Are Miniso toners really worth the hype?

When members of an online beauty group started raving about the toners they purchased from Korean and Japanese-inspired stores, we began getting a lot of requests for reviews. Naturally we got pretty curious ourselves - who wouldn't be interested in super affordable skincare that works? 

Luckily, I was able to get the Rose Water Rose Hydrating Toner (P99) at the first Miniso store I visited. There were maybe five left on display, and I heard from the cashier that someone had reserved 11 bottles! Two thoughts came to my mind: is it really THAT good, and why are people buying so many?!

Four Minisos later, I still couldn't find the Rose Water Essence Toner that seemed to be a particular favorite. Not wanting to go home empty-handed, I settled for the Hyaluronic Acid Essence Toner (P299) which the SA assured me had the same effect. Since most of the recommendations I saw praised these toners for use on oily skin, my fellow writer Crystal (who has super oily skin) and I (with my combination dry-oily) took turns testing each toner to see what all the hype is about. 

I must admit that I had a lot of expectations for the Miniso Rose Water Rose Hydrating Toner despite the cheap price tag. The packaging looks pretty with floating rose petals, and so many swore by this product with claims that it decreased their oiliness and gave them an "after sex glow". That certainly doesn’t sound like 99-peso product, and the label quickly confirmed my suspicions. The top three ingredients are water, glycerine (a moisturizing fat frequently found in cosmetics), and propylene glycol (a preservative that also works as a humectant). Hmm, the first two ingredients are the same ones we use for our DIY setting spray.

The product is a little bit viscous but still runny, and it smells like artificial roses. Upon first application, I was shocked that my skin suddenly felt rough. Weird, I thought, but I was still hopeful and decided that I'd finish the trial period. I got the same result on the second and third days, and none of the magical chok chok effect that people said they experienced. It didn't even help to dry out my pimples, as others have claimed. I decided to try putting it on one of my legs to compare. I noticed that leg with toner had the same rough feel but it definitely felt a bit softer. The effect only seemed temporary though. 

On the other hand, Crystal felt okay with this product. She noticed that it immediately softened her skin but didn’t help to control her oil or prevent breakouts. 

The softening effect is simply due to the glycerine content. After the the main ingredients, the concentration for everything else falls below the 2% line, meaning the ingredients comprise less than 2% in the product.

We know this because labels are required to list ingredients from the highest to lowest concentration, and the ingredient immediately following the first three is labeled as an extract, which is usually less than 2% since they are so expensive and so concentrated that it's not recommended to use more. That means about 98% of this toner is just water, fat, and preservative, which is fine but won't really do much for your skin. 

Is it worth the hype? Sure, but as softener or a much-diluted moisturizer and not an actual toner. It seems to have only a small amount of oil mixed in (castor and sunflower) so even the softening effect may not last very long.

I totally fell for the minimalist packaging of the Hyaluronic Acid Essence Toner - it looks like a huge bottle of water, with its completely clear liquid. The label says it's supposed to “provide intense nutrition & moisture for skin”, which was sadly also not something I was able to experience. Upon first application, it immediately - and I mean immediately - made my skin so dry! It felt like it sucked out all the moisture from my skin instead of infusing and nourishing it, which is how hyaluronic acid is supposed to work. Again, I thought I'd give it a chance and used it for a couple more days. There were no improvements and I really felt like I was doing a major crime against my poor skin, so I stopped. On her end, Crystal didn’t even dare to try this as the smell of alcohol was too overpowering!

The top three ingredients in this product are water, butylene glycol, and dipropylene glycol. The two glycols are solvents, meaning they allow other products to dissolve better, but water is also a solvent! This makes me think like this product is trying to dissolve something, which is not what I would expect from something that promises to nourish my skin. Sodium hyaluronate, the source for hyaluronic acid, is also placed somewhere in the middle of the 1% ingredients so it's either the moisturizing ingredient this toner boasts about is too small to make a difference, or the arrangement of the ingredients list is all wrong.

Is it worth the hype? No. Save your money and your skin.


Honestly, I really wanted these two to work, even a little bit! In case I wasn't applying enough and needed to be more generous to experience the benefits, I tried using them with compressed sheet masks that Miniso also sells. I got the same results, and completely regretted using the Hyaluronic Acid Essence Toner again. I felt the life being sucked out of my skin less than three minutes after putting on a very saturated mask.

I get that part of the appeal of these toners are how affordable they are but I assure you, there are other budget-friendly toners that actually care for your skin. In fact, HumanHeartNature has three toner variants for every skin type: Hydrating Moringga, Nourishing Tomato, and Balancing Manila Elemi. These super gentle toners are 99.80 to 100% natural, and prices start at P99.75 for the 100mL bottle.

The first toner I’ve ever tried is the Acne Solutions Oil Control Toner from Celeteque, which is just P75 for the 65mL bottle. It really deep cleans your pores, thus preventing further breakouts! I also like their alcohol-free Hydrating toner, which is perfect for those with sensitive skin. 

Now, if you really want that rose experience, nothing beats Mamonde’s Rose Water Toner! It contains 90% rose water, and gives a smoother and softer skin texture. It’s very gentle and you can even use it with compressed masks for more intensive hydration. I love this so much that i've already finished two bottles! You can find this online for around P300- P540, which is around the same price the Miniso toners are being resold at. Better value for your money, I promise you.

But wait: do you even actually need toners? Well, it depends on what your skin needs. There are toners that help to cleanse and exfoliate your skin, toners that re-balance your skin’s pH level, toners that prep your skin to absorb moisturizers better, or even act as a sort of moisturizer on their own. We've even tried applying 7 layers of toner that created a legit chok chok effect!

So, we want to know: did you get into the Miniso toner craze? What was your experience like? And among the toners that you've tried, which has worked best for you and why?