Skin-Care Tips

I Tried Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate Face Oil Every Night for a Week—Here Are the Results

Gina Vaynshteyn

Photo: Getty Images/ PeopleImages
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Kiehl's has been around for a while—since 1851 to be exact (its origins tie back to a single Kiehl's pharmacy in New York City). The brand, which has grown to over 250 stores across the globe, specializes in carefully formulated skin care, including their beloved Creme de Corps body lotion, Ultimate Strength hand salve, Ultra Facial Cream with Squalane, and countless others, some of which you probably have propped up in your own beauty cabinet. But have you experienced the transformative wonder of Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate Face Oil? Or are you wondering if it's all just hype?

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Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate Face Oil — $29.00

This face oil features primrose oil, lavender, and squalane, ingredients that help smooth out fine lines and leave skin brighter more even with a just a couple uses. Prices start at $29.

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To an extent, a lot of skin-care products require a little bit of magical thinking. Most formulas won't shave off 20 years and iron out wrinkles overnight—but some can certainly help. I wanted to put the Midnight Recovery Concentrate to the test and see what would happen if I used it every single night for a full week (when I'm committed, I'm committed).

I have experience with the face oil—I'd gotten a sample (thanks, Sephora points!) that I happily used up and liked because it didn't make me break out like some other oils do. I have oily-combo skin, so I need to be careful about anything that feels too greasy, but my skin embraced Midnight Recovery oil with no complaints. So, when the sample bottle ran out, I went ahead and bought myself a jumbo-sized bottle that'll likely last until I'm old enough to start my Social Security, or what's left of it.

What Kiehl's Midnight Recovery face oil promises

Like many face oils on the market, Midnight Recovery face oil says it can reduce fine lines, smooth skin texture, and "boost radiance in just one night." It moisturizes tired skin, leaving it feeling more supple, and helps repair it overnight when it's "most receptive" to reparation. It also promises that it's lightweight and absorbs quickly.

So, what happened when I used Kiehl's Midnight Recovery face oil for a week?

Since part of my job is trying out thousands upon thousands of beauty products every year, I like to think myself impervious to hype and overselling, but Kiehl's marketing was right (to me at least). I applied the oil at night after showering (without using any of the other products I generally incorporate during my night routine, like toner, serum, and moisturizer). Just a few drops of oil, which I massaged into my skin with my fingers and a jade roller, and that was it. I woke up and my face did appear brighter and healthier. As the days went on, I wondered if I'd start to break out. Too much of a good thing...yeah, you know how it goes.

By day three, no zits. And while the oil absorbs fairly quickly like Kiehl's advertises, it does leave your face, well, oily. But there was no transfer to my pillow, and didn't feel heavy. On day five, my skin was still clear (not an easy feat, since my period was lurking in the shadows, waiting to strike with a blemish or two). More importantly: it was more even and areas that are normally redder (nose, chin, forehead) seemed to have calmed down. I only needed Glossier's Skin Tint for makeup (normally I need something a bit heavier).

By the end of my experiment, I was satisfied with the results (and also didn't regret going all out and buying the gigantic jar). My skin looked more lively, even, and for once, it was completely clear (take that, period). It also seemed less oily throughout the day, so the formula did seem to balance out my skin's natural oils. It's worth adding that the natural lavender oil this stuff is made with is calming, which I love before bedtime.

Conclusion? This stuff is hype-worthy and this commerce editor-certified. The only thing I want to point out is that the oil is good for smoothing out fine lines, but since I don't have that issue (yet), I can't confirm whether or not that's true. But call me in five years, and I'll let you know how it works as a preventative measure.

What's in Midnight Recovery face oil exactly?

So, yeah. What are the *magical* ingredients that make them so effective? The oil's star ingredients include evening primrose oil, lavender oil (hence the lavender scent), and squalane.

Primrose oil contains fatty acids, including omega-3 and omega-6, which some say help restore the skin's barrier and aid in hydration; Lavender may help with inflammation and even out skin tone (however, if you're sensitive to lavender essential oil, I wouldn't recommend this product); and squalane—a botanical lipid that comes from olives—also can help with hydration, as it helps protect the skin's barrier. The formula also includes rosemary leaf oil, jojoba oil, and turmeric root extract, all of which may help hydrate and protect skin. If you have sensitive skin, we recommend talking to your dermatologist before using Midnight Recovery oil (or at least testing on a small patch of skin first before dousing your entire face with it).

If you're on the fence, you've got the green light from me.

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