It’s been nearly 170 years since the first Kiehl’s store opened in Manhattan’s East Village. From the very beginning, we’ve committed ourselves to transparency: We were one of the first major brands to list our formulations’ ingredients on the labels, and in 2011, we launched Kiehl’s Gives to help educate our customers about our global charitable initiatives. While we’ve long since outgrown our humble roots, we remain as committed to these principles as we did back when our doors first opened in 1851.
One way we continue to embrace our heritage today is with our Future Made Better mission, which focuses on reducing our environmental impact. Here, you’ll learn exactly what this mission entails and discover some of the ways Kiehl’s continues to work toward a better future.
What Is Future Made Better?
While Future Made Better is an ongoing journey, there are several things we’re doing right now to ensure our products are produced responsibly. Ahead, discover the core pillars of our mission, and learn what you can do to help support Kiehl’s on this journey.
Formulas Made Better
The first component of Future Made Better focuses on the ingredients we use in our products. All of our skin and haircare products are formulated without parabens, and a full 98% of our formulas feature three or more renewable ingredients (which means that they can be replenished or regrown without placing an undue burden on the environment). Kiehls’ focus on sustainability helps support responsible farming practices in more than 600 communities throughout the world.
Our Rare Earth collection, for example, stars Amazonian white clay, a mineral-rich form of kaolin clay sustainably sourced from the mouth of the Amazon river. After fairly trading with the workers who collect this clay (which is known to locals as “Magic Earth,”) we put it to use in our formulas, including the award-winning Rare Earth Deep Pore Minimizing Cleansing Clay Mask. This purifying mask, which also contains aloe vera, helps draw out impurities and unclog pores to reveal a more refined appearance over time. It’s suitable for all skin types—particularly oily skin—and is made without mineral oil, fragrances, or silicone, making it both an effective and environmentally-friendly addition to your skincare routine.
Other responsibly-formulated Kiehl’s favorites include the beloved Midnight Recovery Concentrate, which is made with 100% renewable ingredients, including lavender essential oil and evening primrose oil; and Ultra Facial Cream with Squalane, which is formulated without dyes, fragrances, mineral oil, or triethanolamine (also known as TEA, a common cosmetic additive).
Manufacturing Made Better
In addition to using sustainable ingredients where we can, we strive to ensure that all of our formulas are made as responsibly as possible. We’ve reduced our water waste in manufacturing by a full 78% to date, and all of our production facilities run on 100% renewable electricity. We’re incredibly proud of this progress, but also know that growth has no end—and we’re committed to continuing our journey toward a greener future.
Packaging Made Better
It’s hard to pin down exactly how much waste the beauty industry produces, but one 2019 campaign determined that the beauty industry creates upward of 120 billion units of packaging each year, and the vast majority—around 79%—ends up in the landfill (most of it after a single use)*. Even if those figures have changed since 2019, there’s still plenty of room to reduce waste. At Kiehl’s, we’re doing what we can to help, one product at a time.
Firstly, we aim to use post-consumer recycled materials in all of our packaging—secondary packaging materials are only used when absolutely necessary. Further, at present, more than 80% of our packaging is made with recycled materials, including Kiehl’s favorites like Calendula Herbal-Extract Toner. This eco-friendly favorite with renewable calendula flower extract is housed in 250ml bottle made with 100% post-consumer recycled materials (and the sulfate-, silicone-, fragrance-, and dye-free formula is equally environmentally-friendly). For products that come housed in a carton, such as Powerful-Strength Vitamin C Serum, we use FSC-certified paper that’s entirely recyclable.
And this year, we made several Kiehl’s must-haves, including the iconic Creme de Corps Body Lotion with Cocoa Butter, refillable. Each one-liter refill pouch uses 81% less plastic than traditional packaging. Plus, a single refill replaces four full-sized plastic bottles, reducing the amount of single-use plastic that takes up space in your bathroom cabinet (and, more importantly, recycling bin).
Source: *Beat The Micro Bead, Plastic-Free Beauty: The New Normal!
Recycling Made Better
Once you’ve used every last drop of your favorite formulas, we urge you to recycle the packages—it’s one easy way we can all work to reduce our environmental footprint. If you don’t have reliable access to a recycling center, visit your local Kiehl’s store: Our in-store recycling program rewards customers for returning their empties. Since 2009, our customers have helped us recycle more than 13 million jars and bottles, saving a whole lot of waste from entering the landfills.
How Kiehl’s Gives Back
Giving back is another key part of our Future Made Better mission, and we’re proud to be a charitable brand. Since 2015, with your generosity, we’ve been able to donate upward of $17.5 million to various charitable organizations, including The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for at-risk LGBTQ youth. You can learn more about our philanthropic endeavors—including how to donate and show your support—here.