This Kiehl's Barrier Cream Has Literal Healing Powers — A Top Dermatologist Agrees
Skin care is a personal experience. An absolute skin savior for one person might have a meh or even negative impact for someone else. It's the reason you should always patch-test a product before coating it all over (especially if you have sensitive skin). That said, some tried-and-true ingredients are pretty much A+ across the board—namely, rich hydrators with a sole purpose of cushioning your complexion and bolstering the skin barrier. Think of these like a warm, snuggly blanket for skin cells.
And when you compile these nourishing ingredients into one comforting cream, the result really does function like cashmere. Take Kiehl's Ultra Facial Advanced Repair Barrier Cream, which launched just last month: Already it has captured the hearts of skin care devotees—regardless of their individual skin type!—beloved by derms, editors, and industry experts alike.
How Kiehl's Repair Barrier Cream works.
Take a glance at this ingredient list, and you'll quickly see what makes this barrier cream such a complexion-soothing hero. First up, colloidal oatmeal. This workhorse ingredient has an exceptionally high lipid content and antioxidants that can help protect the skin barrier1. It also contains avenanthramide, an anti-inflammatory active in oats that's effective in reducing itch and irritation2. In fact, the ingredient is so soothing that clinical trials have shown a 1% colloidal oatmeal cream alone was enough to calm symptoms of atopic dermatitis3.
Colloidal oatmeal also has a high concentration of starches and beta-glucans, which gives it both humectant and emollient properties that help moisturize the skin. But this Kiehl's cream takes those natural beta-glucans up a notch by adding an extra beta-glucan complex to the mix, which only elevates the formula's skin-repairing power.
And because it features a balm-to-cream texture, it's suitable for all-day wear; many other occlusive balms are better to layer on overnight, as they have a jelly consistency that glazes the skin like a layer of mucus (that's why it's called slugging). Reviewers specifically praise this accommodating texture: "When I first opened this cream, I thought it would be super greasy and sit on my face forever. I was completely wrong!" one user writes. "It soaks into my skin fast without any greasy or oily residue. My skin feels soft and happy with the hydration, and it lasts [until] the next day!"
That said, you could totally wear the cream alone as your daily moisturizer (a stellar choice during winter), or layer it on top of your night cream as an ultra-moisturizing barrier while you snooze. Or you could simply apply it on areas prone to flakiness and itch this frigid season—this is my preferred method, as I tend to get especially red and splotchy on my neck and around my nose.
What a derm says.
According to board-certified dermatologist Michelle Henry, M.D. (who is also the brand's consulting dermatologist), you could totally use this cream as a daily salve or "rescue treatment" whenever you're feeling especially dry. "The cream can relieve dryness up to 10 layers deep into the skin by using its proprietary multi-lamellar technology to mimic the skin's natural lipid structure, thus preventing damage from external factors," she tells mbg. (That multi-lamellar technology is also what gives the balm its gloriously spreadable texture.)
While it's specifically designed for dry and sensitive skin types, she notes that really anyone can benefit from this blanket-like formula. You see, proper hydration is critical for securing smooth, supple skin for the long haul; so even if you don't have "dry" skin on paper, you might be dealing with fine lines, crepey skin, inflammatory acne, or even excess oiliness due to dehydration. You can address all of those concerns by amping up your skin's moisture levels and strengthening your skin barrier.
And here's a little bonus tip from a beauty editor: Slathering this cream on your neck before a long workday (and repeating when necessary) can totally ease the appearance of those dreaded "tech neck" lines.
Whether you're dealing with dry, flaky skin this winter or just hoping to upgrade your slugging routine, Kiehl's Ultra Facial Advanced Repair Barrier Cream is a worthy addition to your arsenal. It's tagged at $48 for 1.7 ounces, which may feel a bit luxe, but a small dab of cream does go a very long way (I'm nowhere near the end of my first tube despite reapplying throughout the day). And like most skin care heroes, it's beautifully versatile: Use it on the regular or whenever your complexion needs a little saving.
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.