Kiehl’s Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate Review

Subani Moktan

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Kiehl's Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate
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I have been actively using the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II for a few years now and have loved the results it has given my skin. However, the heart is a wanderer, and sometimes it wonders if there were better products out there that would do even better. Is Kiehl’s Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate that product? Read on to find out. 

About Kiehl’s Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate

The Kiehl’s Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate has been described as a concentrated facial peel that helps to accelerate surface skin cell turnover for fresh, radiant skin. It helps exfoliate skin overnight with a gentle facial peel that gives you smoother and more radiant skin. This formula is infused with the power of Quinoa Husk Extract and Phytic Acid to help refine and smooth uneven skin texture. This potent yet gentle facial peel effectively exfoliates while you sleep for radiant, glowing skin.

The product has some key features that have been listed out: 

  • It helps exfoliate skin overnight to reveal visibly refreshed and radiant skin 
  • Based on instrumental test within surface layers, it demonstrated to help accelerate skin   cell turnover
  • In a dermatologist-controlled clinical study, it visibly evens skin tone and refines the feel of rough texture over time
  • It is formulated with sustainably-sourced Quinoa Husk Extract, Cactus Extract, and Phytic Acid
  • It is dermatologist-tested for safety 
  • It is safe for nightly use on all skin types, including sensitive skin

Founded in 1851, Kiehl’s is inspired by its rich heritage as an old-world apothecary, applying over 165 years’ worth of cosmetic, pharmaceutical, herbal, and medicinal knowledge into the formulations. They utilize the finest natural ingredients and incorporate advanced scientific technologies to ensure the highest quality and most efficacious formulas without compromise. They are protective of the environment as they maximize the use of renewable, sustainable, and biodegradable ingredients. 

You’re supposed to use the product at night after cleansing and toning your face. Apply several drops to your fingertips and press the concentrate into your face until it is absorbed. Follow with concentrated serum and your nightly moisturizer. 

Ingredients list:

The key ingredients of the product include: 

  • Quinoa Husk Extract which is sustainably sourced from the protective outer shell of the Quinoa seed without chemical alteration and with minimal environmental impact. In the product, it acts as an exfoliant to help release dull skin.
  • Phytic Acid is sourced from Japan and derived from Rice Bran. It acts as an exfoliant to help reveal smoother and softer skin.
  • Hydroxyethylpiperazine Ethane Sulfonic Acid that acts as a buffering agent and helps to speed up the cell renewal process. 

Other ingredients include

Water, Alcohol Denat., Hydroxyethylpiperazine Ethane Sulfonic Acid, Hydroxyethyl Urea, Sodium Citrate, Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit Extract, Sodium Hydroxide, Chenopodium Quinoa Seed Extract, Sugar Cane Extract, Glycerin, Propanediol, Phytic Acid, Carrageenan, Phenoxyethanol, Orange Fruit Water, Lemon Fruit Extract, Disodium Edta, Sugar Maple Extract, Hydrolyzed Opuntia Ficus-Indica Flower Extract, Potassium Sorbate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, Adenosine, Ethylhexylglycerin, Orange Juice, Sodium Benzoate, Ascorbyl Glucoside.

The product is free of parabens, but it does list alcohol as its second ingredient, and I’m not too happy about that. Hopefully, the product works well enough for me to overlook that fact.

First Impression: My thoughts and opinions on Kiehl’s Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate

I was excited to try this product out since it sounds so good on paper. A concentrate that gently peels the skin to reveal radiant and smooth skin does sound great. Also, I’ve heard so much about chemical peels and the wonders it does to your skin, although I’ve been a chicken and haven’t gone around to getting a peel done myself. This comes close, I think, and was excited to see whether or not it would work wonders. 

The product is packaged in a standard no-nonsense white cardboard box with green lines on the rims. The product itself comes in a green glass bottle with a dropper attached to it. I love serums that come in glass bottles, so for me, this is a win. It smells a little bit like alcohol, not surprising as it has listed alcohol as its second ingredient.

The texture is somewhere between water and oil, so it’s smooth but not extremely runny. I washed my face first and toned it. I used the SKII essence underneath since that is a staple in my nightly routine, and I’ve never gone without it. After applying the essence, I took a few drops of the concentrate and worked it in my face. It goes in smoothly, and only 3 drops are needed to cover the entire face; however, that’s just me. You might need more or less depending on your face. I finished with a moisturizer and went to sleep. 

When I woke up, I had some redness in my skin. That isn’t surprising to me either since this is an exfoliant that contains AHAs, and the redness goes to prove that it did its work well. I simply washed my face and didn’t forget to apply sunscreen as your skin is extra sensitive to the sunlight after it’s been peeled. By afternoon, the redness was gone, and my skin felt and looked radiant.

Kiehl's Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate handtest

My Experience

I’m halfway with the bottle now. I have been using it every night as part of my nightly routine, and it hasn’t disappointed, but it hasn’t overly impressed me either. It does exfoliate and make my skin smooth, but the redness is almost always there in the morning that I have stopped appreciating, especially when I have an early morning errand, and I look all flustered. I don’t have acne scars or bumps that this product apparently really helps with, so I can’t tell you if it did that with me.

I already had pretty smooth skin thanks to the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Complex, and I don’t think the Kiehl’s Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate has made it any better. It hasn’t worsened my skin, that’s for sure. But I can’t tell you that I see better results than the one I already had. Right now, I’m waiting for the bottle to finish so I can start using the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Complex again.

What I like and dislike about Kiehl’s Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate


  • Is a gentle exfoliant
  • Makes the skin radiant 
  • Makes the skin smooth
  • Is free of parabens


  • Causes redness in the skin especially in the mornings
  • Contains alcohol
  • Isn’t a miracle product


I love the Kiehl’s Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate but not enough to repurchase it. There are many people I know who swear by this serum, but unfortunately, I’m not one of them. I think I’ll just be sticking to my Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Complex, which works really well for my skin. 

Rating: 3.5/5

Where can I buy Kiehl’s Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate?

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Subani Moktan

Subani Moktan is a freelance writer based in Nepal with a love for all things beauty and fashion. She believes in ‘skin first’ and can often be found splurging on skincare. She has medium toned skin that tends to get a little dry in the winter.

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