Beauty Test Drive: Kiehl’s Men’s Oil Eliminator Line Is Fine For Women, It’s Just Not That Great

Like a fresh piece of pizza, my skin glistens — eh, just shines — with oil. I have big pores on my nose and cheeks and a t-zone that announces itself after lunch by shining like the top of the Chrysler building. There are millions of primers, powders, creams, and gels that I’ve tried slathering on my face in an attempt to combat this issue, to no avail. Most products I’ve tried work for about 15 minutes, maybe an hour at best, and then the inevitable glow returns. My skin is just a fact of nature, it’s the way I am, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want it to change. So, when Kiehl’s sent over a giant bag full of men’s products to a website that writes primarily about things that concern women, I was delighted to find that there were three brand-new things intended to combat the shine that plagues not only me, but menfolk everywhere.

Men’s products always intrigued me, only because of the seeming need to market something to wash your face specifically to a group of people who don’t want to smell like chemical flowers. The packaging is so brusque, with lots of power adjectives and imperatives, promising less of a spa experience and more of an aggressive, bulleted list of what it will accomplish and how it’s gonna do it. I like this direct approach. While I appreciate the frippery and fanciful nature of women’s beauty products, with their breathless promises of returning my skin to its infant state, I like it straight, too. Tell me to my face exactly how you’re going to fix my face, please.

Because men produce more sebum than women, especially after puberty, their skin is naturally oilier. Hence the need for the new Oil Eliminator line from Kiehl’s. As a delicate woman, with the skin of a rugged man, I figured the heavy-duty oil absorbing power of this line would give me the dewy-not-shiny, matte-yet-glowy skin that I yearn for. I was sort of wrong.

Products (you can get them all here):

  • Men’s Oil Eliminating Deep Cleansing Exfoliating Face Gel ($22)
  • Men’s Oil Eliminating 24 Hour Anti Shine Moisturizer ($270)
  • Men’s Oil Eliminating Refreshing Shine Control Spray Toner ($20)

Application: The face cleanser was nice and thick, which was a nice change from a lot of the exfoliating cleansers out there, which are nothing more than plastic beads that are bad for the environment, suspended in a minty liquid. This felt brawny, thick enough that the little dollop I put on my hand was more than enough. It foamed nicely and did not smell like Axe, which is precisely how my “men’s” hair pomade smells. It was minty, a hint of tea-tree oil, perhaps, or a whiff of eucalyptus. The moisturizer is thicker than I’m used to, but sinks in nicely, doesn’t sit on top of my skin in that uncomfortable, gluey way that bad moisturizer can. The “facial toner” is a fucking face mist, dudes. Don’t get it twisted. It’s some fancy water that you spray on your face.

Results: I set aside my regular face wash and moisturizer, eager to embrace a new, manlier routine. “Surely this intense MAN product will render my skin as dry and as smooth as the desert at sunset,” I told myself. Sadly, this was not the case. The face wash did what it was supposed to do, and cleaned the morning’s general shine and grossness away, but it eliminated nothing, managing only to hold the gleam at bay for a little while.

The moisturizer was the same deal. Its thickness was worrisome. As someone with skin prone to breakouts and oily in general, the idea of putting something super heavy on my face is not appealing. It “eliminated” the oil for about, an hour or so and then my face returned to its normal appearance, which was disappointing. I wanted something that was going to really get in there, you know? This was not the product. Also, the moisturizer lacks sunscreen, which is fine, but if it costs $27 and is meant to be worn on the face all the time, AND is intended for men, who are lazy idiots who don’t want to do anything but wash their face with the same bar of soap they wash their balls with. Sunscreen is for everyone, because skin cancer is terrible and at the end of the day we are all vain creatures who want to look like we’ve slept 8 hours and drink lots of water. Why, oh why, would you expect anyone to do an extra step?

The “facial toner” boasts a dead-easy “single-handed application”, which is funny because I guess that’s the masc way of saying that you spray it on your face. It’s in a spray bottle. You mist your face like you would a houseplant or a particularly ill-behaved cat. I am no stranger to the face mist, and I love them wholeheartedly, so the promise of something that will absorb the oil that sits on my face is very exciting. Strangely enough, this made my face feel worse than before. Most face mists just settle into your skin, make it feel refreshed, and then you don’t think about it. I took a look in the mirror after using this face mist throughout the day and was horrified to see that it looked like I had been sweating profusely for hours.

These products didn’t really do anything beyond the bare minimum. Yes, my face was clean after I used the exfoliant, but it was still shiny. Yes, the moisturizer moisturized my face, but it didn’t do what was promised. And the face mist was not something that I will use ever again, because it was gross.

Rating: 2/5 stars, only because they did what they were supposed to do, but barely.