Kiehl’s – Pioneers By Nature Programme

Since 1851, Kiehl’s has been a brand of many firsts. A brand that has pioneered through innovation in beauty and product development, while creating adventure and charitable giving.

From being one of the first beauty companies to list their ingredients on their bottles in the 20’s, to being the first brand to offer customers a “try before you buy” sample, to changing the game for men by introducing Mens Skincare in the 60’s.


This year, Kiehl’s are adding another milestone to their 164 year heritage, while at the same time, celebrating 10 years of their Dermatologist Solutions line.


During the months of September and October 2015, Kiehl’s launches their international #PioneersByNature Programme.

A programme that links Kiehl’s pioneering heritage with well known celebs who are pioneers in their own right. The aim, to donate $150 000 to support organizations that serve the environment and children.

Well known pioneers in the Kiehl’s #PioneersByNature programme include the likes of Solange Knowles, Phillip Lim, Rachel Zoe, Dustin Yellin, Reshma Saujani and Robert Hammond, as well as local pioneers including; Craig Jacobs, Jackie Burger, Elvis Blue & Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng.

In South Africa, through the Pioneers By Nature Programme, Kiehl’s aims to donate 15 000 meals to Stop Hunger Now South Africa – a non profit organization that focuses on the nutritional needs of children in the early development stages, living in disadvantaged areas.

Such an amazing brand, with such a rich heritage that keeps growing and growing! Giving and giving, creating and creating!

Keep an eye out in the upcoming weeks, as I’ll be sharing some of the stories and interviews with both local and international #PioneersByNature.

In the meantime, here’s a quick look at Kiehl’s pioneering heritage, from 1851 to 2015

1851: One of America’s Oldest Pharmacies

The precursor to the original Kiehl Pharmacy, ―Brunswick Apotheke‖ first served patrons in New York’s East Village neighborhood at the corner of Third Avenue and Thirteenth Street—an historic location fondly known as ―Pear Tree Corner.‖

1921: One of the 1st known Musk Oils

Kiehl’s Original Musk Oil was first introduced in 1921. Originally created by the ―nose‖ at Kiehl’s in the early 1900’s – Prince Karl from Russia – Kiehl’s Original Musk Oil, was a first of its kind and considered ―too risqué‖ for the times. The formula was subsequently hidden in the basement of the pharmacy until Mr. Morse and his team re-discovered it in the early 1960s.

1920’s: Pioneers in Sampling

Kiehl’s founding family member, Irving Morse valued the personal relationships he had with his customers and encouraged them to experiment with the remedies before choosing those that would best suit their needs. ―Try before you buy‖ became the pharmacy’s motto, and the principle of personalized customer service plus sampling, established by Morse has remained a Kiehl’s practice for over 90 years. Kiehl’s sampling practice has inspired many sampling programs of today’s beauty industry.

1920’s: Pioneers in Informative Packaging

Kiehl’s was among the first beauty companies to proudly list ingredients on its product labels, even before the US government mandated it, to help customers make more informed and confident purchasing decisions.

1960’s: Pioneers in Men’s skincare

Founding family member, Aaron Morse noticed that when couples would come into Kiehl’s, the gentlemen did not have an interest in cosmetic products. It was at this time that Mr. Morse began displaying his collection of vintage Harley Davidson and Indian motorcycles throughout the store, establishing a comfortable experience for both men and women alike.

1988: Pioneering in Adventure Testing

In 1988, Kiehl’s sponsored the 1st ascent expedition of Mt. Everest’s East Face without supplemental oxygen. The climbers wore the company’s formulas to help protect and keep their skin hydrated throughout the expedition’s extreme conditions.

1990’s: Pioneers in Charitable Giving

Giving has always been central to the Kiehl’s Mission, long before ―corporate giving‖ became an industry term. Beginning in the 1990s, Kiehl’s offered several formulas dedicated to raising funds for research and prevention of HIV/AIDS, among them ―Hand Care for a Cure‖ to benefit the American Foundation for AIDS Research and ―Magic’s Elixir‖ for the Magic Johnson’s AIDS Foundation.

2005: One of the 1st Stabilized 10.5% Vitamin C Serums

Drawing upon the company’s expertise in ingredient stability, Kiehl’s introduced Powerful Strength Line Reducing Concentrate. Featuring highly potent levels of Vitamin C, the formula was one of the first of its kind to offer stable Vitamin C at the high 10.5% level while ensuring complete tolerance on the skin. Ten years later, formulating with Vitamin C at 10.5% in a stable form is still considered an industry achievement.

2008: 1st Beauty Product with Cradle-to-Cradle Certification

Kiehl’s ―Aloe Vera‖ Biodegradable Liquid Body Cleanser was introduced as one of the first beauty products to achieve Cradle to Cradle Certification. In partnership with actor and philanthropist Brad Pitt, 100% of net profits from sales of the formula benefited JPF Eco Systems, a charitable foundation created with Brad Pitt to support global environmental initiatives.

2009: Pioneers in the Facial Oil Category

Affectionately referred to as ―Midnight Magic‖ by customers, Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate was a pioneer in the facial oil category well before the recent ―oil trend‖ explosion. The formula is a highly potent concentration of botanical extracts specifically formulated to biologically replicate skin’s natural lipids for optimal skin repair throughout the night. With over 1 million bottles sold and 46 beauty awards, this powerful concentrate quickly earned cult status and remains a leading beauty product in the industry.

2014: 1st Beauty Product Launched into Space

Kiehl’s has always searched the planet looking for the most effective ingredients for its products. When developing the company’s Oil Eliminator Collection, Kiehl’s chemists went a bit further by utilizing Aerolite Technology – an advanced material historically used in space exploration. True to the company’s spirit of adventure, Kiehl’s set out to take the formula where no other beauty product had been before – to outer space!

2015: A Pioneering Milestone

This year marks a milestone in the company’s pioneering heritage as Kiehl’s celebrates the 10th Anniversary of Dermatologist Solutions and the collection’s 1st serum Powerful Strength Line Reducing Concentrate. This formula set the stage for Kiehl’s subsequent pioneering serums that following, including Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution, the 1st clear, fully stabilized whitening serum and Hydro-Plumping Retexturing Serum Concentrate, the 1st serum to address age-related dehydration.

Dimi Ingle

Dimi is the founder, editor and creative force behind StyleScoop. She curates the very best of fashion, beauty, travel, decor and lifestyle, every day, right here!

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