Kiehl’s Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration Masque Review and Ingredients Analysis

Monday, May 1, 2017

Kiehl's Calendula and Aloe Soothing Hydration Masque was just launched earlier in April, and I fully expect this mask to be popular for one big reason - calendula. If you're familiar with the Kiehl's brand, then you'll know that one of the bestselling flagship products is the Kiehl's Calendula Toner, as a gentle and hydrating toner (which I'm also using right now - I need to get around to reviewing this one day!). Of course, the product line also includes a Calendula Foaming Face Wash. Now, the Calendula line of products has been extended further with the introduction of the Calendula & Aloe Masque, which is a pretty smart move given the popularity of the Calendula range.

Kiehl’s Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration Masque: The latest addition to the calendula range of products

According to Kiehl's, the Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration Masque has "hand-picked Calendula flower petals and Aloe Vera, [and] bursts into a refreshing surge of cooling hydration upon application to instantly achieve hydrated and soothed skin". Kiehl's also claims that you only need to leave this mask on for 5 minutes to get the hydrating and soothing effects, although you can leave it on longer if you wish. The product is suitable for both day and night use, but night use is preferable.

Kiehl’s Calendula Masque Review Aloe Soothing Hydration Mask
Kiehl’s Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration Masque: Kiehl's claims a 5 minute application is sufficient

So, does the Calendula & Aloe Masque live up to its claims? Can it really soothe the skin? Well, we'll find out by looking at the ingredients inside the mask!

Kiehl's Calendula Aloe Soothing Hydration Masque Ingredients
Kiehl’s Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration Masque Ingredients

The main ingredients in this mask are Water, humectants (Glycerin, Butylene Glycol), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, which is one of the advertised ingredients and the third ingredient, emulsifiers and solubilizers (PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil), both of which are pretty emollient as well, and a mix of two ingredients (Glyceryl Acrytlate / Acrylic Acid Copolymer) that function as a moisturizer, thickeners (Carbomer), and the second advertised ingredient (Calendula Officinalis Flower). After that we hit the first preservative (Phenoxyethanol), which is typically used in products of 0.1% concentration and under, so we know that we've covered the bulk of the ingredients in the product at this point in time.

While the main ingredients list might seem short, they do present some interesting things worth delving into. First of course is the Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, which partly accounts for the soothing claims in the product. Fortunately, Aloe Vera does indeed seem to have soothing, and there are a bunch of studies indicating that aloe vera can improve wound healing in skin as well as in cutaneous wounds, although some of the results are mixed, and it doesn't seem particularly helpful in scarring. So as far as soothing the skin goes, it seems promising.

Kiehl’s Calendula Aloe Soothing Hydration Masque Review
Kiehl’s Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration Masque: Aloe Leaf Juice is the third ingredient, which is responsible for the soothing claims of the product

Another very interesting ingredient I want to take a look at is the mixture of Glyceryl Acrytlate / Acrylic Acid Copolymer. Searching around, I foudn that this was very similar to the Lubrajel mixtures of ingredients offered by specialty chemicals company Ashland, some of which consists of Glycerin, Glyceryl Acrytlate and Acrylic Acid Copolymer, sometimes mixed with a preservative like Phenoxyethanol. There are a couple of interesting things about the Lubrajel mixes: the first is that they're hydrogels, which help with the texture and feel and appearance of the product. The second thing is that these are "clathrates of glyceryl acrylate and polyacrylic acid that enclose water molecules and release them upon exposure to the skin’s pH, surface moisture and temperature to keep it supple and conditioned". Clatharates are basically a lattice structure that can enclose other molecules - in this case water - and release them later. So the idea here is that the hydrogel helps to release water to the skin over time, thus helping to moisturize it.

Kiehl's Calendula Aloe Soothing Hydration Masque Open
Kiehl’s Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration Masque: Another interesting feature is the presence of a Lubrajel hydrogel, which incorporates water in its lattice structure and releases it on skin later

The rest of the ingredients are there in small amounts (less than 0.1%), and include a bunch of plant extracts, including citrus extracts and the advertised calendula (Limonene, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Citrus Limon Peel Oil / Lemon Peel Oil, Paeonia Suffruticosa Root Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Cassia Angustifolia Seed Polysaccharide, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, Citral, Artemisia Absinthium Extract) which might make customers who like plant-derived ingredients happy. There are also preservatives (Ethylhexylglycerin, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate), pH adjusters (Sodium Hydroxide, Citric Acid) and Vitamin E (Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopherol), which is probably also there to prevent product spoilage.

So, from the main ingredients in the product, we can see that the product does help to moisturize the skin, with a good mix of humectants and emollients, as well as some lattice structures that can help to release water to the skin over time. The addition of aloe also helps to boost its soothing claims, too.

Kiehl's Calendula Aloe Soothing Hydration Masque Swatch
Kiehl’s Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration Masque: The cooling (but not stinging) sensation when you apply the mask is a key feature

So, now that we've looked at the ingredients, what about the product itself? I have to say, the aesthetics of the Calendula & Aloe Masque are really pretty nice as well. The product is in the form of a yellow gel, and I'm told that the yellow shade in the mask is due to the calendula petals in the product, and not any colouring. In addition to the cooling sensation, there's also a citrus, zesty scent, which I was told was due to the lemon and chamomile ingredients. I also assume the other citrus extracts contributed to the scent. If you don't mind scents, it actually smells pretty nice - it smells edible, like lemon jelly or something.

Upon application of the mask, the first thing I noticed was a cooling sensation when applied - but it's not the "menthol-stinging" or "peppermint-tingling" kind of "cooling" sensation, which I personally dislike because it just feels irritating to me. Instead, it's more like the cooling sensation you get from applying aloe vera gel or splashing water onto skin. I guess since the third ingredient is Aloe Vera Extract, and since there are hydrogel ingredients in the product, this is why the product feels so nice on the skin. At the launch event, the cooling sensation seemed to get a lot of raves. After the recommended 5 minute application time, the mask honestly didn't seem to change mask - maybe it was a tad drier, but it still felt like a nice cool gel on skin. I feel like you could certainly leave this on for longer if you prefer!

Kiehl’s Calendula Mask Review Aloe Soothing Hydration Masque
Kiehl’s Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration Masque: Good for a light hydrating mask, with potentially soothing properties

Would I recommend the Kiehl’s Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration Masque? I think, if you're looking for a cooling hydrogel mask that can moisturize and also potentially help to soothe skin, then this is certainly worth a try. It's fairly light as far as masks go, so if you're looking for a thick creamy mask, then this might not be your cup of tea, but I imagine in hotter climates such lightweight gel masks might be more popular. Also, I do appreciate that the mask's ingredients are generally pretty alright for sensitive skin - the only concern I really have is with the citrus extracts, but those are in such small amounts that they're probably not going to be problematic for most people. At S$62 for a 100ml tub, the price is alright, even if not exactly drugstore-cheap. If you like a basic cooling hydrogel mask in a tub, this might be worth a shot.
Recommended? Formulation Packaging Ease of Use Effectiveness
Yes, for a hydrating mask 8/10 8/10 8/10 8/10
The Bottom Line: Kiehl’s Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration Masque has a good amount of aloe vera extract, and moisturizing ingredients, enabling it to live up to its claims as a hydrating and soothing mask.

(Product was sent for review. Review is my complete and honest opinion. I am not affiliated with/compensated by the company.)


  1. I find your reviews so good and I just want to thank you for doing all the work and for going through the products in such detail. I learn a lot from reading your reviews.

  2. Thank you for this great review! Same as the comment above, I really appreciate all your reviews and time and effort you put in writing them. This is really a pleasure to read you!

    I have a question which might be a bit silly, but I can never really understand the concept of moisturizing masks that you have to wash off. If you wash it off, is it still useful to moisturize your skin or as you remove everything you will also remove the moisture you gave to your skin with the mask? Or maybe the mask can deeply moisture the skin and when you wash it off, you remove only the excess which is superficial? What do you think?

    By the way, I really like this gel type of texture, it seems so hydrating just looking at it!

    1. I have understood, that hydrating and moisturizing are two different things, even though commonly mixed concepts. Hydration is about water content in your skin, moisture is about your skin barrier's ability to keep that water in. So, dry skin can be result of two things- either skin doesn't have enough moisture inside it in the first place, or, it doesn't produce enough oils etc to prevent evaporating. (Think of dehydrated oily skin - skin can be oily but still lack moisture) So, deciding from the name, I would say that products labelled "hydrating" (like Khiel's one) are designed to plump your skin with hydration, but not so much to form protecting barrier to keep it evaporating, so you would need to apply cream to keep that hydration in you just offered to your face.

      I usually do so. And if I use "moisturizing" mask, I don't wash it away at all, I just wipe off the excess with a cotton pad. And indeed many moisturizing masks tell to do so in the instructions :)

    2. Thank you for your reply!
      Exactly, hydrating and moisturizing are different. Do you think that with hydrating masks like here, if keep it for a few min and then wash it off, you will be able to keep the hydrating effects..yeah in fact as I'm writing I realize that if it was able to penetrate your skin to bring hydration, you won't wash off everything, the hydration will stay. I think I got it (even if I can't formulate it correctly :p ).
      thanks for your reply.

  3. Hi! Do you reply your emails? I've been wanting to write you but I don't know if you are still using the e-mail you have on your profile ( Thanks a lot!

  4. Hi there, I am loving reading this blog and its thoughts about beauty products. I came here after reading your Galactomyces dupe post part one... I'm wondering if any of the follow up posts were ever made? Just the first one was very helpful and I'll understand if stuff got in the way. :)

  5. One of the best reviews I’ve read, you really did your research thank you!


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