8 Mar 2017

Since 1851: A Brand Overview and Reviews of 24 Kiehl's Products


Kiehl's has the reputation of being one of the longest-establishing cosmetic brands to-date. A lot of Taiwan personality and Western celebrities swear by their products, which include beauty guru Nu Er and actress Barbie Hsu. I have always wanted to try one of Kiehl's products but is always hesitated due to its higher price tag. I guess Malaysian consumers have relatively weaker purchasing power if compared to other countries so imported goods especially those from developed countries like US or UK can be quite pricey.

My first Kiehl's encounter actually comes quite unexpected. I just happened to pass by Midvalley outlet one day and thought of stepping inside to experience some of Kiehl's products. I met a really nice consultant Kiki who gave me very useful skincare tips and also loads of Kiehl's samples. I think this good service is uniquely Midvalley. I also went to other outlets but some staffs at other Kiehl's outlet was kinda rude to me so I will always go back to Midvalley whenever I need any skincare advise or samples.


If you follow my Instagram, you'll notice that I share a lot of my Kiehl's encounters. I talked about how I sent some of Kiehl's samples to my aunt via mailing service. I also brought my mom and my bf into the brand. My mom was a loyal user of Belif products, but she did purchase some Kiehl's products out of curiosity. My bf is more committed, having purchased a full set of skincare from the brand after trying out the samples and finding them really effective. As for me, my target has always been the Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution, which I have reviewed about previously. Of course I also tried out other Kiehl's products since I am a skincare junkee, which I will review soon. Read on to find out more about 24 Kiehl's products we have tried!

If you are new to Kiehl's, it is basically a pharmacy-turned-cosmetic brand. They started off selling fragrance, inventing skincare for men, and slowly evolved to producing pharmaceutical skincare the "Dermatologist Solutions". You can find out more about the history of Kiehl's here. The brand pledges to use only naturally-derived ingredients to maintain skin health. It only provides a money back guarantee 30 days from purchasing if you are not satisfied with their products. In addition, they also do their corporate social responsibility by engaging in a lot of charity works and recycling campaigns. It seems that they are more into building their own heritage than just commercialization. Let's find out more about Kiehl's products with long heritage below!


Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cleanser 150ml/RM 94



This is a gel-type foam cleanser that will turn into soft bubbles when lathered with water. You use this before your toner and after an oil cleanser.

Inspired by its best-selling cream the Ultra Facial Cream, this product is really gentle and non-stripping, designed specifically for drier skin. Kiehl's claims that it can remove makeup but I honestly do not see any makeup removing property for this cleanser. It can remove sunscreen but definitely not foundation or pigmented makeup.

I did not buy the full size product, only received a 30ml miniature from my massive Kiehl's haul. And I don't think I will purchase the full product when I finish this. This is definitely a gentle moisturizing foam cleanser that doesn't contain any fragrance and is quite mild on the skin but it is too gentle that I don't find it doing a good job cleansing my skin. I am a fan of squeaky clean cleansing experience but I still prefer something that can cleanse my face a little deeper.

Ideal for sensitive and normal-to-dry skin types. Don't think this can remove makeup.

Kiehl’s Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash 230ml/RM 120




This is a gel-type foam cleanser that is designed specifically for sensitive and oily skin. Similar to the Ultra Facial Cleanser, you use this after a makeup remover and before a toner. This alone is insufficient to dissolve makeup especially heavier and waterproof ones.

I bought this for my bf who has dehydrated, oily, and acne-prone skin and he lovesss it. He told me that this is the best cleanser he has ever used as it deep-cleanses without being too stripping. Other cleansers he uses are either too drying or not deep-cleansing enough. This is like having the best of both worlds in a bottle. Besides, given that he is only 50% done with this cleanser a year from buying it, he finds this really affordable and "worth-it" compared to other more stripping, less hydrating cleansers he has tried. A definite repurchase for him!

Ideal for sensitive, dehydrated, troubled and oilier skin types. Drier skin might not like it.

Kiehl's Clearly Corrective™ Skin Brightening Exfoliator 125ml/RM 133


This is a foam cleanser with the exfoliating property of scrub. You are not supposed to use this everyday, only once at night. It is more suitable for those with oily, dull and rough skin texture. Drier skin might find this a little bit too harsh.

Kiehl's calls this a "high-performance exfoliating cleanser" that can cleanse and exfoliate pores at the same time. As you can see, it comes in a creamy paste with little particles floating inside to slough off dead skin cells and unevenness on the skin. Your skin will be left softer, smoother and visibly brighter.

The official instruction requires that you use this at night every day after the Purifying Foaming Cleanser but I personally find that this alone is sufficient to serve as a foaming cleanser without the need to "triple cleanse" (I always use a cleansing oil or oil-based cleanser before a foam cleanser).

I have finished the miniature I received as a birthday gift from Kiehl's. I find this is to be more of a scrub than a cleanser. It has very refine exfoliating particles that will slough off your dead skin cells effectively and evenly. The skin definitely looks much clearer and brighter after using without feeling irritated from the scrubbing process. I think this is probably something that I will repurchase in the future as I really like its lavender scent and its gentleness as a physical scrub compared to many other products I have tried.

Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal Extract Alcohol-Free Toner 250ml/RM 160



This is a pores-cleansing, soothing and sebum-regulating toner instilled with calendula flower petals. It is more suitable for sensitive, oily and acne-prone skin. Normal and dry skin might not need this and will find this "meh". Also the best-selling product of Kiehl's.

Again, this is for my bf. He uses this to tame his blemish and to hydrate his skin but doesn't use it consistent enough to see any difference. He normally asks my help to use this as a lotion mask on his skin, especially after using a clay mask to soothe his skin. I would just soak the toner in my Muji peelable cotton pads and put it all over his face like how you apply facial mask and let it sit for 5-10 minutes before removing it. I do notice that his skin becomes plumper, pores smaller and redness disappeared after using. A friend of mine who has extremely sensitive skin also swears by this toner to keep her skin healthy and calmed. Another friend who uses this under my recommendation told me that this has made bumps on her skin going down and breakouts less likely to occur. So I think this definitely works to soothe the skin and it is especially effective for sensitive, oily and acne-prone skin.

Ideal for sensitive, acne-prone, and oily skin. Dry skin should opt for their cucumber toner.

Kiehl’s Turmeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Masque 75ml/RM 138




This is an exfoliating and revitalizing wash-off mask made of turmeric extract and cranberry seeds. You apply it on your skin and let dry for 15-20 minutes. Before rinsing it off, you need to emulsify it with water and gently massage your skin with the cranberry seeds inside. Do not use it more than three times a week to avoid overexfoliating your skin.

The mask has a creamy and thick consistency that looks like home-made turmeric paste. I normally just use this once a week or 2-3 times a month as it is quite drying and harsh if use frequently. My skin is visibly brighter and clearer after using everytime, like all other exfoliating mask so I won't say that there is anything too special about this turmeric mask. I don't think you need to get this if you already have exfoliating mask. But if you are looking for a mask with natural ingredients and can brighten up your complexion, then you can definitely give this a try. See my full review and ingredients analysis here for more info.

Ideal for normal and dull skin, sensitive skin should patch test before using.

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Eye 15ml/RM 166


This is a repairing and anti-aging eye cream designed to compliment the Midnight Recovery Concentrate. It is infused with essential oils and botanical extracts to improve the skin texture around the eyes.

I have not bought this, only tried a sample it. The eye cream has a creamy consistency that is quite nourishing. It claims to reduce puffiness and dark circles as well as fine lines under the eyes, but since I only use a sample of it, I have not noticed much of a difference after using. And I don't really fancy its creamy texture that is slightly on the oily side. Don't think I will purchase the full size product.

Kiehl’s Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Eye-Brightening Concentrate 15ml/RM 177



This is a eye serum formulated with 10.5% of pure vitamin C extract to target fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes area. It also has a patented ingredient haloxyl to strengthen, soothe and brighten the eyes area to help eliminating dark circles.

I got this as a GwP from my other Kiehl's purchases. As you can see, the product has started to deteriorate where the oil component is separated from the water component even before the expiry date. I am not sure does that mean that this product will become less effective but I did not notice much of a difference for my under eyes area after using. And one thing that I really dislike about this eye serum is its scent. It has a strong, sickening vitamin C scent that will linger for hours. The eye serum also feels kinda hot and tingling on my eyes area.

Not sure does it worth the price but not something that I enjoy using.

Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado 14g/RM 135



This is an eye cream made of avocado oil and shea butter to moisturize and nourish the eye area.

The eye cream has a unique consistency. You'll need to warm it between your fingers before dabbing it on your eyes. If you directly apply the cream on your eye, it will turn into some thick paste that is hard to blend out. Once it is blended out, the cream will turn into a rich protective wrap on your skin.

This is the holy grail eye cream for many people, even Michelle Phan is using this. However, its cold cream type texture is really not my favourite so don't think I will purchase the full size product. Ideal for normal to dry eye area.

Kiehl’s Powerful Wrinkle Reducing Eye Cream 14g/RM 166



This is an anti-wrinkles eye cream with copper PCA and calcium PCA to repair signs of aging and to improve the elasticity around your eyes. The eye cream is made of a combination of micronutrients, squalane, beeswax, caffein and hyaluronic acid to nourish and revitalize your eye area.

As you can see, the cream comes in a soft gel consistency that feels smooth and moisturizing on the eye area. I bought this for my mom who has saggy eye lids and deep crow feet. She doesn't quite enjoy it and finds it ineffective compared to the Belif Peat Miracle Revital Eye Cream. As such, she doesn't repurchase after she finished it.

Ideal for all skin types, even oily skin with wrinkles and elasticity concerns.

Kiehl’s Super Multi-Corrective Eye Opening Serum 15ml/RM 188



This is an eye serum that you use before an eye cream in your skincare routine. You can also follow it up with a gentle moisturizing cream if you prefer.

The eye serum is formulated with botanically-derived rhamnose and hyaluronic acid to firm, restore and hydrate youthfulness of the eyes area. It contains shiny mica particles (they call this "skin illuminating minerals") to give an illusion of brighter-looking eyes, just like Belif Anti-Dark Circle Eye Serum and Origins Ginzing Refreshing Eye Cream.

I have used up 2 bottles of this eye serum (3ml x 2 = 6ml) and is regretted to say that I did not notice any lifting or brightening effects. Of course, my dark circles problem is very much lifestyle related so I cannot have too much faith on an eye serum to reduce those but I still expect to see some results. Well, to be fair, it does a good job hydrating and softening my under eyes area. It is also very lightweight and will not cause any milia but given the results, I don't think this eye serum will worth its price (RM 188) hence I don't think I will purchase the full size product in the future.

Kiehl’s Iris Extract Activating Treatment Essence 200ml/RM 188



This is a treatment essence made of iris flower extract to brighten, moisturize and revitalize the skin. It is actually an anti-aging essence as it claims to rejuvenate the skin and enhance cellular turnout to make your skin appears younger and softer.

As you can see, the essence has a watery but slightly viscous consistency. It has a pleasant but subtle floral scent to it. To be honest, I have seen good results from using this essence. My skin is softer, plumper and also more radiant after using this for several weeks. This brings visible improvements to my skin.

Ideal for all skin types especially normal to dry skin who wants some anti-aging, brightening and moisturizing three-in-one remedy for the skin.

Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective™ Dark Spot Solution 30ml/RM 230



This is one of Kiehl's top selling products, a lightweight brightening serum that can diminish dark spots and even out the skin complexion. The lavender extract inside is claimed to have aromatherapy effects on tired and stressed skin.

I have been using this for a couple of months and noticed some improvements in my freckles. Not a significant or major ones but there is definitely some improvements. Of course, that is mostly attributed to my poor sleeping habits hence slower cellular turnover of my skin. However, the result is definitely there. Another thing that I love about this serum is its scent. It really has an enticing lavender scent that feels heavenly on the skin. I am not sure the clinical benefits or practicability of having fragrance in skincare but if that is meant for my nose and my brain, it has definitely succeeded in luring me into better sleep and rest.

Ideal for all skin types, especially those who have hyperpigmentation. You can check this out for my full review and ingredients analysis!

Kiehl’s Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate 50ml/RM 265



Actually I don't like the Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing line of Kiehl's. Most samples I have tried on this line have really strong vitamin C scent that feels irritating and hot on the skin. I know this means that the ascorbic acid content inside the products are really potent but I just happen to dislike its texture.

This Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate claims that it is made of 10.5% pure vitamin  C to improve skin texture, tone and radiance while reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles. I believe it can achieve all these benefits if used consistently everyday. However, I really cannot convince myself to apply this unpleasant-smelling serum on my skin. Besides, the samples that I use tend to deteriorate pretty fast (where the water is separated from the oil) so I am not confident that the product can last more than a month in my room temperature.

You can try this if you are looking for a serum that will reduce wrinkles, impart radiance and improve your skin texture. It's kinda thick so I don't think this will be suitable for those with oily skin.

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate 30ml/RM 243



This is a facial oil that you use at night to aid sleeping and for skin regeneration and repairing purposes. It has a blend of multiple fragranced botanical extracts which smells really relaxing and soothing.

To be fair, I am not a fan of facial oil. I find them unpleasant and heavy on my skin so I always prefer water-based products. So when I came across this facial oil, the only thing I did is to use it for aromatherapy purpose, where I smell it before going to bed at night. I understand that this will be a great moisturizer for certain people with dry skin. Its smell is a bonus too! But for me and my mom, this is still too heavy for our liking so we only use it as a sleep aid.

Ideal for those with aging and dry skin. 

Kiehl’s Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum Concentrate 50ml/RM 220



Formulated with a unique liquid-to-serum technology, this moisturizing serum can deeply hydrate the skin and correct signs of age-related dehydration.

As you can see, the product has a gel consistency that turns into water once you spread it out. The unique blend of moisture and oil here enables the moisture to reach far down into the skin whereas the oil forms a protective layer to prevent the moisture from escaping the skin. It will make the skin plumper and fine lines appeared smoother. Kiehl's gave a miniature of this product to my mom when she purchased other Kiehl's product. My mom with dehydrated combination skin actually quite enjoys it but she doesn't like it enough to purchase the full size product. She thinks that this is a decent moisturizing serum but not as hydrating as she expects hence she will still stick to Belif Hungarian Essence Moisture Binder.

Ideal for aging, dehydrated and rougher skin.

Kiehl’s Precision Lifting & Pore-Tightening Concentrate 50ml/RM 276



This is an anti-aging, lifting and pores-tightening serum that is made of yeast extract, soybean protein, rosemary leaf oil and a bunch of other moisturizers.

One thing that I really like about this serum is its scent. It smells like Belif products which is quite refreshing, minty and herbal. It also has a light gel texture that feels soft and smooth on the skin. I am not sure will this be effective or not since I have only used its samples but this definitely feels good on the skin and I will consider purchasing a full size product in the future to see if it has any pores tightening effect.

Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate 30ml/RM 243



This is a facial oil that is meant to be used in the morning to revitalize and strengthen the skin's defense against uv damage and daily aggressors. It is sort of like a treatment-type moisturizer in the form of facial oil.

Again, both my mom and I are not fans of facial oil so we cannot bring ourselves to appreciate this product. It does smell great with sunflower oil, ginger root extract and tamunu, but it is still too heavy for our skin types, especially for my mom who has combination skin. My mom tried to mix this in her foundation as taught by Kiehl's Consultant but she found out that doing so breaks her skin out. I am not sure why, maybe she didn't remove it thoroughly enough when mixing it with a facial oil, or that the oil is too heavy for her combination skin.

I think someone with drier skin who wants a strong antioxidant will benefit the most from this facial oil. It is undoubtedly a well-made product with loads of quality botanical oils and antioxidants. It will protect one from uv damage and pollutants. It is also very convenient as a treatment-and-moisturizer-in-one that you can simply mix in your foundation to kick start your busy morning. It just so happens that it is not meant for us and our skin types.

Ideal for drier skin or those who enjoy using facial oil in their skincare routine. This is the product that keep you awake in the morning!

Kiehl’s Centella Recovery Skin Salve 75ml/RM 204



This is a treatment-type lotion that is designed specifically for dehydrated and sensitive skin. I got this for my aunt who suffers from serious eczema and she is absolutely adoring this!

Actually I am not using this myself because I don't really have sensitive skin. It just so happens that I accidentally found a few samples of this product in my skincare stash. Coincidentally, I also scratched my cheek so whatever product I am putting my face will irritate that part of my skin... but not this. It really surprises me because my skin seriously doesn't feel anything when I put this on the affected area. It just soothes, protects and moisturizes the area really well without causing any irritation or pain. The next day, I notice that the wound is already healing and there is no scars left whatsoever a few days later. It is amazing!

This will be an amazing spot treatment or moisturizer for irritated, dehydrated, and wounded skin. For all skin types.

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel-Cream 50ml/RM 120



This is a skin soothing and moisturizing gel cream that is meant for normal to oily skin. It has been one of Kiehl's top sellers since its launch.

I adore this cream. I even like it better than my Primera Oil-Free Alpine Berry Watery Cream. It is super hydrating, soothing, refreshing and moisturizing. My skin is plump, soft and cooled everytime after using. Something in it also balances my skin really well preventing it from producing oil. I can't say how much I love this product, I am just gonna grab the 120ml jumbo size one when it becomes available!

Ideal for normal to oily skin, may not be moisturizing enough for dry skin. Great for the Malaysian weather.

Kiehl's Men's Oil Eliminator 24 Hour Anti-Shine Moisturizer 75ml/RM 105


This is a moisturizer for men with oily skin. It has a gel cream consistency with oil-absorbing property and will leave a matte finish. This is my bf's holy grail and is the only product that he uses consistently thoroughly the year of 2016.

I think the major contribution of this moisturizer is its ability to absorb oil, regulate sebum production and protect the skin from aggressors. However, it doesn't repair, hydrate or rejuvenate. Despite claiming that this has comforted his skin in a great way, my bf doesn't report any improvements in his skin texture or overall health. His skin is still producing oil whenever he is not using this, and his pores remain large. His hormonal acne never goes down. However, as an oil-controlling moisturizer, this has definitely done a great job protecting and controlling the sebum on men's skin.

Ideal for men with oily skin.

Kiehl’s Super Multi-Corrective Cream 50ml/RM 254



This is an anti-aging, firming and wrinkles repairing cream for those with aging and dry skin concerns. The cream has a creamy texture that feels nourishing on the skin.

Honestly speaking, this will work well as a moisturizing and skin repairing cream. My skin immediately becomes smoother, softer and more resilient after using this cream. I am not sure about its long-term benefits since I only used two miniatures (7ml x 2) of it but I believe that consistent use will yield long-term benefits. However, one thing that I really dislike about this cream is its scent. It has a weird, died-insect kinda funky scent that makes me want to hold my breath every time I am using this. I like the cream, but I will definitely not buying the full size product because of the scent.

Ideal for dry, saggy and mature skin.

Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque 142g/RM 122



This is a clay mask with a creamy, thick but highly blendable texture. It is made of white clay from the Brazilian Amazon river to purify and detoxify the pores.

The most popular clay mask I have ever come across is Innisfree Volcanic Pore Clay Mask. At least 70% of my friends who use skincare are heard about this in some way. But I personally find that the clay mask from Kiehl's has done a much better job purifying the skin compared to Innisfree. It is also more moisturizing and will not dry out as fast as Innisfree after opening.

I bought this for my bf, but is also using it once in a while. Despite its effectiveness, this clay mask feels really hot on the skin when I put it on which I don't like so I am not using it that often. But my bf is a fan of this mask. It works well on his acne-prone, dehydrated and oily skin. His pores are smaller, acne lesser, and his skin stays "cleaner" for longer than the last use. He has since repurchased a second bottle.

Ideal for all skin types, especially those with clogged pores and oily skin. Check this out for full review and ingredients analysis!

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Masque 125ml/RM 144



This is a sleeping mask made of ophiopogon japonicus extract (also known as fountain plant) to moisturize and soothe the skin. Ideal for dehydrated and dry skin. Oilier, acne-prone and sensitive skin are advised to either wash or tissue it off after leaving on for about 10-20 minutes.

As you can see, the sleeping mask has a clear gel consistency that looks pretty refreshing and hydrating. However, if you blend it out, it will form a layer of moisture wrap on your skin that is a bit tacky and even sticky if you don't like that feeling. And the feeling won't go away even after 30 minutes or so. Although I wouldn't say that it sticks to my pillow but I personally dislike any sleeping mask that will leave a tacky/sticky residue. Due to that, I don't find this as hydrating as it claims, more like nourishing in a sticky way.

My bf was using this as a weekly treatment for his dehydrated, oily and acne-prone skin. He leaves it on for about 10 minutes and then rinse it off with water. To be honest, it actually helps to clear out some hidden dirt and grime inside his skin. It is true that the skin will do its own cleaning after it holds enough moisture. And that this overnight hydrating masque is also perfect as a 10 minutes SPA therapy for his oily skin. The moisture wrap serves as a perfect stemming layer to force feed his skin with moisture, kinda like applying sheet mask on his face.

Ideal for drier skin type. Can also be used as a wash-off mask for those with oilier skin.

Kiehl’s Ultra Light Daily UV Defense SPF 50 PA++++ 30ml/RM 160



This is a sunscreen with a wide sun protection spectrum of SPF50+ and PA++++ but is surprisingly lightweight on the skin.

One of the best sunscreens I have ever used, this sunscreen has an upgraded and improved formula with extended protection against long UVA rays. I think out of all sunscreen I have tried, except for those with gel texture, this is the only cream-type sunscreen that feels completely weightless on the skin.

I love it a lot, but I am still debating whether or not I want to purchase the full size due to its high price. Ideal for all skin types even sensitive skin.
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