I was a Kiehl's devotee for most of my twenties. Kiehl's is an 160 year old apothecary which originated in New York City's East Village. Their effective, reasonably priced (in the wacky world of skincare) products have a cult following, and for a long time I was a member, loving their simple Ultra Facial Moisturizer and thick and delicious Abyssine Cream the most. And don't even get me started on the Ultimate Strength Hand Salve or Lip Balm #1: pure genius and best in class, the both of 'em.
However, since I've been a mama and an all around more informed consumer, I've developed an obsession with all natural skin and hair care products. All it takes is an hour spent on the Environmental Working Group website to be pretty well-convinced that paraben and chemical-free products are the best and safest way to go. Sadly and weirdly, this is not the case with most Kiehl's products. In fact, some of my old faves contain such yummy ingredients as PEG100 Sterate, an actual known carcinogen. Why? We can and should be able to do better for our skin, which is after all our largest organ and the part we present to the world. So, I've bailed on Kiehl's and moved on to brands I can trust, like Dr. Hauschka, Yes to Carrots, and California Baby for the little guy.
Recently, though, Kiehl's introduced a single line of Certified Organic, paraben and silicon-free products in their Açaí line. I was eager to try out one of these products just to see how Kiehl's does organics, and also to show them that there is a market for these superior products. I usually go super low-budget on my cleanser ($9.99 huge bottle of Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Castille Soap from Trader Joe's, to be specific), but this winter my skin has been freaking.out., so I decided to try the Açaí Damage-Minimizing Cleanser as a stopgap measure.
I LOVE this cleanser. It is gentle and non-irritating, yet totally effective. I am one of those people who usually needs some sort of really gritty and aggressive scrub or something as bracing as the pure peppermint oil in my Dr. Bronner's to feel like my skin is getting truly clean. I think as my skin ages, though, these intense-feeling options are getting to be too rough for my delicate facial skin. Still, I need any product I add to my regimen to be reasonably priced and super-effective in order to be considered worthwhile. This Açaí Cleanser totally fits the bill, leaving my face feeling more fresh and clean than any other scrub I've tried, but without that tightening, drying feeling you often get from scrubs or toners. A bottle costs $24.50, and my first one was actually a gift, but I've been using it daily for about eight weeks, and I've barely made a dent into a third of the bottle, due to the great foam-pump dispenser. The bottle is on track to last at least half the year, and I'd say that's a great investment. I also love the fragrance of the cleanser, which is slightly citrusy and floral, but not at all fake or cloying. My irritated winter skin has finally stopped wigging out, and this cleanser even gets off make up without additional help from makeup remover or even a washcloth. Good stuff.
I hope that classic companies like Kiehl's will continue to convert their product lines to more organic, healthy options like this Açaí one and I hope that through the use of our consumer dollars we can show them that the market demands these high quality, non-toxic options for our precious skin. If you're in the market for a new cleanser, give this one a try. And definitely pay a visit to the EWG website if you haven't already. Knowledge is power and our bodies deserve the very best!