What A Beautiful World

The Weekly’s Beauty Editor Arissa Ha flew to New York City to experience the birthplace of a brand that’s working to change the way we view beauty.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

It’s not every day that an opportunity to visit New York City comes by, and even less when you’re invited by Kiehl’s, a brand whose history, products, and commitment to Mother Earth weaves a colourful tapestry synonymous with the city’s energy.

Even though it wasn’t my first trip to the Big Apple, joining them for the World of Kiehl’s 2019 event has allowed me to view the city through their eyes and learn exactly what the brand stands for. 

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From the start of the trip, the Kiehl’s welcome was warm and it felt like finally meeting someone you’ve read about for so long and having it exceed all your expectations. As a Beauty Editor, I’ve had the privilege of attending many product launches both locally and overseas; and while it’s the brand’s job to sell you the products they are launching, it seemed almost like Kiehl’s was just happy to have you there with them. They played host and showed us the many sights and sounds of the city, including a helicopter ride which gave me the best view New York has to offer.

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We also visited the original Kiehl’s store which still stands on 109 3rd Avenue and has been there since 1851. Most of the fixtures in the store, including the apothecary drawers and display shelves have been with the store since the start. Its founder John Kiehl started the store as a family run-apothecary and even though it was acquired by the L’Oréal Group in 2000, the brand remains very much true to its roots, offering efficacious products with no-frills packaging, and a group of dedicated and trained customer service representatives who seek to recommend products that work best for your skin. 

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Beauty Editor Arissa Ha with Cheryl Vitali, the General Manager of Kiehl's Worldwide. 

From a business perspective, Singapore’s market probably only makes up a speck of Kiehl’s annual revenue, but Cheryl Vitali, the General Manager of Kiehl’s Worldwide, took her time to introduce herself and check in on our experience at the event. Her warmth lit up the cold spring night, and the same emanated from the rest of the Kiehl’s team who were just as hospitable. 

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Avocado, marigold, ginger leaf, hibiscus, aloe vera and cucumber make up just some of the ingredients in our favourite Kiehl’s products. Drawing on their apothecary roots, they often look to nature for some of their most efficacious ingredients. We were treated to the preview of two new product launches during the two-day event – the Avocado Nourishing Hydration Mask and the Calendula Serum-Infused Water Cream. The former, a hydration mask with a whipped, creamy texture that’s slated for launch in October and the latter, a lightweight moisturiser that completes the Calendula family.

However, they’re not just about formulating potent products with the use of great natural ingredients either – skin has to love them! Their Dermatologist Solutions range was launched in 2005 and offering targeted remedies for those with specific skin concerns. Backed by a panel of dermatologists from all over the world, including New York, South Korea, Switzerland and Brazil, they play key roles in working with researchers from Kiehl’s to formulate products that are powerful, yet gentle on skin. 

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Kiehl's launched the Calendula Serum-Infused Water Cream and also gave us a sneak preview of the Avocado Nourishing Hydration Mask. 


Kiehl’s is not content with just offering good products – their “Made Better” initiative marks their dedication to using sustainably-sourced ingredients, recycled materials for their packaging and also contributing towards community causes through philanthropic efforts.

The Made Better event helped me understand this commitment through an interactive tour which explained the origin of the ingredients in their most iconic products, including ginger leaf in the Ginger Leaf & Hibiscus Firming Mask and the Amazonian White Clay Found in the Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Mask. Their aim is to increase the percentage of sustainably sourced raw materials for their formulas and to include more naturally-derived ingredients in their products. 

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The Kiehl's Made Better event took us through a visual and sensory journey of the steps they take to give back to the community and the environment.

Besides the formulas, Kiehl’s also encourages customers to reuse or recycle their empties through a rewards programme. Currently, 84 per cent of Kiehl’s products contains post-consumer recycled materials, which means your empty bottles might end up back on the shelves someday.

It was definitely eye-opening to see a huge beauty brand like Kiehl’s take a stance for the environment. We don’t know what the future holds, but if it were up to Kiehl’s they will definitely make it better.