kiehh's natural

I’m a huge Kiehl’s fan. I love their packaging, their claim for classic purity, their graffiti-esque style storefronts and their hand drawn designs. You would always see a mannequin in a lab gown, to exude their carefully tested products. They make use of wooden shelves, wooden floors and the classic New York Bricks with lighted letters. Sometimes they place Harleys or bicycles and chandeliers to accent the place. Pictures of travelers, usually on rock-climbing expeditions or mountain-climbing expeditions. I dig their style- down to earth, pure and classic.  Their GreenBelt, Rockwell, SM MOA and SM Aura store branches are always a breath of fresh air. Their products are carefully packaged with clean labels, beautiful classic fonts… and most of them are in glass bottles- how seemingly pure and organic is that! Beauty bloggers are raving about them everywhere. They definitely have outstanding PR and Marketing efforts in the country.

“Kiehl’s cares for your skin!” “The finest naturally-derived ingredients” “Khiel wants a beautiful world” “#changeyourskin” campaigns. Love the campaigns. According to the Kiehl’s website, their “unique formulations are made with the finest naturally-derived ingredients.” They do mention natural ingredients like lavender, caffeine, vitamin C, blue algae etc etc however, it’s sad to know that they tuck certain ingredients hoping they won’t get noticed online. Ingredients such as parabens, sulfates, fragrance, and silicone. As a consumer, I would never detect these behind the scenes braingreenwashing unless I prod deeper. For the expensive price and luxurious packaging, of course Kiehl’s a good skin care investment! Wrapped in beautiful promises and marketing spiels. It absolutely makes me feel like I was buying an A-grade quality skin care product.


kiehlsHow could I question their credibility, even if they don’t disclose the FULL list of their ingredients in their website? They’ve been here since 1851!


The company even cares for environmental and social issues. They have different campaigns for causes. They have recycling programs too. I’ve worked in the ESG industry before (Environmental Social and Governance) Marketing area and I know how brands are desperate enough to make a name in the green space, because #1- it totally uplifts their brand image 10x more than their competition! Their parent company Loreal even commited to CDP. (Carbon Disclosure Project) in an attempt to reduce the impact of its activities and products on the environment favoring sustainable and locally sourced supplies. So yes, kuddos to those CSR initiatves. But hey, before we get carried away with all those saintly acts, let’s take a reality check on the ingredients.


My favorite and bestseller is their Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado. I bought two jars back when I was in college because they seem to be very effective. And besides a lot of my favorite beauty bloggers are raving about them. But after that blissful phase of consumer-oblivion nirvana, I came down to Earth and reality knocked me off as I got smarter enough to read the labels– Looks like Mr. Kiehl’s doesn’t care enough to lather me with multiple carcinogens and neurotoxins. The products contained Parabens, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance a lot of synthetic chemicals. Their botantical ingredients are even listed on the last part, which means they’re so little they barely could make a difference! EWG scores most of their products a 5! Big disappointment. 

Good for the planet, but not to you and the animals

Kiehl’s claim to be a sustainable company like their parent company Loreal is. Aside from exposing us to a loathful of carcinogens, endocrine disruptors and harmful chemicals, they sure don’t care about breaking dog’s bones and torturing rabbits too- ain’t a good sign for a company that truly cares! According to PETA (read here), Khiel’s is owned by Loreal who does animal testing. As discussed on my previous article on Cruelty- Free Loopholes, Khiel was a classic company poser:

 L’Oréal no longer tests on animals any of its products or any of its ingredients, anywhere in the world. Nor does L’Oréal delegate this task to others. An exception could only be made if regulatory authorities demanded it for safety or regulatory purposes.

That last line is the deal breaker. You may read Cruelty Free Loopholes here to understand better how companies hide their unethical testing methods.

Cocktail of Carcinogens

kiehls16f-6-webThis is Kiehl’s “Mr Bones” an icon being used on their charitable campaigns. Subliminally scary right? You may check their products against this list  Red Alert: Toxic Ingredients to Avoid. You will discover that Kiehl’s unfortunately a dirty brand! A chopsuey of:

  1. Parabens– Endocrine disruptors and linked to Breast Cancer Tumors
  2. Dimethicone– Organ Toxicity
  3. Fragrance– Used by most companies to protect them from putting harsh ingredients. According to EWG is one of the top 5 allergens
  4. SLS– Endocrine disruptors, toxic to the body
  5. Propylene Glycol– Organ Toxicity
  6. Phenoxyethanol– Neurotoxin

Random Products that I’ve seen has a few of these ingredients

  • Ultra Facial Cleanser- Has PEG, a couple of Parabens, synthetic chemicals
  • Powerful Wrinkle Reducing Cream- PEG, Alchohol, synthetic checmicals.
  • Ultra Facial Moisturizer SPF 30- PEG, synthetic chemicals of sunscreen.
  • Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment- 4 Parabens, Phenoxyethanol.

Natural Options

There are so many natural eye cream in the market today that are far more effective. I would highly recommend 100% Pure Coffee Bean EyeCream. Companies SHOULD fully disclose their ingredients!

– It’s USDA

-It’s Cruelty Free

-And it’s cheaper than Kiehl’s!

-Made from pure Natural ingredients and Fruit Extracts

Or you may check my constantly updated list of Brands that are both Natural and Cruelty-Free at the same time here.

Final Verdict

So yes, our favorite Kiehl’s is brain greenwashing consumers. Any CSR initiatives, even charity (redemption of sins) doesn’t take away the fact that the ingredients in their products are HAZARDOUS to the human system. A lot of bloggers have been raving about Kiehl’s and were probably clueless like me before. But sorry for being too harsh with these brands, as I’m not really keen about sponsorship. This blog is non-profit and is mainly for awareness and cause only. Everything is done with extensive research and not just a personal opinion. For people like me who are conscious about lowering their chemical and toxin overload everyday, for people like me who have kids they want to protect,  relatives who are suffering and have died of cancer, for mommies who are concerned with their chemical intake because they’re breastfeeding, mommies who have experienced birth defects or if you’re just serious about animal cruelty, then it’s time to rethink what companies you are patronizing. I do Throw Outs every Tuesday and compile it here.

Need more proof, visit these resources:


Green Beauty Team


Still confused with all the green terms such as “Natural” “Organic” “Cruelty-Free”, you may want to check this article out {A comprehensive guide to decoding Green Beauty Terms}

Share this to your Kiehl’s loving friends! Sharing is caring! Who knows it might save a life.

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ThrowOut Tuesdays: Kiehl’s CARE-FOR-YOU campaign, true or not?
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  • Maria Louisa Mae P. Mercado

    Wow, it’s so easy to believe a brand when they claim to be natural but you must do your homework it seems. Thanks for sharing this and making people more aware.

  • thekitchen goddess

    I have an on-off love affair with make-ups. Also, there was a time when I had an allergic reaction to a particular brand so I’m very careful with what I apply on my face now.. I think I only use make up when we attend weddings or debuts …

  • Daniel Kaity Bato

    I actually tried their best-selling serum. The overnight one, and it gave me a bad breakout! :(

  • Balot

    Seems like its not easy finding products that truly use natural ingredients. This posts is really a helpful reference.

  • Lorly

    I didnt know there’s so much thought in kiehl’s storefronts. Thanks for sharing.

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