We know that after a long day the last thing you want to do is a full facial cleaning regime (even we struggle!) which is why we’re so excited by Kiehl’s midnight recovery elixir. Just 2-3 drops of treatment applied to cleansed skin before bed is all that this simple but powerful product needs. Kiehl’s have been a big part of the beauty world since 1851 and we’re sure they must have picked up a beauty trick or two in that time. Their skincare range is claimed to be scientifically formulated to respect, restore and strengthen the skin barrier for healthier, more radiant, younger-looking skin – what more could you ask for?

The Claims

This elixir is said to ‘readily absorb into the skin to effectively restore its healthy appearance overnight, for younger-looking, smoother skin by morning’. The special formula is made up of ‘99.8% of naturally derived ingredients which have been carefully chosen to provide a boost of intensive moisture to depleted skin’. The beauty of this product is that it works while you’re fast asleep so that you can say good-night to tired looking skin

The Science behind the Bottle

Evening Primrose

For healthy skin that’s soft, supple and full of moisture it’s important that there are an adequate number of essential fatty acids present. Fatty acids are a crucial part of our skin’s barrier, along with ceramides and cholesterol they form the three major lipids found in the outer layer of the skin. It is this barrier function that helps to protect the skin and keep it hydrated. Important polyunsaturated fatty acids for maintenance of our skins barrier and prevention of skin disorders are the essential fatty acids of the omega-6 family, namely gamma linoleic acid (GLA).

Evening primrose oil (Oenothera biennis) is rich in Omega-6 fatty acids and therefore packed full of the essential GLA we need for smoother, healthier looking skin. This important fatty acid added into the formula to help to reduce the trans-epidermal water loss (loss of water from the skin to the atmosphere) to hydrate the skin leaving it plump and smooth all day long.

GLA also plays an anti-inflammatory role for our skin. Our bodies use GLA to form something called DGLA (dihomo-gamma-linoleic acid for the Geeks out there) which prevents inflammation. More simply this means that Evening Primrose could help to make inflammation and puffy skin a thing of the past!

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender oil (Lavandula angustifolia) is best known for its calming features and has been used for centuries in aromatherapy and medicine. Although this initially sounds promising, its effects on the skin have been much debated in recent years.

The Geeks have seen conflicting evidence on lavender oil, while some studies have shown that it can act as a skin irritant, others have suggested that linalool and linalyl acetate (the main components of lavender oil) could be potential anti-inflammatory agents. Ongoing controversy is a common theme in science so we’d like to see some concrete evidence of the benefits of lavender oil before we endorse this is as the wonder ingredient Kiehl have hailed it to be.


Kiehl’s have claimed a lot from their signature ingredient squalane and thankfully it does not disappoint. This botanical lipid is similar in molecular structure to the natural skin lipid squalene which is a component of human sebum and a natural moisturiser. Thanks to this exceptional likeness, squalane acts as an excellent skin emollient and is easily absorbed to help restore the skin’s natural moisture balance in these cold winter months.

Healthy-looking skin is dependent on the water content of the skin which will determine whether our skin is able to maintain a plump, radiant appearance. The addition of squalane helps to achieve this complexion perfection while smoothing the skin to combat the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles so is a definite yes ingredient in our books.

Moisturising Ingredients

Supporting squalane in its mission to hydrate the skin are capric triglyceride, jojoba seed oil and sunflower seed oil. These emollients can reduce water loss from the skin by forming a protective barrier and helping to trap water to give us that sought after radiant complexion!

The Verdict

This product has many good aspects that we can’t deny would be beneficial to the skin. We really approve of the hydrating power that comes from both reducing trans-epidermal water loss as well as maintaining the skins natural water balance. This will no doubt keep the skin plump and firm while reducing the appearance of those pesky fine lines and wrinkles. It also has the advantage of being readily absorbed into the skin thanks to squalane for more instant results overnight while the evening primrose oil will help to prevent inflammation for a more even skin tone. The research alongside the rave online reviews (including those from a couple of the geeks!) is promising but the Geeks think the inclusion lavender oil is the deal breaker for those with particularly sensitive skin!

Click here to find Kiehls Midnight Recovery Concentrate.

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Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Squalane, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil/Rosehip Seed Oil, Oenothera Biennis Oil/Evening Primrose Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis Oil/Jojoba Seed Oil, Coriandrum Sativum Oil/Coriander Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Lavandula Angustifolia oil/Lavender Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil/Geranium Oil, Linalool, Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Oil/Rosemary Leaf Oil, Citronellol, Geraniol, Lavandula Hybrida Oil, Cucumis Sativus Extract/Cucumber Fruit Extract, Curcuma Longa Extract/Turmeric Root Extract, Limonene, Citral, Sclareolide, Rosa Spp/Rose Flower Oil, Jasminum Officinale Extract/Jasmine Extract, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil/Sunflower Seed Oil fmla 685449/18 Code F.I.L: D39273/5