If you have ever walked into a Kiehl’s shop, a few things may have caught your eye in addition to the neat rows of clinical looking products. Every Kiehl’s boutique has a motorcycle as well as a resident skeleton, and the white-coat wearing staffers are more than happy to give you generous amounts of samples. Here’s a closer look at the origins of this popular brand, Kiehl’s skincare products, and is it right for you?
Is Kiehl’s Skincare Worth The Money?
A common question about this brand is if the products are worth the cost.
In our opinion, Kiehl’s products deliver value for money, but take a look at other brands that don’t require you to sacrifice your precious money.
We recommend brands that are committed to developing clean yet effective products.
One brand is Carrot & Stick, a clean skincare brand that perfectly balances the gentle nurturing of plants with the powerful results of innovative science.
Carrot & Stick intro bundles deliver great value for money because you can bundle 3 full-size products worth up to
$240 for $88.
What’s Inside Kiehl’s Skincare?
Kiehl’s products are formulated with plenty of botanical extracts, as well as skincare staples like vitamin C, peptides, and retinol. These ingredients should all be part of your skincare routine. Here’s why:
There’s no such thing as a miracle treatment when it comes to combating age, though vitamin C comes pretty close. It’s a powerful antioxidant that protects your skin from environmental free radical damage.
Vitamin C also helps fade dark spots, evens out skin tone, and increases radiance. As if that wasn’t enough, research suggests that when vitamin C is applied to the skin, it significantly reverses aging-related structural changes by influencing collagen and elastin synthesis.
It’s in Kiehl’s Powerful-Strength Vitamin C Serum. This water-free serum is formulated with 10.5% L-Ascorbic Acid and renewable 2% Ascorbyl Glucoside plus Hyaluronic Acid.
But our favorite Vitamin C serum is Carrot & Stick The Defense Serum. It contains 3 distinct types of Vitamin C that work together to help fight free radical damage. We recommend using it every morning.
As you age, your body’s production of collagen and elastin slows down. These two proteins are responsible for your skin’s structural support. As a result, the skin loses its natural plumpness and smoothness.
While collagen is necessary for maintaining youthful-looking skin, the collagen protein is too large to absorb into the skin topically. That’s why applying skin care products that contain collagen won’t provide the anti-aging benefits you’re looking for.
This is where peptides come into action. Peptides are the building blocks of protein, and they are easily absorbed into the deeper layers of skin due to their smaller size.
Kiehl’s Micro-Dose Anti-Aging Serum contains peptides, along with retinol and ceramides.
We recommend Carrot & Stick The Repair Serum. It contains 7 plant-based peptides to promote plumper and smoother-looking skin. It also has skin-loving ingredients like hyaluronic acid and niacinamide.
Retinol is the go-to anti-aging ingredient recommended by dermatologists and skin experts. It’s known to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improve uneven skin tone, restore skin firmness, and unclog pores. Retinol also targets hyperpigmentation while smoothing away the look of fine lines.
While retinol provides many benefits to the skin, it’s also known to cause side effects like skin dryness and irritation.
It’s in Kiehl’s Micro-Dose Anti-Aging Retinol Serum.
Use retinoids at night. We recommend this retinoid oil serum. It contains Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, an ingredient that provides the same benefits as retinol but without irritation.
Shea butter is used in several of Kiehl’s creams, such as Kiehl’s Avocado Eye Cream and Midnight Recovery Eye. The rich supply of triglycerides and fatty acids in shea butter helps to replenish the skin’s natural barrier function.
Shea butter functions as an emollient that works to soften and soothe the skin. Since shea butter melts at body temperature, it is able to coat the skin and form an occlusive film. This film helps to prevent evaporation of the skin’s natural moisture and increases skin hydration by causing a buildup of water in the stratum corneum (the uppermost layer of skin). Ultimately, this helps the delicate skin around the eyes to feel soft and smooth.
Another emollient used throughout the Kiehl’s collection is avocado oil. It’s found in the popular Kiehl’s Avocado Eye Cream.
Avocado oil is valued for its regenerative and moisturizing properties. It contains a high amount of monounsaturated fats, which help to replenish the skin’s barrier function. The result is smooth, moisturized, healthy skin. Avocado oil is also rich in vitamin E, a lipid-soluble antioxidant that protects the skin from free radical damage and strengthens the skin barrier.
The final key ingredient you’ll find throughout Kiehl’s skincare collection is caffeine. Caffeine helps to reduce puffiness and dark circles around the eyes. It’s also an antioxidant that protects skin from free radical damage.
What Is Kiehl’s?
Kiehl’s started as an apothecary in 1851, with a location on Third Avenue and 13th Street in New York – that location is still the company’s flagship store. Irving Morse, owner John Kiehl’s apprentice, is credited with expanding what the pharmacy sold to include teas, herbs and Kiehl’s branded products, such as Original Musk Oil. Over the years Kiehl’s became known for its “try before you buy” motto and for listing its ingredients on the products, which was considered unusual at the time. Irving’s son, Aaron Morse, took the company in a new direction by creating products such as Calendula Herbal-Extract Toner, Blue Astringent Lotion, Kiehl’s Lip Balm #1, and Ultra Facial Moisturizers, which are all still sold today. The company grew by word of mouth as it has never advertised, and Kiehl’s made headlines for sponsoring the 1988 Mount Everest Expedition, where the climbers took several Kiehl’s products along on their journey. In 2000, Kiehl’s was sold to L’Oreal, which also owns Lancôme, Maybelline and Urban Decay.
Today there are over 250 Kiehl’s stores worldwide. And yes, in addition to those text-heavy labels on the products, there is a motorcycle in every single Kiehl’s store thanks to Aaron Morse, who dispersed his personal collection of motorcycles among all the company’s stores. And the skeleton? That was Morse’s idea too, who decorated the New York flagship with books on biology as well as a skeleton to engage customer’s curiosity.
What Does Kiehl’s Sell?
Kiehl’s has an extensive collection of face and body products, including Kiehl’s moisturizers, masks, face wash, serums and eye creams. The company also has specific lines for babies and men, and sells fragrance. Here’s a closer look.
Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash is a gel face wash for men, formulated with caffeine, menthol, vitamin E and extracts of lemon and orange. Kiehl’s face wash range also includes the Ultra Facial Cleanser and the Calendula Deep Foaming Cleansing face wash.
The Super Multi-Corrective Cream can be used twice a day, and is designed to helps visibly reduce wrinkles and fine lines.
Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration Mask works to add a dose of moisture to the skin, thanks to calendula and aloe in a lightweight gel.
Blue Astringent Herbal Lotion is a toner designed for oily skin, and is formulated with camphor to give skin a cooling effect, along with menthol and the humectant sodium PCA.
Age Defender Eye Repair is an anti-aging eye cream for men that lifts, firms and reduces the appearance of dark circles thanks to rye seed extract and blurring minerals.
Super Multi-Corrective Eye-Opening Serum contains hyaluronic acid and botanical extracts to give the eye area a boost.
Ultimate Strength Hand Salve is a rich cream formulated with avocado oil, eucalyptus oil and sesame seed oil.
Deluxe Hand & Body Lotion with Aloe Vera & Oatmeal is a lightweight body lotion that is offered in three scents- grapefruit, lavender and coriander.
Body Fuel Deodorant & Antiperspirant is a men’s deodorant containing caffeine, vitamin C and zinc.
Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Herbal Concentrate is a calming face oil designed to be used by anyone with acne or inflamed skin.
Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Mask helps minimize pores and detoxify skin with Amazonian white clay.
What Are Some of the Most Popular Kiehl’s Products?
Some of the best selling Kiehl’s products include Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream, which is a rich but lightweight moisturizer that leaves skin hydrated without looking greasy.
Crème de Corps is a thick body lotion with the consistency of buttercream frosting, and contains shea butter and beta-carotene.
Midnight Recovery Concentrate is an evening facial oil containing lavender essential oil, evening primrose oil and squalane.
Is Kiehl’s Cruelty Free?
Kiehl’s is owned by L’Oréal, and according to the company, L’Oréal “does not test any of its products or any of its ingredients on animals and has been at the forefront of alternative methods for over 30 years.”
Where Can I Buy Kiehl’s Products?
Kiehl’s products are sold at its stand alone stores, as well as department stores including Neiman Marcus, Lord & Taylor, Barneys, Macy’s and Nordstrom. It is also sold at Sephora and online at Walmart.
How Much Do Kiehl’s Products Cost?
Kiehl’s products are priced at a mid-range level that are more expensive than drugstore products but would not be the priciest at a department store. The Ultra Facial Cream sells for $30, and Calendula Herbal Extract Alcohol-Free Toner is priced at $21. The Amino Acid Shampoo is $20, and Nurturing Baby Cream is $19. Lip Balm #1 retails for $9.50. One of the most expensive products is the Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum Concentrate, at $78.
Do Kiehl’s Products Work?
When trying to decide if a product works, it’s important to keep in mind that everyone’s skin may react differently to the same product. One cream that leaves a person with glowing, refreshed looking skin may cause breakouts in another person, or do nothing at all, so a little trial and error is always needed when finding the right products for yourself.
That said, Kiehl’s has been around for a long time with plenty of devoted customers and has also won many industry awards. The Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration Mask scooped up an Elle International Beauty Award in 2018, and the Ultra Facial Cleanser won an Allure Best of Beauty Award in 2011; the magazine gave the same award to the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Eye in 2013. Oprah and plenty of supermodels have declared their love for Crème de Corps, and the company says it has been best-seller for four decades, with an average of 1.5 containers of the cream selling every minute.
Dig into the reviews on Sephora, and they are largely positive, with most products garnering 4-5 stars and 20,000 “loves.” The Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado gets 4.3 stars, with reviewers praising its hydrating properties – “I have major dark circles. I’ve been using this eye cream for years. Whenever I try something new to experiment my under eyes beg for it back. Its luxurious and creamy on application and it mixes really well with concealer, keeping your eyes hydrated ALL DAY.” Those who didn’t like it said it was too thick or simply didn’t work for them– “very thick and hard blend on skin.”
The Ultra Facial Moisturizer gets 3.8 stars and over 3,000 loves. “I have been using this product for years and I always go back to it. Possibly one of the only sunscreens that doesn’t break me out, so that’s always a plus considering I have pretty sensitive skin. It is a bit greasy but most sunscreens are so I don’t really mind,” while detractors found it too rich for their skin type. “I thought that this would be a lightweight moisturizer with SPF for oily skin but this is straight up too oily. It also smells and feels like sunscreen! I was looking for something that is a good daily use, but I HATE applying sunscreen.”
What Are Some Alternatives to Kiehl’s?
If you’re looking for skincare products to address the signs of aging, we recommend Carrot & Stick. Carrot & Stick maximizes the use of powerful ingredients and minimizes the use of superficial ones, resulting in advanced skincare solutions that help promote healthy, more youthful-looking skin. We recommend The Defence Serum, followed by The Moisturizer.