KaplanMD has had a makeover and its smart new bottles are now permitted to grace the beauty counters of Bergdorf Goodman. This dermatologist backed line has also reformulated and has moved on from its signature complex that included black cohosh, as well now being free of parabens, sulfate, gluten, castor oil and petrolatum. There have also been some additions to the line, including the Hydrating Essence ($175 for 1oz).

I have been testing a free sample and didn’t know the price until I it looked up when I came to write my review. Sometimes, I think it is better not to know the product's cost when testing, thereby preventing expectations being set. If I had known that KaplanMD Hydrating Essence was $175, my expectations would have been pretty high and, although this is a fairly nice product, I don’t think they would have been met.

Hydrating Essence is described as being ideal for dry, sun and wind damaged skin. Perhaps the problem is that this doesn’t really apply to me. Now if I had just come in from a day’s sailing, smoothing this oil on a wind slapped face could be just the ticket, but in rainy New York City, it seems like overkill.

When first applied, it felt more greasy than oily and I wondered if I didn’t look like a recently treated burn victim. I stole a glance in the mirror 15 minutes later and I looked more dewy than shiny, but I still had the sense that the product was sitting on the surface of my skin. I didn’t feel that I could put foundation over it, so I went to dinner with a completely bare, if slightly shiny face.

After some more trial and error, I have decided that although I get an instant dewy glow from Hydrating Essence, it is not suited to my face, which is not very dry and if anything naturally a little oily. My hands are quite another matter. They are dry and they just drink up Hydrating Essence and increasingly feel soft and pampered. Clearly, this was designed for and works on skin that is very thirsty.

I am becoming a convert to oil-based skincare. As much as anything else, what you see is what you get: oils. There’s no suspicion that most of the formula is water and the formulators don’t have to add things that make creams creamy such as waxes or chemical emulsifiers. Hydrating Essence is made up of 8 oils and vitamin E. Argan oil, with fatty acids, is the most dominant. Kukui oil is a source of vitamins A, E, F, linoleic and linolenic acids, while passion flower has a ton of omega 6, and borage oil can take down redness.

In conclusion, if your skin is dry and funds permit, Hydrating Essence will live up to its name.

Ingredients: Argan oil, grapeseed oil, kukui oil, acai oil, passion flower oil, soybean oil, borage oil, vitamin E (tocopherol), lavender oil