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Average: 4 (1 vote)

Anna Raven's picture
Written on Thursday, January 24, 2019

The cleansing oils trend came from Korea and became firmly established in the West. It’s hard to find a brand without some oily face cleanser in their range. Kiehls is no exception with their Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil.

However, it turned out a bit different than most would expect.

General information:This cleansing oil is eye-catching thanks to its stylish “midnight” packaging. It’s a dark blue bottle of firm plastic with a black dispenser and pale golden letters on it. The design is quite sophisticated.

The oil is available in two sizes, with a flip top cap or a pump dispenser. My miniature is with a flip top cap.Price: $32 for a 5,9 oz. bottle.Description:


This lightweight essential oil cleanser emulsifies with water to a cleansing milk, gently yet effectively dissolving even the hardest to remove makeup and impurities without over-drying. Enriched with an aromatic blend of pure botanical oils—squalene, a planted-derived lipid with a natural affinity for skin, evening primrose oil, rich in omega-6 fatty acids, and lavender essential oil, this all-in one cleansing formula leaves skin balanced, soothed, and prepared for optimal night-time replenishment.





Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Zea Mays Germ Oil / Corn Germ Oil, Isopropyl Myristate, Caprylic / Capric Triglyceride, Polyglyceryl-10 Dioleate, Polyglyceryl-6 Dicaprate, Oenothera Biennis Oil / Evening Primrose Oil, Polyglyceryl-2 Oleate, Squalane, Coriandrum Sativum Seed Oil / Coriander Seed Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Lavandula Angustifolia Oil / Lavender Oil, Isopropyl Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Dicaprylyl Ether, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Geranium Maculatum Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Oil / Rosemary Leaf Oil, Linalool, Tocopherol, Citronellol, Geraniol, Limonene, Glycine Soja Oil / Soybean Oil, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate


In general, the ingredients are quite good. There are many useful ones among them. It’s mostly natural oils, which is understandable.

Color, consistency, fragrance


The cleansing oil is yellowish and see-through. Its consistency is pretty liquid, runny and not too oily. It resembles lightweight natural oils, like almond oil, peach kernel oil, etc.

The smell is absolutely natural and not overwhelming. It’s lavender essential oil. I don’t really like lavender, so it’s good that it’s hardly perceptible and light.

Directions of use:

There are two ways to use it: with or without a cotton pad. I find the first option a bit inefficient because the cotton pad would absorb too much oil to make it useful.

How I use this oil:


1. It doesn’t matter if I wear makeup or not. First I just wash my face with lukewarm water.

2. Then, I pour a necessary amount of oil onto my palm and spread it all over my face.

3. I massage it onto my face a little bit to make the water and oil interact. Then, I wash it off with water.

4. If I remove long lasting makeup products, I add a face foam or micellar water to this routine. If not, I dab my face with a towel and apply my toner or moisturizer.

General impression:

My skin is prone to dryness and sensitive, with large pores that get clogged quickly. There are no breakouts or dry spots.

You don’t need a lot of oil to wash a makeup-free face. However, when used daily and as a makeup remover, a little bit doesn’t go a long way. My miniature lasted for a month.

Considering this, I can say that the price is far from reasonable, alas.

The biggest size is the most convenient one thanks to the pump dispenser. This is the best packaging for cleansing oil. With a flip top cap, the bottle becomes messy, sooner or later.

It feels oily on my face, even though it starts to transform into emulsion. It doesn’t feel nice for me, because I’m not used to oily formulas on my skin. Most regular oils clog my pores, and I do my best to avoid them.

The oily feeling lasts even after the oil is washed off and only disappears when my face is dry.

The oil does remove makeup. It’s hard to remove waterproof makeup, though, like lipstick and eyeliner. It’s better in the case with mascara, but also far from perfect.

You’d better not use it on eyes. It doesn’t remove mascara and the feeling is really unpleasant. The oil doesn’t leave any film on them. Maybe my eyes are too sensitive.

But I like to use this oil as a regular face wash. It removes all dirt from my face without over-drying it, which is really timely considering the heating season. After using this oil, my skin feels silky and nourished and doesn’t required a lot of moisturizer.

It doesn’t clog pores or cause any other side reactions.

Conclusion: I wouldn’t recommend this Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil as a makeup remover. If you need one, give Korean oils a try. However, this turned out to be good as a gentle face wash for dry skin.

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Anna Raven recommends Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil

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Brand: Kiehl's
Category: Skin Care