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Best Pick: Quantum Hydrox KALMA Facial Toner

It’s taken me over a decade to get around to writing this review. I often think that it’s the unglamorous workhorses that never get any attention, but I’d be doing a disservice if I didn’t write about this. Because Quantum Hydrox KALMA Facial Toner is most definitely a hard-worker and a multi-tasker. Brightening, de-clogging, soothing, and clarifying — it’s simple, effective, and ultra-affordable. I can’t even really knock Quantum Hydrox for choosing not to update their packaging (or shell out for funds on marketing and branding).

People often ask me to suggest good skincare products that contain salicylic acid and alpha-hydroxy acids and KALMA is one that immediately comes to mind every time. Mainly because it’s really quite uncomplicated. Free from alcohols, fragrance, and silicones, this aloe-based toning liquid combines 5% glycolic acid and 2% salicylic acid with antioxidative bits and pieces. Whether you put up with the occasional breakout, have uneven skin texture, or simply want to enhance the efficacy of subsequent skincare products, it’s just a very simple solution that does it all.

KALMA Facial Toner aims to be highly effective and universally well-tolerated at the same time. I’d say this is excellent for all skin types (so long as you’re not sensitive to a particular ingredient). In addition to glycolic-salicylic acid complex, there’s also pro-vitamin B5 for hydration and powerful anti-oxidants and anti-irritants (including Green Tea, Tiger Grass, and Allantoin) to keep the skin calm and on an even keel. It’s completely non-sticky on combination skin and won’t feel drying for drier skin. This has no unpleasant odour.

The only downside is availability. Quantum Hydrox is a Canadian skincare brand (from Vancouver) and the products cannot be bought outside of Canada. The entire range is only available at Shoppers Drug Mart, both in-store (just in selected locations) and online. Delivery is Canada-only.

It’s CDN$19.50 for a 240ml bottle here so it’s good value for money. Just wipe on with cotton pad after cleansing and you’re good to go with the rest of your routine. It doesn’t disturb anything else, it doesn’t require any special measures or considerations and the bottle lasts for ages.

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11 Comments on Best Pick: Quantum Hydrox KALMA Facial Toner

    • I really don’t like Paula’s Choice BHA liquid due to the heavy, oily, sticky residue it leaves on the skin. This looks and feels like water.

  1. I emailed the brand and this actually have 7% glycolic acid, 3% lactic acid and 2% salicylic acid.

  2. Wow I live in Vancouver and never heard of this brand. Might try this despite being a little worried that it’ll be too much for my skin. What do you think of PHAs?

    • PHAs are good for drier, more sensitive skin since they’re much gentler (and also moisturising). Neostrata (also Canadian) invented PHA products and they have filed some patents on their formulas. Other brands have put out their take on PHAs but Neostrata is one of the most reliable in the market.

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