Review: Kiehl’s Ultimate White Surface Brightening Exfoliator

by Paris B on · 45 comments

in Product Reviews,Scrubs

Kiehl’s has upgraded their regular whitening range to the Dermatologist Solutions range i.e. more exclusive dermatologist tested range. I have 3 items from this line but I have to tell you about the Ultimate White Surface Brightening Exfoliator because I seriously love it and can’t stop raving about it!

Kiehl's Ultimate Whitening Exfoliator

For all its wordiness, the Ultimate White Surface Brightening Exfoliator is a facial scrub. It comes in a 150ml tube and I really like it because it makes my skin feel baby butt smooth.

The brightening exfoliator is part of the Ultimate White range which is essentially a whitening/brightening skincare range. This is to be used after cleansing and before toner. I use mine in the shower after taking off my makeup for the day.

The amount I use is very very little – about 0.7cm. The first time I used it, I squeezed out about 1cm of the cream and I found that it lathers up something plenty which although nice ( I love the air cushion effect) I felt was a bit of a waste and takes a while to wash off.

Kiehl's Ultimate Whitening Exfoliator

Add a bit of water to the liquid cream and rub it a little to create a rich lather before applying to a damp face. The scrub granules are very fine but because this is a scrub, do not rub it hard against your skin but use a light touch instead.


Some tips when using scrubs or exfoliators

  • Always apply scrubs or exfoliators on a DAMP face to avoid it rubbing too harshly against dry skin.
  • Always use a light touch to avoid the scrub granules scratching your skin.
  • Never scrub your skin too long or you risk scratching your skin.
  • Your skin should never look red or feel painful or tender after a home scrub. If it does, the product does not suit you or you may have pressed too hard against your skin.


I gently scrub my skin in a circular motion a few times then rinse off. I don’t get the baby butt smooth skin feeling immediately but after 2-3 times using this I’ve found my skin feeling smoother and it feels nicer every time. My face does have a bit of squeaky clean effect after using this and another friend I let try said their face felt a little dry – but it was ok after toning and moisturizing.

The scrub is quite gentle so I use it every alternate day on an average of 3 times a week and thus far, no problems. In fact, when I returned recently from a holiday with slightly clogged pores, I used this scrub for 2 days running and on the 3rd day, voila! clear-er skin! So, yes this one is a keeper!

The nice thing I like about this scrub actually is the morning after. The morning after I use the scrub, I find that my foundation, whether liquid or powder, just glides onto my skin and once set with loose powder stays put, looking smooth and porcelain the whole day. I did not notice it until I got some compliments on how “smooth” my skin looked at the end of the day – can you say LOVE?! 😀

I don’t know about brightening because I am using a whole range of other products but I like how this scrub feels so I will be repurchasing. However, I don’t see that happening all that soon since I use only so little! I’m thinking that it may help lighten the appearance of acne scars – I have some serious pitted scars and they have been LOOKING lighter of late. I’m not sure if they are, but they sure LOOK better.

A 150ml tube costs RM105 and is worth every single penny because it will last a long while – at the rate I’m going, 6 months a tube is not impossible. There is a slight fruity citrusy scent but I like it so I’m not bugged by it. Kiehl’s stores are presently situated at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, 1 Utama and Isetan KLCC . They are pretty generous with samples so be sure to ask if there’s something you want to try – and if you buy something, they may even throw in a deluxe sample.

I think the Dermatologist Solutions Ultimate White line is Asia only as I can’t find information on it on Kiehl’ I’ve already converted Beetrice – perhaps I might convert you too? 😉

Pros: Exfoliates the skin and leaves it smooth, Helps make skin a great base for foundation, Economical because you only need so little

Cons: I did not find any

Kiehl’s EcoTote Bags and RM0.50 discount

Kiehl's EnviroTote bag

I came across this in the latest Kiehl’s newsletter. If you are into recycling, this would be right up your alley. A bag made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. Its made by an American company Enviro-Tote and retails at Kiehl’s stores for RM28.

Further, if you purchase an item from Kiehl’s Pavilion Kuala Lumpur or 1 Utama and refuse a paper bag, you will also get RM0.50 off your total purchase. That means the scrub would be RM104.50 – good wot? 😉

So do your bit for Planet Earth and refuse a paper bag (and get a discount) today!

Stay beautiful,

Paris B

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[ 41 comments… read them below or join the discussion ]

Natalie April 16, 2009 at 9:37 am

the baby butt smooooth effect sounds delicious 😀 and for a tube to last 6 months! you’re in your way to convert me 😀


ParisB April 16, 2009 at 11:00 am

Hi Natalie

Ooh Kiehl’s is so going to love me hehe…


Nikki April 16, 2009 at 10:17 am

PB! I love those earth friendly totes :)

I am into exfoliation recently! The lovely Connie sent me a sample of RMK and I tried using it once or twice a week (I hate to use them thinking it would ruin my super dry skin) and it works! I love how it preps my skin for toning and moisturizing :)

This looks interesting!!!!! Now I’m thinking…to purchase one but I’ll definitely do more research first!


ParisB April 16, 2009 at 11:02 am

Heya Nikki

If you have a Kiehl’s in Phillippines, do get a sample to see if it suits you before you buy it. Surprisingly exfoliating has done wonders for having makeup stay on longer. Whats that they say about skin being a canvas again? 😉


prettybeautiful April 16, 2009 at 10:44 am

read this on bee’s earlier and i am quite impressed and, er hem *attracted*


ParisB April 16, 2009 at 11:04 am

Yo prettybeautiful,

Time to check out Kiehl’s m’dear!


JackieA April 16, 2009 at 11:29 am

Hi PB, You are right on account that they are generous with samples. I did not get that ‘look’ from the SA which said “Oh you just want a free sample only ah?”
I liked your review and might have a look see soon!


ParisB April 16, 2009 at 5:24 pm

Hey JackieA

Yep! That’s what I liked too – I’m told samples is their way of promoting their product – now why don’t other brands think of that?!


Monstro April 16, 2009 at 12:00 pm

Wah, sounds really good. I love scrubs-will get this next! I also like that they’re into the whole eco friendly effort. Certainly worth looking into!


ParisB April 16, 2009 at 5:32 pm

Hey Monstro

I’m sure you’ll love this one and I actually think its economical despite the price!


beetrice April 16, 2009 at 12:03 pm

LOL…bad bad PB!! *grins*

you’re right, we’re SO BAD for each other..I suppose I use mine a bit differently from yours, but hey, it works brilliant either way. :)


ParisB April 16, 2009 at 5:45 pm

Hey Bee

Ooh yeah put us together in a shop and we’d likely buy them out 😛 Hey so long as it works and gives the same effect, just use it any way you like! :)


Kahani April 16, 2009 at 12:23 pm

Augh! Paris! Mean! I want now. Boo!


ParisB April 16, 2009 at 5:46 pm

Hey Kahani

Its good! Get it! 😛


Jamilla Camel April 16, 2009 at 1:49 pm

Alas, I do not think this is available in Europe…I will look for it!

Great stuff and thanks for the review!


ParisB April 16, 2009 at 5:47 pm

Hey Jamilla

I’m not sure if Europe will have it but if you spot it, do try it.


Ella Maple June 21, 2009 at 3:24 am

Hi! My name is Ella, I am a Kiehls Customer Representative at the Amsterdam, Netherlands store. The white range is not available because some of the ingredients are not permitted in Europe! I do not know exactly which ingredients, but it definitely won’t be stocked in Europe for now.
Sorry about that! Enjoyed the review though, wish I could try it!


April 16, 2009 at 4:40 pm

Hmm.. Was tempted to ask for a sample of their Whitening line, but is there such a thing as being too fair?

Using the skin clearing one for the blemishes atm; that I like more and more – my old scars actually got lighter.

Basket – if only I knew about the RM0.50 discount sooner… But I’m also a paper bag collector :p What to do, haha.


ParisB April 16, 2009 at 5:48 pm

Hi Synical

I am personally very fair myself and I don’t think you can get “too fair” per se but fairness is a personal preference. I like being fair so I guess my thoughts are skewed that way. :)


April 16, 2009 at 6:55 pm

Fair enough (Pun intended), haha.

I’ll try to hit them for a sample the next time I’m anywhere near a Kiehl’s 😀


Josephine April 19, 2009 at 10:54 pm

is there any of this product is Singapore? Is it suitable for oily based skin-type?


ParisB April 20, 2009 at 9:58 am

Hi Josephine

I think you can try checking Kiehl’s stores in Singapore. I’d say its suitable for most skins.


Pebbles April 27, 2009 at 3:37 am

Hi there Paris.

I absolutely love the tips. Very useful!

Some people say it is better to use toner first to prevent the scrub from being too harsh on the skin. What do you think?


ParisB April 27, 2009 at 11:57 am

Hi Pebbles

Thank you I’m glad the tips are of help to you. I have not heard about using toner before scrubs. Scrubs are usually used after cleansing to remove the surface cells so your skin absorbs toner and moisturizer better. I don’t think its used the other way around.


paul April 28, 2009 at 12:53 am

would it affect clogged pore to be more red and scratched ?


ParisB April 28, 2009 at 11:19 am

Hi Paul

Not if you are very gentle with it.


Pebbles April 28, 2009 at 1:30 pm

Aah, I see. Thanks for saving me from wasting a ridiculous amount of toner!


Vonvon May 28, 2009 at 11:48 am

Running out of my Boots scrub and hunting for a new one. Might give this a try ;). And since they are so generous, might as well drop by and get some samples before committing myself to this scrub.


anne June 19, 2009 at 3:36 pm

do you know kiehl`s outlet in penang?


ParisB June 19, 2009 at 4:41 pm

Hi Anne

As far as I know, Kiehl’s hasn’t gone to Penang yet. Perhaps it’ll be soon.


Vanessa June 20, 2009 at 6:49 pm

This line is not available in the United States. Do you know any of the website selling this or if you will buy for us? Thanks


ParisB June 21, 2009 at 10:06 am

Hi Vanessa

I’m afraid I’m not aware of any sites selling this. Did you try looking on ebay? I’m afraid I don’t sell stuff.


mimi December 22, 2009 at 4:23 pm

Hi (:

Paris, I’m fourteen and don’t know if I should use scrubs or not. My mum doesn’t allow e to scrub (but neither does she allow me to tone and mosturise) so yeah =S I don’t know if what she’s telling me the right thing or not. I have acne but it started not too long go. Hormones kicked in =S

Can you please help me? =) I have combination skin and I’m using the Garnier Aqua Defense gel essence. It’s good but I do have to seriously use a lot for my cheeks which is a problem as I am not allowed to go out much (as in shopping) so I nee one that lasts long. ):

Jut reccomend me some products an tll me if I should really scrub. thanks (:


ParisB December 23, 2009 at 9:55 am

Hi Mimi

Not being an expert, the only thing I could possibly tell you is to start a skincare regime – cleanse, tone and moisturize. At 14 you don’t need scrubs or masks. What you do need is to learn to keep your skin healthy. If you find the Garnier gel essence too light, you could try the cream version or another cream based moisturizer.


jo June 5, 2010 at 12:39 am

I’m addicted to Kiehl’s products too!
I fell in love the moment i use their Acai Toning mist because it doesn’t leave behind any traces of sticky residue like other toners do! *Lurves!*
(cz i’m very particular when it comes to toner XD)
will definitely consider purchasing the exfoliator u mentioned~ XD


FA September 13, 2010 at 12:09 pm

I’ve used it every morning since I bought it, it’s been a year and the tube is still hardly empty!


HueyLynn March 3, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Hi hi. I need your advice a little confused. I bought this recently after reading your post :p The SA there told me that i can use it just like that as cleanser/double cleansing everynight without needing any remover if i just apply sunblock daily. But from your post, you use it after cleanser? Should i trust the SA and just use it without any cleanser and make it my daily night cleanser routine?



ParisB March 3, 2011 at 2:30 pm

I personally believe its too abrasive to be used everyday, even if I was also told I could. Sensitive skin will not appreciate it! I treat it as I would any facial scrub (not as a facial cleanser) and use it about 2-3 times a week, after cleansing. Hope that helps :)


HueyLynn March 3, 2011 at 11:56 pm

Thanks alot for the advice. It helps alot! I lovee this! Thanks to you :p :p


lee October 16, 2011 at 11:48 pm

have u tried on Kiehl’s Rare Earth Pore Minimizing Lotion ? its seems to be quite effective in some forum .. any advice on that ?
thanks ..


October 17, 2011 at 3:16 pm

I have not tried it as its targeted for those with oily skin which I don’t have. I do however use the Pore Refining Masque which is very good!


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