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The Kardashian-Jenner family doesn’t mind a bit of internal market competition. On this past season of The Kardashians, we see Kim score the cover of Vogue over the resident model of the family, Kendall, who graciously supported her sister’s feature. Then there’s the youngest of the bunch, billionaire Kylie Jenner, with whom Kim plays a bit of cat-and-mouse in the beauty space. Kylie launched Kylie Cosmetics back in 2014, and a few years later, Kim tried her hand at color cosmetics with the (now-defunct) KKW Beauty. Then in 2019, Kylie Skin was born, though Kim shortly followed with her latest business venture, SKKN by Kim. But where Kylie Skin is more of a mid-range, bubblegum-pink line of product, SKKN positions itself in the prestige category, with the entire range of nine items clocking in at $630. Both brands are partnered with French beauty conglomerate Coty Inc.
“In all of my business endeavors, I’ve been fueled by my passion to fill gaps in the market with expertly-crafted and universally-loved products that are performance driven – and I have carried this same drive and approach with me into creating a legacy skincare brand,” says brand founder and CEO, Kim Kardashian. The business mogul tapped her facialist, Joanna Czech, to formulate each product, a reflection of her own at-home routine. “Everyone was telling me at first that I should do a product line that maybe just had three or four items for launching, and my theory was, ‘I want to do what I usually do, and that is seven or eight products,'” Kardashian explains. In a glimpse into the brand’s R&D process on the SKKN by Kim YouTube channel, we see Kardashian and Czech swatching lab samples, with Kardashian lamenting that her face cream was separating due to a lack of phenoxyethanol, a preservative and stabilizer used in skincare, though it has slight potential to cause allergic reactions when used in higher concentrations. Despite the low risk, Kardashian asserted that she wanted her line to be phenoxy-free (it’s also devoid of PEGs, BHT, gluten, and sulfates). She pored over more than 26 samples to find the perfect finish for just the face cream alone, insisting that the process did not involve relinquishing all power to the cosmetic chemists.
In true Kim fashion, the packaging design is minimalist, neutral-toned, and geometric-shaped, the creative direction of ex-husband Kanye West (and a reflection of the former duo’s notable monastery-like abode). All nine products are made to be refillable, so you can hang onto each vessel when you run out of product. Not sure which SKU will suit your needs? The brand asserts that each item was “developed to deliver targeted rejuvenation and nourishment for all skin types, tones, textures, and stages of maturity.”
Curious how well SKKN would work for three beauty experts with very different skin types, we diligently patted, scrubbed, and pampered our faces, necks, and décolleté with all nine products for several weeks. Our thoughts, below.
Skin type: Combination, acne-prone
Skin type: Balanced — not oily or dry
Skin type: More dry than oily, prone to congestion
Bianca: “The cleanser was one of my favorites. As someone with sensitive skin, the wrong cleanser can send my skin into an unbalanced breakout and irritation spiral. I didn’t test it with makeup since I’ve been wearing a lot less these days, but I loved that my skin felt soft and clean without stripping the oils from my skin. Would I pay $43 for it? No. I think that’s a little too expensive for a cleanser, given there are more cost-effective options on the market that offer similar benefits with similar ingredients.”
Lynn: “The cleanser is fragrance-free and when mixed with water, it becomes gentle, frothy, and it removes all traces of makeup and impurities from the face and décolleté without drying out the skin.”
Lindsey: “I’m incredibly picky about my cleansers. I gravitate toward clear gel, gentle formulas that impart hydration and remove every last bit of all 10 layers of mascara without leaving my skin feeling stripped and irritated. This creamy cleanser is quite hydrating, packed with glycerin and aloe, and, in just one wash, removed just about every stitch of makeup. I did find that there was slight burning in my eyes and a bit of tightness post-wash, but overall I was quite impressed with how well it removed my makeup.”
Bianca: “I was a little nervous about using the toner because of its exfoliating properties, but I found the formula incredibly gentle. I opted to use it every other day to avoid overdoing it. My skin soaked it up, and it didn’t cause any irritation. I know that witch hazel as a base is a bit controversial, but my hormonal breakout and hyperpigmentation-prone skin thrives when I use niacinamide and salicylic acid, which this toner has. So, if you’re on the hunt for a toner, I think this one is worth trying.”
Lynn: “The toner helps plump and prepare the skin for the rest of the skincare ritual. It reduced the appearance of my pores and left my skin more radiant.”
Lindsey: “Niacinamide is such a hot-ticket ingredient in skincare right now. It strengthens the skin and reduces inflammation, thereby minimizing the appearance of redness. I loved that this toner has both niacinamide and salicylic acid (an exfoliating ingredient) on top of fruit enzymes and AHAs for extra skin-sloughing prowess. My skin is generally quite reactive, but I found it to be very gentle on my skin while using it on an every-other-evening schedule.”
Bianca: “As a beauty editor, I know that physical exfoliators are generally a no-no. But I was pleasantly surprised at how gentle this scrub was on my skin. I also love that it’s formulated with pomegranate and pumpkin enzymes. But because my skin is sensitive and often reacts badly to accidental over-exfoliation, this is a no for me.”
Lynn: “I followed my cleanse with the Exfoliator, the only product of the 9-piece SKKN line that has a soft floral scent. The exfoliator is an oil based balm with micro mineral grains that, when massaged on my face, exfoliated the dead skin cells on the top surface of my skin, leaving my skin smooth and even.”
Lindsey: “I typically shy away from fragrance in my skincare, but this exfoliator smells like an expensive Miami hotel lobby and makes washing up for bed feel like a luxurious spa experience. I also appreciate that the tiny grains are shaped into perfect spheres (a.k.a. no hard edges) to avoid micro-tears in the skin. I save this physical exfoliator only for when I notice blatant dry, rough
patches on my skin that need removing, otherwise I use the toner to chemically exfoliate and remove build-up within my pores. If you find that a physical exfoliator is too much for your skin, Czech recommends mixing it with the cleanser to dilute the scrubbing particles. (A tip: Don’t use chemical and physical exfoliants at the same time and don’t use physical exfoliants if you have severe acne or extremely sensitive skin!)”
Bianca: “The hyaluronic acid serum felt nice on my skin, but it didn’t do much more than the less pricey option I already use. So, this is a product I wouldn’t personally invest in.”
Lynn: “A definite favorite of mine was the scent-free hyaluronic acid serum — a really light, hydrating serum that left my skin feeling instantly plumped and dewy.”
Lindsey: “With just one pump of this HA serum, you get a generous, cushiony dose that’s capable of coating your entire face, neck, and décolleté in a super skin-quenching veil of hydration (especially when the skin is left damp, like right after you hop out of the shower). This was probably my favorite product from the line as it proved to be the most efficacious both upon immediate contact and over time. It utilizes sodium hyaluronate, a salt form of hyaluronic acid that’s able to penetrate the skin deeper as well as attract and hold onto water to immediately plump the skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines. My only negative note is that it is quite pricey compared with other HA serums on the market.”
Bianca: “The watery, essence-like feel of this caught me by surprise. With vitamin C, you have to give it time to see how well it works, but I did like the formula.”
Lynn: “The vitamin C8 Serum helps boost collagen while diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It has a water-like feel and leaves the skin feeling soft and smooth.”
Lindsey: “I initially expected this serum to have a thicker viscosity; instead, it’s quite thin, essentially water-like, so you have to dispense it into your palm and use your fingertips to press it into the skin so that it doesn’t immediately fall through your fingers. It’s made with ethyl ascorbic acid, the most potent form of vitamin C capable of boosting collagen synthesis and brightening the skin. In a consumer test of 105 people, 99% said they found their skin to appear 10 years younger, which feels like a hefty claim, but it certainly had my interest piqued. I’ll report back on whether I look college-age after continued use.”
Bianca: “The eye cream was an eye cream. I can’t say I was wowed. But, again, if you don’t have a current routine, this could be a good start for you.”
Lynn: “I used the eye cream as the final step both day and night and it’s absolutely heavenly — a lightweight textured cream that illuminated my eyes and left them feeling instantly brighter and less puffy.”
Lindsey: “Thicker eye creams scare me a bit as I’m super prone to milia around the eye area, but I didn’t notice any new bouts of congestion from consistently using this eye cream. In fact, I found it to be both brightening and firming thanks to citric acid and peptides, respectively. It feels incredibly nourishing on contact — I love feeling the effects of my skincare upon application, and this delivers that instant bit of gratification.”
Bianca: “I typically avoid face creams because they break me out, but I’m happy to report that this one hasn’t caused any. I love how light yet substantial the cream is. The first day I used it, I took a big glob and quickly realized you only need a little of this to cover your face and neck. I wouldn’t swap this for my current retinol option, but if you’re new to skincare, this could be a good starting point because of the squalane and retinol alternative it’s formulated with as it will be a gentle intro.”
Lynn: “The face cream is a luxurious rich, creamy texture and I honestly felt an instant feeling of more firm, smooth skin.”
Lindsey: “Most creams are oil-based (as is this product), and because I’m prone to congestion, I usually stick to water-based lotions and moisturizers. Creams tend to be much too thick for my skin, so I immediately dreaded testing this iteration. However, I can honestly say that it did amazing things for my skin. My complexion was smoother, my skin felt more supple, and it paired beautifully with my foundation in a way that made my complexion look especially dewy and fresh as the day wore on. I also loved that I woke up each morning with my skin still feeling hydrated thanks to squalane and shea butter.”
Bianca: “Ok, I really enjoyed the oil drops. My skin loves oil options, and this one was light and soaked right into my skin without leaving my combo skin oily. I’m sure I can attribute that to the squalane, which is always a ‘yes’ for me. I can’t say if it will help with my hyperpigmentation just yet, but this is a product I will continue to use.”
Lynn: “The supercharged oil is an absolute treasure and it did exactly what it says it does. It’s a vitamin C oil with a light silky texture that made my skin look beautiful — glow-y but not oily, and hydrated, too. The vitamin C acts to reduce any pigmentation or sun damage.”
Lindsey: “I was expecting a thick oil here, but was pleasantly met with a super lightweight, thin oil that my skin happily drank right up. It’s the second vitamin C product in the line, so if you wanted to double-dose on on the good stuff for even more brightening power, it’s totally kosher to do so — just give the products some time in between for absorption. I absolutely loved this oil, especially because it’s made with squalane which our skin recognizes instantly, as it’s naturally produced within the body. I also felt that when combined with the vitamin C serum, the brightening effects were quite apparent.”
Bianca: “I enjoyed the feel of the night oil. It moisturized without being too oily, but I preferred the vitamin-C oil drops over these.”
Lynn: “The night oil is an intensely nourishing mix of 14 botanical’s and extracts. I really enjoyed using it and found my skin to be so glow-y afterward.”
Lindsey: “Another lightweight oil, this blend has a whole host of botanical oils like sweet almond, grapeseed, argan, kuku, jojoba, and passionfruit. I layered this over the face cream one night but found that mixing the two was a bit too much for my skin, so I prefer to choose one over the other (typically the night oil on days when my skin could use some extra moisture retention. (Remember: oils only hold in water, they don’t attract or add it to the skin.)”
The celebrity beauty market can feel all too saturated; each time a new iteration launches, we tend to ask ourselves what authority this person has to produce products we put on our faces and bodies. However, SKKN by Kim has proven to be a well-researched, efficacious line of gentle, nourishing products that all three of us would incorporate into our daily routines. Is it expensive? Absolutely. And we woul
d also appreciate less plastic altogether (the refillable vessels don’t feel necessary when the size of the refill is substantive enough). But all things considered, we were quite impressed with the caliber of ingredients, look and feel of the products, and the results we’d seen after just a few weeks of wear.