Yay or Nay: Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Trio – Cleanser, Toner, & Intense Hydration Cream

A million thanks to Mywomenstuff and Kiehl’s Malaysia for sending me a trial pack of one of its best-selling range, the Ultra Facial. I am grateful for your kind thoughts, Paris! The Ultra Facial range has its award-winning moisturizer, which is Ultra Facial Cream that is made suitable for all skin types for continuous moisture replenishment throughout the day even though this daily hydrator has a light texture. Promising 24-hour of comfort and healthy-looking skin at the price point of RM100, it is a no-brainer why this moisturizer is a hit for many.

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Trio – Cleanser, Toner, & Intense Hydration Cream

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Trio – Cleanser, Toner, & Intense Hydration Cream

In this pack, however, I have Ultra Facial Cleanser (30ml), Ultra Facial Toner (40ml), and the NEWLY launched Ultra Facial Intense Hydration Cream (15ml). I happily put them to test to see whether they would be a keeper. I will begin with Ultra Facial Cleanser, which is a mild formula, and it claims to thoroughly cleanse the skin and remove make up without over-drying or stripping the skin of its natural oils. Now the combination of Apricot Kernel Oil and Avocado Oil in the ingredients surely got me all fascinated, but Squalane, a naturally occurring substance found in olive oil, has always been one of the key ingredients I would avoid, besides mineral oil, as these two tend to break me out.

Having Sodium Laureth Sulfate in the ingredients does scare me a little.

Having Sodium Laureth Sulfate in the ingredients does scare me a little.

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Nevertheless, to try I shall and I did. Seeing how thick this semi-transparent cleanser was, I did not use it with dry hands on dry face. Instead, I find it best to apply the cleanser onto wet hands before lathering it up and then apply to the face. I got a well-cleaned face after washing and my pores seemed to be a little tighter, but I would need to quickly follow up with toning and moisturizing after that. Or else, my face do feel a little tight, and although I have used some cleansing gels in my life, this thick gel seems too glue-y for my skin.

Left: Semi-transparent cleanser; Right: Off-white toner

Left: Semi-transparent cleanser; Right: Off-white toner

Ultra Facial Toner

Ultra Facial Toner

Next, Ultra Facial Toner was the one that got me curious since the texture was somewhat watery lotion-like that reminded me of Shiseido softeners. I enjoy the fact that this toner does NOT have any alcohol in it, and it seems pretty gentle even for the sensitive type. Yet, Ultra Facial Toner did not impress me in terms of hydration. This, to me, was more of a basic, gentle toner, and sadly, I need more than that. I would not blame this toner per se for hydration alone because I am spoilt for better choices out there, but if you are looking for an affordable, gentle toner that cleans the skin after washing, this would be it.

Ultra Facial Intense Hydration Cream

Ultra Facial Intense Hydration Cream

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Similar with its predecessor, Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Intense Hydration Cream has a very lightweight texture despite the label “cream” that might mislead some into thinking that creams are only meant for dry or mature skin type. This is because I have tried the predecessor, Ultra Facial Cream that absorbs really fast and does not leave my skin being greasy at all.

Unlike its award-winning Ultra Facial Cream, this has Alcohol Denat in its ingredients, and that can be a worrying factor to some.

Unlike its award-winning Ultra Facial Cream, this has Alcohol Denat in its ingredients, and that can be a worrying factor to some.

However, the Intense Hydration Cream left me feeling otherwise. I do not have very dry skin, so the cream not only merely sat on top of my face, but it also had a strong alcohol scent that turned me off every time I tried to use it. Alcohols are known to be drying to the skin, so I could not fathom why this Intense Hydration Cream, which was designed for very dry skin, would actually contain alcohol, which is pretty high on top of the ingredient list. I stopped using Intense Hydration Cream three days after trialing it due to these two factors – the greasiness and the scent.

Overall, as much as I hoped for these to work for my dehydrated-combination skin, my skin preferred Ultra Facial Toner over the rest.  Have you tried and adored any products from the Ultra Facial range?

Retail Price in Malaysia:

Ultra Facial Cleanser                                      RM85

Ultra Facial Toner                                           RM85

Ultra Facial Intense Hydration Cream         RM100

With love,

LY

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate: You love me not!

I have always liked the idea of using facial oils at night instead of slapping on layers of pre-serum, essence, and face moisturizer. Don’t get me wrong, it is not that I see my skin care routine as a chore, but I just don’t buy the idea of putting multiple layers of products on my skin just to get some hydration and rejuvenation. I just want my skin to breathe!!! Since I apply make up every day to work, I need good facial oils that are hydrating enough, not too greasy, and ones that make me look rested. That is just my preference, and if you prefer to layer skin care products on your skin every evening, it’s your choice.

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate comes with a deep blue jar.

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate jar bottle

In 2010 when Kiehl’s launched one of its star product, Midnight Recovery Concentrate (better known as MRC), I was dying to try this night serum/oil. I do not have much issues with my face, but due to lack of sleep (hello, we mommies practically lack beauty sleep), stress, and hormonal changes, my skin can sometimes become dull and parched. I was hopeful that this replenishing elixir of pure essential oils and distilled botanicals will restore the appearance of my skin by morning, as claimed by Kiehl’s. This bottle of essential oil potion that contains key ingredients of lavender, evening primrose oil, and squalane is supposed to regenerate and repair my skin to a healthier, smoother and well-hydrated skin. Being naturally derived and paraben-free, I felt that owning a bottle of this is the beginning of a RECOVERED skin. Who could resist looking healthier and anew every day? After all, a bottle of MRC is being sold every minute globally! WOW, right?

2 pumps every night is all you need, apparently.

2 pumps every night is all you need, apparently.

As much as I wanted to adore this star product, I have to admit that it did not do as claimed when I used this oil ALONE. Bummer! No matter how much or little I applied it, be it massaging, or pressing movements, MRC just doesn’t want to co-operate with my skin! The oil sits on top of my face without absorbing, and I wake up looking greasy. No radiance or whatsoever, much to my distress since I do not look rested.

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate

Oil being spread all over the hands, fingers and nails.

I was adamant to make this work somehow. Then I decided to add a few drops of my face serum, Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair into MRC oil on my palm. Thanks Paris for this idea! Rub them together and then pressed both palms on the entire face. The warmth of the palm will aid the oil to absorb faster without causing greasiness. That combination, on the contrary, went on very well, but as much as I like what I see in the mirror every morning, I actually preferred face oil that I could use on its own. This combination left me looking plumped and healthy, thanks to Estee Lauder ANR!

I know many people are crazy over MRC, but I am not and I can’t. Some like it for its results but not for its scent, but the lavender scent was not even a problem for me. In fact, I like the scent because it is very relaxing and calming. The formula, on the other hand, just does not blend well with my skin when I use this alone. I have used some facial oils that hydrate and absorb quite well (of course, it being oil-based will leave some sheen or grease on the surface), but this light textured one left me feeling gutted as it just sits on top without absorbing and does not do much for my dehydrated skin either.

MRC fans, good news; now you can do the world some good! By purchasing the special edition Kiehl’s MRC, you can join the movement and help get HIV treatment and loving care to children who need it most.

Have you tried MRC and face the same problem like I do? I don’t know if I am alone because this is raved by many across the blogsphere, but I hope if you are interested to try this, do get a sample before splurging RM220 per bottle. Kiehl’s offers very good sampling policy, and my experience shopping at Kiehl’s has always been pleasant.

With love,

LY