Thursday, July 15, 2021

The INKEY List | Clean & Affordable Skincare: Review

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links and the products featured were provided for review.
The INKEY List | Clean & Affordable Skincare Range: Review
Introduced back in 2018, The INKEY List is a (relatively) new skincare brand built around the idea of "knowledge"-knowledge about ingredients, knowledge about packaging, and knowledge about the environmental impact of the products/production. Formulated with clean, cruelty-free ingredients, The INKEY List offers simple, ingredient-driven products available at a very affordable price. Dubbed by some as the new The Ordinary (from DECIEM), The INKEY List is certainly a very intriguing brand. I've been testing out a handful of its most popular products lately so I wanted to share with you my thoughts today. To read on, click......

Packaged in a generously sized squeeze tube topped with a flip cap, this cleanser is described as a "luxurious cleansing balm that dissolves makeup and excess oil without stripping sensitive, irritated skin". Formulated with 3% oat kernel oil and 1% colloidal oatmeal, the cleanser has a thick, vaseline-like consistency that melts upon contact with the skin. The Oat Cleansing Balm has a subtle grainy texture but it's definitely not a scrub. While calming and soothing, the formulation is not super efficient at removing waterproof makeup. It has no problem tackling foundation and sunscreen but with waterproof mascara and eyeliner, I definitely noticed remnants after rinsing. In fact, the cleanser easily gets into the eyes and fogs up the vision, making it very unpleasant to use. This actually brings me to my biggest issue with this cleanser. Unlike traditional cleansing balms, the INKEY List Oat Cleansing Balm doesn't emulsify with water and leaves behind a noticeable film on the skin that needs to be removed with a foaming gel or cream cleanser. Overall this is a dud for me. I can see it benefitting those with very dry skin that doesn't wear a lot of makeup. Even if that's the case, however, I would still recommend investing in one of the many well-formulated cleansing balms available on the market, click here to see all ones I've reviewed in the past.

Ingredients: Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Oil, Candelilla Cera (Cire de candelilla), Silica, Sorbitan Stearate, Tribehenin, PEG-60 Almond Glycerides, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Flour, Aqua (Water/Eau), Benzyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Lecithin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Tocopherol, Biosaccharide Gum-4, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil.
The INKEY List | Oat Cleansing Balm & Peptide Moisturizer: Review
The INKEY List | Oat Cleansing Balm & Peptide Moisturizer
Described as a "nurturing yet fast-absorbing daily moisturizer", the Peptide Moisturizer is formulated with a peptide combination (Royal Epigen P5 and a "hydrating peptide solution") designed to support collagen production and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Packaged in a press to dispense airless pump jar, The INKEY List Peptide Moisturizer feels very much like a dupe of the Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream (reviewed here), even down to the packaging, but at a fraction of the price ($19 versus $90). 
It's been a couple of years since I used the Drunk Elephant Protini but I actually don't recall loving the formulation. The INKEY List Peptide Moisturizer, however, I quite like. The formulation is creamy but very lightweight, blending nicely with serums or on top of serums. It leaves a breathable, non-sticky, and non-greasy finish that's perfect for use under makeup. The Peptide Moisturizer is obviously not a very rich face cream but for normal/combination skin, it provides ample hydration/nourishment for the fall, spring, and summer months.

Ingredients: Aqua (Water/Eau), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Betaine, Butylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Benzyl Alcohol, Carbomer, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Sodium Hydroxide, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Gluconate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Dehydroacetic Acid, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Phenethyl Alcohol, Acetyl Hexapeptide-37, Maltodextrin, Pentapeptide-48.

As a part of The INKEY List's "TREAT" lineup encompassing a range of targeted serums and treatments, the Niacinamide Oil Control Serum is designed for oily, combination skin. The serum comes in a small, plastic bottle that feels a bit like a deluxe-sized sample. This is not a dealbreaker by any means given how affordable the product is but I do find that the bottle nozzle gets clogged over time if not wiped clean after use, which is quite annoying.
With 10% niacinamide and 1% multi-molecular hyaluronic acid, the serum has a lightweight, runny texture. It blends well with the other serums and applies nicely on its own with no pilling or patching. Niacinamide is one of my favorite ingredients as it really refines the skin and reduces sebum production so I definitely enjoy incorporating this serum into my everyday skincare routine.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Niacinamide, Glycerin, Propanediol, Butylene Glycol, Squalane, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Hyaluronic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Phospholipids, Xanthan Gum, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Extract, Allantoin, Disodium Edta, Polysorbate 60, Panthenol, Glycolipids, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterol, Disodium Phosphate, Citric Acid, Sodium Phosphate.
The INKEY List | Niacinamide, Hyalyronic Acid, and Q10 Serum: Review
The INKEY List | Niacinamide, Hyalyronic Acid, and Q10 Serum
With 2% multi-molecular hyaluronic acid and the Matrixyl 3000 peptide, this is a hydrating serum designed to plump and smooth the skin. Similar to the Niacinamide Oil Control Serum, the Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Serum has a lightweight runny texture that's non-greasy and silicone-free. While I thoroughly appreciate the hydrating benefits of hyaluronic acid, I really don't think it's necessary to invest in a stand-alone serum highlighting the ingredient considering that most skincare products already contain plenty of it.

Ingredients: Water, Propanediol, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp Copolymer, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Hyaluronic Acid, Carbomer, Polysorbate 20, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Phenoxyethanol.

A potent antioxidant that protects the skin from environmental stressors, Co-Q10 is combined with Syn-Tacks peptides and squalane in this anti-aging serum. With a slightly yellow tint, the Q10 Antioxidant Serum is thicker in consistency but still lightweight and easily blendable. I've been using this either in combination with the Peptide Moisturizer (see above) or the Tranexamic Acid Treatment (see below) and found that it really helps make the skin look and feel smoother and softer.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua / Eau), Butylene Glycol, Propanediol, Glycerin, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Caprylic/capric Triglyceride, Dimethicone, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Caprylyl Glycol, Squalane, Phospholipids, Lecithin, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Extract, Carbomer, Polysorbate 60, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ubiquinone, Disodium Edta, Sodium Hydroxide, Glycolipids, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterol, Palmitoyl Dipeptide-5 Diaminobutyroyl Hydroxythreonine, Palmitoyl Dipeptide-5 Diaminohy-hydroxybutyrate, Leuconostoc/radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Hyaluronic Acid, Phenoxyethanol.

Housed in a small squeeze tube with a precise applicator, this is a lightweight eye cream formulated with caffeine and Matrixyl 3000 peptide to reduce puffiness and the appearance of lines. I really enjoy the lightly hydrating and non-greasy formulation and while the cream may not be rich enough for dry, mature skin, it provides just the right amount of day/night nourishment for my combination skin. 

Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Propanediol, Polyglyceryl-6 Distearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Jojoba Esters, Glyceryl Dibehenate, Albizia Julibrissin Bark Extract, Squalane, Caffeine, Polyglyceryl-3 Beeswax, Phospholipids, Tribehenin, Ethylhexylglycerin, Xanthan Gum, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Extract, Polysorbate 60, Disodium Edta, Glyceryl Behenate, Glycolipids, Butylene Glycol, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterol, Leuconostoc/radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Hyaluronic Acid, Carbomer, Darutoside, Polysorbate 20, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Phenoxyethanol.
The INKEY List | Caffeine Eye Cream, Succinic Acid Treatment & Tranexamic Acid Hyperpigmentation Treatment: Review
The INKEY List | Caffeine Eye Cream, Succinic Acid Treatment & Tranexamic Acid Hyperpigmentation Treatment 
"A non-drying, gentle, and targeted acne treatment", the Succinic Acid Treatment has a slightly viscous gel-cream formulation that's non-greasy and easy to spread. With a noticeable sulfur odor and a light green tint for neutralizing redness, the treatment contains 2% succinic acid, 2% sulfur powder, and 1% salicylic acid. Succinic acid is a relatively new acne treatment ingredient described to have antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. More specifically, The INKEY List says the ingredient works by a "gentle peeling effect" that exfoliates the skin and clears pores, which to my understanding, is how salicylic acid works as well so I'm not too sure how the two differ in their effectiveness in treating acne. Personally, neither salicylic acid nor sulfur (also included in this treatment) works for me in treating acne so not surprisingly, the Succinic Acid Treatment didn't make much of a difference. I used it several nights in a roll on some hormonal acne along my jawline and it didn't make any visible difference. The product may help with pore decongestion but for tried and true acne treatment, I think I will stick with benzoyl peroxide.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua/Eau), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Stearic Acid, Cetearyl Alcohol, Colloidal Sulfur, Glycerin, Succinic Acid, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Salicylic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Squalane, Benzyl Alcohol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Polysorbate 60, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Hydroxide, Dehydroacetic Acid, Malachite Extract, Sorbitan Isostearate, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, CI 75810 (Chlorophyllin-Copper Complex).

Last but not least is this overnight treatment designed to reduce "hyperpigmentation and dark spots for a more even skin tone". Housed in an airless pump bottle, the Tranexamic Acid Hyperpigmentation Treatment contains 2% tranexamic acid (which actually has some very promising research findings supporting its anti-hyperpigmentation merits), 2% acai extract, and 2% vitamin C derivative. With a translucent, gel-like consistency, the treatment is lightweight and non-greasy. Used in combination with either the Niacinamide Serum or the Q10 Serum, it has truly made my skin look so much smoother and more radiant. Of all the products I've reviewed in this post, the Tranexamic Acid Hyperpigmentation Treatment is the one that I would recommend the most!

Ingredients: Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Tranexamic Acid, Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Extract, 1-Methylhydanto-in-2-Imide, Sodium Acrylates Copolymer, Phenoxyethanol, Carbomer, Sodium Hydroxide, Cetearyl Olivate, Benzyl Alcohol, Sorbitan Olivate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Lecithin, Squalane, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Gluconate, Polysorbate 60, Dehydroacetic Acid, Lactobacillus Ferment, Sorbitan Isostearate.

Overall, I think this is a really nice and affordable skincare range designed for those focused on ingredients and results. The similarities between The INKEY List and The Ordinary from DECIEM, both in terms of branding and pricing, are very apparent although I personally think The INKEY List is better formulated. Everything I tried, with the exception of the Oat Cleansing Balm, is well-formulated. There are no layering issues (i.e. no pilling or patching, which I experienced lots with The Ordinary products) and everything in part stood to their claims. If you are someone who prefers simple, no-fuss skincare routine that delivers results, then definitely check out The INKEY List!

The INKEY List is available in stores and online at Sephora and online at
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