This Serum Made My Skin Feel More Hydrated Than Ever

Kiehl's Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum Concentrate

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Until recently, I used hyaluronic acid daily, and it worked—until it didn't. So what next? I'm in a lucky position where beauty is my job, so I did some digging. I asked some beauty friends and beauty contacts and discovered that glycerin is another great ingredient to moisturize the skin from within, as it draws water from the air into the skin's outer layer. Like hyaluronic acid, it's a humectant and forms a protective layer to help prevent moisture loss. Essentially, it draws in moisture whilst simultaneously locking it in, leaving your skin feeling silky smooth.

I'd heard great things about Kiehl's Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum Concentrate, which contains a 15 percent concentration of glycerin as well as shiso leaf extract. What attracted me to this product was that its ingredients help to retain moisture within the skin’s surface layers. Keep scrolling to read my honest review.

Pros + Cons


  • Increases hydration
  • Not greasy/sticky
  • Plumps fine lines
  • Easy to apply


  • Contains silicone
  • Price per ounce is expensive

Bottom Line

The Kiehl's Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum Concentrate will be your new bestie if you have dry, dehydrated skin. It gives you an almost instantaneous skin-plumping effect while erasing fine lines and increasing hydration.

Kiehl's Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum Concentrate

Best for: Dry, dehydrated skin

Uses: Plumps fine lines, increases hydration, softens and smooths rough skin

Star rating: 5/5

Potential allergens: None

Active ingredients: Glycerin, shiso leaf extract

Clean?: Yes

Price: $60

About the brand: Since its humble beginnings in 1851 as a NYC apothecary, Kiehl's has been committed to natural, science-backed formulations that are designed to improve the look and feel of your skin.

Kiehl's Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum Concentrate
Kiehl's Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum Concentrate $60.00

About My Skin

As a longtime sufferer of dehydrated skin, I know the struggles of midday flake (sorry), a lackluster complexion, and makeup that doesn't last past lunchtime. Over the years (and many serum tests), I've learned to feed my skin with hydration boosting products like hyaluronic acid, a super-moisturizing acid that helps the skin to stay plump, wrinkle-free and basically leaves your face feeling baby soft.

The Feel

My first thought when pumping out a pea-sized amount was that it reminded of me the creams and emollients my mom had used on my skin as a child. I had eczema, and I remember the products she used on me feeling super hydrating and amazing (Kiehl's option does, too). It gives me an Aquaphor/Vaseline type vibe, but without the oiliness and greasiness that comes with it. I wasn't expecting it to absorb into my skin quickly because of its heavy texture, but it did so almost immediately. I'm also able to easily layer it under and on top of my other skincare products—but the right order is crucial. If you're wondering, always apply your skincare products from lightest to heaviest. For me, this serum goes towards the end of my routine, before my moisturizer.

Because it contains dimithecone, it has a somewhat slippery texture that also makes it really nice to wear under makeup. It's almost like wearing a super hydrating makeup primer, IMO.

The Ingredients

  • Glycerin: Glycerin is one of those super ingredients—it truly does it all. And as luck would have it, this serum contains a whopping 15 percent of it. Your body already produces it naturally, but if you have dry, dehydrated skin, that usually means you have less of it, so you have to supplement it in your routine. It's a humectant ingredient, so it helps your skin retain moisture and hydration, while protecting it from harmful external factors like dry air and pollution. Oh, and it also strengthens your moisture barrier and are necessary to a healthy moisture balance. Glycerin is suitable for all skin types and doesn't cause any irritation.
  • Shiso leaf extract: Shiso leaf extract (also known as perilla leaf extract) is an ingredient popular in Japanese and Korean skincare products. Its primary function in this formula is to help your skin retain moisture, but it also acts as an antioxidant, protecting your skin from free radical damage. It's chock full of omega-3s, a component that also improves and strengthens your skin's moisture barrier.
  • Dimethicone: Dimethicone is a somewhat controversial ingredient. On one side, you have people who will swear up and down that it clogs pores, causes acne, and doesn't allow your other products to absorb properly into your skin. On the other, you have people say it's absolutely okay to use in skincare products and it doesn't cause any issues. But let's talk facts—dimethicone is an emollient ingredient, which means that it forms a protective layer on the top of your skin, keeping in all of your much needed hydration and moisture, while softening and soothing your skin.

The Results

I've been using it morning and night, and apply it straight after cleansing but before layering my other serums and moisturizer on top. I'm currently using Lumene Nutri-Recharging Revitalizing Serum ($54) and Dr. Dennis Gross's Alpha Beta Exfoliating Moisturiser ($68) followed by SPF, by the way. In just a week, my skin's texture looked less dehydrated, and any traces of fine lines were less visible.

In just a week, my skin's texture looked less dehydrated, and any traces of fine lines were less visible.

I've been using Kiehl’s Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum just over a month now, and I can honestly say my skin looks and feels less dehydrated. After applying it, I'm left with a smooth, even base to apply my makeup products, and the midday-makeup fail just doesn't really happen anymore. The temperature has massively dropped in London, and normally, my skin plays havoc when the weather does, but this year, glycerin is proving to be my savior.

The Value

The Kiehl’s Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum is priced at $60 for a 1.7 ounce bottle, or $78 for a larger, 2.5 ounce bottle. Considering the simple formulation, it is a bit pricey, but at the same time, it definitely delivers results. You only need a pump or at most two per use, so one small bottle should last at least three months or longer. The main question to ask is, "Would I repurchase this?" and I have to say that I 100 percent would.

Similar Products: You have options

Drunk Elephant B-Hydra™ Intensive Hydration Serum: This super serum is formulated with a provitamin B5, another humectant ingredient that traps water beneath the surface of your skin for instant hydration. It's also formulated without silicones, fragrance, and essential oils if that's your thing. At $48, it's a slightly less expensive option to Kiehl's.

CeraVe Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum: If you're looking for a more wallet-friendly option ($14), this one fits the bill. It's formulated with glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin B5 to strengthen and repair your damaged moisture barrier.

Our Verdict

If you've been struggling to hydrate your dry, dehydrated skin, this serum will give you nearly instantaneous results. Yes, it's on the pricey side, but it definitely delivers for skin-plumping, super softening, ultra-hydrating goodness.

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