Friday, November 25, 2011

I love Kiehl's

I first discovered Kiehl's in my Mum's Vogue and ELLE mags, this magical brand that didn't do any advertising or mass marketing, yet had these amazing cult skincare products, beloved by celebs and beauty buffs. Finally when I moved to London in 1997, I got to do a pilgrimage to the fabulous Harvey Nichols where they stocked Kiehl's. It was like Mecca! Then I got a job at Harrods and they had a Kiehl's counter also. My friend worked on the Kiehl's counter and supplied me with loads of lovely sample which was bliss, given my budget allowed only for cheapies from Boots chemist and whatever I could blag off my friends on the beauty counters. Robbie Williams came in one day to buy his cucumber cleanser, mind you Kiehl's was always playing host to celebs! My must buys were the Foaming Non Detergent Washable Cleanser, Lip Balm (a cult favourite) Blue Astringent Herbal Toner (Andy Warhol's favorite product) and Bath & Shower Liquid Body Cleanser in Vanilla.
Kiehl's was began in 1851 New York's East Village on the corner of 3rd Ave and 13th Street as Brunswick Apotheke, a homeopathic pharmacy. In 1894, apprentice John Kiehl took over as Kiehl's Pharmacy was born. For the first 150 years, Kiehl's only ran this store, with certain products only available off-site in a few high end department stores such as Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Saks Fifth avenue, Barneys and Bergdorf Goodman. In 2000 L'Oréal bought Kiehl's with the proviso that they would maintain the integrity of the company - i.e. a boutique brand heavy on natural ingredients with recyclable packaging that is not mass-marketed and relies on free samples to drive business. The sales associates still wear lab coats to maintain the 'pharmacy' feel. I got to visit the flagship store in the West Village in 1999 and it was such a fun experience - after searching the streets of SoHo, I arrived to be looked after by a lovely salesman who gave me a bulging bag of about 15 samples.
Kiehl's also continues it's philanthropic activities, supporting many charities including the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, Lower East Side Girls, War Child Australia, amFAR (The American Foundation for AIDS Research) and the Rainforest Alliance. 
I love these David LaChapelle campaign shots from last year of Pharrell Williams & Julianne Moore with their Acai Damage-Protective Mist.  100% of the net profits (up to $200,000) went to the Rainforest Alliance.
Artist Jeff Koons designed these fab Body Creme de Corps labels. another cult product, this body moisturizer is super luxe and just melts into the skin. You must try the Soy Milk & Honey Whipped Body Butter version - it simply melts into your skin and smells delicious -sublime!
I've just done a quick run up to Kiehl's at Smith & Caughey's and got a  bottle of the Body Creme de Corps by Ksubi (below) - very cute, and 7.4% of all sales go to War Child Australia. I was also loaded up with fab samples, including my favorite new cleanser, the Ultra Facial Oil-Free Cleanser. One little squirt goes a long way, and it's great for combination skin. It's a Godsend finally having Kiehls' here in NZ, and the girls who man both counters at Smith & Caughey's Newmarket and Queen street are fantastic, full of advice and always send you on your way with yummy samples - a Kiehl's tradition.
Kiehl's Creme de Corps Special Edition
Ultra Facial Oil-Free Cleanser
Creme de Corps Soy Milk & Honey Whipped Body Butter
Check out your nearest Kiehl's stockists here.


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