My latest grooming arsenal (involves a whole lot of Kiehl’s)

Since my last post on my grooming products in March 2012, I stayed loyal with VMV and Olay. I’ve finished two bottles of the Re-Everything Cream: Anti-Age Advanced Treatment and Illuminants Plus Cream: Primary Brilliance Treatment—each bottle lasts an entire year—while I’ve restocked my Id Anti-Acne Toner and Olay Total Effects every two-three months.

As a fan and regular reader of Refinery29, once in a while, I’d be swayed into buying products they’ve written about. That’s how I learned about Kiehl’s Blue Astringent Herbal Lotion. So I bought that, got samples, and those samples sucked me into buying more. (Good job, marketing team!)

And I love them.

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So here’s how my grooming lineup looks like these days:

Day Night
Olay Total Effects 7 in One Day Cream (Normal) with SPF 15 Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
The Face Shop The Fresh for Men BB Cream with SPF40 Kiehl’s Blue Astringent Herbal Lotion
Kiehl’s Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate
Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate

I haven’t completely abandoned VMV altogether—I still think they make great products 1 and I still use the Id toner once in a while. But I felt that I needed to switch things up after a long period of time and also to adjust to how my skin responds (or doesn’t respond).

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Since my face has started to dry out, I’ve been careful about keeping it moisturized, so I don’t use cleansers in the morning (just water) and I finish with the oil at night. (You know I love my oil.) In the middle of the day, I’d sometimes find my face greasy, but I prefer using an oil blotter than having to deal with dry skin. By evening, I’d only be too happy to use the Blue Herbal Lotion, which have been cited as too strong by some reviews, but which I find okay. If I have an acne about to break out, I’d do a spot treatment with this lotion day and night and it does a great job at keeping the acne at bay: by day three, the swelling would have subsided, if not completely gone.

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The Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing (or Vitamin C) Concentrate is another product that got great reviews and if only it were easy on the pocket, I’d use this twice a day. This product, which contains 10.5 percent Vitamin C gives instant results: skin immediately feels taut and softer. It also has a mattifying effect, giving an even-toned glow. Blemishes have also been noticeably lighter since I started using this—and it has only been a month. I don’t think I’ll ever part with this product.

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I’ve been requesting a sample of the Midnight Recovery Concentrate for several months until I could no longer hold back and finally got my own bottle. A few drops of this oil go a long way, so relying on the sample wouldn’t be so bad. (This bottle would probably last me a year and more.) I use this to make up for the Blue Herbal Lotion and the Vitamin C Concentrate. It smells luxurious and relaxing—you’d really want to settle into your bed once you’ve put this on. (Side note: I initially tried Human Nature’s Sunflower Beauty Oil, but I broke out. When I finally got to compare it to Kiehl’s, I realized the former feels a lot heavier so I use it for my lips, hands, elbows, and hair instead.)

The other Kiehl’s samples I’ve tried are the Daily Reviving Concentrate (day version of the midnight oil) and Facial Fuel Energizing Scrub. The morning oil feels redundant to me—I don’t see any additional value to using it, while I do like (and considering buying) the scrub as an exfoliant: my face feels squeaky clean, but without that dry and tight feeling you’d associate with harsh soap.

Olay has been my staple no-nonsense moisturizer for years. I have friends whose moms look like their sister because they look young, and they attribute it to Olay. Meanwhile, it was Tatin who introduced me to BB cream, which she’d bring back from Korea. These Korean brands are now available here, so yay! I haven’t been loyal to any particular brand, though I like Innisfree’s Forest for Men Handsome BB because it’s in liquid form. The Face Shop’s isn’t bad too—what’s important to me is the SPF (this one has SPF 40). Anyway, what I find is that all BB creams are too heavy in color for me, so what I do is I mix it with Olay before applying it to my face to soften the tint. I know there’s Olay with BB cream in it, but I still  prefer being able to control the tint myself.

There you have it. I recommend you get a sample yourself of the Kiehl’s products and see which ones work for you. Or let me know if there’s anything else I’m missing from Kiehl’s lineup, haha.


  1. See, thisthis, and this 
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