January 17, 2012

Test Driving Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate and Midnight Recovery Eye!

Back in the fall we put out a call for readers willing to test out Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate and Midnight Recovery Eye - as always, our readers are the best and willingly offered up their skin! Due to some schedule problems and then the holidays, we haven't been able to coordinate the posting of what everyone thought of their experience with the products. So sorry for the delay - and here it is:

Mel - 34 - combo skin (oily t-zone, dry patches on lower cheeks and above eyebrow) I Also suffer from eczema as well on cheeks in the winter months and am dealing with adult acne on my jaw line and chin...thanks hormones.

My issues were: 
-dullness (mom of 4 so my nights are short)
-dry skin/tightness
-uneven skin tone (darker around the mouth)
-some broken capillaries below cheekbones and acne scarring on lower part of the face
-deep under-eye circles

My results:
After week 1: dry patches gone on lower cheeks and skin was acting younger. Less tightness, a lot more supple. Woke up in the morning with dewy glowy skin. 
After week 2: deep circles under my eyes improved. The skin of under-eye area feels thicker. Creases not as apparent (because skin more hydrated...raisin vs grape effect?). Skin tone more even (I find myself doing a lot less concealing/corrective work when putting on my make up). I noticed a difference in how soft to the touch my skin was. 
After week 3 : broken capillaries are still there. Acne scars are less apparent (was not expecting this outcome...will continue using the night serum to see how light I can get them to fade to). 

Definitely the biggest improvement after 3 weeks of treatment is in how supple and "bouncy" my skin is. Huge difference. For that alone, will keep using.

Thoughts on the products:
Not too crazy about the scent. But that goes for any kind of face care containing essential oils. I also use Yonka skin care and have the same issue with their line.
The serum dropper works well. I just put on dot on my forehead, one of each cheek and do my chin and neck with what is left on my fingers. For my combo skin, that is plenty. I am not sure if this serum would be too rich for summer time. Remains to be seen.
Oil gets absorbed quickly into the skin. So formula gets a thumbs up.
A little goes a long way, so price wise great deal IMO. 

Eye cream: I tend to prefer my eye creams to come in a pump design to prevent germs getting in (but that is just Mel the germ freak talking). Other than that, no issues. Love the texture, gets absorbed quickly. Works well. Feels great on the skin (eye cream junkie here). 

Overall, really impressed with the results and with Kiehl's products. I will definitely be trying out more of their products in the near future. Very happy about this little skin care discovery.

Carmela - 27 - combination skin (oily t-zone, dry cheeks)

Issues and results:
Dark under eye area:
No significant change although I am hesitant to say that it didn't help because I think it might have. Normally, after all the late nights from holiday events, I'd have much darker under eye circles that make me look all the more tired. I've been using the same amount of concealer throughout the season and didn't notice it getting worse despite the odd sleeping hours so I think it did keep the darkness at bay. I did notice that I did not get any puffiness at all that I usually get with sleeping late. I think that helped a lot with making me look less tired than I actually felt.

Fine lines in eye area: I have these lines in the inner corner of my eyes that have been getting deeper and multiplying with time. I didn't have them when I was younger. Unfortunately, no significant change was observed.

Dry cheeks to the point of flaking, especially during winter: I hate using powder products during winter because they cause so much flaking with my combination skin. Imagine my surprise when once I did a 5 minute face and unthinkingly used powder foundation only to realize I didn't see any flakes. At all. Top notch for hydration!

Oily T-zone: Since I've been using this religiously at night, I haven't had the need to whip out the blotting paper. Winter usually means less oiliness in general, too, so I can't say how much of that is a factor of this result.

More than usual breakouts: I'm not certain why I've been going through more breakouts than I ever had as a teenager. I'm chalking it up to hormones as I mostly get the brunt of it during that time of the month, just with a significant increase in the usual severity than what I've observed in the past. I've been treating spots with tea tree oil from the Body Shop. I've noticed that in conjunction with the Kiehl's serum, it felt doubly effective. I usually reserve the tea tree gel for spot treatment (for faster drying/healing) before applying makeup in the morning and opt for the oil at night (mostly to be cost effective as you get more product with the oil even if the gel is more concentrated ergo, more effective). Usually the gel works better. Using tea tree oil with the serum at night made it as effective as the gel. I've also noticed that any spots healed faster, almost at the same rate as I remember it did when I was a teen and without leaving any unsightly marks.

I used it for 2 weeks wherein I simply added both to my usual skincare routine at night: Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Facial Wash, Nivea Gentle Toner, Kiehl's Serum, Shiseido The Skincare Night Moisture Recharge, Kiehl's Eye Cream, Shiseido the Skincare Eye Moisture Recharge. I was afraid of getting too dry because of the perpetually on heaters at home and winter in general. For a week, I omitted the toner and the Shiseido products to fully experience the Kiehl's products. I didn't notice any dryness at all and in the morning, my face felt just as moisturized as it did with my usual moisturizer. The box said to use 2-3 drops so I'd drop one on each cheek and one on the forehead for the serum. I used a pea-sized amount of the eye cream for the under eye area.

My only issue with the packaging is the dropper that came with the serum. It looks good, but you never get more than half of the glass tube filled with the serum (not much pressure!). That's really not much of a big deal though, as you don't even need that much to begin with. But it might be worth considering once the amount of serum is a lot less and you might have a hard time getting it with the dropper provided. Sometimes, I've also had it drop serum even when I haven't pressed the top button yet. I'd prefer the usual rubber top dropper.

The serum is a good size and I can see it lasting me for months as I'll only need a few drops every night. For the retail price, I think it's a fairly good value. I didn't have any issue with the smell of the products either. Both had an herbal-y smell that I found pleasant and relaxing. Both seem to absorb into the skin fast as you don't get any oily feeling afterward or that sensation of product sitting on your face. Overall, I'm impressed with how it made my skin feel soft and supple not just in the morning, but throughout the day. I've noticed a more even complexion with less need for concealer (which I only use in my under eye area lately). I also appreciate that it integrated well with my usual products and even enhanced the effectiveness of the tea tree oil. Will definitely purchase both when I run out. 

Alexandra - 22 - normal to combination skin that directly reflects whether I’ve been out too late the night before and if I’ve slacked on my water consumption. The Midnight Recovery Serum was like telling a little white lie every morning when I woke up, it gave me the glow of a solid 8 hour sleep!

My skin is temperamental in that if I use anything too heavy I tend to break out around my chin area. Although the serum is oil-based this didn’t hinder my skin from breathing through. The moisturizing properties in the serum are wonderful, very replenishing for dehydrated skin (I will note that I started applying my usual night cream on top of the serum and the effects were still glorious!) I found it had noticeable smoothing properties as well. By about the second week of consistent use I decided to get ambitious, if the serum smoothes this well at night I figured it would only make my makeup look more flawless in the day… This is where I made my mistake. My make up had zero staying power throughout the day and I can’t say I blame the product; it is indeed for night time use. Lesson learned.

Over the past three weeks I can honestly say I’ve been converted! Keihl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate and Eye Cream are my new go to products, especially when I punish myself with too many late nights. I will continue to revert back to this serum and who knows, probably even purchase a second bottle!

Tracy - 39 - fine lines and wrinkles around eyes, very sensitive skin and eyes. Very pale, sunburn easily, clear skin. Sometimes dry skin, especially in winter. Typically, I use Dermalogica Age Smart line. Products with heavy scents often bother my skin and eyes. Hard for me to find products I can use.

Midnight Recovery Eye: Unfortunately, this burned at my eyes the first time I tried it, scent must be too heavy, although it says fragrance free. It could also have been all of the flower oil ingredients. Had to wash it off, and my eyes were sore for the night. (common for me with scented products)

Midnight Recovery Concentrate: I have always used cream moisturizers, never serums, so this was new for me. Its like putting oil on your skin. The first few nights I felt like I perhaps hadn't used enough as I didn't get the feeling of moisturized skin. As I got to know how much product to use, I did feel like my skin was soft after using. I definitely used a lot more than the recommended 1-2 drops. The instructions say that you can use under your moisturizer, so I guess you could double-up if need be. The scent was very "spa-like". It is not fragrance-free as the box suggests. I did make sure the product was well away from my eyes as the Recovery Eye irritated my eyes. There was also a slight burning type feeling for a few moments after using. Probably my sensitive skin reacting to the flower ingredients in the product. I discontinued using after 10 days due to the burning feeling.

In terms of changes in my skin, I did not see any real noticeable difference from my usual products. I did break out a tiny bit on my chin, probably just due to using a new product, and perhaps the oiliness of the product.

I did discover that I prefer a cream moisturizer on my skin rather than a serum or oil. I also prefer a cooling, soothing feeling when I apply products. For a sensitive skin type, this may not be the right product, particularly if your skin or eyes react to scents or "flower" related ingredients.

Jan - 49 - very sensitive skin and prone to mild blemishes and alot of redness.

The Pros:
Loved the smell, very relaxing and calming
Very easily and quickly absorbed and didn’t leave any oily feeling

The Cons
I really didn’t see any difference in my skin
I might have broken me out a little more than usual – I usually have trouble in the winter months with dry, itchy, irritated skin so I don’t know if it was just the weather or the product. I will re-try it again once my skin calms down later in the winter or the spring.

Steph - 20 - dry combination skin.

Prior to using the Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate and Midnight Recovery Eye my problems were un-even skin tone/ redness, stressed/ textured skin, dark spots/ acne scars, panda eyes/ eye bags and the occasional breakout. I tested the products on the "tougher" parts (t-sone) of my face before applying it to the more sensitive areas (cheeks), and also did a comparison on half my face for a week before applying it all over for 3 weeks. (1 month in total)

The results from the Midnight Recovery Eye were fairly positive. The eye I applied it on look less tired and not as dark as the other one, but it wasn't drastic difference, concealer for still be needed for those with darker eye circles. 

I was super excited to test the Midnight Recovery Concentrate after hearing so many positive reviews and I'm glad to say it wasn't hyped up for nothing!!! Like I mentioned I strategically tested this product before applying it all over. What was interesting was each new area I applied at night, I would wake up with baby zits/ bumps randomly (loosely) scattered (ie 2-5) , but it only occurred after the first application. Other then that, the results were great, the texture of my skin has smoothed out for the most part, skin tone is more even, redness has turned to pinkness, even the dark spots have lightened, but not a lot. 

Not in love with the scent, it's very natural and I prefer artificial natural scents but it's a personal preference so no biggie and good thing it doesn't linger.

Fiona - 25 - Extremely acne prone skin: have been battling with acne for years and have the scars to prove it; super oily; dry undereye area; puffy eye bags thanks to genetics from my Dad; and super sensitive to a lot of ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, sulphur and sodium chloride

Midnight Recovery Concentrate - My main concern about this product was that the oils would clog up my pores resulting in more acne.  This was not the case.  It did not interfere with my acne regimen and only added towards it. 
At night, I would put a few drops of the concentrate into the palm on my hand then lightly pat it all over my face with my fingertips until my face.  My skin immediately soaked it up and did not result in any oily residue.  In the morning, my skin was suppler than ever.  It felt very hydrated and plump and the amount of sleep I got the previous night did not have an impact.

Midnight Recovery Eye - I have puffy eye bags since the age of 10, all thanks to my Dad’s genetics.  I have used numerous eye serums, creams, and gels in my time.  My concern with creams is that they are often too rich resulting in milia.  This did not happen with this product.  It actually left my under-eye really soft and hydrated.

Did it reduce the puffiness and dark under-eye circles?  Unfortunately it did not.  It just provided hydration to any concealer I put on it the next morning would not creep into the lines and look all cakey.

At the end of the day, if I had to choose one product to purchase, I would definitely choose Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate.  The entire bottle will last you for a few months since you only use it at night.

As you can see, there are all kinds of opinions on the products - for myself and my combination skin, I'm a fan of the products. I especially like the scent, which I find to be very calming as a nighttime fragrance and believe that it actually helps me sleep better! The concentrate soaks in really nicely and I love how smooth my skin feels and bright it looks in the morning. If you have dry skin, you might find that you need some moisturizer layered on top but for my combo skin, it is the perfect amount. I also like that the Midnight Recovery Eye is a cream rather than a serum as that is the one place I like a bit more moisture at night! I don't know that it did any wonders for my dark circles as I was still using a eye roller product in the mornings for that purpose, but it certainly was a fine moisturizer so no complaints.
Many thanks to all of the ladies for taking the time to be test subjects, we hope you enjoyed it!

- Lisamarie (and the guinea pigs) -


  1. Wow I love how you gave us the different results for different skin types. Kiehl is a great brand but not easily bought....not sure which stores carry it near me.

  2. Have tried this product & their Avocado Eye Treatment (which I like better). Great info. xoxo

  3. I'm 45 with oily skin & acne. I ADORE Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Complex since trying it over a year ago. Hooked. I find my skin softer and more radiant- noticeable so- in the morning when I use it. My issue is the dropper. I accidentally knocked over a half full bottle and I don't like touching the dropper to my hand. Why it isn't just a little dropper cap like essential oils are I have no idea. Would be more hygienic, keep air out of the bottle and prevent any tragedies from a tipped bottle. Other than that- GENIUS stuff!


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