Cryste Marine “Ultra Riche” Lifting and Firming Cream (Discontinued)

by Kiehl's  Cryste Marine
$54 - 1.7 fl. oz.
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Skin Care > Moisturizers (Daytime and Nighttime) > Moisturizer without Sunscreen
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Cryste Marine “Ultra Riche” Lifting and Firming Cream makes a claim that conflicts with basic physics. According to Kiehl’s, this rather boring but emollient moisturizer for normal to dry skin contains “Hyaluronic Filling Spheres.” The sponge-like absorbency of these spheres is said to trap the skin’s own water, causing the molecules to expand, which “immediately” lifts skin. Assuming the spheres work as claimed (although the amount of sodium hyaluronate in this product is next to nothing), the effect would not be to lift skin but rather to stretch it or make it puffy. Of course, when you look at it that way, the appeal pretty much vanishes.

Our superbly-rich cream is made with unusual Hyaluronic Filling Spheres, notable for their unique “sponge-like absorbency” that traps skin’s own water, causing the molecules to expand—immediately and effectively lifting skin. By increasing the amount of Sodium Hyaluronate in the surface layer of the epidermis, our formula helps bind a large number of water molecules, resulting in a lifted, tighter appearance.

Water, Glycerin, Cyclohexasiloxane, Petrolatum, Cetyl Alcohol, Isohexadecane, Squalane, Dimethicone, Shea Butter, Stearic Acid, Palmitic Acid, PEG-100 Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Hydrated Silica, PEG-20 Stearate, Propylene Glycol, Beeswax, Silica Hydrolyzed Malt Extract, Triethanolamine, Tocopheryl Acetate, Panthenol, Soybean Protein, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Methylparaben, Chlorphenesin, Acrylates Copolymer, Sucrose Distearate, Cholesterol, Propylparaben, Polyacrylamide, Octyldodecanol, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Capryloyl Salicylic Acid, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Stearyl Alcohol, Myristyl Alcohol, Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorhexidine Digluconate, Disodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Adenosine, Laureth-7, Silica, Dimethyl Silylate, Laminaria Ochroleuca Extract, Methylsilanol Mannuronate, Crithmum Maritimum Extract, Corn Kernel Extract, Fagus Sylvatica Bud Extract, Ethylparaben, Sodium Hyaluronate, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben

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

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Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula herself.

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