The Best and Worst Kiehl’s Skincare Products

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Let’s face it, with shelves overflowing with tempting elixirs, navigating the skincare world can be overwhelming. Kiehl’s, a brand steeped in history, is no exception. But as a curious skincare enthusiast, I decided to dig deeper. Do Kiehl’s products deliver on their scientific claims, or are we simply charmed by the apothecary aesthetic? As a skincare enthusiast who’s constantly on the hunt for effective products, I decided to find out for myself.

I put a wide range of Kiehl’s products to the test, from cleansers to moisturizers and everything in between. Forget scientific jargon – I focused on what truly matters: how these products made my skin feel.

By sharing my honest experience, I hope to give you a clear picture of how these products might work on your skin.

About Kiehl’s

Founded over 165 years ago in New York’s East Village, Kiehl’s combines old-world apothecary traditions with modern innovation. With a rich heritage in cosmetic, pharmaceutical, herbal, and medicinal expertise, Kiehl’s is dedicated to creating a Future Made Better.

Key pillars of Kiehl’s philosophy include:

  • Responsible Formulation: Products are crafted with meticulous attention to ingredient quality, safety, and efficacy.
  • Sustainable Sourcing: Kiehl’s collaborates with farmers to promote ethical sourcing practices and support sustainable livelihoods.
  • Responsible Packaging & Manufacturing: Products are designed and produced with a focus on minimizing energy consumption and material usage.
  • Commitment to Recycling: Kiehl’s prioritizes the reuse and recycling of packaging materials, maximizing their utility whenever possible.
  • Eco-Conscious Retail Design: Sustainable materials and renewable energy solutions are incorporated into store design, aligning with Kiehl’s commitment to environmental stewardship.
  • Kiehl’s Gives: Through philanthropic efforts, Kiehl’s supports community initiatives focused on HIV/AIDS research, environmental conservation, and children’s welfare.

With integrity, quality, and social responsibility at its core, Kiehl’s continues to honor its heritage while embracing innovation and progress for a brighter future.

About My Skin

I have combination skin, which means my T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin) can get oily throughout the day, while the rest of my face tends to be dry or dehydrated. This juggling act requires products that hydrate without clogging pores. Additionally, my skin is sensitive and prone to redness, so gentle formulas are key. Understanding my skin’s quirks helps me navigate the skincare world, and hopefully, it will help you understand how these Kiehl’s products might perform on similar skin types.

Kiehl’s Skincare Reviews

Disclaimer: This review is based on my personal experience with these products. Keep in mind that everyone’s skin is unique, so your results may vary.

Calendula Deep Clean Foaming Face Wash

Kiehl's Skincare Review Calendula Face Wash

This face cleanser breaks down dirt, oil, and impurities without compromising the moisture barrier, helping skin look hydrated and feel soothed, not dry or tight.

Of all the Kiehl’s face washes I tried, this is the one I like the most. It comes to a nice foam when washing but doesn’t leave the skin feeling stripped.

This cleanser is great for combination, oily skin, or acne-prone skin. If you have super dry skin, you might find this a bit too drying.

Verdict: Buy It!

Cucumber Herbal Conditioning Cleanser

Cucumber Face Wash Kiehl's Skincare Review

The Kiehl’s Cucumber Herbal Conditioning Cleanser is a gentle, gel-lotion cleanser that lives up to its name. It creates a light lather and has a mild herbal scent.

Unfortunately, for me, this cleanser wasn’t that impressive. While it might be suitable for those with very sensitive skin or for a super mild morning cleanse, it lacks the cleansing power for oily skin or makeup wearers. It also isn’t effective for deep cleansing.

If you have oily skin or wear makeup regularly, you might want to consider a more robust cleanser.

Verdict: Pass on it. Buy this gentle cleanser instead.

Calendula Herbal Extract Alcohol-Free Toner

Kiehl's Calendula Herbal Extract Toner

This hydrating, alcohol-free toner is formulated with calendula, allantoin, and great burdock. These ingredients work together to soothe and moisturize the skin. 

When my skin is red and angered, I reach for this toner. I love that it is gentle, doesn’t sting, and reduces redness. The one downside is this toner is pretty expensive. That being said, I am willing to pay the price to have this product on hand when I need it.

Kiehl’s says this product is formulated for combination skin, but those with normal, oily, or sensitive skin could benefit from using this toner.

Verdict: Buy it!

Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate

Kiehl's Line Reducing Concentrate

Kiehl’s Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate is a Vitamin C serum that caught my eye for its focus on tackling visible signs of aging. Formulated with 10% L-Ascorbic Acid, it targets concerns like fine lines, wrinkles, enlarged pores, and uneven skin texture.

As someone with sensitive skin, I’m often wary of Vitamin C serums due to potential irritation. However, the 10% L-Ascorbic Acid concentration in this Kiehl’s formula seems to strike a good balance between potency and gentleness. In my experience, it’s been effective without causing any irritation. Another bonus is the convenient pump dispenser, a welcome feature compared to the messy droppers found in many other Vitamin C serums.

Verdict: Buy it.

Clearly Corrective™ Dark Spot Solution

Kiehl's Skincare Review

Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution packs a punch with Vitamin C, salicylic acid, and white birch extract to target dark spots and even skin tone.

This one was a winner for me back when my skin was oily and constantly breaking out. The mix of ingredients controlled the oil and helped fade my acne scars. However, my skin’s a lot drier these days, and this formula is a bit too much for it now.

If you’re oily and breakout-prone, this might be a good fit. Otherwise, for drier skin types or those without acne woes, the Line-Reducing Concentrate might be a better option.

Verdict: Buy it if you have oily, acne-prone skin.

Midnight Recovery Concentrate

Kiehl's Skincare Review Midnight Recovery Concentrate

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate, a facial oil containing squalane, lavender essential oil, and evening primrose oil, promises to soften and hydrate skin overnight.

As someone with combination skin, I was drawn to the squalane, hoping it would be gentle enough. Unfortunately, this oil made my face red and made me break out.

While it might be a good fit for drier skin types, those with acne-prone or oily complexions might want to skip it.

Verdict: Pass on it. Buy this facial oil instead.

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream

Ultra Facial Cream Kiehl's Skincare Review

The Ultra Facial Cream is a lightweight face cream that supports the skin barrier and delivers hydration. Formulated with olive-derived squalane, glycerin, and glacial glycoprotein, this cream leaves skin softer and smoother.

When buying products to test, I almost didn’t pick this one. I thought it would be too heavy for my combination skin, but I was wrong. I found this moisturizer to be both hydrating and lightweight. Now I use this as my go-to moisturizer.

If you have normal or combination skin, you will enjoy this moisturizer. If you have oily skin you might want to use it in the winter when your skin can use a bit more moisture.

Verdict: Buy it!

Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado

Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado

Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado is a rich eye cream formulated to address dryness, puffiness, and dark circles. It promises to hydrate the delicate under-eye area while leaving it brighter and de-puffed.

Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado is a lifesaver for my dry under-eyes! This eye cream is a true hydrator, leaving the delicate under-eye area feeling plump and refreshed. Unlike other eye creams I’ve tried, it doesn’t clog my pores and cause milia, which is a huge win.

This eye cream is thick! But don’t let that scare you away. Take a small amount and rub it on your fingers before applying. This will warm the product making it easier to apply. Since a little goes a long way, buy the small jar.

I absolutely recommend this eye cream to anyone struggling with dryness in the under-eye area.

Verdict: Buy it!

Avocado Nourishing Hydration Mask

Avocado Nourishing Hydration Mask Kiehl's Skincare Review

Kiehl’s Avocado Nourishing Hydration Mask is formulated with a blend of avocado fruit extract, avocado oil, and evening primrose oil, all aiming to soften skin.

While the ingredients list is promising for providing hydration, this mask didn’t live up to my expectations. The texture was not very creamy, making application a bit tricky. Additionally, after removing the mask, my skin felt greasy rather than soft and hydrated.

Those with drier skin types who enjoy oil-based products might have a more positive experience with this mask.

Verdict: Pass on it. Buy this Fresh mask instead.

Final Thoughts on Kiehl’s Skincare

Kiehl’s impressed me with their range of effective skincare solutions. While I didn’t find every product to be a perfect fit, there were several that became favorites. The avocado eye cream is a lifesaver for my dry under-eyes, the Calendula Toner helps to reduce redness, and the Ultra Facial Cream provides lightweight daily hydration. For those looking to target fine lines, the Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate is another standout. Overall, Kiehl’s offers a variety of options to address different skin concerns, making them a brand worth exploring.

Shop Kiehl’s at

Shop Kiehl’s at Sephora

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  1. 10.9.21
    Julie said:

    Did you check out the ingredient list on that squalane oil you recommend? WOW, hard pass! 🙁

    • 10.9.21
      Julie said:

      Nvrmd, I see that is the list of ingredients they don’t use. lol