Editors’ Moisturiser Must-Haves

Kickstart 2019 with glowing, radiant skin. The first step? Finding the right moisturiser… here’s how.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

The Weekly team has the luxury of testing the latest in skincare innovation and technology. So we asked Editor-in-Chief Barbara Koh and Senior Beauty Writer Arissa Ha what they look for in a moisturiser, and see how the Ultra Facial Cream, the No. 1 bestselling product for Kiehl’s, measures up. 

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Criteria #1

Barbara: “I look at the ingredients that go into the product. As I am looking for a moisturiser, and a long-lasting one at that, there needs to be key ingredients that will hydrate as well as repair and strengthen skin.”

The Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream Test: The new ultra-clean formula has been designed to give 2.3 times more hydration, even on the skin’s driest areas. And it contains two key ingredients that provide water replenishment by absorbing moisture from the air for 24- hour continuous comfort.

GLACIAL GLYCOPROTEIN This glycol protein is derived during the fermentation process of a microorganism found off the coast of Antarctica. Antarticine is the ferment that is extracted from this microorganism and has been found to have hydrating properties, even in cold temperatures. Yet, it helps prevent water loss, in hot, dry temperatures. So, you usually have to pack a different moisturiser when you’re travelling to a cooler climate, but with the Ultra Facial Cream, you won’t have to. It’s suitable for our warm temperatures, but works just as well in dry climes (think Icelandic winters).

OLIVE-DERIVED SQUALANE This super-moisturising oil strengthens and restores the skin’s moisture barrier. When the barrier is weak, the skin can’t hold on well to moisture and tends to get irritated easily. Squalane is a botanical lipid that’s derived from the olive fruit, and it is similar in molecular structure to natural skin lipids or natural fats. These are important in helping protect the skin barrier and help maintain moisture, so skin is softer, smoother and healthier.

Criteria #2

Arissa: “I read ingredient labels as I look for safe products and want to maintain my skin health. So it’s important there aren’t irritants or preservatives in the formula.”

The Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream Test: With growing customer concerns around parabens and preservatives that may cause skin to be sensitised, Kiehl’s chemists worked at rebalancing the formula of the Ultra Facial Cream, their #1 cult product which was launched 13 years ago. The ultra-clean formula now contains no parabens; no carbamide or urea, a skin-irritating exfoliator; and no Triethanolamine (TEA), a pH balancer that may trigger allergic reactions.

Criteria #3

Barbara: “I have dryness on certain parts of my face, between my brows, my nose bridge and around my mouth and lower cheek area. I need my moisturiser to be able to be hardworking to be able to lock in moisture and keep skin hydrated through the day so that dry cracks won’t show through my makeup. But I also don’t want something that is so heavy that makeup just glides off!”

The Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream Test: This ultra-hydrator provides replenishment of moisture through the day by absorbing moisture from the air. Kiehl’s chemists worked at balancing the effectiveness of the two powerful ingredients so that the formula cleverly adjusts to your skin’s natural oil-water balance, for lastingly hydrated skin.

Criteria #4

Arissa: “Texture is very important for me. That’s why I make sure to try out the product before I buy – or get a sample and test it out for a few days. One tip I use: I apply the product on the back of my hand and let it sit for one to two hours. Then I do the handwash test to see if the product has been properly absorbed or just sits on the surface.”

The Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream Test: With a lightweight and non-greasy texture, this moisturiser is suitable for everyday use. Its unique texture results from carefully selecting and balancing the key ingredients, and a special sugar-based emulsifier gives the cream that “fresh break” feel. So, as the cream is absorbed, you get a fresh, moisturising sensation without the stickiness. Kiehl’s has a try-before-you-buy philosophy, so you can pop into a store and pick up a sample or sign up for one at https://bit.ly/2019ufc

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Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream, the brand’s No. 1 bestselling product, has been reformulated without parabens and urea.

Criteria #5

Barbara: “I won’t just take anyone’s claims of a product’s effectiveness. I want to see proof through proper research findings that it really works.”

The Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream Test: With the new formula, Kiehl’s chemists took the opportunity to improve their hydration testing. Based on clinical results, facial skin was found to be 2.3 times more hydrated after just one application – even in the driest areas. Typical tests tend to measure only one area on the face, which provides an incomplete picture of one’s hydration needs. Kiehl’s new hydration test, using a comeometer, took measurements of 60 points on the face, and the 3D map results provide a clearer picture of the cream’s effectiveness, showing the quality of hydration across the whole face (in blue), including driest areas on the forehead, cheek and jaw area (in orange). The study was run in low humidity settings on 25 subjects.

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Criteria #6

Arissa: “My skin can be quite sensitive, so I want my skincare to be dermatologically tested.”

The Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream Test: The improved formula was tested on 41 subjects who had sensitive/reactive skin over four weeks. The product was tested to see if it was well tolerated by sensitive skin, tested for irritation, and there were daily sensitivity tests conducted as well. And 100 per cent of the panel said the Ultra Facial Cream was suitable for their skin type, and that it felt gentle and comfortable.

The new, ultra-clean Ultra Facial Cream, at $52 (50 ml) and $95 (limited edition jumbo size, 125 ml), will be available from January 1, 2019. To try it for yourself, visit https://bit.ly/2019ufc for your free sample!


10 The number of Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream jars sold per minute, making it the No. 1 bestselling face cream for the brand.

114 The number of formulations Kiehl’s chemists made over five years to arrive at the new all-clean formula.

200,000+ The number of online rave reviews Ultra Facial Cream has garnered since its launch in 2006.