Kiehl’s Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration Masque claims to be good for soothing, with calendula extract in fairly high concentration and cited as a “gentle ingredient that’s super effective at repairing red, raw skin.” And in some aloe, and it seems like it might be great for soothing.
But the truth of the matter is, calendula has been debunked as a soothing agent. In a 2013 study published in the European Journal of Oncology Nursing, no difference was found in the number or severity of skin reactions using either a calendula-based cream or a water-based cream. And while calendula does mildly help to boost UVB protection (Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2010), this effect is only mild.
Instead, I would say that Kiehl’s Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration Masque would be better off called “Kiehl’s Brightening Citrus Fruit Mask with a Few Soothing Ingredients to Help with That.” (Although, I will admit, that doesn’t sound nearly as eloquent…)
The high concentration of three citrus extracts — limonene, lemon peel oil, and orange peel oil — make this more of a “brightening” mask that is best used on nights you know you’re not going to be getting a lot of sun the next day. It is true that lemon is a great source of vitamin C, depending on the source from which it is extracted. But lemon may also increase the skin’s susceptibility to sun damage (Photoimmunology, Photodermatology, and Photomedicine, 2005). I have also been sent emails from readers who have used lemon directly on their skin and had really bad reactions to it. In this case, I recommend using Kiehl’s Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration Masque only at night, and make sure you use a vitamin CE serum and UVA/UVB sunscreen the next day.
Another interesting aspect of Kiehl’s Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration Masque is the high concentration of castor oil. Castor oil is 90% ricinoleic acid, which has skin smoothing and moisturizing properties. It is also treat rough skin and mild to moderate acne, according to a 2002 study in Phytotherapy Research. Castor oil has also been used by Chinese medicine doctors for centuries to treat acne and inflammation. Although it has never been proven castor oil can eliminate acne, its main chemical component (ricinoleic acid) can undergo a chemical process (ozonolysis) to form azelaic acid, a drug proven to treat mild to moderate acne. Much of the oil naturally produced on the skin will also dissolve in castor oil, though keep in mind this is treating an undesirable effect of acne, not the cause (bacteria).
Overall, Kiehl’s Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration Masque is for normal to oily, non-sensitive skin for those in non-sunny climates. It’s great for sunspots, uneven skin tone, mild acne, and general signs of aging. And, despite its name, I would argue it is not great for skin soothing — despite all of its benefits, I’m afraid I can’t endorse that one.
How to Use
After cleansing, apply a generous amount to skin and leave on for five to 10 minutes. Rinse well and follow with moisturizer.
Ingredients in Kiehl’s Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration Masque
Aqua / Water, Glycerin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Butylene Glycol, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Glyceryl Acrylate / Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Carbomer, Calendula Officinalis Flower, Phenoxyethanol, Limonene, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Citrus Limon Peel Oil / Lemon Peel Oil, Paeonia Suffruticosa Root Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Sodium Hydroxide, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Cassia Angustifolia Seed Polysaccharide, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, Citral, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Artemisia Absinthium Extract, Sodium Benzoate, Tocopherol