To Quality Skincare (A Q&A with Ashley @Kiehl's)

I was first introduced to the Kiehl’s brand by someone I was dating a couple years back. I was instantly in love with their shampoo and soap bar — and often thought about bringing my own travel-sized bottle to stash a little away for myself. (Don’t worry guys, I didn’t! I’m not that big of a creeper.) When that “relationship” ended, so did my constant use of the Kiehl’s line. Once re-introduced to the line at Equinox San Mateo, I realized that Kiehl’s was BAE and that I needed to put a ring on it. 💍

On my lunch hour, I meandered over to Kiehl’s at Hillsdale Shopping Center in San Mateo and was greeted by both Mr. Bones and Ashley, Kiehl's Mascot and Store Manager, respectively. The store, a small corner shop, was full of light, beautifully merchandised displays and an actual motorcycle. Have I died and gone to heaven? While I knew of my chronic skin issues, I knew nothing about what products I needed to kick it all to the curb. Ashley performed a quick and painless skin analysis, listened to my concerns and helped me find products that worked into my new regimen (and budget.)

Six months later, I feel like my skin has never felt or looked better. In wanting to shout from the rooftops, I thought it would be a great idea to sit with Ashley again and talk candidly about skincare, misconceptions and the Kiehl’s brand. The following is our must-read conversation on the matter:

First off, thank you for taking the time to talk with me about the importance of skincare in your twenties. Why don’t you start off by telling us a little about yourself, what drew you to the industry and why you chose Kiehl’s?

My name is Ashley Brunamonti and I have been working in the beauty industry since I was 18 years old. (About 12 years now) I started as an on-call at Macy’s. Shortly after, I decided to jump into the hair industry and I got my cosmetology license which also included Aesthetics. After deciding hair wasn't my passion, I felt I needed to follow my interest in skin. I shifted my career to skincare and slowly made my way to Kiehl’s.

I chose Kiehl’s because I love that pharmaceutical background all while standing on three amazing pillars such as, recycling, feeding children and our contribution and passion for amfAR (a leading organization dedicated to the support of HIV/AIDS research.) Also, I love the fact that Kiehl’s is a luxury skincare brand without the luxury pricing.

Let’s dive right in — what are the biggest misconceptions millennials have about skincare?

Sunscreen MUST be worn at all times. You can’t wash away acne. Regular soap and water is not enough to maintain healthy skin. Nothing is instant. Commitment is key. 


A lot of people our age are on a budget — what are the three items that you would recommend every twenty-something keep in their arsenal?

Definitely a great face wash, a face cream or lotion and SPF.

If you’re concerned about anti-aging, SPF should be a top priority (and the next addition to your regimen.)

What would you say are the biggest differences between dedicated skincare companies like Kiehl’s and drugstore or grocery brands?

Kiehl’s is more consistent in reformulation products for the benefit of the customer (and the environment.) Kiehl’s also uses more-refined natural key ingredients which makes us a luxury brand. 


Let’s switch gears for a minute and look to the future — are a majority of your customers in their twenties concerned at all with UV protection or anti-aging products? If not, should they be, and if so, what would you recommend?

The younger crowd isn’t as concerned with SPF — but is curious about anti-aging — when in reality, the two go hand-in-hand. If you’re concerned about anti-aging, SPF should be a top priority (and the next addition to your regimen.) For anti-aging, I would sit the person down and go over all concerns and let them know their options, whether it’s a corrective concentrate, treatment oil and or cream. (And we can’t forget the sunscreen!)


I’m rapidly approaching my late-twenties and still dealing with breakouts, shouldn’t I have outgrown acne years ago? What would you recommend I try to clear up (and prevent) breakouts?

Actually, adult acne is quite common in your twenties. A number of things can contribute to adult acne, like stress, hormonal changes, medication side-effects and diet. I would recommend anything non-comedogenic or oil-free to keep pores clear and breathable. Kiehl’s Blue Herbal Line or the Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash and Calendula Alcohol Free Toner will get your skin back to a balanced place.


What would you say is the best-selling item in your store — and why do you think it’s so popular?

The best-selling item in our store would have to be the Ultra Facial Cream. This product is designed for people of all ages that are looking for 24-hour lasting hydration. Our Kiehl’s loyalists are addicted to the texture and consistency and love that it doesn’t leave them feeling weighed down. 

DS: I have to say, I LOVE the Ultra Facial Cream. I use it and have never found a better moisturizer. It's light, moisturizing and lasts a really long time. 

Kiehl’s is confident that you will see healthy, revitalized skin within 28 days.

In your opinion, do you feel that the consumer should stick with one brand for their skincare needs, or is it okay to mix and match? Why or why not?

I’d say, yes, it’s ok to do this. Other skincare brands may carry amazing products that Kiehl’s may not make. For the longest time, Kiehl’s didn’t have an Essence (pre-serum prep) and we now have one. Some customers choose to stay within one brand, not only out of convenience but out of comfort. Customers may have had a bad experience using a product from a brand so they pursue other options to replace that particular product, leaving them to mix and match. 


I’m obsessed with face masques (particularly the turmeric & cranberry seed and also the Rare Earth Pore Cleansing Masque) do you think these are good for everyone to use? How often should I use them for optimal results?

Yes, these masques are built for anyone! However they do address different concerns.

The Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque is made for detoxifying the skin and helping to minimize pores. The Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Masque is made to exfoliate and brighten the skin. These are both great for anyone to use who has either of these concerns with their skin or who LOVES masques. For best results, use two times per week each, at different times. Leave on the skin for at least ten minutes and RINSE! ☺️

Nothing is instant. A strong regimen takes discipline and consistency.

It wasn’t too long ago that I met you in the store and we overhauled my regimen — how long would you say I need to use the products before I begin to see results?

Kiehl’s is confident that you will see healthy, revitalized skin within 28 days. A big concern customers have is when they will see results with their corrective concentrates. Ususally, these take a little bit longer — between four to eight weeks — to see that visible change. We stand behind our products, and believe that you’ll see a difference in clarity, radiance and texture even before that eighth week.


Before I let you get back to your day, would you mind sharing your spiel, or mantra, that you find yourself repeating to millennial shoppers? Basically — what do you wish we would get through our thick skulls? 

Nothing is instant. A strong regimen takes discipline and consistency. Kiehl’s is intended, and designed, to keep the quality of your skin healthy while preventing damage. Our products — as well as most other skincare brands — aren’t meant to turn back time, but rather slow and preserve the process. It’s important to pay attention to your skin and address new concerns when they arise. 


To learn more about the Kiehl’s brand, a specific product or general skincare, I urge you to visit your local Kiehl’s store. These folks are everywhere, and honestly are the nicest (and most-helpful) people I’ve ever met. The team at Kiehl’s is always patient with my thousand and one questions and genuinely cares that I find what I’m looking for. 


Enter today for your chance to win a bag full of my favorite Kiehl's products! Click here to learn how to enter for your chance to win! Participants can get up to three raffle entries — may the odds be in your favor! 

Alessia is my main — and I love this song. You are beautiful!