Kiehl’s go to extreme lengths to test out their products suitability.

Posted on Jan 20 2016 - 9:00am by Samantha Clark
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When we tried out Kiehl’s latest product: the Ultra Deep Moisture Balm, we were sent over a press release that detailed how the product is tested to ensure it’s fit for purpose. Not only is the science behind the key ingredients thoroughly evaluated and detailed but the product testing literally goes to extreme lengths. This isn’t just a piece about a product new to a market and how good it is, it is that of course, but the partnership for the testing provided a compelling story. You may wonder, as I do, from time to time to what lengths companies go to ensuring it really is a product that does what it says and we thought you’d find this as interesting as we did.

For nearly 30 years, Kiehl’s has been “adventure-testing” its most beloved formulas with professional climbers, explorers and athletes in the most extreme and remote places on earth. From the heights of Mount Everest, to the unchartered peaks of Greenland, to 300 feet below sea level in Death Valley and even across the frozen sea ice of the North Pole, Kiehl’s formulas have been exposed to the world’s most severe environmental elements, proving their performance and endurance under the harshest of conditions. Today, this heritage continues in partnership with award-winning backcountry skiers Cody Townsend and Elyse Saugstad. The husband and wife duo adventure tested Kiehl’s newest hydration innovation, Ultra Facial Deep Moisture Balm along with other formulas from the Ultra Facial collection during a grueling, multi-week ski expedition in The Boundary Range of British Columbia, which represent some of North America’s most northern and virtually inaccessible snow-capped mountains and glaciers.


Cody & Elyse tested the efficacy and performance of Ultra Facial Balm while the athletes shot their new documentary film Conquering the Useless. Reaching 10,000 feet above sea level, glaciers in the backcountry of British Columbia were chosen for the location of their expedition, as they represent some of the most challenging and inaccessible terrain in the world – which few, if any, have ever dared to ski before. Both applied Kiehl’s new formula twice a day, during which time their skin was exposed to extreme wind, bitter cold, and other dehydrating conditions. Their 14-hour days in the mountains were spent skiing, exploring and pioneering runs twice as high as the Empire State Building at speeds of up to 65+ mph and winds as high as 75 mph. This was followed by nights in the wilderness with plummeting temperatures well below -10 degrees F.

“This was one of the most challenging trips I have ever experienced,” said Cody Townsend. “Each day we left our campsite before dawn, traveled as much as 100 miles per day in the mountains and returned well after sunset. The conditions really took a toll on our bodies, so maintaining skin health was an important part of our safety in those extreme conditions.” In addition to the formula’s protection benefits, the skiers also noticed that Ultra Facial Balm kept their skin hydrated and actually helped treat it over the 2-week test. “I’ve been a fan of Kiehl’s for years, but this was my first time using their Balm formula,” noted Elyse Saugstad. “I generally stay away from anything too rich, but not only did I find the texture super comfortable, following the trip my skin actually felt smoother and healthier than it did before we left!”

Pushing the efficacy of its formulas to the limits is critical to Kiehl’s. As leaders in skincare hydration since the 1970’s, Kiehl’s chemists have focused on hydration and protection of skin’s barrier as a necessity for healthy skin for over 40 years. This guiding principle inspired the development of Kiehl’s beloved Ultra Facial Collection and the company’s latest hydration innovation. Knowing that cold temperatures and dry air increased skin dryness, Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Deep Moisture Balm offers the ultimate in hydration and comfort to dry skin, making it the ideal formula to be tested against extreme environmental conditions.

“Since the 1980’s, we have been adventure testing many of our products. If our formulas can withstand the world’s harshest environments, we know that they are advanced and highly effective for everyday use,” stated Cheryl Vitali, Kiehl’s General Manager Worldwide. “We thought Cody and Elyse were the perfect pair to test our new Ultra Facial Deep Moisture Balm in extreme conditions. They are both leading backcountry skiers – meaning they ski beyond traditional boundaries to attempt the impossible in their sport and constantly defy the imagination with some of the most hair-raising runs the world has ever seen. While they are unquestionably serious athletes, both also possess courage, passion and fearlessness – a true spirit of adventure that we at Kiehl’s identify with and admire.”

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