I am always impressed by how Kiehl’s manages to reinvent itself and stay relevant to the times. This venerable 160 year-old company reminds me of both old-school apothecary and modern utilitarian cool at the same time. More importantly, it transports me to my college days, a starry-eyed teenager on her first foray outside in the big bad world of East Coast, USA (or rather *ahem* college town in Mid-Western USA!). With limited budget and changing skincare needs, I looked to Kiehl’s for solid, well-formulated basics at accessible prices. Fast forward to today, with a young baby to care for, living a hectic lifestyle in the hot tropics, I’m happy to find that Kiehl’s still has a great offering for me and my family with its Ultra Facial Oil-Free skincare range!
This is a simple 3-step basic skincare line that has been recently reformulated to specifically target those with oily skin and who live in hot, humid climates like me. It promises long-lasting, all-day hydration and complete protection from shine. It all sounds absolutely wonderful to me, and I put it to the test for a good period of time.
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Cleanser squeezes out of the tube like a dense mousse, and lathers up upon contact with water into a rich foam. I love a good foaming cleanser, and this is no exception. Formulated with Cylindrica Root and Lemon Fruit Extracts, this cleanser quickly goes to work removing all surface impurities and excess oil from the skin’s surface. After rinsing off, my skin has that squeaky clean feeling, but does not feel comfortably tight or dried out. It is a great basic cleanser for those with normal to oily skin, although I would advocate caution for those with dry and irritated skin. Not because I feel this is overly harsh, simply that it may be removing too much precious natural oils from dry irritated skin.
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Toner is housed in a plastic bottle with a tiny nozzle, and I found it easiest to get the product out by giving the bottle a gentle squeeze. To apply, saturate a cotton pad with the toner, and gently sweep it all over the face in a downwards motion. It is formulated with Imperata Cylindrica Root Extract and Antarcticine to soothe and hydrate skin. It also contains no alcohol, so it is non-drying and is pH-balanced. Personally, I am often wary of toners targeting oily skin types as they tend to leave my normal combination and sensitive skin too brittle. Therefore, I am pleasantly surprised that this toner did exactly as it set out to do – remove any excess oil from skin’s surface, leaving it fresh looking without drying out the skin. It is great for those weekend mornings when I want to quickly freshen up before heading out for a jog, leaving the full cleansing and moisturizing works for later.
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream is a light gel moisturizer that felt cooling and soothing when applied. It is non-oily and gets absorbed rapidly, leaving the skin hydrated without any oily or sticky sensation. It contains Imperata Cylindrica Root Extract, Antarcticine, and Cucumber Fruit Extract to help skin retain moisture and protect it from loss of moisture. Targeted at those with oily skin, it promises to help skin rebalance by retaining moisture for up to 24 hours, and therefore prevent excess sebum production. I am very partial to gel creams, they just make mornings that much crisper, and keep my normal combination skin feeling light. However, as I spend most of my day in an air conditioned office, and my skin is maturing, I found this gel cream to be insufficient. My husband, on the other hand, loved it!
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free skincare collection is formulated without oil, parabens, colorants, and fragrance. On that last note, I must say that this reformulated series smells a lot better than it did before! For the most part, there is simply no smell, although the toner does have a slight tangy scent, but it is not overbearing and dissipates quickly. I appreciate the basic, down-to-earth formulation, and I believe this range would suit those with oily skin or people who do not want too much fuss in their lives. Even though most skincare are unisex, men generally fare better with lightweight products that helps control shine. And I think this series would be the perfect to stock on the bathroom shelves for sharing!