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Kiehl's Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream Ingredients Explained

4.3   from 3 ratings
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Updated on July 14, 2023 Submitted by LaviniaSuciu_28

Overview

What it is

General moisturizer with 22 ingredients that contains BHA and Vitamin E

Cool Features

It is fungal acne (malassezia) safe and reef safe

Suited For

It has ingredients that are good for fighting acne, dry skin and brightening skin

Free From

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

Fun facts

Kiehl's is from United States. This product is used in 126 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.

You should know

Here's our breakdown of the notable ingredients, benefits, and concerns we determined from the ingredients in this product. Click any item to learn more.

Notable Ingredients

BHA
Vitamin E

Benefits

Hydrating
Acne Fighting
Brightening (3)

Concerns

Irritating
Rosacea
Eczema

Ingredient Info

Click any item below to learn more and view relevant ingredients.
alcohol-free
silicon-free
fragrance-free
sulfate-free
paraben-free
oil-free
fungal-acne safe
reef-safe
eu-allergen-free
vegan
cruelty-free

Ingredients Overview

Here's our quick-to-read summary of the ingredients in this product. Keep scrolling if you'd like to learn more about what each ingredient does!
Ingredient
Features
1
Skin Conditioning, Solvent
2
Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting, Solvent
0 / 0
Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps brighten skin Icon
3
Solvent
4
Emollient, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
1 / 0
Silicon Icon
5
Emollient, Skin Conditioning
6
Buffering
7
Preservative
Preservative Icon
8
Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming
1 / 0
9
Humectant, Masking, Skin Conditioning, Solvent
1 / 0
10
Antimicrobial, Preservative
Preservative Icon
11
Emollient, Humectant, Skin Conditioning
12
Emollient, Moisturising
13
Buffering
14
Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming, Skin Conditioning
15
Skin Conditioning, Solvent
16
17
Antioxidant, Skin Conditioning
0 / 0
Vitamin E IconAntioxidant IconHelps brighten skin Icon
18
Masking, Refreshing
May cause irritation Icon
19
Humectant
20
Skin Conditioning
21
Skin Conditioning
22
Masking, Preservative, Skin Conditioning
BHA IconPreservative IconCan worsen Dry Skin IconGood for Oily Skin IconMay cause irritation IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps fight Acne IconMay worsen Eczema IconMay worsen Rosacea IconHelps brighten skin Icon

Ingredients Explained

This product contains 22 ingredients. Click on any ingredient to learn more about it
1
What it does: Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Community Rating: 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. Talk about multi-purpose! If you see this, drink a glass of water. Stay hydrated!

Learn more about Water
2
What it does: Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting, Solvent
Community Rating: 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
3
What it does: Solvent
Community Rating: Liked

Propanediol helps absorb ingredients into your skin, boosting their benefits. It can act as an emollient, making your skin softer. Propanediol can help products last longer by boosting the properties of preservatives within the formulation.

Propanediol is not likely to cause sensitivity and considered safe to use.

It is derived from corn or petroleum with a clear color and no scent.

Learn more about Propanediol
4
What it does: Emollient, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Dimethicone is a silicone used for making products smooth and silky. It also has the added benefit of sealing in hydration. The amount of dimethicone found in beauty products is considered safe and non-comedogenic, meaning it won't clog pores.

Dimethicone has been found increase absorption in skin, boosting the benefits of other ingredients. While there is concern for the safety of dimethicone, the levels used in skincare are safe for use.

5
What it does: Emollient, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Liked

Isononyl Isononanoate is a synthetic skin-conditioner and texture enhancer. It is created from nonanoic acid, a fatty acid found in cocoa and lavender oil.

As an emollient, Isononyl Isononanoate helps keep your skin soft and smooth. This is because emollients create a barrier on the skin to trap moisture in.

Isononyl Isononanoate helps give products a velvet feel and improves spreadability.

Learn more about Isononyl Isononanoate
6
What it does: Buffering
Community Rating: Liked

We don't have a description for Hydroxyethylpiperazine Ethane Sulfonic Acid.

7
What it does: Preservative
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that has germicide, antimicrobial, and aromatic properties. Studies show that phenoxyethanol can prevent germ and 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.

8
What it does: Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming
Community Rating: Disliked

Carbomer is a polymer of acrylic acid. Its main role is to create gel consistency within products.

Carbomer is commonly found in many types of cosmetics products. It is found to be safe in concentrations up to 15%. However, a high amount of carbomer can cause pilling or balling up of products. Most products contain 1% of less of carbomer.

9
What it does: Humectant, Masking, Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Community Rating: Mixed

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

  • It is a solvent, meaning that it helps to dissolve other ingredients. This also enhances the absorption of the product into one's skin.
  • It is a humectant, which means that it helps attract moisture into the skin.
  • It helps improve product application.

Overall, Butylene Glycol is a safe and well-rounded ingredient. It is unlikely to irritate skin, and works well with pretty much all other ingredients.

10
What it does: Antimicrobial, Preservative
Community Rating: Disliked

Chlorphenesin is a synthetic preservative. It helps protect a product against bacteria in order to extend shelf life. In most cases, Chlorphenesin is paired with other preservatives such as phenoxyethanol and caprylyl glycol.

Chlorphenesin is a biocide. This means it is able to help fight the microorganisms on our skin. It is also able to fight odor-releasing bacteria.

Chlorphenesin is soluble in both water and glycerin.

Studies show Chlorphenesin is easily absorbed by our skin. You should speak with a skincare professional if you have concerns about using Chlorphenesin.

Learn more about Chlorphenesin
11
What it does: Emollient, Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Liked

Caprylyl Glycol is a humectant and emollient, meaning it attracts and preserves moisture.

It is a common ingredient in many products, especially those designed to hydrate skin. The primary benefits are retaining moisture, skin softening, and promoting a healthy skin barrier.

Though Caprylyl Glycol is an alcohol derived from fatty acids, it is not the kind that can dry out skin.

This ingredient is also used as a preservative to extend the life of products. It has slight antimicrobial properties.

Learn more about Caprylyl Glycol
12
What it does: Emollient, Moisturising
Community Rating: Disliked

Dimethiconol is a silicone that resembles the popular dimethicone. Like other silicones, it is an emollient. Emollients create a thin film on skin to prevent moisture from escaping.

This ingredient helps to create a silky texture and improve spreadability. Due to its high molecular weight and thickness, it is often combined with cyclopentasiloxane.

13
What it does: Buffering
Community Rating: 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
14
What it does: Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Disliked

Xanthan gum is used as a stabilizer and thickener within cosmetic products. It helps give products a sticky, thick feeling - preventing them from being too runny.

On the technical side of things, xanthan gum is a polysaccharide - a combination consisting of multiple sugar molecules bonded together.

Xanthan gum is a pretty common and great ingredient. It is a natural, non-toxic, non-irritating ingredient that is also commonly used in food products.

Learn more about Xanthan Gum
15
What it does: Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Community Rating: 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
16
What it does:
Community Rating: Disliked

Tetrasodium EDTA is the salt formed from neutralizing ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid with sodium hydroxide. It is a chelating agent and used to prevent metal ions from binding to other ingredients. This helps keep the product and ingredients stable.

Tetrasodium EDTA comes as a white solid and is soluble in water.

17
What it does: Antioxidant, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Liked

Tocopheryl Acetate is AKA Vitamin E. It is an antioxidant and protects your skin from free radicals. Free radicals damage the skin by breaking down collagen.

One study found using Tocopheryl Acetate with Vitamin C decreased the number of sunburned cells.

Tocopheryl Acetate is commonly found in both skincare and dietary supplements.

Learn more about Tocopheryl Acetate
18
What it does: Masking, Refreshing

Menthoxypropanediol can cause irritation.

19
What it does: Humectant
Community Rating: Disliked

We don't have a description for Pseudoalteromonas Ferment Extract.

20
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Liked

Biosaccharide Gum-1 is a sugar created from fermented sorbitol. Most sorbitol is made from potato starch.

This ingredient is a a skin conditioning ingredient and helps moisturize the skin.

It is also naturally found in fruits such as apples and pears.

Learn more about Biosaccharide Gum-1
21
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Sarcosine is a skin conditioning ingredient. It is a synthetic amino acid.

It is an intermediate and byproduct in glycine synthesis and degradation. Glycine is an amino acid naturally found in our skin.

22
What it does: Masking, Preservative, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Liked

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.

This multitasking property makes it a great ingredient for cleaning out pores, controlling oil production, and reducing inflammation.

Unlike AHAs which are water soluble, Salicylic Acid is oil soluble. This means that it's able to exfoliate the inside of pores and reduce blackheads.

Concentrations of 0.5-2% are recognized by the U.S. FDA as an over-the-counter topical acne product.

It can cause irritation and/or dryness if one's skin already has a compromised moisture barrier, so it's best to focus on repairing that before introducing a Salicylic Acid into your routine.

In general, Salicylic Acid is a great ingredient for oily acne-prone skin.

While salicylic acid does not increase sun-sensitivity, we still recommend wearing SPF.

If you are looking for the ingredient called BHA or Butylated Hydroxyanisole, click here.

Learn more about Salicylic Acid
Embed Ingredients

Here's what our community thinks of the 22 ingredients in this product ✨

45% are loved or liked
14% have mixed ratings
36% are disliked or very disliked
5% have no rating yet

When to use

We've created a guide with info on when you should use Kiehl's Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream. We've also included some recommended products to use it with, as well as some routine inspiration!

Read our guide on when to use Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream ->
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The data we've presented on this page has been verified by a member of the SkinSort Team.

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Reviews

4.3 /5
from 3 ratings
MeaganClare's avatar

MeaganClare

1 year ago Β· Combination Skin
Review

Great moisturizer for summer
This cream is great for oily skin. I discontinued using this as I needed a more powerful moisturizer to repair my...

Great moisturizer for summer
This cream is great for oily skin. I discontinued using this as I needed a more powerful moisturizer to repair my skin's moisture barrier, but I think it will be great in the summer and for those without the same issue with chemically drying their skin's top layer, lol

TinaVidovic_79's avatar

TinaVidovic_79

8 months ago Β· Unsure Skin
Review

not too greasy, well under makeup, skin loves it