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Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cleanser Versus Sk-II Facial Treatment Cleanser

Face Cleanser
Face Cleanser
American Brand United States
Japanese Brand Japan

Updated on March 01, 2024

Overview

What they are

These products are both face cleansers. They have a total of 4 ingredients in common

Suited For

They're both likely to be good for dry skin and brightening skin

Free From

They both do not contain any harsh alcohols, common allergens, fragrances or silicones

We independently verify ingredients, and our claims are backed by peer-reviewed research. Spot a product that needs an update? Let us know.

Ingredient Info

Click any item below to learn more and see relevant ingredients

At a glance

Click on any of the items below to learn more

Notable Ingredients

Benefits

Concerns

Notable Ingredients

Benefits

Concerns

Ingredients Side-by-side

found in both products
Ultra Facial Cleanser
Water Skin Conditioning, Solvent

Water. It's the most common cosmetic ingredient of all. You'll usually see it at the top of ingredient lists, meaning that it makes up the largest part of the product.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate Cleansing, Emulsifying, Foaming
Sulfate IconCan worsen Dry Skin Icon
SulfateSulfate Icon Can worsen Dry SkinCan worsen Dry Skin Icon

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) is a foaming, cleansing, and emulsifying ingredient. It is created from palm kernel oil or coconut oil. SLES is not the same as sodium lauryl sulfate. It is much milder and less likely to irritate.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Decyl Glucoside Cleansing, Emulsion Stabilising

Decyl Glucoside is a glucose-based surfactant. Surfactants help clean the skin by trapping oil, sebum, and dirt to be washed away.

Glycerin Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
0 / 0 Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps brighten skin Icon
2 Benefits

Glycerin is already naturally found in your skin. It helps moisturize and protect your skin.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Cocamidopropyl Betaine Cleansing
May worsen Eczema Icon
May worsen EczemaMay worsen Eczema Icon

Cocamidopropyl Betaine is a fatty acid created by mixing similar compounds in coconut oil and dimethylaminopropylamine. Dimethylaminopropylamine is a diamine, an amine with two amino groups.

Disliked Full details ->
Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate Cleansing, Skin Conditioning

Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate is a surfactant and helps cleanse skin. It is created from the fatty acids of coconut oil.

Disliked Full details ->
Acrylates Copolymer

Acrylates Copolymer is used as a film-forming agent and texture enhancer.

Disliked Full details ->
Lauryl Glucoside Cleansing

Lauryl Glucoside sugar- and lipid-based cleansing agent. It is created from glucose and lauryl alcohol.

Peg-200 Hydrogenated Glyceryl Palmate Cleansing, Emulsifying, Solvent
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Peg-200 Hydrogenated Glyceryl Palmate isn't fungal acne safe.

Disliked Full details ->
Triethanolamine Buffering, Emulsifying, Masking
2 / 0

Triethanolamine is an emulsifier and pH adjuster. It is created using ethylene oxide and ammonia. This gives Triethanolamine a nitrogen core and a similar scent to ammonia.

2 Com. / 0 Irr.
Very Disliked Full details ->
Sodium Chloride Masking
Can worsen Dry Skin IconBad for Acne Prone Skin IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
3 Concerns

Chances are, you eat sodium chloride every day. Sodium Chloride is also known as table salt.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Pentylene Glycol Skin Conditioning, Solvent

Pentylene glycol is typically used within a product to thicken it. It also adds a smooth, soft, and moisturizing feel to the product. It is naturally found in plants such as sugar beets.

Phenoxyethanol Preservative
Preservative Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon

Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that has germicide, antimicrobial, and aromatic properties. Studies show that phenoxyethanol can prevent microbial growth. By itself, it has a scent that is similar to that of a rose.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Peg-7 Glyceryl Cocoate Emulsifying
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Peg-7 Glyceryl Cocoate is created from polyethylene glycol and fatty acids from coconut oil.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Sodium Hydroxide Buffering

Sodium Hydroxide is also known as lye or caustic soda. It is used to adjust the pH of products; many ingredients require a specific pH to be effective.

Citric Acid Buffering, Masking
AHA IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
AHAAHA Icon 4 Benefits 2 Concerns

Citric Acid is an AHA derived from citrus fruits (think oranges, lemons, and limes!).

Disliked Full details ->
Hexylene Glycol Emulsifying, Skin Conditioning, Solvent
0-2 / 0-1

Hexylene Glycol is a surfactant. Glycols are a class of alcohols. Hexylene Glycol is a surfactant and emulsifier.

0-2 Com. / 0-1 Irr.
Disliked Full details ->
Behenyl Alcohol Emollient, Emulsion Stabilising
Fatty Alcohol Icon
Fatty AlcoholFatty Alcohol Icon

A type of fatty alcohol. Fatty Alcohols are most often used as an emollient or to thicken a product. They are usually derived from natural fats and oils and therefore do not have the same drying or irritating effect as traditional alcohols.

Disliked Full details ->
Distearyl Ether Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Distearyl Ether.

Unknown Full details ->
Sodium Benzoate Masking, Preservative
Preservative Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon

Sodium Benzoate is a preservative. It's used in both cosmetic and food products to inhibit the growth of mold and bacteria. It is typically produced synthetically.

Disliked Full details ->
Laureth-2 Cleansing, Emulsifying

We don't have a description for Laureth-2.

Unknown Full details ->
Squalane Emollient, Skin Conditioning
1 / 0 Helps hydrate Dry Skin Icon
Helps hydrate Dry SkinHelps hydrate Dry Skin Icon

Squalane is an emollient that helps the skin hold onto moisture. It's an oily liquid that occurs naturally in certain types of fish and plant oils.

1 Com. / 0 Irr.
Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Oil Skin Conditioning
3 / 0 Oil IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
OilOil Icon Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Oil comes from the sweet almond, a tree native to Iran. This oil has no fragrance and is non-volatile.

3 Com. / 0 Irr.
Disliked Full details ->
Prunus Armeniaca Kernel Oil Masking, Skin Conditioning
1-2 / 0 Oil IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
OilOil Icon Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Prunus Armeniaca Kernel Oil is oil from the kernels of the Apricot, Prunus armeniaca L., Rosaceae. This oil is non-fragrant and non-volatile.

1-2 Com. / 0 Irr.
Tocopherol Antioxidant, Masking, Skin Conditioning
0-3 / 0-3 Vitamin E IconAntioxidant IconHelps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin IconMay cause irritation Icon
Vitamin EVitamin E Icon AntioxidantAntioxidant Icon 4 Benefits May cause irritationMay cause irritation Icon

Tocopherol (also known as Vitamin E) is a common antioxidant used to help protect the skin from free-radicals and strengthen the skin barrier. It's also fat soluble - this means our skin is great at absorbing it.

0-3 Com. / 0-3 Irr.
Ascorbyl Glucoside Antioxidant
Vitamin C IconAntioxidant IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconGood for Skin Texture IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin Icon
Vitamin CVitamin C Icon AntioxidantAntioxidant Icon 6 Benefits

Ascorbyl Glucoside is a stable form of Vitamin C. It is created by combining glucose from starch.

Persea Gratissima Oil Skin Conditioning
0-3 / 0 Oil IconHelps hydrate Dry Skin IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
OilOil Icon Helps hydrate Dry SkinHelps hydrate Dry Skin Icon Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Persea Gratissima Oil is made by pressing dehydrated avocado fruit from the tree Persea gratissima, Lauraceae.

0-3 Com. / 0 Irr.
Disliked Full details ->
Facial Treatment Cleanser
Water Skin Conditioning, Solvent

Water. It's the most common cosmetic ingredient of all. You'll usually see it at the top of ingredient lists, meaning that it makes up the largest part of the product.

Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate Humectant
Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Helps hydrate Dry SkinHelps hydrate Dry Skin Icon Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate (GFF) is a yeast traditionally used to make the Japanese alcoholic beverage, sake.

Butylene Glycol Humectant, Masking, Skin Conditioning
1 / 0

Butylene Glycol (or BG) is used within cosmetic products for a few different reasons:

1 Com. / 0 Irr.
Polysorbate 20 Emulsifying
0 / 0 Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Polysorbate 20 is made by combining ethoxylation of sorbitan, ethylene oxide, and lauric acid. It is a mild cleansing agent, surfactant, and emulsifier.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Very Disliked Full details ->
Glycerin Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
0 / 0 Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps brighten skin Icon
2 Benefits

Glycerin is already naturally found in your skin. It helps moisturize and protect your skin.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Sodium Hyaluronate Humectant, Skin Conditioning
0 / 0 Hyaluronic Acid Icon
Hyaluronic AcidHyaluronic Acid Icon

Sodium Hyaluronate is hyaluronic acid's salt form. It is commonly derived from the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Peg-150 Humectant, Solvent

We don't have a description for Peg-150.

Disliked Full details ->
Cellulose Gum Emulsion Stabilising, Masking
0 / 0

Cellulose Gum is a water-soluble polymer that comes from cellulose. It is used to change the texture of a product and to help stabilize emulsions.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Disodium EDTA

Disodium EDTA plays a role in making products more stable by aiding other preservatives.

Disliked Full details ->
Citric Acid Buffering, Masking
AHA IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
AHAAHA Icon 4 Benefits 2 Concerns

Citric Acid is an AHA derived from citrus fruits (think oranges, lemons, and limes!).

Disliked Full details ->
Salicylic Acid Masking, Preservative, Skin Conditioning
BHA IconPreservative IconGood for Oily Skin IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps fight Acne IconHelps brighten skin IconCan worsen Dry Skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Eczema IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
BHABHA Icon PreservativePreservative Icon 5 Benefits 4 Concerns

Salicylic Acid (also known as beta hydroxy acid or BHA) is one of the most well-known ingredients for treating skin that struggles with blackheads and acne. It helps to exfoliate both the skin's surface and pores, and also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.

Lactic Acid Buffering, Humectant, Skin Conditioning
AHA IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Eczema IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
AHAAHA Icon 6 Benefits 3 Concerns

Lactic Acid is an AHA that is derived from fermenting lactose, a carbohydrate from milk. It removes the top layer of old and dead skin cells and helps increase cell turnover.

Malic Acid Buffering
AHA IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
AHAAHA Icon 4 Benefits 2 Concerns

Malic Acid is an AHA derived from unripe fruit. The word "Malic" comes from the word "Malum". In Latin, "Malum" means apple.

Sodium Citrate Buffering, Masking

Sodium Citrate is the sodium salts of citric acid. In skincare, it is used to alter pH levels and acts as a preservative.

Sodium Benzoate Masking, Preservative
Preservative Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon

Sodium Benzoate is a preservative. It's used in both cosmetic and food products to inhibit the growth of mold and bacteria. It is typically produced synthetically.

Disliked Full details ->
Methylparaben Preservative
0 / 0 Preservative IconParaben IconNon-Reef-Safe IconMay worsen Eczema Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon ParabenParaben Icon 2 Concerns

Methylparaben is a preservative and is a paraben. It is used to prevent the growth of fungus, mold, and other harmful bacteria. Parabens are chemicals used as preservatives in both cosmetics and food.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Very Disliked Full details ->
Salix Alba Bark Extract Astringent, Skin Conditioning, Soothing
Good for Oily Skin Icon
Good for Oily SkinGood for Oily Skin Icon

Salix Alba Bark Extract comes from the white willow tree, which is native to Europe and Central Asia.

Ingredients Explained

These ingredients are found in both products.

Ingredients higher up in an ingredient list are typically present in a larger amount.

Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Loved

Water. It's the most common cosmetic ingredient of all. You'll usually see it at the top of ingredient lists, meaning that it makes up the largest part of the product.

So why is it so popular? Water most often acts as a solvent - this means that it helps dissolve other ingredients into the formulation.

You'll also recognize water as that liquid we all need to stay alive. If you see this, drink a glass of water. Stay hydrated!

Learn more about Water
Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
Loved

Glycerin is already naturally found in your skin. It helps moisturize and protect your skin.

A study from 2016 found glycerin to be more effective as a humectant than AHAs and hyaluronic acid.

As a humectant, it helps the skin stay hydrated by pulling moisture to your skin. The low molecular weight of glycerin allows it to pull moisture into the deeper layers of your skin.

Hydrated skin improves your skin barrier; Your skin barrier helps protect against irritants and bacteria.

Glycerin has also been found to have antimicrobial and antiviral properties. Due to these properties, glycerin is often used in wound and burn treatments.

In cosmetics, glycerin is usually derived from plants such as soybean or palm. However, it can also be sourced from animals, such as tallow or animal fat.

This ingredient is organic, colorless, odorless, and non-toxic.

Glycerin is the name for this ingredient in American English. British English uses Glycerol/Glycerine.

Learn more about Glycerin
Buffering, Masking
Disliked

Citric Acid is an AHA derived from citrus fruits (think oranges, lemons, and limes!).

As an AHA, Citric Acid removes the top layer of skin cells from the newer layer of skin underneath. This helps skin to remove dark spots and even out skin tone.

If you spot Citric Acid near the end of an ingredient list, it's likely there as a pH adjuster rather than an active ingredient.

Read more about some other popular AHA's here:

Learn more about Citric Acid
Masking, Preservative
Disliked

Sodium Benzoate is a preservative. It's used in both cosmetic and food products to inhibit the growth of mold and bacteria. It is typically produced synthetically.

Both the US FDA and EU Health Committee have approved the use of sodium benzoate. In the US, levels of 0.1% (of the total product) are allowed.

Sodium benzoate works as a preservative by inhibiting the growth of bacteria inside of cells. It prevents the cell from fermenting a type of sugar using an enzyme called phosphofructokinase.

Sodium Benzoate is the salt of benzoic acid. Foods containing sodium benzoate include soda, salad dressings, condiments, fruit juices, wines, and snack foods.

Studies for using ascorbic acid and sodium benzoate in cosmetics are lacking, especially in skincare routines with multiple steps.

We always recommend speaking with a professional, such as a dermatologist, if you have any concerns.

Learn more about Sodium Benzoate

Ingredient Ratings

Here's what our community thinks of the ingredients in these products.

Ultra Facial Cleanser
5
5
15
2
liked
mixed
disliked
not rated
Facial Treatment Cleanser
6
5
6
liked
mixed
disliked
not rated

When to use

207 Routines
46% use in am
54% use in pm
95% use every day
When to use See routines that use it ->
24 Routines
46% use in am
54% use in pm
100% use every day

Reviews

Here's what our community thinks

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cleanser 27 ingredients

4.0 /5
from 2 ratings
Works Well (1)
WhimsiLove's avatar

WhimsiLove

4 months ago Β· Normal Skin
Review

Feels like it does well on my skin. No concerns or issues.

Sk-II Facial Treatment Cleanser 17 ingredients

3.0 /5
from 1 rating