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Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cleanser Ingredients Explained

Face Cleanser
4.0   (2 ratings)
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Updated on July 18, 2023

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Overview

What it is

Face cleanser with 27 ingredients that contains Vitamin C and Vitamin E

Cool Features

It is reef safe

Suited For

It has ingredients that are good for dry skin and brightening skin

Free From

It doesn't contain any harsh alcohols, common allergens, fragrances, parabens or silicones

Fun facts

Kiehl's is from United States. This product is used in 201 routines created by our community.

We independently verify ingredients and our claims are backed by peer-reviewed research. Does this product need an update? Let us know.

Face cleanser with 27 ingredients that contains Vitamin C and Vitamin E

Quick info

You should know

Notable Ingredients

Benefits

Concerns

Ingredients 27

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 ->

Ingredient Ratings

Based on the number of likes and dislikes each ingredient has received.

5
5
15
2
liked
mixed
disliked
not rated

Ingredients Explained

This product contains 27 ingredients. Click on any ingredient to learn more about it
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
Cleansing, Emulsifying, Foaming
Very Disliked

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.

SLES helps create foam in personal products. It also prevents ingredients from separating, helping to elongate the shelf life.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate is a type of sulfate. It can be drying. We recommend speaking with a professional about using this ingredient if you have concerns.

Learn more about Sodium Laureth Sulfate
Cleansing, Emulsion Stabilising
Mixed

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

It is created by reacting glucose with the fatty acids from plants.

Decyl Glucoside also helps stabilize the ingredients in a product by preventing them from separating.

This ingredient is biodegradable and non-toxic. This ingredient is commonly found in baby shampoos.

Decyl Glucoside is sometimes used to stabilize the UV filter Tinosorb.

Learn more about Decyl Glucoside
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
Cleansing
Disliked

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.

Cocamidopropyl Betaine is a surfactant and cleanser. It helps gather the dirt, pollutants, and other impurities in your skin to be washed away. It also helps thicken a product and make the texture more creamy.

Being created from coconut oil means Cocamidopropyl Betaine is hydrating for the skin.

While Cocamidopropyl Betaine was believed to be an allergen, a study from 2012 disproved this. It found two compounds in unpure Cocamidopropyl Betaine to be the irritants: aminoamide and 3-dimethylaminopropylamine. High-grade and pure Cocamidopropyl Betaine did not induce allergic reactions during this study.

Learn more about Cocamidopropyl Betaine
Cleansing, Skin Conditioning
Disliked

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

Surfactants help rinse oil, dirt, and other pollutants easily from skin. It has a faint fruit-like scent.

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

After applied, Acrylates Copolymer forms a thin film cover that helps skin feel more soft. It can help sunscreens become more water-resistant.

It is also used to make a product more thick.

Learn more about Acrylates Copolymer
Cleansing
Mixed

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

Lauryl Glucoside makes it easier to rinse oil, dirt, and other polluants away.

A British study found lauryl glucoside to cause skin sensitivity for some people. We recommend speaking with a professional if you have concerns.

Learn more about Lauryl Glucoside
Cleansing, Emulsifying, Solvent
Disliked

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

Buffering, Emulsifying, Masking
Very Disliked

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.

As an emulsifier, it prevents ingredients from separating and enhances texture by adding volume to a product.

PH adjusters are common in cosmetic products. The pH of a product can affect the effectiveness of other ingredients. A product with a high pH may also irritate the skin.

Learn more about Triethanolamine
Masking
Very Disliked

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

This ingredient has many purposes in skincare: thickener, emulsifier, and exfoliator.

You'll most likely find this ingredient in cleansers where it is used to create a gel-like texture. As an emulsifier, it also prevents ingredients from separating.

There is much debate on whether this ingredient is comedogenic. The short answer - comedogenic ratings don't tell the whole story. Learn more about comegodenic ratings here.

The concensus about this ingredient causing acne seems to be divided. Research is needed to understand if this ingredient does cause acne.

Scrubs may use salt as the primary exfoliating ingredient.

Learn more about Sodium Chloride
Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Mixed

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.

The hydrophilic trait of Pentylene Glycol makes it a humectant. As a humectant, Pentylene Glycol helps draw moisture from the air to your skin. This can help keep your skin hydrated.

This property also makes Pentylene Glycol a great texture enhancer. It can help thicken or emulsify a product. Emulsifiers help stabilize a product. It does this by preventing certain ingredients from separating.

Pentylene Glycol also acts as a mild preservative and helps to keep a product microbe-free.

Some people may experience mild eye and skin irritation from Pentylene Glycol. We always recommend speaking with a professional about using this ingredient in your routine.

Pentylene Glycol has a low molecular weight and is part of the 1,2-glycol family.

Learn more about Pentylene Glycol
Preservative
Very Disliked

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.

It's often used in formulations along with Caprylyl Glycol to preserve the shelf life of products.

Emulsifying
Very Disliked

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

It is a synthetic polymer with emulsifying and cleansing properties.

As an emulsifier, Peg-7 Glyceryl Cocoate prevents ingredients such as oils and water from separating. It also helps rinse away oils, dirt, and pollutants from skin.

Peg-7 Glyceryl Cocoate may not be fungal acne safe. It can also dry out skin.

Learn more about Peg-7 Glyceryl Cocoate
Buffering
Mixed

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.

In small amounts, sodium hydroxide is considered safe to use. However, large amounts may cause chemical burns due to its high alkaline.

Your skin has a natural pH and acid mantle. This acid mantle helps prevent harmful bacteria from breaking through. The acid mantle also helps keep your skin hydrated.

"Alkaline" refers to a high pH level. A low pH level would be considered acidic.

Learn more about Sodium Hydroxide
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
Emulsifying, Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Disliked

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

As a surfactant, Hexylene Glycol helps gather dirt and oil on your skin to be washed away.

As an emulsifier, Hexylene Glycol helps keep water and oil together. This prevents them from separating in a product. Hexylene Glycol also thins out the texture of a product by lessening viscosity.

Hexylene Glycol has a small molecular weight.

Learn more about Hexylene Glycol
Emollient, Emulsion Stabilising
Disliked

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.

Emollients help keep your skin soft and hydrated by creating a film that traps moisture in.

Behenyl Alcohol is usually derived from the fats in vegetable oils.

In 2000, Behenyl Alcohol was approved by the US as medicine to reduce the duration of cold sores.

Learn more about Behenyl Alcohol
Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Distearyl Ether.

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
Cleansing, Emulsifying

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

Emollient, Skin Conditioning
Loved

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.

Because squalane boosts hydration in the skin, it also comes with plenty of benefits: it is an antioxidant and can help fight free radicals and skin damage. Squalane is also found to have a detoxifying effect when applied.

Squalane comes from squalene, which occurs naturally within the sebum of our skin. It is one of the oils our skin produces to keep itself hydrated. Squalane is the hydrogenated version of squalene and has a longer shelf life.

Research shows that squalane is non-irritating (even at 100% concentration).

In general, it's a fantastic ingredient. It does a great job at hydrating the skin, and it's suitable for those with sensitive skin.

The source of squalane may impact malassezia / fungal acne. This is because olive oil derived squalane can contain impurities such as fatty acids and plant waxes. Sugarcane derived squalane is recommended for anyone with malassezia concerns.

Is squalane vegan?

This depends on the source. Squalane can be derived from both plants and animals. Most squalane used in skincare comes from plants.

Please note: the source of squalane is only known if disclosed by the brand. We recommend reaching out to the brand if you have any questions about their squalane.

Read more about squalene with an "e".

Learn more about Squalane
Skin Conditioning
Disliked

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

Almonds contain healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. It is a rich source of Vitamin E, a great antioxidant and skin conditioning ingredient. Sweet almond oil contains fatty acids such as linolenic acid and triglycerides.

The content of sweet almond oil makes it a great emollient; it can help soften and hydrate your skin. Emollients create a barrier over your skin to trap moisture in. Sweet almond oil has antioxidant properties. This may help with anti-aging, as antioxidants help fight free-radicals. Free-radicals are unstable molecules that may damage your skin's cells.

Those with an almond allergy should be careful of this ingredient and speak with a professional about using it in your skincare.

This ingredient may not be fungal-acne safe.

Learn more about Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Oil
Masking, Skin Conditioning
Mixed

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

Apricot Kernel Oil is an emollient and helps soften skin. This is due to its fatty acid components. Some of these fatty acids include linoleic and oleic acid.

Apricot Kernel Oil also has antioxidant properties from Vitamins A, C, and E. Antioxidants help fight free-radicals. Free-radicals are molecules that may damage your skin cells. Besides being antioxidants, these vitamins provide plenty of skin benefits as well.

Learn more about Prunus Armeniaca Kernel Oil
Antioxidant, Masking, Skin Conditioning
Liked

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.

Vitamin E also helps keep your natural skin lipids healthy. Your lipid skin barrier naturally consists of lipids, ceramides, and fatty acids. Vitamin E offers extra protection for your skin’s lipid barrier, keeping your skin healthy and nourished.

Another benefit is a bit of UV protection. Vitamin E helps reduce the damage caused by UVB rays. (It should not replace your sunscreen). Combining it with Vitamin C can decrease sunburned cells and hyperpigmentation after UV exposure.

You might have noticed Vitamin E + C often paired together. This is because it is great at stabilizing Vitamin C. Using the two together helps increase the effectiveness of both ingredients.

There are often claims that Vitamin E can reduce/prevent scarring, but these claims haven't been confirmed by scientific research.

Learn more about Tocopherol
Antioxidant
Liked

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

When applied to skin, Ascorbyl Glucoside turns into Ascorbic Acid.

Ascorbyl Glucoside is an antioxidant. Antioxidants help fight free-radicals, or molecules that may damage skin cells.

It can help to reduce redness, improve skin texture, reduce the effects of aging, reduce the visibility of dark spots, and brighten skin.

Read more about other types of Vitamin C:

Learn more about Ascorbyl Glucoside
Skin Conditioning
Disliked

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

Avocado Oil has antioxidant properties. Antioxidants help fight off free-radicals. Free-radicals are molecules that may damage your skin cells.

Avocado Oil is mostly made up of the glycerides of fatty acids. About 67% of these fatty acids is made up of oleic acid. Palmitic acid and linoleic acid are also present.

These fatty acids help hydrate and soften the skin. It may increase collagen content in the skin. Collagen helps keep your skin plump and firm.

Avocado Oil reduces inflammation and has not shown to clog glands.

Avocados also have B vitamins, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin E, and potassium.

Learn more about Persea Gratissima Oil

Reviews

4.0
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.

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