This is a sponsored post for Kiehl’s Apothecary Preparations. All products in this post were provided to me by Kiehl’s. In-store photography services were also provided. Although I was compensated to write this post, all opinions are my own. Please read this blog’s disclosure post for more info.
I like to think that I have most of my life pretty together. You know what I do not have together yet? My skincare. In the last 2-3 years my face especially has become hard to deal with on a daily basis, especially around that time of the month! Last Spring, Kiehl’s reached out to me. They asked if I wanted to try their Personalized Apothecary Preparations at their NYC Flagship store. They also offered a bunch of Kiehl’s skincare products to try. A girl would have to be crazy to say no to that!
I agreed, on the condition that I could have several months to use the products before posting. To me, there’s no way to get a good feel of how a skincare product works in a few weeks or less. I’ve used my Kiehl’s Apothecary Preparations serum for over 16 weeks now! I feel confident in being able to fully evaluate it.
How did I like my Kiehl’s Apothecary Preparations serum? And the other Kiehl’s products I’ve been trying? I have a full review plus product reviews, recommendations and gift ideas! Read on to find out…
Firstly, I want to mention that you have to go to a Kiehl’s store to get your own Personalized Apothecary Preparations. You can find a store and schedule an appointment online but there is no way to buy a personalized serum online, nor do any other stores that carry Kiehl’s offer this service. It’s strictly an in-person experience and only at select Kiehl’s stores!
I got my chance to experience the Kiehl’s Apothecary Preparations service at their Manhattan flagship store, located at 109 3rd Ave near Union Square. If you’ve never been to this store, it’s gorgeous. It’s very much made up to look like an old apothecary would, complete with old library file furniture, lots of mirrors and magnifying glasses, plenty of small jars of ‘ingredients’ and tons of old wood. The in-store experience envelopes you in the feeling of escaping into a magic potion lab. I love it!
To ensure proper results and readings, I came in makeup free. As you can see in the photo above I deal with some very stubborn hormonal acne around my chin (with a bonus spot on my nose on this day, le sigh). In the warmer months, redness is also an everyday concern on my face.
My Kiehl’s Apothecary Preparations appointment was with Barbara and I found her wonderful. She asked me some basic questions about my skincare, including what products I was using at the time and what my two biggest skincare concerns were.
Barbara had a very cool apothecary guide which we referred to often during my appointment. I was able to point out examples closest to my skin and my target areas. This book is based on over 150 years of research. It felt very in-depth!
Once I had my two main areas of concern selected, it was time to mix up my personalized concoction.
The base skin-strengthening concentrate in all Kiehl’s Apothecary Preparations smells really good! It has light notes of aromatics; nothing too strong. In fact one of my favorite parts of the store was that there were no overpowering smells. No floral scents masking heavy chemicals. No laundry room smell that I sometimes get elsewhere.
All I smelled in-store was the wood of the old furniture and that ‘fresh’ NYC air!
Once my serum was ready, Barbara gave me detailed instructions on how to apply it. You use just a dab or two each day. This means the bottle lasts for months! In my case there were certain parts of my face I was instructed to gently massage the serum into, and other parts I was told to leave alone.
After a Kiehl’s Personalized Apothecary Preparations serum is created for you, a unique file is created for you and is on-record at all Kiehl’s stores. So even if you’re far away from home and realize you forgot your serum or run out, you can go to another Kiehl’s location to get a refill. As a frequent work traveler this is a great feature!
With my new Kiehl’s Personalized Apothecary Preparations serum in-hand (as well as a bunch of other Kiehl’s products to try!) I headed home to see what my face would think of this new skincare regime.
As you’ll see in the set of photos below, applying the serum is so easy. Just a couple of drops on my cheeks which I then gently rub in to my cheeks, chin and around my nostrils. My forehead and T-zone tend to be dry rather than oily so I used Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser ($20) and Calendula Herbal Extract Alcohol-Free Toner ($21) on those areas instead. These photos are recent, after over 10 weeks of using the Personalized Apothecary Preparations.
So, after 16 or so weeks using the Kiehl’s Personalized Apothecary Preparations serum, what’s the verdict?
Good, I’d say. Very good. See for yourself below. Does my face look clearer and more uniform in tone to you? It does to me!
You may notice that my hormonal acne didn’t totally disappear. I think that’s a very realistic result — most non-prescription serums are not going to be able to completely erase the kind of hormonal acne I have. Essential oils might and that’s something I’m experimenting with right now.
Still, I love how over time the extra redness in my face faded and the acne became less noticeable. I rarely get zits in my nostril bends now — often a trouble spot for me in the past. My Kiehl’s Personalized Apothecary Preparations serum did a wonderful job, I’d say!! I’ll be refilling it for sure. What do you think?
Here are some quick mini-reviews of other Kiehl’s products I tried over the Spring, Summer and Fall:
Calendula Herbal Extract Alcohol-Free Toner || $21 || If you don’t use a toner now, or if your toner/base products leave your face red or irritated, you should absolutely give this product a try! The alcohol-free blend is perfect for those who want cleansing without irritation. I found this cleanser wasn’t quite strong enough for me most of the year, but is great for the Summer when I want very lightweight products. Left my face looking fresh and dewy. || BUY IT
Ultra Facial Cleanser || $20 || This deep face wash is extremely powerful! A little bit (a dollop the size of a dime) goes a long way, making this wash a fantastic value. Excellent for people with very oily skin or lots of acne. I found my face to be a little too dry after using it but then again the top half of my face is very dry to begin with. Many of my friends swear by this facial cleanser! || BUY IT
Ginger Leaf & Hibiscus Firming Mask || $54 || Hibiscus is one of my all-time favorite plants! I’ve been told it can help with that time of the month, is generally thought to reduce swelling and lower blood pressure and smells so good! Kiehl’s makes no claims to the healing power of hibiscus but this mask does seem to bring out younger-looking skin! I’m not really into the idea of ‘firming’ masks. I think they’re rather silly! I did however love the way my skin looked after a couple of months of using this mask for 30 minutes one night a week. Gifting this one for sure come Christmas and Hanukkah. || BUY IT
Midnight Recovery Concentrate || $47 || I believe the key to this stuff being so wonderful is the lavender oil! Not only does it help calm me into a sleep-ready state, this concentrate does help me wake up looking refreshed and smooth. Or as my fiancé has told me several times, “You look amazing this morning!” Said while we cuddle together in bed upon waking up. Who doesn’t want to hear that first thing in the morning? This is my top Kiehl’s pick for sure. || BUY IT
Top Kiehl’s Gift Idea || Limited Edition Advent Calendar || $70 || Yes, that’s right. There’s a Kiehl’s Advent Calendar! Each day you get either a full or travel-sized beauty delight. This is such a cool idea, and I’m totally giving it to a couple of my friends early so they can use it this year. || BUY IT
Also worth noting? Travel sizes make great stocking stuffers, white elephant gift exchange ideas or friend gifts!!
I hope you’ve enjoyed my review of the Kiehl’s Personalized Apothecary Preparations! Remember that you can book your appointment online and perhaps find a few gifts in-store while you’re at it! Or if you’re more of an online shopper, today only you will receive a 2.5 oz Scented Hand Salve of your choice with any $75+ purchase on Kiehls.com. Use code GIFT. Below, some of the products at Kiehl’s I’ve tried, a few gift ideas and more items that come highly recommended.
I know so many people who swear by Kiehls but Ive never tried it. I definitely need to now!!
I was the same before we teamed up for this post! Totally a fan now.
I have heard a lot of good things about Kiehls but have never tried them out. I guess whenever I am looking to change my skin care I will look into them.
I think you'll find lots to love!
Kiehl's makes the best products!! Thanks for sharing these – I haven't tried them all!
You're welcome! I haven't tried everything in my boutique either, but I have tried some and the rest come highly recommended.
Their products seriosuly work wonders. I have been using them for years and years and can't get enough!!
That's awesome Ashley. I can't believe I'm just coming to know Kiehl's this year!
Great post Roxy, I've always adored Kiehl's products especially their Cryste Marine serum which they unfortunately discontinued but there are so many other great products I've enjoyed throughout the years. I'd like to try the Midnight Recovery Concentrate sometime soon and I see lots of gifts sets here so I might buy one, thanks for the recommendations:)
You're welcome Jess! I think I'm going to gift the Midnight Recovery Concentrate. There was a cute gift set with it, another midnight product and a sleep mask. It was so cute! And of course it sold out nearly instantly.
I had fun making my custom formula over the spring. It seriously makes a world of difference in my skin!
That Kiel's Advent calendar is such a great idea! I love their products.
Isn't it too cute? I want an Advent calendar for everything!!
I have heard such great things about kiehl's I will def have to check them out!
Super! Let them know I sent you, haha. 🙂
I'll definitely have to try this out! I'm looking for some new skincare!
Excellent! I hope you like Kiehl's as much as I have.
I love the Kiehl’s ultra cleanser—as someone with sensitive skin, I love that it cleanses thoroughly but is still gentle. I do need some moisturizer after I use it but that seems pretty typical. I had no idea they would make a personalized serum! That’s so exciting!
Thanks for the mini-review Katie. And yes it is totally cool!! =)
So the Midnight Recovery Concentrate doesn't make you break out, even a little? Even though I take Spironolactone for my hormonal acne (it works wonders), I still find that certain heavier night serums or creams clog my pores. Any problems with this yourself? Thanks!
I believe I have experienced similar breakouts from products LaurenSophie, and no the Midnight Concentrate line did not cause or add to my breakouts. It’s powerful but not packed with ingredients — my pores felt relieved when I use it rather than irritated.
Thanks, I'm going to give it a try!
Cool! I’d love to know what you think after you’ve tried it out a bit.
I love Kiehls!!!!! I love this post and how many products you mentioned!!
Thank you Steph!!
How cool! The whole experience sounds great!
How 2 Wear It  http://how2wearit.com
It really was great!!
Thanks for such a great post. I can see what great results you've gotten from the products. I'm a big fan of their bath and body products. I'm definitely going to check out their gift sets.
Fantastic Angela! I'm sure you'll have some happy gift recipients!!
Such a timeless brand that I've always heard works wonders!