As part of SG50, Kiehl’s is launching its Heritage Programme, which supports the preservation of four local monuments. Here, 10 things about the brand that should make it to the history books too.

10 Things You Never Knew About Kiehls 1

#1  It has apothecary roots.
In 1851, founder John Kiehl (above) took over Brunswick Apotheke on the corner of 13th Street and Third Avenue in New York, changing its name to Kiehl Pharmacy. Today, it remains the site of the brand’s flagship, with many of the original fixtures and fittings still intact.

#2  It championed the concept of a wellness store
Under John Kiehl, the brand specialised in pharmaceutical tonics and medicinal salves. When his apprentice Irving Morse bought over the company in 1921, he added the likes of herbs, teas and honey, so it wasn’t just a drugstore, but carried products for general well-being too.

#3  Dig samples? It was one of the first to give them out.
The other addition Morse brought to the brand: a “try before you buy” philosophy – practically unheard of at the time, but now an industry standard.10 Things You Never Knew About Kiehls 2

#4  Without it, we might not have musk fragrances.
According to the brand, a Russian prince who was a relative of the Kiehl family concocted a musk blend he dubbed Love Oil way before the company even existed. In 1963, it became the inspiration for its signature Original Musk oil, reportedly the first musk scent to be sold in a store. (Here’s a more recent musky fragrance that we also love).

#5  Even the Smithsonian thinks its goods are rad.
The American institution, which preserves items for heritage and research purposes, has inducted 103 of its products, including the Musk Oil, into exhibitions and its archives. Some of them, like the Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque, are still being produced and sold.

#6  Some of its bestsellers never change.
Its Calendula Herbal-Extract Toner is still made with fresh flowers that are picked and bottled by hand (the same way it was done in the ’60s). And ingredients for its 65-year-old Lip Balm #1 and 10-year-old Ultra Facial Cream have never changed. Why reinvent the wheel?

#7  It’s one of the few beauty brands that does pet care.
Doggy bath essentials aside, Morse’s great-granddaughter Nicoletta is a well-known equestrian and inspired a line of equine products that includes shampoo, conditioner and grooming aid.
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#8  Its events attracts more stars than The Avengers.
Susan Sarandon, Alicia Keys, Chloe Sevigny, Solange Knowles and Pharrell Williams are just some of the A-listers that have turned up at past bashes. If you ever head to one without your phone, kick yourself.

#9  It makes doing charity easy.
Philanthropy is the brand’s middle name – profits from the sale of its hand creams, for example, go to the American Foundation for Aids Research. Locally, a portion of the profits of its Limited Edition Midnight Recovery Concentrate (3) went to Action For Aids Singapore, which supports Aids/HIV prevention programmes. The brand has also partnered with celebs like JJ Lin, Michelle Chong and George Young to support charities such as Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (Minds) and Autism Association Singapore. (Here’s another brand that’s also big on charity).

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#10  It hearts SG.
To celebrate SG50, Kiehl’s will sell its popular Ultra Facial Cream and Ultra Facial Oil-free Gel Cream in limited edition packaging featuring a Kiehl’s x Singapore Heritage logo. You can buy them individually or in Heritage Box Sets. Dubbed the Heritage Programme, all net proceeds will go towards the restoration of the Sri Mariamman Temple, Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, Sultan Mosque, and Singapore Yu Huang Gong temple.

An adapted version first appeared in Female’s June issue, out on newsstands now. 

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