Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream
1.7 fl. oz. for $26.50
Last Updated:12.31.2014
Jar Packaging:Yes
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

Despite a lightweight, silky texture, this moisturizer contains enough alcohol to make it a problem for all skin types. Alcohol causes dryness and free-radical damage, and impairs healthy collagen production. Please see More Info for additional facts on why irritation is so bad for your skin.

Even without the alcohol, this is a lackluster formula that falls short of providing your skin with what it needs to look and act younger. The tiny amount of plant extracts (which do not have documented benefit for skin, but are not known to be harmful) will not remain stable due to the jar packaging. Check out More Info for details on why jar packaging is a problem.

  • Silky, lightweight texture will make those with oily skin happy.
  • Alcohol is the third ingredient, which is bad news for all skin types because alcohol causes irritation that hurts skin’s ability to look and act younger.
  • Jar packaging won’t keep the plant extracts stable during use and also presents a hygiene issue because you dip your fingers into the jar each time you apply it.
  • Lacks the range of state-of-the-art ingredients that all skin types need to improve and become healthier.

More Info:

Irritation, whether you see it on the surface of your skin or not, causes inflammation, which impairs healing, damages collagen, and depletes the vital substances your skin needs to stay young. For this reason, it is best to minimize or eliminate 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.

Jar packaging is a problem because all plant extracts, vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients break down in the presence of air, so once a jar is opened and lets the air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate. Jars also are unsanitary because you’re dipping your fingers into them with each use, adding bacteria, which further deteriorate the beneficial ingredients.


Our Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream is a non-oily, quickly absorbed hydrator that visibly reduces the appearance of oil and leaves skin looking and feeling more balanced. The oil-free gel cream works synergistically with skin’s natural lipids to visibly reduce excess oil on skin’s surface. It is non-greasy, and retains essential moisture in skin for a healthier, re-balanced skin barrier and a smoother, fresher appearance.


Water, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat., Propanediol, Glycereth-26, Isononyl Isononanoate, Ammonium Polyacryldimethyltauramide/Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Imperata Cylindrica Root Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Propylene Glycol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Pseufoalteromonas Ferment Extract,, Citric Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Carbomer, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Panthenol, Cucumber Fruit Extract, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer

Brand Overview

Kiehl's At-A-Glance

Strengths: Kiehl's staff is generous when it comes to providing samples and product information; some good cleansers; a couple worthwhile serums.

Weaknesses: Expensive for what you get; the Blue Herbal and Facial Fuel products are terrible; no products to successfully address skin discolorations; the toners are disappointing; the self-tanner should be avoided; jar packaging weakens several of the formulas.

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.

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

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