Kiehl’s is not only one of the oldest beauty brands but is also one of the most popular skincare brands in the world today. Kiehl’s skincare products are beloved for their effective formulas that are tried and true. Let’s take a look at 13 of the best Kiehl’s products.
Kiehl’s is a skincare brand that has a long and rich history. Kiehl’s started as an apothecary in New York City, way back in 1851. Pharmacist John Kiehl bought the apothecary in 1894.
The first Kiehl’s products were introduced in 1921, including Original Musk Oil, Kiehl’s signature scent. Kiehl’s trademark of sorts was the Try Before You Buy philosophy which allowed customers to sample Kiehl’s products before purchasing. This practice has continued to this day.
Before the government required it, Kiehl’s was one of the first companies to list product ingredients on their labels.
In the 1960s, some Kiehl’s classics were introduced, including Calendula Herbal-Extract Toner and Ultra Facial Cream, which were best-sellers then and continue to be today. See below, as they are both on this list of the best Kiehl’s products.
In 2000, L’Oreal purchased Kiehl’s to meet customer demand and increase their presence as a luxury skincare brand while staying true to their old-fashioned roots. Over the years, Kiehl’s has grown to over 70 store locations in the US and hundreds of stores worldwide.
Is Kiehl’s Cruelty-Free?
Kiehl’s is not cruelty-free. Kiehl’s animal testing policies fall under that of its parent company, L’Oreal. On Kiehl’s website, it states that L’Oreal does not test its products on animals.
Yet Kiehl’s products are sold in China, where animal testing is required by law, so they allow their products to be tested on animals, which means they are not cruelty-free.
The Best Kiehl’s Products
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser is formulated with squalane, avocado oil, apricot kernel oil, vitamin E, and glycerin. It easily removes dirt, oil, makeup, and debris without stripping the skin.
It contains a sugar-derived glycoside foaming agent that is gentle on the skin. Squalane, a signature Kiehl’s ingredient, is derived from olives and is a highly refined botanical lipid that supports the skin barrier and provides lightweight moisture.
Glycerin is a humectant that helps the skin retain moisture. Avocado oil and apricot kernel oil are rich in moisturizing fatty acids.
This pH-balanced formula is made for all skin types, even sensitive skin. It rinses clean, leaving the skin feeling soft and smooth, never dry or tight.
Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal-Extract Alcohol-Free Toner is infused with calendula petals in an alcohol-free formula. The calendula plant is known for its healing and soothing properties.
Allantoin from the comfrey plant soothes the skin, and great burdock root moisturizes, soothes, and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.
After a 4-week brand study on 62 participants, improvements were seen in redness, oiliness, and shine, the number of blemishes, and the appearance of pores.
The toner softens and soothes the skin without any harsh and drying ingredients. It can even help regulate oily skin.
The toner helps to reduce redness, oiliness and improves skin texture, making this toner ideal for those with normal, oily skin and even sensitive skin. It is also ideal for those with acne-prone skin.
One of Kiehl’s most popular products, Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream, keeps the skin hydrated, smooth, and soft without being greasy or oily. It provides lightweight 24-hour hydration in a fast-absorbing cream.
This moisturizing formula contains squalane and glycerin to help seal in moisture. Glacial Glycoprotein is sourced from Antarctic sea glaciers to hydrate and moisturize the skin. The cream also contains avocado, rice bran, and olive fruit oils to nourish the skin.
This Kiehl’s moisturizer is formulated for all skin types, tones, skin textures, and even sensitive skin. This fragrance-free formula is also suitable for men’s skin.
Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate Face Oil is formulated with multiple oils to moisturize and replenish the skin. It also contains squalane for a lightweight moisturizing effect.
Squalane is derived from squalene (With an e). Squalene is found naturally in the sebum of our skin. The derivative squalane has emollient properties and helps prevent transepidermal water loss with its very lightweight molecule. This makes squalane ideal for all skin types, even oily skin.
Evening primrose oil contains fatty acids like linoleic acid and gamma-linolenic acid that nourish and moisturize dry skin. The oil calms irritation and inflamed skin, making it ideal for sensitive skin.
Rosehip seed oil is also rich in omega fatty acids like linoleic acid, which can be helpful for those with acne-prone skin, as acne patients have been shown to have low levels of this fatty acid.
Jojoba oil is a non-greasy, skin-softening oil. Lavender essential oil soothes and calms the skin with its relaxing herbal scent.
This concentrated formula can be worn alone after cleansing and toning. Or, since it is so lightweight, you can apply it under moisturizer. It can even be used by those with oily or combination skin a few times a week, as it can rebalance the oils in the skin. Plus, it’s non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog pores.
Although it is formulated to replenish the skin overnight, you can also use this Kiehl’s face oil during the day.
Another customer favorite, Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado, is an eye cream that brightens and depuffs the under-eye area in just one use. It also improves skin texture and fine lines thanks to its hydrating water-in-oil formula that lasts all day.
This eye cream contains avocado oil derived from the avocado fruit. Avocado oil is rich in vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids that moisturize the skin and proteins that hydrate the skin without clogging pores. Avocados also contain powerful antioxidants like vitamin E and carotenoids like beta-carotene that protect the skin from free radical damage from UV exposure.
The eye cream also contains moisturizing shea butter, which helps to reduce the look of dry skin. Sodium PCA (pyrrolidone carboxylic acid) is a Natural Moisturizing Factor (NMF) and a humectant that attracts water to the skin.
The eye treatment is fragrance-free and formulated for all skin types, including sensitive skin.
Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Correcting Serum is formulated with a vitamin C derivative that targets uneven skin tone and hyperpigmentation. It brightens the skin and reduces the look of dark spots and post-acne marks.
The vitamin C derivative in this formula, which Kiehls calls Activated C, is 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid. It is a gentle and stable derivative of pure vitamin C (ascorbic acid) that penetrates the skin well and has the ability to brighten the skin and stimulate collagen production, like ascorbic acid.
The serum also contains salicylic acid, well known for its ability to improve acne and breakouts. Salicylic acid improves skin texture and reduces discoloration by improving skin turnover and the look of dull skin. It removes dead skin cells on the skin’s surface and in the pores to reduce sebum, which can clog pores and cause breakouts.
Peony extract is an antioxidant that protects the skin from oxidative damage and works with Activated C to improve skin clarity.
Kiehl’s has tested this dark spot corrector on all ethnicities. It is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin, and is especially helpful for those with a dull and uneven skin tone.
Related Post: The Best Face Washes for Hyperpigmentation
Kiehl’s Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate 12.5% Vitamin C Serum contains 10.5% pure vitamin C (l-ascorbic acid) and a 2% vitamin C derivative that Kiehl’s calls Vitamin Cg (ascorbyl glucoside) to help reduce wrinkles, age spots, and uneven skin tone.
Vitamin C is an anti-aging favorite, as it is an antioxidant that protects against future damage from free radicals over time with continued use. It also stimulates collagen production, which helps to improve skin firmness and reduce the look of wrinkles and fine lines. Vitamin C also interrupts melanin production, which helps reduce hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and uneven skin tone.
Unfortunately, vitamin C is unstable and has a short shelf life, and may cause irritation at higher concentrations. This serum contains an ideal concentration of pure vitamin C at 10.5% plus ascorbyl glucoside, a stable vitamin C derivative that won’t irritate the skin like pure vitamin C.
The serum also contains fragmented hyaluronic acid to draw moisture to the skin and plump the look of wrinkles and fine lines. Fragmented hyaluronic acid, also called hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid, is smaller than other forms of hyaluronic acid and can penetrate the skin better than other forms of hyaluronic acid.
Please note that there are citrus oils in this serum, which may irritate those with sensitive skin.
Related Post: The Best Korean Vitamin C Serums
Kiehl’s Powerful-Strength Dark Circle Reducing Vitamin C Eye Serum is formulated with 10% pure vitamin C to help reduce the look of blue and brown dark circles, puffiness, fine lines, and crow’s feet.
Ascorbic acid (pure vitamin C) brightens the skin, smooths fine lines and wrinkles, improves skin texture and other signs of aging while protecting against environmental stressors such as free radical damage.
A tri-peptide complex (Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1 and Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 known together as Matrixyl 3000) targets dark circles and puffiness and can help improve wrinkles and skin roughness.
This fragrance-free eye cream also contains adenosine, which has healing and anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to improve the look of crow’s feet wrinkles around the eyes.
Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Minimizing Cleansing Clay Mask is formulated with fair trade Amazonian white clay (kaolin clay) sourced from the mouth of the Amazon river in Brazil and bentonite clay to absorb excess oil, improve skin texture and help purify and cleanse the pores.
It removes dead skin cells, dirt, and debris, which can clog pores and make the skin look dull and tired. The mask draws out impurities from the skin and minimizes the look of pores, targeting blackheads and breakouts. This makes the mask ideal for normal to oily skin.
This rinse-off mask also contains sustainably sourced aloe vera, allantoin, and powdered oat extract to soothe the skin.
Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve is a savior for the driest of hands. A blend of shea butter, sesame seed oil, and avocado oil moisturize and repair very dry hands.
Shea butter provides an excellent source of fatty acids to help soften, hydrate, and protect the skin from damage. Avocado oil contains anti-irritant, emollient, and moisturizing properties. Sesame seed oil contains moisturizing linoleic acid and oleic acid, which soften the skin and help protect and repair the skin.
Kiehl’s hand salve is a heavy-duty and buttery formula, perfect for revitalizing those hard-working hands. It’s ideal for cracked, dry, and flaky hands during the cold winter months or any time of the year.
Kiehl’s Crème de Corps Body Lotion with Cocoa Butter is a non-greasy, fast-absorbing body moisturizer formulated with cocoa butter, shea butter, and squalane.
Squalane provides lightweight moisture, while shea butter soothes the skin and is rich in antioxidants. Cocoa butter and sesame seed oil are rich in fatty acids that moisturize the skin. Glycerin supports a healthy skin barrier. Olive fruit oil moisturizes the skin.
A customer favorite since the 1980s, this body lotion is formulated for all skin types, including sensitive skin. It leaves the skin silky soft, and smooth, never greasy. Although this body lotion does not contain fragrance, you may detect a natural scent from the cocoa butter in the formula.
Let’s not forget about men’s skincare products. Kiehl’s has an entire line of products formulated specifically for men. Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Daily Energizing Moisture Treatment for Men is an energizing, non-oily moisturizer for men that replenishes and nourishes the skin.
It is formulated with a stable vitamin C derivative (ascorbyl glucoside) for brightening and antioxidant protection. Chestnut extract from the sweet chestnut tree is also rich in antioxidants that protect from free radical damage. Caffeine awakens the skin and reduces dull skin texture.
Panthenol, also known as pro-vitamin B5, heals and soothes irritated skin. Vitamin E protects the skin from UV rays while glycerin moisturizes.
This moisturizer is the perfect aftershave solution to moisturize, protect and soothe the skin to minimize irritation. It’s formulated for all skin types, including sensitive skin. Menthol gives the moisturizer a fresh scent.
The last product on this list is one of Kiehl’s newest products. Kiehl’s Micro-Dose Anti-Aging Retinol Serum with Ceramides and Peptide is formulated to be a micro-dose serum so that you can use it every day without experiencing the typical irritation, redness, and peeling that comes along with retinol and other retinoids.
The serum also contains multi-tasker niacinamide, which offers brightening, barrier repair, and anti-aging benefits. Sodium hyaluronate and ceramide NP hydrate and lock in moisture. Acetyl dipeptide-1 cetyl ester, per the manufacturer, is supposed to help smooth wrinkles and expression lines.
This retinol serum is formulated to reduce wrinkles and fine lines while improving skin firmness and skin texture. This fragrance-free serum also improves the look of enlarged pores and helps to even out uneven skin tone.
It is made for all skin types and even those with sensitive skin and those who are new to retinol. The perfect beginner’s retinol!
Related Post: Can You Use Niacinamide with Retinol?
Final Thoughts on the Best Kiehls Products
Kiehl’s products are classics that work for both men and women. The best Kiehl’s products target various skin types, including dry, oily, acne-prone, aging, and sensitive skin.
I can’t get enough of Kiehl’s moisturizers for both the face and body as they’re extremely lightweight, non-greasy, easily absorbed, and rich in natural ingredients.
Thanks for reading, and until next time…