Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate

More youthful and fresher looking skin, who’s interested? Me. A few of my contacts in the blogosphere had recommended Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate- an anti-ageing serum-like oil, designed to aid skin recovery as we sleep. In truth, I’m late to the party on this one- Kiehl’s launched its Midnight Recovery Concentrate (MRC) “years ago” according to its press team, and it’s been wildly popular since with one sold every minute globally. It’s one of Kiehl’s best-selling or at least in their top five products across many countries. With sales figures like these, who wouldn’t be interested in trying it.

If you search the internet there are a plethora of reviews labelling it as a, “miracle in a bottle” or “I noticed a difference in one night”- can they all be true? The formula is rumoured to have taken Kiehl’s chemists two years to perfect, and contains a blend of active botanical and essential oils designed to work their magic through the night. I’ve listed the headliners below.


Plant-derived (botanical) oils: Squalene and Evening Primrose Oil provide skin with botanical lipids similar to its own natural oils to protect and reinforce. Coriander Seed and Rose Hip Seed Oils provide a complete blend of Omegas (Omega 3, 6 and 9) to fortify the skin barrier function. They all work together to improve skin quality and to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Essential oils: Lavender, Rosemary, Geranium and Rose Flower work synergistically to restore visible skin radiance, smooth the feel of skin and to protect it against environmental aggressors- all while hydrating.

The Reason Why

Why a night ‘treatment’ you might ask? You might know or at least have an idea why- during the day the skin works hard to protect itself against both internal and external aggressors. At night, it needs to regenerate, recover and replenish what it has lost as a result of these daily stresses. Which is where MRC comes in- working overnight to replenish the skin.

The formula has been designed to work most effectively between midnight and 4am when skin is naturally programmed to best absorb active ingredients. The reason why? During the night, the skin’s metabolism of nutrition is at a maximum rate due to the circadian rhythm of the body; a 24-hour cycle in the biochemical, physiological or behavioral processes of living things. Research has proven that during the day, skin is focusing on protection- the sebum secretion rate increases while the skin has a low metabolism. Whereas at night, skin focuses on rejuvenation and recovery; this activity attains its maximum level as the blood flow increases and skin’s rate of absorption of actives and cell turnover are at their peak.

And secondly- while we sleep, the skin is most amenable to rejuvenation and recovery as there are fewer environmental stressors that detract during this resting period.


Proof is in the Pudding


  • Fine lines appear reduced by 12%
  • Wrinkles appear reduced by 12%
  • Feel of roughness reduced by 18%
  • Radiance looks improved by 10%
  • Firmness/resilience feels improved by 9%

Four Weeks

  • Fine Lines appear reduced by 37%
  • Wrinkles appear reduced by 32%
  • Feel of roughness reduced by 28%
  • Radiance looks improved by 24%
  • Firmness/resilience feels improved by 25%

My Thoughts and Experience of MRC

Kiehl’s was founded in 1851 as an old-world apothecary in New York’s East Village neighbourhood. Its experience in cosmetic, pharmaceutical, herbal, and medicinal knowledge is second to none- and the brand has developed and advanced their formulations through the generations. Kiehl’s might have been acquired by L’Oréal in April, 2000 but the French cosmetic giant appears to have left the New York brand relatively untouched and creatively free to carve its own path. Which obviously, I like. An example of this approach would be its ‘Proven science. Not magic.’ motto- very wholesome.

Midnight Recovery Concentrate I like too. Three drops cover my cheeks, nose and forehead- any more and it remains on the face, and no doubt absorbs into my pillow case instead of my skin. Fundamentally- a little goes a long way. Results wise, I’d have to agree that overnight my complexion is improved, it looks more nourished. I’ve used it for around a month, and will also admit that a month in my skin is in better condition. Delving deeper into ‘Proven science. Not magic.’ – it makes more sense, if you look at Kiehl’s marketing messages surrounding MRC- there are no ’10 years younger’ for instance but more healthier and better looking skin messages. I trialled MRC with Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream during the day and the MRC at night with the Ultra Facial Cream over the top as the temperatures dropped for extra hydration. Well done Kiehl’s, deserved success.

Midnight Recovery Concentrate, from £38 at KIEHL’S

Chris Beastall

Chris is the Founder and Editor of Ape to Gentleman. His interests lie in men's style, male grooming and leading a better lifestyle - through minimalist, basic and clean design.