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Road Test: Kiehl's debuts an oil-free version of its classic Ultra Facial collection

July 12, 2011 |  9:50 am

Kiehls Ultra Facial Lotion by Kiehl's is so beloved that it's practically an institution. It's not only a dependable daily moisturizer, suitable for nearly every skin type, but it also may be the only department store cream that men can have on their bathroom counters without fear of ridicule from their buddies (because they all use it, too).

And now the cult classic cream comes in an oil-free version for guys and gals prone to shine and breakouts — and those with "normal" skin who want to control shine on hotter-than-hot days.

The new Ultra Facial 3-Step Oil-Free Collection was created on the premise that typical oil-free/oil-control skin systems strip the skin so completely of its natural oils that the skin responds by actually over-producing oil in compensation.

After test-driving the collection's cleanser, toner, moisturizer and gel cream for a few days, we can tell you that its oil-reducing results are instantaneous.The cleanser alone (which could definitely feel a little drying to "normal" skin) leaves skin perfectly matte-looking, while the toner enhances its effects.

The Ultra Facial Oil-Free Moisturizer feels like a lighter version of the original; less emollient and slippery, with a slight tingle lingering on the skin. It relies on water-infused humectants including antarcticine, imperata cylindrica and glycerin, not oil.

The gel cream felt less like a moisturizer and more like a mattifier — smoothing on like a pat of aloe vera gel and drying to a shine-less patina that lasted from morning until around 3 p.m., when we noticed a slight return of the shine (impressive!).

You'll want to definitely use SPF on top of this system if you're using it in the morning, but rest assured that it's completely free of parabens.

All in all, a fabulous set of products for those of us staving off daily oil slicks this summer.

-- Emili Vesilind


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Photo: Kiehl's Ultra Facial Oil-Free collection. Credit: Kiehl's