Review: Kiehl’s Nightly Refining Micro-Peel concentrate

Ah Kiehl’s. Some of their products are fabulous and others just don’t hit the spot for me. But when they crank out a goodie it’s great. Examples? Their Ultra Facial Oil-Free Cleanser is the bomb diggity in that you only need the teensiest little drop and it foams up like a boss. I can honestly make a tube last almost a year. I’m also a fan of their Original Musk cologne – very sexy stuff – and their Epidermal Re-Texturising Micro-Dermabrasion scrub is Amazing with a captial A.

Now, I have a new favourite to add to my fab list and that’s new Nightly Refining Micro-Peel concentrate (R750).

Oh hello there!
Oh hello there!

Essentially a gentle chemical exfoliater, Kiehl’s formula makes use of sustainably sourced quinoa seed husk that contains enzymes that are able to speed up your skin’s cellular turnover to reveal a brighter, fresher-looking face. Other exfoliators in the mix include a form of urea and sugar cane extract and you’ll  find antioxidant-rich bilberry extract (vaccinium myrtillus fruit extract) sitting fairly high on the ingredients list.

Hydrating glycerine and soothing aloe leaf juice make an appearance too.

So, does it work? Yep, it totally does. I’ve been slapping it on my face every other night or so and when I wake up I can definitely tell my skin looks more ‘refined’ and fresher-looking. It also does a nice job of blitzing any teensy little flakes I sometimes get around my nose when I’ve been hitting up the retinol too hard. Also, it’s important to note that, despite the fact that I’m currently throwing a potent 2% retinol serum at my skin, it’s not finding Kiehl’s concentrate irritating in the least.

Kiehl's just love giving their products the longest, most complicated names.
Kiehl’s just love giving their products the longest, most complicated names.

In the past, I’ve used and liked Kiehl’s other chemical exfoliator, Over-Night Biological Peel, but it never became a fixture in my beauty routine as I didn’t like it’s texture. It kind of felt like I was going to bed with heel balm slathered on my face. Kiehl’s new micro-peel, however, doesn’t feel tacky at all and you could happily use it like a serum under another product, provided it’s at night time as most chemical exfoliators can increase your sensitivity to the sun.

Since taking this shot I've decanted this into a spritzer bottle as I don't like exposing my ingredients to air.
Since taking this shot I’ve decanted this into a spritzer bottle as I don’t like exposing my ingredients to air.

As far as the price point goes, a cool R750 means it’s not exactly wallet-friendly, but if you’re not on a budget and want a nice non-irritating chemical exfoliator, it’s a nice pick. If, however, you are pinching your pennies, never fear. Chemical exfoliators aren’t unique to Kiehl’s. Just a few that I’ve used and adored include Environ Derma-Lac lotion (R220), Dr. Dermal Texture Correction pads (R475 for 30) and Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix pads (R265). These are all AHA-based (glycolic acid in particular) so they’re a little more potent than Kiehl’s peel, something to keep in mind if you’ve got very sensitive skin.

Love, love


13 thoughts on “Review: Kiehl’s Nightly Refining Micro-Peel concentrate

  1. Thank you for writing this post Lovely leigh! And your penny-pinching recommendations sound good. I’m going to try some environ products. Wanted to save up money for this Kiehls product but ill go with environ first-as though my skin is hypersensitive I am currently using a glycolic-acid containing product and i really like it. Maybe Environ has a higher percentage-so perhaps faster results. I’m impatient, I know…

    Its been so long since I last read your blog and left a comment. I like how funny you are as your sense of humour is refreshing and puts a smile on my face. I used to read your blog a lot last year-but I’ve got internet trouble and less data now too…

    I know you’ve got an instagram, but I’m not very active on there-wish you had a facebook page so I could keep up to date with your blog. Your posts are helpful and its nice you get to the point quickly!…

    Have a nice day xo

    🙂 ❤ 🙂

    1. Hi Angel! Thanks so much for your lovely words, they’re much appreciated 🙂 Environ do a great AHA gel and its pretty strong. I reckon if you use it every other night it should be fine though. It’s brilliant at blitzing the dark marks that get left behind by a pimple. Hope it works out for you 😉

  2. Hi!
    Cool I found your review on the Micropeel! I´ve recently started using it and I love it. But what really caught my attention is that you mention on the post that you´ve been combining this micropeel with retinol, is that right?
    I was prescribed a 0.5% retinol pomade for night use.
    I´m curious… how do you combine them both?

    1. Hi hun! I generally use AHAs and retinol at the same time. I just alternate them each night while sometimes giving my skin a break by using a vitamin C or antioxidant serum in between. But learn to read your skin. If you feel like the retinol you’re using is sensitising your face, don’t then apply AHA as it’ll irritate it. So fully adjust to the one and then add the other.

  3. Hey Leila, stalking your blog to find stuff on chemical peels. Want to start having them but they seem exhorbitent at dermatologists, R600 – R900 every eight weeks just doesnt cut it. What do you recommend? I also use retinol at night and that is the reason i couldnt have a skinceuticals advanced corrective peel last week because the derm said my skin would melt!

    1. Hi La! This is a tough one because I use a lot of retinol and it’s never negated my ability to have a peel. I’m not sure why your derm said you couldn’t have one but they probably know things about your skin that I don’t. I think listen to your doc as opposed to me. Still, if you’re determined, get in touch with Sonette Donker via twitter. She’s the queen of peels and would be best equipped to answer any questions and possibly suggest a peel that’s less intense but would still give you results.

      1. I can’t think of anything you can use at home that would be comparable to the results you’d get from an in-salon peel. Sorry hun!

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