This best-selling Kiehl's serum is now reformulated - how is it better than the original?

Making resolutions for the new year means evaluating the present and figuring out how to make the good better, and the better best. That's why it seems timely that Kiehl’s has taken an old favorite - one that they claim sells at a rate of one bottle per minute - and made it more powerful than ever! The star ingredient is also now more potent and more stable.

Since its release in 2005, the Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate (P3,675) has been a consistent staple on the Kiehl’s best-seller list. The anti-aging serum features a 10.5% dose of pure vitamin C (aka, L-Ascorbic Acid), which functions as a potent antioxidant. The celebrated formula recently got a boost with the addition of 2% vitamin C (in the form of Ascorbyl Glucoside) for stability and additional anti-aging effects. It also now contains hyaluronic acid for hydration and plumping up the skin for line reduction.

Now, while the special ingredients make a great case for vitamin C serums, there is still a bit of skepticism surrounding this popular product. To clear the air, here are three things you need to know:

  • A megadose is not necessarily better. Just as high percentages of AHAs and BHAs in a skincare product can cause peeling, extremely high doses of vitamin C applied to the face potentially cause skin sensitivity or irritation. 12.5% is not too strong but still packs a punch!

  • This serum can be part of both your AM and PM regimen. Surprisingly, vitamin C can stand up to UVA rays but wearing SPF is still definitely a must for maximum protection.

  • Sensitive skin types are welcome to try as the new formulation is meant to be gentle enough to use across all skin types. However, it is still advised to start with once-a-day application to gradually ease the serum into the regular routine.

While I can’t exactly compare the new formula to the old one, I do have my impressions from using this new and improved Line-Reducing Concentrate. First of all, I can catch a slight whiff of citrus from the serum. It is a very mild, non-lingering, natural citrus peel type of scent that goes away in a few seconds so if you're sensitive to fragrances, this shouldn't bother you much. I was glad to find that the serum is super lightweight, absorbing quickly into the skin and smoothing on with a slight velvety feel and a satin finish. It actually reminds me a little bit of makeup primer, texture-wise, but without the drying after-effect of the silicone primer. There is even a subtle skin-smoothing/blurring effect, and you can use it under makeup and SPF products without trouble.

I also didn’t experience any irritation even though I was expecting there to be some sort of reaction because of the vitamin C. It has been quite gentle on my skin, I am happy to say!


The recommended full regimen by Kiehl’s to complement the Concentrate is one that focuses on gentle, soothing care and rich hydration. You start by taking away impurities with the Cucumber Herbal Conditioning Cleanser (P1,450) followed by the Cucumber Herbal Alcohol-Free Toner (P1,395). After toning comes the Line-Reducing Concentrate, then the equally potent Powerful Wrinkle Reducing Eye Cream (P3,675) and the Ultra Facial Cream (P2,575). For daytime the Ultra Light Daily UV Defense (P1,995) can be used instead.

Kiehl’s Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate is available in Kiehl’s counters and boutiques starting this January so if you've resolved to get more serious about your skincare, this is a great product to start with!