Our Guide To Essential Oils



A botanical is a plant or part of a plant valued for its scent that serves as the source of essential oils for skincare.


Botanical oils are oils extracted (usually using a heat press) from the root, stem/bark, leaves, flowers, seeds or fruits of plants that are fatty, dense and non-volatile.

Examples include:

  • Squalane: A botanical lipid of the highest quality, derived from olives and a signature Kiehl’s ingredient found in formulas to help restore skin’s natural moisture balance.
  • Evening Primrose Oil: A botanical oil rich in essential fatty acids that helps maintain hydration and elasticity.
  • Sunflower Oil: A botanical oil rich in essential fatty acids and used in products to help reduce isolated incidents of visible skin redness and improve skin's smoothness, texture, and hydration.


Essential oil is a concentrated liquid or plant extract (naturally cultivated and steam-distilled) that retains the natural smell and flavor or essence of their source. Essential oils are commonly used as aromatherapy or within formulations for skincare.


Inspired by our apothecary roots, Kiehl’s infuses essential oils in many formulations to help replenish nutrients to the skin. Skin greatly benefits from oil-based products because they smooth, lubricate, and are more easily absorbed as opposed to water-based moisturizers. Even skin that does not look or feel rough benefits from this action, as the lipid barrier, found on the surface of the skin, must be in pristine condition to optimize skin’s health and appearance. Learn more about essential oils for skin care found in some of our most iconic formulations.

KIEHL’S FUN FACT: At one time, there were 122 unique essences offered to patrons of the original "Kiehl Pharmacy" located at Thirteenth and Third in New York City’s Lower East Side community.


Lavender Essential Oil has calmative and soothing properties and helps improve skin tone creating a brighter more radiant look. With its fresh aroma, Lavender is a favorite go-to in skincare. Midnight Recovery Concentrate, our top-rated nighttime facial oil , is formulated with 8 essential oils including Lavender Essential Oil to help visibly restore the appearance of skin and enhance skin’s natural nighttime recovery. It’s a replenishing elixir of pure essential oils and distilled botanicals to visibly restore the appearance of skin by morning.

KIEHL’S TIP: Rub Midnight Recovery Concentrate on points of tension as an essential oil.


Rosemary Essential Oil helps to retain moisture and improve and brighten skin tone, making it an ideal essential oil for dry skin. Our Cactus Flower & Tibetan Ginseng Hydrating Mist, a refreshing formula that purifies and hydrates skin, is infused with a potent blend of essential oils including Rosemary Essential Oil, that work together to purify and protect skin’s moisture barrier.


The rose-scented Geranium Essential Oil, a warming and purifying oil, is widely recognized to help improve well-being and known to help balance skin’s oil production. Our Precision Lifting & Pore-Tightening Concentrate, a pore-minimizing serum, includes ingredients like Geranium Essential Oil and is formulated to help skin feel smoother, firmer and more lifted.


Eucalyptus Oil is derived from the leaf of Eucalyptus and is known to "waken" and refresh the skin. Within our formula, it provides a clean and refreshing aroma. Formulated in our Ultimate Strength Hand Salve, a moisturizing hand salve that leaves hands feeling soft, conditioned and cared for.


Thyme Essential Oil is known for its cleansing, soothing, and antioxidant properties. Formulated within our Herbal-Infused Micellar Cleansing Water, a hydrating micellar water that uses micellar technology to instantly trap and lift away dirt, impurities, and even makeup with a cotton pad.


Ginger Root Essential Oil has antioxidant benefits such as defending skin’s barrier from external aggressors. Within our formula, it is steam distilled to help preserve its efficacy and scent. Our Daily Reviving Concentrate, a daily lightweight facial oil is a potent antioxidant powerhouse formulated with ingredients that include Ginger Root Essential Oil to help revitalize and energize skin.

KIEHL’S TIP: For glowing skin that lasts all day, apply 2-3 drops of Daily Reviving Concentrate under your foundation. Distilled botanical oils help energize and protect skin from environmental aggressors that can cause a dull-looking complexion.

WARNING: Our essences are generally recommended for everyone. Please note the following with regard to the usage of pure essences and essence blends and their possible effects on the skin: the susceptibility of persons to pure essences and essence blends varies from individual to individual. Occasionally, susceptible individuals can experience a rash, desensitization or a temporary discoloration of the skin in the areas where the pure concentrated essences have been applied. Sun exposure greatly increases the sensitivity of the skin towards certain essences; therefore, we recommend that the use of essences should be limited to those occasions when sun exposure is minimal.

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