Kiehls Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream – A Watery Goo?

I first heard about this moisturiser from Paris B. She raved about it, and I obviously had to have it. At a Kiehls Beauty Bloggers’ event in May, I excitedly asked if this moisturiser was available in Australia. Unfortunately, at that time, it wasn’t.

When the Ultra Facial Oil-Free range finally made its way to Australia, I jumped at the chance to try it out.

Kiehls Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream

This Oil-Free Gel Cream deeply hydrates and conditions skin, while providing long-lasting moisture. The non-greasy formula is specifically formulated for normal to oily skin needs and traps moisture to visibly reduce the appearance of oil, leaving skin looking more balanced. It contains Imperata Cylindrica Root Extract, Antarcticine and Cucumber. Oil-Free, Paraben-Free, Silicone-Free

Aqua/Water, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat., Propanediol, Glycereth-26, Isononyl Isononanoate, Ammonium Polyacryldimethyltauramide/Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Imperata Cylindrica Root Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Propylene Glycol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Pseudoalteromonas Ferment Extract, Citric Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Carbomer, Biossacharide Gum-1, Panthenol, Cucumis Sativus Juice/Cucumber Fruit Extract, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Crosspolymer Fmla 685478/11 Code F.I.L. D45072/1

Kiehls Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream Uncapped

What surprised me about this moisturiser was how watery it is. It’s the lightest moisturiser I’ve ever come across. To be honest, it reminded me a little of the starchy water I used for paper mache when I was a wee child. I thought it would be similar in consistency to Clinique’s Moisture Surge, but the latter is actually a lot thicker.

Kiehls Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream Swatch

Unfortunately, this did not work for me. Given its watery consistency, it doesn’t have enough slip. It feels like a very watered down gel facial cleanser. It doesn’t absorb onto the skin, but just sits there wondering what to do.

I badly wanted to like this moisturiser as it’s supposed to be very suitable for oily/combination skin, but I just couldn’t. It’s such a pity because this moisturiser received a lot of positive reviews but I couldn’t find anything I like about it 🙁

Kiehls Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream retails at AU$34 for 50ml and is available at Kiehls counters and stores nationwide.

What I like about it: Nothing

What I do not like about it: Too watery for my liking, doesn’t absorb as well as I’d like it to.

Note: This product was provided for consideration. Sucks that there was nothing I liked about it even though I really thought I would.

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23 comments… add one
  1. Ling

    Oh no…bummer!!
    Ling recently posted..How To Wear A Bra CorrectlyMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Ling: Bummer indeed 🙁

  2. LeGeeque

    Damn! I was going to splurge on the regular version just to give it a go since I’m done with my jar of YouthCode.

    1. Tine

      LeGeeque: There’s a regular version? Get a sample to try it out first? Kiehls is generous with samples, so it’s good to try before you buy. If it doesn’t work, you still have the Youthcode that works for you, which is cheaper too 🙂

  3. sherly

    i got this cream a few days ago too as part of the starter kit which also retails for $34. I wanted to like the cream too since i have oily combination skin but like u said, the consistency is too watery and there is the scent also that is a bit off… At first i thought it smells very plastic-y. Ah but when i woke up in the morning; my skin feels hydrated; like there’s the boing boing effect to it esp. On the cheeks.
    Good review tine! Keep up the good work 🙂

    1. Tine

      Sherly: Yeah, the scent turned me off the gel too. Smells a bit like glue 😛 But hey, if it gives you boing boing skin, then it’s a good thing! 😛

  4. Paris B

    Oh boo! 🙁 I’m nearly finished with my tub and I’ve hardly ever finished anything in recent times 🙁 I think the Clinique Moisture Surge and this gel cream is quite different. My skin likes the Clinique but it actually prefers this because it just sinks into my skin. Weird right how it works so differently for different people 🙂
    Paris B recently posted..Your Say: Are you loyal to your beauty salon or do you salon hop?My Profile

    1. Tine

      Paris B: Good for you! I’m glad it works for you. I was surprised I didn’t like it, because it does look like something that would work for me. Definitely prefer Clinique’s Moisture Surge to this. It’s just like how I absolutely adore the Turnaround serum but it doesn’t work for a lot of people 🙂

  5. shusheshe

    I was going to try this one next after finishing my current moisturizer. Clinique’s moisture surge didn’t work for me at all, despite all the good reviews I’ve heard about them (it pills on me, and makes my foundation sink into my pores).

    1. Tine

      Shusheshe: Do see if you can get a sample from them to try first. That’s what I really like about Kiehls; they’re generous with their samples, and it’s a good way to try before you buy. Just in case this turns out to be another Moisture Surge for you 😛

  6. Daphne

    The ingredient list looks less damn impressive leh… water & glycerin, then ALCOHOL? Hmm…

    tine, try the bliv moisturizer (i think it’s called quench me!) it’s water-based and very light on skin. it’s now my new favourite! =D
    Daphne recently posted..Review: Ucara Spa (Facial service)My Profile

    1. Tine

      Daphne: Spot on! I had to type the list of ingredients out for this blog post, and the more chemicals I had to add in, the less impressed I was.
      Thanks for the recommendation; I’ll be sure to give it a go when I’m back in Malaysia 🙂

  7. lyn

    Great review! Too bad it didn’t work out for you. It’s really sticky and smells weird but the gel actually works on me. It’s not the most hydrating of gels though and I still prefer Clinique or Ettusais moisturisers.
    lyn recently posted..Dior Skinflash Radiance Booster Pen in Rose GlowMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Lyn: I’m glad it works for you. Yeah I do find that it smells a little like glue . I still prefer Clinique’s Moisture Surge any day 🙂

  8. xin

    aw too bad it didnt work for u at all. it did not really work for my dry skin either 🙁
    xin recently posted..Greet the Wild Hello Kitty in Leopard Print!My Profile

    1. Tine

      Xin: Yeah, it sucks that it didn’t appeal to me. Was really hoping I’d like it. Sigh.

  9. gio

    Too bad it didn’t work for you, what a bummer!

    1. Tine

      Gio: Bummer indeed, Gio! Oh well, time to move on to another 🙂

  10. Kate D

    i would never even considered buying it, it has alcohol denat. on 3rd possition. Not good for my skin 🙁

    1. Tine

      Kate D: Ah yes, that too. A negative review that I’ve read about this moisturizer stated that it has alcohol denat., and that it would turn a number of people off. To be honest, it didn’t put me off that much (although it should), just the watery gel and glue-like scent did.

  11. Lowela

    Clinique’s more moisturing than Kiehls’ and I use Moisture Surge during the night along with serums and stuff. The Kiehls gel is a good alternative if you’re looking for something a little lighter for day use or if you have very oily skin. I would suggest getting a sample if possible and to test it out first.
    Lowela recently posted..provillus reviewsMy Profile

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