Kiehl's vs CeraVe | Which Brand Is For You?

written by: Tom Qiao
last update: December 29, 2023

When it comes to soothing skincare for sensitive, irritation-prone skin, two brands stand out to me are Kiehl’s and CeraVe. While both offer fragrance-free gentle formulas packed with nourishing ingredients, they have some key differences that appeal to different needs and budgets.

Firstly, Kiehl’s and CeraVe share a commitment to developing products ideal for easily inflamed skin conditions like eczema. Both eschew common irritants across all items in favor of skin-strengthening ingredients like glycerin, niacinamide and ceramides to hydrate while repairing the moisture barrier. However, Kiehl’s places greater emphasis on natural plant oils and butters like avocado, apricot kernel, and squalane for rich yet non-comedogenic hydration, as seen in top sellers like the Ultra Facial Cream. CeraVe focuses more on a clinical ceramide complex to restore skin long-term across bestselling lotions and cleansers. So Kiehl’s excels at immediate luxe comforting, while CeraVe offers simpler long-term skin rehab.

With its indulgent formulations, Kiehl’s products often feel more elegant in terms of textures and layerability, making them a joy to apply. CeraVe moisturizers have a velvety feel with an instant soothing effect, but may feel too rich for oilier skin types. Those preferring cosmetic elegance may enjoy Kiehl’s upscale approach more, while CeraVe appeals if you want just the basics.

And when it comes to price, CeraVe takes home the trophy for being far more budget-friendly, with most moisturizers and cleansers costing under $15. Meanwhile, Kiehl’s specialty products feature boutique-esque formulations priced more premiumly between $30-60. So while CeraVe satisfies affordably, Kiehl’s offers truly unique complexions worthy of splurging for.

Overall those needing a straight-forward gentle skin regimen should try CeraVe for wallet-friendly simplicity. But for a truly pampering sensory experience that nourishes skin beautifully, treat yourself to Kiehl’s exceptional formulas!

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Article written by Tom Qiao
Tom is the founder and editor of where he applies his decades of personal experience with skincare problems like acne and acne scarring to provide readers with practical advice and product recommendations.

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