Bug Report: travel with Kiehl’s products

kiehls1.jpg For the last 20 years of my life, I washed my face with regular body soap whenever I was in the shower. I was also plagued by oily skin (still am). Three years ago, a friend showed me the wonders of Kiehl’s products. I eventually found a face cleanser that became a life saver. I always thought it was dumb that I could be 30 years old and still get a zit, but that basically doesn’t happen any more. For the first time in my life, I have clear clean skin (that gets oily after a few hours, but still).

The problem is even though the small 4oz bottle has a cap that gives a satisfying “snap” when you close it, I can’t keep the thing closed and sealed when I fly.

It started a couple years ago, when I flew across the country and the bottle exploded in my toiletries bag. After that, I started flying with it in a ziplock bag, and every flight afterwards has ended with some leakage of blue goo. I tried stowing my toiletries separate in an overhead bin. I’ve tried it deep within checked luggage. Always, the same result.


I’ve bought several bottles of the stuff and every time I fly, I still get the leak in the cap. It surprises me that this has continued for a couple years because I figure the kind of people that pay a lot for cleansers would typically be people that fly a lot and they’d solve this.

Suggestions for a fix: I think it’s time to rethink the friction-held cap. Perhaps a screw top, perhaps one of those caps with the tube that folds over to make a definite seal? Maybe make a travel-only cap for flying? Or I guess I could continue with the ziplock bags and maybe use tape, but it seems like something easy Kiehl’s could fix.

update: Kiehl’s customer service got back to me with a nice note suggesting that due to cabin pressure, the caps they use now will tend to open up a bit and suggest putting tape over them when you travel (duh, I didn’t think to try that). A friend suggested the same tape remedy and noted if they moved to a more reliable cap it would likely be harder to flip open with a single finger, as they work now. I guess I’ll start taping up the bottles when I travel now, but it was great to hear I wasn’t alone in this.

Published by mathowie

I build internet stuff.

10 replies on “Bug Report: travel with Kiehl’s products”

  1. I’ve had the same frustration with Kiehls for years. After three explosions, I confronted them in the Boson store and they provided a bunch of the large sample bottles which don’t suffer from the same cap integrity issues (CIIs).
    Don’t even think of flying with one of their huge soap bottles; I had one lose its entire load on the way to California and the sheer mass of soap liquid caused the ziploc reinforcements to buckle. On the upside, everything smelled like cucumbers for weeks.


  2. Happens with a lot of toiletries, unfortunately. My favorite deodorant is in gel form, and the pressurized cabins (I’m assuming) always cause it to ooze out excessively, and you can lose a decent percentage of the product that way (I’ve taken to buying a separate solid stick for travel).
    Same thing with some roller-ball pens.
    I think it might be time to invent some sort of cabin-pressure resistant container in which to carry things like this.


  3. i have the same kind of skin. frustrating at 35 to get zits. i use proactive, which works pretty well, but it’s a 3 bottle process morning and night. it gets expensive and tedious. do you know how the two products compare?


  4. I recommend a piece of plastic wrap clicked into the bottle cap (or clicked in and wrapped around the bottle cap bottom edges secured with a rubber band if necessary) if you can’t unscrew it, or under the cap if you can.
    As an alternative for face soap, I don’t know if you have a hang up about using “girly” soap (brand, I mean) but oil of olay has great foaming face soaps that aren’t too harsh. A problem with a lot of the products for oily skin is that they’re way to harsh and promote more oil production when they strip the skin. Both my husband and I have oily skin and once I got him to use the oil of olay instead of Irish Spring on his face, it’s been a lot less greasy. I use Lancome mousse cleanser which I think is one of the best products on the market, but it’s pricey and not available in your supermarket or drug store so that can be a pain.


  5. Invest in some re-fillable travel bottles. A local chemist should have something that’ll meet your needs.
    And DON’T FILL THEM UP. If you are away for a long time, take two bottles, but always leave a gap at the top.


  6. When I travel, I try to remove most of the air from containers with wimpy caps so the trapped air doesn’t expand and force open the cap. Open the cap, squeeze out the air just until the “product” is about ready to come out, and then recap them. I’m not the most frequent traveler, and it may be a placebo effect, but I haven’t had any explosions since I started doing this!


  7. I use the exact same Kiehl’s products, and have just given up travelling with them – I’m lazy enough to have a separate washbag that I only use for travelling, with (inferior) products I know won’t leak.
    (Also, my hideous teenage skin was too much at 29, so I just gave up and got antibiotics from the GP – one course, and I have skin like a normal human for the first time since I was 12!)


  8. i can second the muji travel bottles; the flip top motion is similar to Kiehl’s’s, but it just closes better. I always keep the Kiehl’s at home, and use it to keep the shaving kit bottles full.
    On the bright side, the shaving cream lid is different (i.e., better, i.e., doesn’t leak), but before the muji find, I tried to travel with just Kiehl’s samples, but then I found that even the sealed, one-use packets were leaking and giving everything else in the bag a grapefruity sheen.


  9. Pitotubes travel accessories were developed by former flight attendant, Alisa Driscoll who got tired of having her toiletries constantly leak. Pitotubes are an airless bottle that works on a piston/pump system that won’t leak under changing cabin pressure. Additionally, the piston rising from the bottom brings all of the product up to the pump, expelling 98% of the bottle content, thereby reducing waste of your toiletries by as much as 75% over traditional stem pumps. Bottles come in three sizes, all under 3 oz. Kits have a sturdy clear 1 quart zippered bag and come with waterproof labels with 14 titles and two blanks. You can purchase in many luggage stores, retailers are listed on the website, or directly at http://www.pitotubes.com.


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