I love that Kiehl’s products are inspired by their 156 years of apothecary expertise. In fact, two of my all-time favourite products are by the brand: Crème de Corps and Midnight Recovery Concentrate.

So, when Kiehl’s launched their anticipated Apothecary Preparations late last year, I was very excited to learn about the concept and try the products out.

Apothecary Preparations are unique facial concentrates (similar to a serum) that address YOUR unique skincare concerns.

Each customer’s personalised Apothecary Preparations facial concentrate is made up of three distinctive parts: the base, Kiehl’s Skin Strengthening Concentrate, plus two, individually selected Targeted Complexes.

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The 2 Targeted Complexes are selected through a consultation and diagnosis with a Kiehl’s Customer Representative in order to address 2 of the following concerns most important to the customer:

  • Redness
  • Wrinkles
  • Texture
  • Enlarged Pores
  • Dullness

This is how it works:

Step 1 – Diagnosis: Pop into either Kiehl’s in the V&A or Sandton (at this stage, these are the only two Kiehl’s stores locally that offer the service) and a consultant will chat to you about your various skin concerns. Using a dermatologist-inspired Skin Atlas, you’ll be asked to assess and rank the severity of your skin concerns. This allows the consultant to identify the two essential Targeted Complexes that will be used in your own personal formula.

Step 2 – Personalisation: Following the consultation, two skin-specific Targeted Complexes are selected to accompany Kiehl’s Skin Strengthening Concentrate.

Your personalized box will include your name, details of your personal formula and directions for use. When you get home, simply add your two Targeted Complexes to your Skin Strengthening Concentrate prior to your first application. This allows for a uniquely potent, tailor-made skincare treatment.

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Kiehl’s Apothecary Preparations should be applied after cleansing and before applying your a moisturiser.

The Skin Strengthening Concentrate base is comprised of a 35% concentration of Squalane and Skin Lipid Complex at 20%, which fortifies, hydrates and helps protect the skin’s barrier. Squalane is a botanical lipid derived from the olive and works to protect the skin’s barrier. Skin Lipid Complex contains a blend of botanical oils (apricot, coriander, black currant, and echium) that hydrate and replenish the skin. Skin Strengthening Concentrate ensures that skin is stronger and more resistant to damage. It is to this concentrate that the two Targeted Complexes are added.

Skin Strengthening Concentrate retails for R459 for a 20ml.

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Each Kiehl’s Targeted Complex is formulated to address a customer’s SPECIFIC skin concern. They are all super potent and really deliver on their specific promise.

The Kiehl’s Targeted Complexes are so potent; they should NOT be individually applied directly to skin. Dilution in the Skin Strengthening Concentrate assures both optimal efficacy and skin tolerance.

 Each Targeted Complex retails for R500 for a 5ml.

WRINKLE REDUCING COMPLEX with Retinol Concentrate & Pro-Retinol

This concentrate works to increase skin density. It contains retinol, which has been clinically tested to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.


Vitamin F is essentially an unsaturated fatty acid blend (glyceryl oleate, glyceryl linoleate and glyceryl linolenate) that helps skin maintain barrier protection and proper skin hydration, resulting in improved skin texture and smoothness.

LHA (Lipohydroxy Acid) is a derivative of Salicylic Acid and targets the protein bonds between dead skin cells to help them slough off at a faster rate (exfoliation). This results in a smoother and more refined skin texture.

VISIBLE REDNESS NEUTRALIZING COMPLEX with Sunflower Seed Extract & Vitamin E

Sunflower Seed Oil Extract is extremely rich in essential fatty acids, like linoleic acid that helps reduce visible skin redness and dryness. Vitamin E has been shown to prevent redness, thanks to its antioxidant properties.

PORE MINIMIZING COMPLEX with Samphira Extract & Salicylic Acid

Samphira Oil helps to reduce the appearance of sebum on skin, while Salicylic Acid works as a mild skin exfoliator removing excess sebum and dead skin cells. Formulas containing this ingredient have been shown to reduce the appearance of pores.

BRIGHTENING COMPLEX with Vitamin C & Scotch Pine Extract

Oil-Soluble Vitamin C Ester has been shown to reduce UV-induced pigmentation. Its antioxidant properties help the skin defend itself against environmental attacks that can lead to dullness and uneven skin tone. Scotch Pine Extract helps to promote skin brightness.

Because I’m in my early forties, fine lines, wrinkles and discolouration are my main issues. The two complexes I tried were the Wrinkle Reducing Complex and the Brightening Complex.

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I used my bespoke Apothecary Preparations at night, after cleansing, before moisturising. I love Retinol as an ingredient, because it really delivers visible results. It works wonders to smooth fine lines and wrinkles. I’ve also had great success with Vitamin C in the past, and know it’s great at reducing skin dullness and pigmentation. I used my Apothecary Preparation diligently for 6 weeks and have been well impressed with the results. After about a month, my skin looked a lot brighter, and my (recent) fine, vertical dehydration lines around my mouth were vastly diminished. This formula also slightly reduced my pigmentation on both sides of my face. I’m well impressed, and think that for R1459 this concentrate is well worth the investment.


Sounds interesting. I really enjoy Kiehl’s products, especially their Midnight Recovery Concentrate so am interested to try the Pore Minimizing and Texture Refining complexes. What is the texture of the product like?

Very, very cool, I’m going to pop into a store 🙂

Hello Lauren, the texture of the product is lovely. When you first apply it, you get that there are oils in the formula, but it is not at all oily. It’s actually similar to the Midnight Recovery Concentrate. About two minutes after application, the products absorbs completely.

Let me know what you think of it, Jade and how your experience was in store.

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