I have a complicated relationship with Kiehl’s. I love their wonderful service—all sales attendants manage to be friendly and helpful. They are so great that at times I feel guilty for walking away empty-handed. However, I don’t share the same sentiment towards most of their products. I tried much raved products like Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate and the Ultra Facial Creme, but they don’t agree with me. For a long time, though, I loved the MR line.
Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate (30ml)
The MRC contains squalane (a “botanical lipid” that helps restore skin’s natural moisture balance), evening primrose oil (repairs skin barrier), lavender essential oil (soothe inflamed or irritated skin). It is essentially a mixture of essential oil and carrier oil, but I really enjoyed using it at one point. Okay, for three whole years. The fragrance of lavender is great as a pre-bedtime treat. I followed the instructions dutifully at first:
- Apply 2-3 drops of treatment on cleansed skin
- Gently press fingertips to cheeks, forehead, and chin to evenly distribute the application before gently massaging it into the skin
- Can wear alone or under moisturizer
I did experience the glowing effect that reviewers on MUA claimed, on the first few weeks of using the MRC. My skin looked healthier in the morning, in ways I cannot describe. It did not help with suppleness, the brightness or the fine lines on my forehead and around my mouth, but just looked better. The MRC is not enough on its own, or on top of a serum. Additional moisture is definitely needed or you will feel your skin uncomfortably taut. I ended up having to apply sleep mask or gel moisturizer over the MRC and serum on most nights. The lovely Mom tried it, liked it too and later bought a bottle for herself, which is why I still have a supply to steal from after three years.
However, the glowing effect is slowly lost as I continued a quarter through the first bottle, I stopped noticing differences. I reduced the number of time I use this to twice a week, but even then nothing happened. I still like the scent, I just don’t think it is worth it anymore.
Towards the end of my bottle, I chanced upon this research article, regarding the cytotoxicity of lavender oil to human cells. Apparently, at 0.25%, lavender oil is toxic to all types of human cells the team has tested. I went to Paula out of laziness to do independent research, and the results are frankly quite alarming. In other studies, a concentration of less than 0.25% can also be problematic. There is no indication of the concentration of lavender oil in MRC, but I don’t dare to use it on its own now. I dilute it with Apricot Kernel Oil before letting it touch my face.
I thank the MRC for introducing me to oils, but I will not be repurchasing this.
Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Eye (15ml)
The MR Eye claims to diminishes the appearance of fine lines, educes puffiness and reduces dark under-eye circles. I have used two tubes of this, and I’m not impressed at all. It lived up to none of its claims.
What was I thinking, though? Re-purchasing when it clearly doesn’t work? I finished a tube, found it to be meh, and since I didn’t have better candidates to take over, I just bought another tube, since it came in a set with the second MRC my Mom bought.
And now I’m at the point where nothing in the Kiehl’s catalogue interests me any longer. When I flip through fashion magazine and see a Kiehl’s product in those editor’s recommendation sections, I can only sigh. I love their generosity, I love their branding, just not their products. Give me a few years and maybe I’ll go back to Kiehl’s again.