Clarins Vs. Kiehl’s: Which Luxury Skincare Brand Is Better?

When it comes to luxury skincare, French brand Clarins and New York-based Kiehl’s are two of the biggest names on the market. With their premium ingredients, indulgent formulas and hefty price tags, they promise transformative results for your complexion.

But which brand truly delivers? Here, we compare Clarins and Kiehl’s to see how they stack up on factors like ingredients, packaging, product range, and value for money.

A Brief Comparison Table

Here is a comparison table contrasting some key factors between Clarins and Kiehl’s:

OriginFrench luxury skincare brandNew York apothecary-inspired brand
PackagingSleek, elegant containers in orange and silverMinimalist white and black packaging
Key IngredientsPlant extracts, peptides, botanical oilsHyaluronic acid, vitamin C, retinol, salicylic acid
Product RangeBroad with specialized solutionsStreamlined essentials and anti-aging
DistributionMainly department storesDepartment stores, drugstores, boutiques
Best ForHydration, anti-aging, eco-consciousAnti-aging, men’s skincare, value

Overview of Clarins


Founded in 1954, Clarins is one of the pioneers of plant-based skincare. The brand combines botanical ingredients with cutting-edge formulas to create products that nourish, revitalize and restore skin’s youthful radiance.

Some hero ingredients found in Clarins products include:

  • Plant extracts like chamomile, ginseng, rosemary and St. John’s wort
  • Anti-aging peptides
  • Clarins’ exclusive anti-pollution complex

The packaging has an undeniable beauty focus, with most products housed in sleek silver and orange containers. The brand offers skincare solutions for all skin types and a wide range of concerns like dehydration, dullness, wrinkles and sensitivity.

Popular Clarins products include:

  • Double Serum – A dual-chamber serum that combines hyaluronic acid and plant extracts
  • Extra-Firming Eye Lift Perfecting Serum – A potent eye treatment aimed at minimizing wrinkles and sagging
  • Multi-Active Jour/Nuit – A day and night cream-gel duo for revitalized, youthful skin

Overview Of Kiehl’s


Originally founded as an apothecary in 1851, Kiehl’s takes a straightforward, no-fuss approach to skincare. Many of its products feature powerhouse ingredients like vitamin C, retinol and gentle exfoliants.

Some of Kiehl’s star ingredients include:

  • Antioxidant-rich botanicals like avocado, cucumber and calendula
  • Hyaluronic acid for deep hydration
  • Heavy-hitting actives like salicylic acid and retinol

Products come packaged in minimalist white containers with handwritten labels, giving off an old-world pharmacy vibe. Kiehl’s is best known for its targeted treatments designed to visibly reduce the signs of aging.

Customer favorites from Kiehl’s include:

  • Midnight Recovery Concentrate – An overnight face oil made with lavender essential oil
  • Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate – A vitamin C and hyaluronic acid serum
  • Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado – A rich eye cream to hydrate and smooth fine lines

Also Read: Madison Reed Vs. Naturtint: Which Natural Hair Dye Is Best?

Comparison Between Clarins And Kiehl’s:

Ingredients And Formulas

When it comes to ingredients, Clarins edges out Kiehl’s for its meticulous sourcing and use of potent plant extracts. The brand has over 250 sustainably farmed plants in its portfolio along with high-tech peptides for a results-driven approach.

Kiehl’s formulates with plenty of natural ingredients too, but relies more heavily on scientifically-proven synthetic actives. Think vitamin C, salicylic acid and retinol versus Clarins’ reliance on ginseng, rosemary and alpine plants.

Both brands bundle these ingredients into luxurious textures and formulas. But Clarins may appeal more to natural beauty enthusiasts while Kiehl’s will suit those looking for familiar active ingredients.

Packaging And Presentation

Here, advantage Kiehl’s. The minimal, pharmaceutical-inspired packaging has undeniable appeal. The no-frills containers allow the products to do the talking.

Clarins’ bright, elegant packaging also looks upscale, but some consumers may see it as overly showy. For a luxury brand, Kiehl’s packaging may feel more refined and discreet.

Product Range and Accessibility

With vast product ranges for all skin types and concerns, Clarins narrowly wins for selection. The brand offers specialized solutions ranging from primers and masks to eye and neck treatments. Kiehl’s has widened its scope over the years but still traffics strongly in skincare basics and anti-aging essentials.

When it comes to accessibility, Kiehl’s prevails. With distribution through department stores, drugstores and its own boutiques, Kiehl’s makes shopping the brand much easier than Clarins, which you can primarily find at department store counters.

Value For Money

Both brands sit at the higher end of the skincare market, but Kiehl’s offers greater value for money overall. Its formulas tend to contain fewer exotic botanicals that drive up costs. And while Clarins does use plenty of plant ingredients, you’re likely paying a premium for the novelty.

With its pared-down approach, Kiehl’s can funnel more investment into active ingredients versus flashy botanicals and packaging.

Also Read: Vegamour Vs. Aveda Invati: Better Hair Growth Serum

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is Kiehl’s a high end brand?

Yes, Kiehl’s is considered a high end, prestige skincare brand. Its products are sold at luxury department stores and the brand touts premium ingredients and elegant packaging. However, Kiehl’s pricing remains somewhat more accessible than ultra luxury brands like La Mer.

Are Clarins products good?

Clarins products are highly regarded for their use of plant extracts and elegant formulations. They rank among the top prestige skincare brands, especially for moisturization. However, some critics argue their botanical ingredients aren’t always as clinically proven as more science-based brands.

Are Kiehl’s products good?

Yes, Kiehl’s products are extremely effective thanks to their no-frills formulas packed with result-driven actives. They’re free of exotic botanicals that drive up costs, relying instead on hardworking ingredients like retinol, vitamin C and hyaluronic acid.

Is Clarins good for your face?

Clarins facial skincare gets top marks, especially for hydration. The brand harnesses the soothing and moisturizing powers of botanicals to craft rich creams and serums ideal for dry, sensitive complexions. Clarins faces products also contain advanced peptides for anti-aging benefits.

The Verdict

For anti-aging

Those seeking serious wrinkle-fighting skincare with clinically proven ingredients should opt for Kiehl’s. The brand loads its products with peptides, retinol and vitamin C rather than unproven botanicals. Shop its Powerful Wrinkle Reducing Cream or Retinol Skin-Renewing Daily Micro-Dose Serum for a boost of actives.

For hydration

Clarins offers unbeatable moisturization, particularly in its creams. The brand uses plant oils and seed butters that excel at sealing in hydration. Try Clarins HydraQuench Cream for lasting softness and suppleness. Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream is superbly hydrating too, but Clarins ekes out a win for dry skin types.

For sensitivities

Those with reactive skin may do better with Kiehl’s simple, fragrance-free formulas based on gentle ingredients like squalane. However, Clarins also offers many options for sensitive complexions using soothing botanicals. Try their Comforting Cleansing Milk.

For men’s skincare

Kiehl’s gets the vote for men’s products given its no-fuss packaging and formulas packed withrefreshing natural ingredients like cucumber, ginger root and ginseng.

For eco-conscious skincare

Eco-beauty lovers should turn to Clarins for its focus on organic farming, sustainability initiatives and use of Fair Trade ingredients whenever possible. Kiehl’s does promote environmental stewardship, too, but its plant extracts sources aren’t as eco-driven as Clarins.

Also watch the video to know more about Kiehl’s!

At the end of the day, Kiehl’s nudges out Clarins for offering greater value across its straightforward but highly effective skincare. The packaging imparts sophistication without extravagance, and the brand doesn’t inflate prices with exotic-sounding botanicals.

However, Clarins unquestionably excels at hydration and uses high-end naturally-derived ingredients. Ultimately it comes down personal preference, but those seeking no-frills, hardworking skincare backed by science may find better value with Kiehl’s.

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