Kiehl’s Iris Extract Activating Treatment Essence
My days of being a skincare maximalist well over and behind me (nobody, with the exception of beauty-obsessed commitment-free 20-somethings i.e. old me, really has the time for a twice-daily 25-step serum layering routine), I am constantly on the lookout for multitasking products that can not only save me time, but also stop time in its tracks – preserving plump, unlined and refined skin for as long as humanly possible.
At the same time, I want my products to smell nice, feel sophisticated and look good on my bathroom counter. Quite a tall order, but not impossible, because I already have several in my arsenal and this multi-action treatment essence is one of them. A cross between a toner, peel and serum, it can even double as a moisturiser for oily skin in a pinch. Its unassuming clear watery fluid texture belies a potent formula of iris florentina root extract, known for its supposed nourishing and anti-ageing benefits such as line reduction and skin quality preservation; lipo hydroxy acid, a gentle exfoliating acid that removes dead cells for clearer, brighter skin; and sodium hyaluronate for long-lasting hydration.
A few drops poured onto the palms and patted onto the skin (bonus: no need for cotton pads, even!), it sinks in instantly leaving no discernible stickiness, save for a comforting, velvety veil of moisture which lasts for several hours until my combination skin starts feeling dry and tight. And best of all, even if you’re a skincare maximalist, the essence is so light, it makes serum layering a breeze.
Not for the faint-hearted, this is a true old school clay mask that’s definitely not one of those non-drying creamy types that don’t show instant effect. Yet, unlike the old school clay masks, this one boasts a super silky and smooth texture that glides onto the skin effortlessly without tugging, and stays moist and spreadable for just long enough to apply it onto the whole face (which is frankly unnecessary, unless you have extremely oily, pore-clogged skin all over).
Over the course of 10 minutes, the clay dries up, and you can literally feel your skin tightening and pores shrinking as the Amazonian white clay, bentonite and kaolin in the blend draws out debris and sebum from within pores. Then, simply wipe off with a warm washcloth, which also does double duty as exfoliation as the clay picks up dead skin cells from the skin surface, revealing purified, clean skin with minimised pores.
I’ve always had terribly dry skin on my legs – so bad, the surface is ashen and dull, with a snakeskin-like pattern. However, several months ago, a particularly bad eczema flare up affected my gams pretty horrendously, requiring me to slather on heavy creams that left grease marks wherever my shins made contact.
The eczema flare is over, but it got me into the habit of applying body lotion because the constant moisturising ended up reversing the snakeskin effect on my legs, and I really enjoyed how human my lower half looked. I’ve accrued quite a collection of lotions, but this one is one of my top five favourites, not only for its silky, non-greasy texture, but its wonderful scent as well – sweet and earthy vetiver, with a calming hint of black tea, it’s neither overly floral nor synthetic-smelling.
The texture is nice and lightweight, spreading easily but just moisturising enough to last from my morning shower to evening bath, thanks to glycerine, shea butter, olive, sweet almond, apricot and sesame seed oils, and lightened with soothing aloe vera. Although it’s not quite rich enough for an overnight lotion if you’re in constant air-conditioning like me, I can imagine that for balmy, tropical nights on when you’re on a beach getaway, this gorgeous scented lotion is just perfect.
The first 50 readers to subscribe to 12 issues of T: The New York Times Style Magazine Singapore at S$60 will receive a set of all three products from Kiehl’s worth S$158.
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