresh rose toner and I have no regrets...


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