This toner is a mixed bag of beneficial and problematic ingredients, and it all adds up to a product that is far more likely to hurt than help your skin.
Its big claim is fighting signs of fatigue, but if the cooling sensation this provides is supposed to wake you up it does so only because of the irritating ingredients it contains, such as menthol, alcohol, and fragrant plant extracts—Ouch! Talk about razor burn! The sensation they cause isn't invigorating, it's irritating! See More Info to learn how irritation hurts skin and why alcohol is a problem.
Without the problematic ingredients, this could have been a good toner for all skin types, but there is too much bad stuff too overlook. One more point: This also contains the exfoliating and anti-acne ingredient salicylic acid, but the pH is not within the range for this ingredient to function as an exfoliant. Men can definitely benefit from daily use of a BHA exfoliant, and you'll find recommended options on our list of Best BHA Exfoliants.
- Contains some good water-binding agents and a non-fragrant plant oil.
- Amount of alcohol poses a risk of irritation for all skin types.
- Contains menthol and fragrant plant extracts known to be irritating.
- The salicylic acid present cannot function as an exfoliant.
Irritation, whether you see it on the surface of your skin or not, causes inflammation and as a result impairs healing, damages collagen, and depletes the vital substances your skin needs to stay young. For these reasons, it is best to eliminate, or minimize as much as possible, your exposure to known skin irritants, especially when there are brilliant formulas available that do not include these types of problematic ingredients (Sources: Inflammation Research, December 2008, pages 558–563; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135, and November-December 2000, pages 358–371; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 2008, pages 15–19; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2008, pages 78–82; Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, January 2007, pages 92–105; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 2005, pages S13–S22).
Alcohol in skin-care products causes dryness and free-radical damage, and impairs the skin's ability to heal. The irritation it causes damages healthy collagen production and can stimulate oil production at the base of the pore, making oily skin worse (Sources: Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1410–1419; Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research, January 2011, pages 83–90; "Skin Care—From the Inside Out and Outside In," Tufts Daily, April 1, 2002; eMedicine Journal, May 8, 2002, volume 3, number 5, www.emedicine.com; Cutis, February 2001, pages 25–27; Contact Dermatitis, January 1996, pages 12–16; and http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-4/277-284.htm).
Our invigorating formula instantly fights visible signs of fatigue for smoother, healthier-looking skin. This toner is formulated with Caffeine, Vitamins C and E, and combined with Bamboo Extract, to help soothe and balance skin for an energized and refreshed appearance. For just-shaved skin, our formula provides a hydrated and comfortable finish.
Water, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat., PPG-26 Buteth-26, PEG-40, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Sorbic Acid, Salicylic Acid, Squalane, Caffeine, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Zinc PCA, Fragrance, Tocopherol, Menthol, Vaccinum Myrtillus, Extract/Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit Extract, Limonene, Saccharum Officinarum Extract/Sugar Cane Extract, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Citrus, Aurantium Dulcis Extract/Orange Fruit Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum Peel/Extract/Lemon Peel Extract, Cryptomeria Japonica Bud Extract, Acer Saccharinum, Extract/Sugar Maple Extract, Linalool, Bambusa Vulgaris Extract, Rhodiola Resea Root Extract, Sodium Hydroxide, Citric Acid
This line has been around for quite some time, and has its origins in a family-owned pharmacy based in New York City. Perhaps its neighborly beginnings with a big-city heritage are what propelled Kiehl's to its long-standing status as a popular product line. Considering that Kiehl's doesn't advertise (at least not in the traditional sense, though their products get frequent press), their brand identity and status in the minds of consumers are impressive.
What gets lost in all the fashion magazine hype and company claims of "excellence" and "quality ingredients" is that almost all of the Kiehl's products hardly warrant excitement or even mild enthusiasm. Most of them are surprisingly ordinary, with a dusting of natural ingredients almost always at the very end of the ingredient list, well after the preservatives. That amounts to little more than a token attempt to make the products appear more natural to those who want to believe a plant or vitamin must somehow be better for the skin than something that sounds more chemical. Nevertheless, that token amount is enough to allow Kiehl's to brag about how its products nourish the skin or are more environmentally friendly, when they're not.
Aside from the allure of the natural, this line consists of totally ordinary and often completely unnatural ingredients. More disheartening for skin is that many of the ingredients are of questionable benefit for those with sensitive, oily, or blemish-prone skin. In some instances product ingredients are irritating for any skin type, while half of the sunscreen products are a serious problem for reliable sun protection. If you can't resist the allure of Kiehl's, just know that the product assembly will work best for those with dry to very dry skin and that, for the money, most of the formulas aren't knock-your-socks-off thrilling.
Note: Kiehl's is categorized as a brand that tests on animals because its products are sold in China. Although Kiehl's does not conduct animal testing for its products sold elsewhere, the Chinese government requires imported cosmetics be tested on animals, so foreign companies retailing there must comply. This requirement is why some brands state that they don’t test on animals “unless required by law.” Animal rights organizations consider cosmetic companies retailed in China to be brands that test on animals, and so does the Paula’s Choice Research Team.
For more information about Kiehl's, owned by L'Oreal, call (800) 543-4572 or visit www.kiehls.com.