A couple of weeks ago I was invited to a blogger event at the Kiehl’s store in Cardiff. As somewhat of a skincare nerd, I was extremely excited. I’d heard so much about Kiehl’s but had never tried them out.
I also don’t get out much. I used to spend half my life in Cardiff city centre, then I moved to the suburbs of Whitchurch and now Victoria Park.
When I do wander into town, I’m always flabbergasted at how much everything is changing. Shops I didn’t even know existed, old shops I’m familiar with closed down and a shit tonne of cafes, bars, and restaurants. It’s a different Cardiff to the one I remember growing up. The increase in shops is great for job creation and tourism, but I do feel like Cardiff has lost a bit of its local charm.
I must say, the store is beautiful. Bright white tiles, strong lights, neon signs and vintage apothecary vibes. The staff wear lab coats and the friendly skeleton who sports a pair of geek specs is a quirky touch.
Upon arrival we were offered a glass of lavender prosecco, which represented the natural ingredients found in some Kiehl’s products. There was also an array of finger foods courtesy of Pitch in Cardiff, which hit the spot. This is where I met Hannah from the Miss Nicklin blog, eating prawns at the buffet table. Being one of the only other bloggers having a nibble on the food, I knew she was a girl after my own heart.
I was most excited for the skin consultation because I’ve never had my skin checked. I’ve basically just guessed what type of skin I have, which has resulted in some pretty shitty skin care decisions. I thought I was 100% dry last year and proceeded to slather a shit load of oil on my face which gave me the worst breakouts I’d ever had. I’m still recovering from the dark marks and pigmentation.
I kind of came to the conclusion I had combo skin a couple of months ago when I started using a La Roche Posay salicylic acid for oily skin moisturiser which helped take care of my oily t-zone. On top of breakouts, I also have slight rosacea on my cheeks which led me to think I have some dryness. Basically, my skin is a massive bitch who keeps me on my toes and encourages me to buy various skincare products to try and balance it all out.
During my consultation, a small pad/paper was placed on my cheeks and forehead, which confirmed that, yes, I have combo skin. The pad from my forehead was oily AF, although having a fringe doesn’t help with the oil lurking beneath. My cheek skin was completely dry. She also checked my hydration levels which came in at 30. Apparently, the ideal rate is around 40, which considering I’m in my 30s, it’s probably not too bad? I need to work on hydration though.
I could have written this blog post straight after the event but I wanted to talk about the products with some authority, rather than just the event itself. I’ve tried out a few samples we were gifted and given my first impressions below.
Here’s a rundown of five of the products I received and my thoughts. Please keep in mind that everyone’s skin is different. What may work for one person, might be horrible for someone else. Also, it’s really hard to give an in-depth review of skincare from using it just the once. This review will be more of a first impression, and not a “wow my skin is amazing” because skin care products don’t perform miracles overnight.
This skin salve stuck out to me the most as I often get a slightly irritated skin from using retinol. On this particular occasion, I’d used the 1% retinol from The Ordinary a few days prior and was starting to see some peeling and flaking of my skin, which is normal. I decided to give my face a wash with the Boots Simply Sensitive Jelly Ball Scrub, which is a mild exfoliant and great for sensitive skin. I then followed it up with the Cantella Recovery Skin Salve, which has a gel-like consistency and but stung on application, which I wasn’t expecting. This, I’m sure, was due to my exposed and sensitive skin. After a few minutes it calmed down and my skin actually felt really nice. This skin salve contains aloe vera and honey, both ingredients I’ve used on my skin previously. I hadn’t ever used tiger herb, which is an anti-bacterial and has wound healing properties.
I’d never tried an overnight masque before and I guess I was expecting something heavier on the skin. Luckily, the Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Masque is thicker than your average moisturiser, but not so thick that it’s uncomfortable which worked out well considering I slept in it. I don’t think I was supposed to do that but my skin felt silky smooth in the morning thanks to the moister loving ingredients including hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and squalane.
This is kind of where it started to go downhill for me. As you might or might not know, a ‘micro peel’ product is usually used as a way to renew the skin, shedding dead skin cells. It’s like an exfoliant in a bottle. The prime ingredient here is quinoa husk extract, which is a non-chemical way to help achieve a ‘youthful glow’ and smoother textured skin. There’s no way using this on one occasion is going to have a defined result, so all I can really comment on is the texture of the concentrate, which was like any other serum-type oil. The next day I felt no discomfort or issues and I didn’t really notice any changes.
This is one of Kiehl’s hero products, and I’ve heard everyone talk about it. I was happy that we got a sample to try, so I used it the day after I trialed the micro-peel above. I used a small amount and pressed it into my skin, which left my face feeling quite oily, but the smell of lavender essential oil was beautiful. Lavender is one of my favorite scents, but I’ve always been a little concerned about using it on my face. I didn’t use a moisturiser that night, as my face felt moistened up enough. That moves us on…
The following morning, I decided I’d use the Daily Reviving Concentrate, which is the day counterpart to the Midnight Recovery Concentrate. Upon application my skin felt extremely rough, as though I had teeny tiny little bumps all over it. Especially in the chin area, but most noticeably on the side of my face which appeared red and burnt. I was a little concerned, naturally. I went on with the rest of my morning skin care routine and applied makeup. It wasn’t easy to put on makeup and my face looked pretty greasy, probably due to the excess oil from the Daily Reviving Concentrate. After about an hour or two, my face began to burn. I was sat in a coffee shop feeling like my face was on fire. I just wanted to splash cold water on myself but obviously having a full face of makeup, and being in public this wasn’t an option. It calmed down throughout the day but the tiny bumps on my skin lasted a good few days.
Here’s the tricky part. I have no way to truly identify the culprit product. Part of me thinks that it was perhaps a delayed reaction to the micro-peel from a couple of nights back. But I don’t think the product is potent enough to cause that sort of issue. Then I thought perhaps it was some sort of reaction to the lavender essential oil in the Midnight Recovery Concentrate.
Upon further investigation, the concentrate contains a bunch of natural but quite irritable ingredients. Obviously, not everyone is going to have a reaction to it, as we’re all different, but as someone who has sensitive cheeks with rosacea, it was probably a terrible idea for me to use it. I checked out the score on Beautypedia, and they rated it a one.
What I’m a little concerned about is that the Kiehl’s website doesn’t state the full ingredient list of their products. They publish the three marketable ingredients but leave out the rest. In 2017, I’m not sure why companies are still doing this. Every customer is different, no skin is alike. It’s important for customers to make an informed decision based on ingredients which may be irritable for them. Yes, the ingredients are printed on the packaging, but in my mind, I’m not going to buy a £38 product without first researching ingredients, reviews, and expert opinions.
Overall, I had a great time at the Kiehl’s event in Cardiff! The staff are lovely, the store looks great and I’m so glad I had a skin type consultation, but I probably won’t be buying any Kiehl’s products anytime soon. It’s expensive and yes you’re paying for quality ingredients and the heritage of the brand but I feel like I can find similar products for a lot less. Also, I don’t want to put my skin through that again and unfortunately, Kiehl’s use a lot of naturally derived ingredients and essential oils which just don’t play well on my skin, but remember, it’s my skin. No skin is created equally, and we should all do our own research.
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