Ultra Facial Oil-Free Toner
8.4 fl. oz. for $16
Last Updated:03.12.2015
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

This fragrance-free toner for all skin types couldn’t be more basic, and ends up being a waste of money, even though it doesn’t contain problematic ingredients like alcohol or fragrant oils as many toners do.

What’s missing (and what your skin needs from a toner) is a range of skin-repairing ingredients along with antioxidants and ingredients that encourage healthier skin cells. This toner is mostly water, glycerin, and preservative. Kiehl’s included a couple of novel plant extracts, but neither of them has research proving any benefit for skin, so they amount to a “why bother?” rather than a must-have, and the amount is so small they end up being merely window dressing. The tiny amount of sodium hyaluronate (a good repairing ingredient found naturally in healthy skin) is likely too low to provide any benefit for your skin.

Please see our list of Best Toners for examples of formulas that make adding a toner to your daily routine an excellent idea.

  • Fragrance- and alcohol-free.
  • Suitable for all skin types.
  • Expensive for what amounts to a below-standard formula.
  • Lacks an impressive range of repairing and antioxidant ingredients to help skin become healthier and act younger.
  • Doesn’t add much to your skin-care routine.

Our Ultra Facial Oil-Free Toner is formulated to visibly reduce excess oil on skin’s surface, while leaving it instantly fresh and healthy looking. Made with Imperata Cylindrica Root Extract and Antarcticine to soothe and hydrate skin, our non-drying alcohol-free formula gently removes any remaining residue, dirt and oil without stripping skin of vital moisture. pH-balanced, and tested for safety and gentleness.


Water, Glycerin, Propanediol, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Propylene Glycol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Triethanolamine, Citric Acid, Imperata Cylindrica Root Extract, Pseufoalteromonas Ferment Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Cucumis Satinus Juice/Cucumber Fruit Extract, Caprylyl Glycol, Carbomer

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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585632-IIS4 v1.0.0.431 10/13/2015 2:28:28 AM