- Kim Kardashian’s new skincare brand, SKKN, promises rejuvenation for a nourishing at-home routine.
- The latest celebrity line includes nine products costing a total of $630.
- Dermatologists weigh in on which products could be worth the money — and which aren’t.
The reality TV star’s latest entrepreneurial venture promises a nourishing and innovative at-home experience with nine products including cleansers and face oils – all coming in neutral-toned, minimalist packaging. Despite its popularity, one thing sticks out like a sore, manicured thumb: The high price point.
Even compared to other celebrity skin care lines, all nine SKKN products are considerably more expensive and come to a total of $630 (a hyaluronic acid serum and vitamin C oil cost $90 each). According to Kardashian, 41, the hefty price is justified by the “best advice” and “best formulations” from experts like esthetician and celebrity facialist Joanna Czech, who advised Kardashian on formulating the products.
“It’s definitely more prestige, and in order to get the types of ingredients that I would not really miss out on, it was kind of a necessity,” Kardashian explained in a New York Times interview last month. “The products I was using that were comparable were way more expensive … I tried to get the quality for the best price that we could.”
According to Dr. Camille Howard, a New York-based dermatologist who has tried all nine of Kardashian’s products, expensive skin care isn’t abnormal: A hyaluronic acid serum “can cost over $150,” and brands like Dr. Barbara Sturm and La Mer have been praised for their even more expensive yet high-quality effects. But from analyzing the formulas and ingredients of each item, experts say SKKN, for the most part, may not be worth the money for most consumers. USA TODAY has reached out to Kardashian’s reps for comment.
“A lot of the price is really her name, her face and the packaging,” says Dr. Azadeh Shirazi, a board-certified dermatologist at La Jolla Dermatology and Laser Surgery Center. “The products don’t look like they’re anything groundbreaking or novel that you couldn’t find elsewhere, and there are much more affordable products on the market that have very similar formulations.”
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What are the nine products in SKKN by Kim?
Kardashian’s nine-step routine includes a cleanser, exfoliator, toner, moisturizer and more – each promising rejuvenation with a cruelty-free and vegan ingredient list, according to her website.
- Cleanser ($43): “A cleansing and hydrating formula that helps to purify and condition the skin while retaining moisture.”
- Exfoliator ($55): “An exfoliating scrub that gently helps promote skin resurfacing.”
- Toner ($45): “A renewing toner that gently prepares the skin for the rest of the ritual by helping to plump, smooth and micro-exfoliate the skin.”
- Hyaluronic-Acid Serum ($90): “A multimolecular weight hyaluronic acid serum designed to serve as a daily water shot for the skin.”
- Face Cream ($85): “An indulgent and comforting face cream enriched with a powerful postbiotic to help promote overall skin nourishment”
- Vitamin C8 Serum ($90): “A serum featured with a high dose of vitamin C8 that helps boost collagen synthesis and slows down the appearance of aging.”
- Eye Cream ($75): “A gentle yet efficient peptide eye cream that helps preserve elasticity and acts to reduce puffiness and the appearance of fine lines around the eye’s delicate areas.”
- Oil Drops ($95): “A supercharged glow oil made from an active form of vitamin C that evens out the complexion, helps reduce the appearance of pores and immediately promotes radiant and glowy-looking skin.”
- Night Oil ($95): “A nourishing elixir that works overnight to help deliver youthful-looking, even and radiant skin.”
Which SKKN products are not worth it?
Luxurious skin care depends on who you’re asking. Some look forward to the experience of a ritualistic, at-home routine. Others want the science of the ingredients to address various skin care needs like skin texture, hyperpigmentation and more.
From a scientific standpoint, Shirazi says most ingredients in SKKN, like glycolic and salicylic acid, “aren’t revolutionary or novel.”
“We have ingredients that are micronized, for example, and that can be expensive technology because it releases a little bit of the ingredient at the time as opposed to all at once, making the product more effective and less irritating. Obviously, that is going to cost more. But I’m not seeing any technology applied in SKKN products that would justify the price point,” she says.
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Specifically, Shirazi and Howard advise against using the Exfoliator ($55) for those with sensitive or dry skin, because it can cause irritation especially when combined with fragrance. And following it with an abrasive product like toner – as Kardashian recommends – can be even more damaging, according to Howard.
“The toner is for very resistant skin because it does have witch hazel and some alcohol,” Howard says. “But you have a mechanical exfoliant, which is a scrub, and you also have a chemical exfoliant, which is a toner like (Kardashian) has here. And for someone who is pretty new to skin care, they may use these things twice a day at the same time… and after a couple weeks, notice their skin is super dry and super sensitive.”
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Which SKKN products should you buy?
Of all of the SKKN products, Howard says she “really liked” the Cleanser ($43), which contains a hydrating ingredient called glycerin.
“It really felt amazing on the skin,” she says, adding that it’s a “reasonable” price for a good-quality cleanser. “When I used it, I didn’t find that it made my skin dry feel dry or strict.”
Shirazi adds Kardashian’s Vitamin C8 Serum ($90) could be worth the money for those who have sensitive skin. Unlike more affordable vitamin C oils, SKKN doesn’t use pure L-ascorbic acid, “which is unstable and can be irritating.” Instead, it uses a 3-o-ethyl ascorbic acid — a derivative of vitamin C that can be more easily absorbed and more difficult to formulate.
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Do you really need a nine-step skin care routine?
Though some people prefer a lengthy nighttime routine, dermatologists say nine products can not only be redundant, but excessive.
“I’m never a big proponent of having multiple steps in a routine,” Howard says. “It can be very confusing, and I found that many of my patients don’t stick to one brand. They’ll have a cleanser from one brand and the moisturizer from a different brand.”
Shirazi adds that the natural skin biome is not designed to have multiple chemicals layered on one after another, because too much exposure to these external inactives may “create problems in the skin’s microclimate and disrupt the natural skin barrier.”
Instead, she recommends three simple steps for a healthy skin care routine: Washing your skin with a hydrating cleanser, having your acne treatment for those looking to improve skin texture, and protecting skin with a moisturizing lotion or cream. And for the daytime, it’s important to include sunscreen.