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Mary & May Vegan Cica AHA PHA Toner Review

December 08, 2022

Mary & May Vegan Cica AHA PHA Toner Review

Mary & May Vegan Cica AHA PHA Toner Review


Today, we’re taking an in-depth look at Mary & May’s Vegan Cica AHA PHA Toner. Mary & May is a clean Korean Beauty Brand which offers paired back products with natural ingredients.

The brand claims that this is gentle, low PH Toner that gently exfoliates while promoting "healthier, glowier skin".

So does it live up to its claims?

Let's take a look. 


What Is It?

Mary & May Vegan CICA AHA PHA Toner

It’s a low PH, exfoliating style toner that comes in a 200ml bottle.


What Does It Claim To Do?

Mary & May claims that this toner helps “protect the skin’s barrier”. It uses Tea Tree Leaf Water to soothe the skin while gently exfoliating the buildup of sebum, dirt, and impurities.


What’s In It?

The full ingredients list for the Mary & May Vegan CICA AHA PHA Toner includes:

"Water, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Water, Glycerin, Dipropylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Niacinamide, 1,2-Hexanediol, Propanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, C12-14 Pareth-12, Ethylhexylglycerin, Adenosine, Citric Acid, Gluconolactone, Allantoin, Xanthan Gum, Xylitylglucoside, Centella Asiatica Leaf Extract, Anhydroxylitol, Mentha Arvensis Leaf Oil, Xylitol, Glucose, Pinus Densiflora Leaf Extract, Citrus Junos Fruit Extract, Artemisia Annua Extract"


Breaking The Ingredients List Down

Why don't we start with what's not in it. First and foremost, as a vegan product you'll notice that there are no animal ingredients or animal by-products in this toner. That's a massive plus for anyone following a strict vegan diet and lifestyle. 

Secondly, it skips out on alcohol. Volatile alcohols like alcohol denat in particular can be problematic for people who are prone to skin issues. 

Now onto the stuff you'll want to know about what is in it. 

The key ingredient in this toner is Tea Tree Leaf Water (300,000ppm). Tea Tree Leaf Extract is great for soothing sensitive and irritated skin, as well as providing a gentle alternative to concentrated oils. Unlike regular tea tree oil it is much better suited for sensitive skin. 

Next up is Glycerin which is a skin-replenishing and skin-restoring ingredient. It not only helps to establish normal balance and hydration but is also one of the many substances in skin that helps maintain a healthy look and feel. In addition, it protects against dehydration to maintain your skin’s optimal moisture level.

Finishing out this toner is star ingredients Niacinamide and Adenosine. Niacinamide is famed for its ability to reduce inflammation. Adenosine reduces the appearance of fine lines by re-energising the skins surface. It also works as a skin soothing and restoring agent.


Mary and May Vegan Toner Review 

Why Use a Toner Like This?

A lot of facial cleansers have an alkaline pH level to combat acidic, oily skin. After cleansing, the skin can dry out. That means often, your skin after cleansing won’t be at the optimal 5.5 pH level.

This is why toner is so critical. Toners like this, which is  at the optimal level, helps to balance your slightly alkaline skin after washing.

This assists the skin to defend itself against harmful bacteria.


How Do You Use It?

  1. After your cleanser, dry your face and take an appropriate amount of toner.
  2. Apply it to your face – you can use a cotton pad or simply your hands.
  3. Tap lightly to aid absorption.
  4. Follow this step with your serum, oils, and moisturisers.

 Mary and May Vegan Cica AHA PHA Toner Review

What Results Will You Notice Using It?

Firstly, many people expect toner’s to be astringent and harsh (probably from left over trauma of the early 2000’s Witch Hazel trend).

Thankfully, this toner is gentle and doesn’t strip the skin of moisture. In fact, it has an almost cooling effect on the skin.

While suffering from active breakouts or redness we noticed a reduction within a few weeks of using this toner. Be aware though that you may experience some initial purging when using this product. This should clear up within a few days. 

With extended use we noticed that our skin also looked less dull and tired. An added bonus? This toner has a really pleasant, almost mint-y smell.

It does have a slightly heavier than expected texture but this sinks into the skin within minutes. 


Mary & May's Vegan Cica Toner was featured in this year's STYLE STORY x K-Beauty Show Bag at the Royal Melbourne and Adelaide Shows:

 Mary & May Vegan Cica Toner Review 

Who Should Use It?

  1. Those with sensitive but oily or acne prone skin will benefit most from this toner. Thankfully, it doesn't sting or burn when using it. 
  2. Those with inflamed or stressed skin. 
  3. Those looking for an alcohol-free toning option. 
  4. Anyone who is looking for cruelty-free and vegan skincare.


Tip: If you want to use an exfoliating style toner like this on drier, combination or more mature skin we would recommend alternating using it with a more hydrating toner. This will make sure your skin stays soft and supple.

Every second or third day should be plenty for this toner on drier skin types. 


How Does It Compare To Other Toners?

There are a wide variety of different toners on the market these days. This one by Mary & May is a great option for those looking for an exfoliating style toner that is also gentle.

Other Kbeauty tonersoffering similar outcomes are:

  1. COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Toner
  2. iUNIK Tea Tree Relief Toner.

The COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Toner has great reviews and is an old K-Beauty favourite, especially when it comes to acne prone skin. In comparison to the Mary & May toner, it is slightly less value for money though and is not certified vegan, although it doesn't contain animal ingredients. It also comes with a spray nozzle, that not every may enjoy. 

Similarly, the iUNIK Tea Tree Relief Toner is made up of very similar ingredients. It also soothes and calms stressed acne prone skin, similarly to the COSRX. However, it too is slightly less value for money. 



Mary and May Vegan Cica Toner is a good option for those looking for an exfoliating style toner that won't break the bank. Whether this toner is your perfect fit or not really depends on the type of thing you’re looking for and what matters most to you when choosing your toners.

If you have oily, acne prone skin that is prone to sensitivity or can't use strong acids, then this is a good choice.

Similarly, if you are committed to a vegan lifestyle, then this is a solid option that isn't tested on animals and doesn't contain animal ingredients. 


Have you tried it? Let us know your Mary & May Vegan CICA AHA PHA Toner  Review in the comments!


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" Toners like this, which is at the optimal level, helps to balance your slightly alkaline skin after washing."

- Elle, Team Member at STYLE STORY

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