Clearly Corrective Deep Moisture Clarifying Cream is a disappointingly bland formula. Unfortunately, while there is a smattering of a few beneficial water-binding ingredients (such as glycerin and wax), this is otherwise mostly thickeners and water, and it lacks the ingredients needed to truly heal persistently dry skin.
There isn't much else to say about the benefits of this moisturizer. The "activated vitamin C" Kiehl's refers to is 3-O ethyl ascorbic acid. While it is derived from ascorbic acid, the ingredient's supplier conducted the only studies about its effectiveness. Without any peer-reviewed (or even better, comparison data to other skin-lightening ingredients), there is no compelling reason to pin your hopes on it or on this product's overall problematic formula.
Even if 3-O ethyl ascorbic acid had decades of research behind it, the fact that this is packaged in a jar adds yet another concern. The raw material supplier states this vitamin C derivative is stable when exposed to air and light, but this claim has not been demonstrated or reproduced under peer-reviewed medical or scientific research standards.
Either way, the other beneficial ingredients and stabilizers that are included cannot withstand the daily exposure to air and light every time you open the lid. For additional details on why jar packaging is a problem for moisturizers like this, see the More Info section.
In addition to the lack of beneficial ingredients, another red flag is the amount of irritating fragrant ingredients, such as lavender oil and citrus extract. The citrus extract (Citrus aurantium tachibana peel extract) has a strong potential to provoke an allergenic and irritant response on the skin due to its fragrance compounds—limonene and geraniol (Sources: Contact Dermatitis, 2006 and 2012). See More Info for additional details on fragrance in beauty products, as well as the reasons why lavender oil, in particular, is an issue for skin.
If you're looking for a nighttime moisturizer that does contain the types of ingredients skin needs to remain healthy, consider any of the dozens of far-better-formulated alternatives in the Best Moisturizers Without Sunscreen section of Beautypedia.
If reducing discolorations is your goal, skip this treatment that pins its benefits on a largely unproven form of vitamin C, and consider any of the well-formulated alternatives on our list of Best Skin-Lightening Products instead.
Jar Packaging: The fact that this cream is packaged in a jar means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable once it is opened. All plant extracts, vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients break down in the presence of air, so once a jar is opened and lets the air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate.
Jars also are unsanitary because you're dipping your fingers into them with each use, adding bacteria, which further deteriorate the beneficial ingredients (Sources: Free Radical Biology and Medicine, September 2007, pages 818–829; Ageing Research Reviews, December 2007, pages 271–288; Dermatologic Therapy, September-October 2007, pages 314–321; International Journal of Pharmaceutics, June 12, 2005, pages 197–203; Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, January 2002, pages 1–32; International Society for Horticultural Science, www.actahort.org/members/showpdf?booknrarnr=778_5; Beautypackaging.com, and www.beautypackaging.com/articles/2007/03/airless-packaging.php).
Lavender Oil: Research indicates that components of lavender, specifically linalool, can be cytotoxic, which means that topical application causes skin-cell death (Source: Cell Proliferation, June 2004, pages 221–229). Lavender leaves contain camphor, which is a known skin irritant. Because the fragrance constituents in lavender oil oxidize when exposed to air, lavender oil is a pro-oxidant, and this enhanced oxidation increases its irritancy on skin (Source: Contact Dermatitis, September 2008, pages 143–150). Lavender oil is the most potent form, and even small amounts of it (0.25% or less) are problematic. Although it's fine as an aromatherapy agent for inhalation or relaxation, it is a must to avoid in skin-care products (Sources: Psychiatry Research, February 2007, pages 89–96; and www.naturaldatabase.com).
Highly effective, skin clarifying moisturizing cream intensively corrects uneven skin tone; Provides continuous 24-hour hydration while visibly diminishing dark spots and discoloration; Activated C helps diminish the appearance of skin irregularities and prevents the formation of new ones; Instantly hydrates skin and provides long-term radiance
Aqua/Water, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Propylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Neopentyl Glycol Dicaprate, Cetyl Alcohol, PEG-100 Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, 3-o-ethyl ascorbic acid, Cera Alba, Tocopheryl Acetate, Stearic Acid, Hydroxypropyl Tetrahydropyrantriol, Palmitic Acid, Polyacrylamide, Phenoxyethanol, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Sodium Citrate, Salicylic Acid, 2-Oleamido-1, 3-Octadecanediol, Chlorphenesin, Citric Acid, Lavandula Angustifolia Oil/Lavender Oil, Xanthan Gum, Mica, Accrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Laureth-7, Linalool, CI 77891/Titanium Dioxide, Disodium EDTA, Potassium Hydroxide, Citral, Limonene, Geraniol, Citrus Tachibana/Citrus Aurantium Tachibana Peel Extract, Paeonia Siffruticoas Extract/Paeonia Suffruticoa Root Extract FMLA 685581/13 Code F.I.L. D54211/1
Kiehl’s has been around for quite some time, with its origins in a New York City-based pharmacy established in 1851. The brand is perhaps best known for its apothecary-style packaging and its best-selling (and celebrity favorite) Lip Balm #1.
Though the brand claims its products are made with the finest naturally-derived ingredients, most of its formulations include synthetically-produced ingredients as well. Like most skincare companies the line contains both good and not-so-great offerings; Kiehl’s main misstep is that many of its products contain fragrance ingredients that could irritate skin, particularly sensitive skin.
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 Beautypedia Research Team.
For more information about Kiehl's, call (800) 543-4572 or visit www.kiehls.com.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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