As iconic as the blue New York Yankees cap, New York also has a legend in the skincare world—none other than Kiehl's. While the brand started from humble roots as an apothecary more than a century ago, it's risen meteorically over the past decade for its approachable and reliable skincare products. When you walk into a Kiehl's store, you'll find salespeople in white lab coats ready to analyze your skincare needs and help you choose products from a wide selection.
Over the years, Kiehl’s has reached iconic status thanks to products like its Creme de Corps, which we're told is one of its best sellers across the board. But while the brand truly has something for everyone, today we're taking a deep dive into its men's skincare line, which is full of products intended to foster healthy and balanced skin by addressing the needs this group is most likely to have. Keep reading to learn all about Kiehl's men's skincare, including the best products that you just may want to consider adding to your medicine cabinet for your daily regimen.
Founded: By John Kiehl, in 1851.
Based in: New York City, where operations continue to run out of the West Village office.
Best known for: Straightforward products promising “Healthy Skin For All” that combine science with herbal ingredients tracing back to the brand's apothecary roots.
Most popular products: Facial Fuel Daily Energizing Moisturizer, Age Defender Moisturizer, Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream
Fun fact: In 2003, Mayor Michael Bloomberg declared November 12 to be "Kiehl's Day," in recognition of the bath and beauty store's contributions to keeping local history alive. The original store happens to sit on the former site of Dutch Governor Stuyvesant's 1647 farm.
Other brands you’ll love: Oars and Alps, Jack Black, Aesop
Kiehl’s was founded in New York’s East Village neighborhood over 170 years ago and continues to be a city mainstay to this day. According to the brand, its line of products is the result of cosmetic, pharmaceutical, herbal, and medicinal knowledge, developed and advanced throughout the generations. Kiehl's creates products for everyday needs with minimal packaging and transparent ingredients. While many of the brand's products are unisex, including bestsellers like Creme de Corps and Ultra Facial Cream, you'll also find products specifically formulated for men in the Kiehl’s Age Defender and Facial Fuel lines.
Beyond packaging, men and women do have different skincare needs, as well as tastes in product scents and consistency. “Men and women’s skincare needs differ due to biological differences in skin composition and physical characteristics,” according to Nancy Ilaya, Ph.D., Kiehl’s scientific director. “Men’s skin requires special care in the beard area, as facial grooming can leave the area exposed to irritation from shaving and vulnerable to ingrown hairs,” she explains. “Men tend to have thicker and oilier skin and are less prone to dryness, driven by androgens (male hormones), whereas in women, estrogen has the opposite effect, decreasing sebum output and change cyclically. Because of these differences, they require products that address their skin’s unique needs.”
And what about differences in preference around product packaging, composition, and scent? “When it comes to how a product looks and feels, texture and sensorial profiles differ,” Ilaya tells us. “Men’s skincare products tend to be more functional in terms of packaging, regimen, ingredients, and lighter weight in texture with more traditional formats—gels, gel creams, lotions; and masculine in terms of sensorial cues.” All that being said, while these products are marketed to men, they're great for anyone to try if you think they fit your skincare needs.
Ahead, discover the best Kiehl’s men's skincare products that should be mainstays in your bathroom cabinet.
Facial Fuel Energizing Moisturizer for Men
Unlike other moisturizers in the market, which can often feel more emollient, this moisturizer is light with no greasy residue. It feels cooling on the skin, which can be a welcome relief after shaving. The formula includes vitamin C, caffeine, and chestnut extract, ingredients known to boost firmness and radiance. The product has a subtle, clean herbal scent that won’t interfere with your cologne or scented aftershave of choice.
Age Defender Moisturizer
A top seller for the brand, this formulation contains ingredients such as capryloyl salicylic acid, which can help with exfoliation for smoother, more glowing skin. Even though this product is a cream, it goes on light and manages to nourish skin without any sort of heavy feeling. With this moisturizer, consistent use is key in order to achieve the best results.
Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream
A friend and fellow beauty writer introduced me to this product. Although it's marketed to men, she would use it to shave her legs and armpits due to its high lubrication and cooling ingredients that desensitize skin from shaving friction. Ever since, this product has been in my arsenal—it's one of my favorite products in the shave series. The line also has three other options, but I’ve been using this one lately because it's rich enough for the blade to glide without getting clogged, and it doesn’t clog my pores, either. This formula, which feels more like a lotion than a cream, helps to prevent redness and irritation thanks to aloe vera.
Nourishing Beard Grooming Oil
This earthy, versatile solution helps to soften the beard thanks to essential oils, which are highly effective in moisturizing and nourishing the skin. I personally can’t grow a beard, but when I go a few days without shaving, my face can get easily irritated once I do take the time to shave. Whenever I’m looking for a closer shave, I start with this oil over other pre-shave options because of its moisture content and ability to to prep my skin effectively.
Ultimate Man Body Scrub Soap
This is not your average bar of soap. It takes things to the next level with oat bran, oat kernel meal, and pumice, which work together to slough off dead skin, revealing a complexion that's smoother and softer to the touch. Starting your routine with this soap also helps other products to penetrate the skin more effectively. The formula isn't moisturizing and can leave your skin feeling a bit dry, but that's easy enough to remedy with your favorite lotion or oil. This bar soap has a cult following, so don’t be surprised if it's sold out when you go to purchase it.
Facial Fuel Energizing Scrub
As with pretty much everything in life, you have to experiment with scrubs until you find what works well for you. I find this scrub to be gentle but effective, with a cooling sensation from menthol. The product, which dispenses like a lotion from its signature blue Kiehl’s tube, feels like finely granulated sand, which is great for even those with sensitive skin. The brand recommends using it before washing your face to remove product residue and buff away any dull or dead skin. As always, don't forget your neck and chest.
Age Defender Eye Repair
This eye cream instantly helps to brighten dark circles thanks to the blurring minerals in the alcohol- and fragrance-free formula. I’d heard of blurring minerals but didn’t know much about them, so we asked Ilaya for more insight on the ingredient. “Finely milled minerals reflect light and help bring a glow to the skin," she says. "Within our eye formula, they help brighten and visibly smooth the appearance of the eye area.”
Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash
This gel cleanser lathers lightly and leaves skin feeling refreshed. It cleanses with ingredients such as vitamin E and lemon and orange extracts, all without leaving the skin dry. Another selling point is that this product's combination of ingredients prepares the skin for a shave, reducing potential for irritation. Like other products in the Facial Fuel line, it has a pleasing, clean-smelling scent.