Monday 14 October 2019

The Inkey List: Affordable AND Effective?

**Disclaimer: This post contains products that were kindly sent to me for the purpose of review and are therefore listed as an advertisement. All opinions are my own**


I don't think it's a secret that most of us want great skin without any blemishes, full of radiance and perhaps minimal signs of ageing. But with such an enormous amount of products out there, I find that skincare, and finding a routine that works for you, can be at times very overwhelming. Perhaps you're not sure where to start. Relatively new brand The Inkey List have addressed the issue and are keeping things simple, from their packaging to the products. Their motto:

"Quality ingredients made simple"

They have taken 15 of the most wanted and potent ingredients in skincare, with the aim to make them accessable and affordable. But does making them affordable mean that the quality suffers or have they really hit a gap in the market, proving that great skincare doesn't have to break the bank? I tested out four of their products, so let's read on and find out.

Polyglutamic Acid


Key Ingredients:
• 3% Polyglutamic Acid - high molecular weight aminon acid to enhance skin moisturisation.
• 2% Invisaskin - a group of ingredients that together help maintain the moisture levels in the skin. (Invisaskin is made up of: Water (aqua), Dimethylacrylamide/Acrylic Acid/Polystyrene, Ethyl Methacrylate Copolymer, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Phenoxyethanol and Sodium Benzoate)

One of the biggest things to help you achieve great skin, is moisture. The Polyglutamic Acid (PGA) serum is developed to help maintain the skin's moisture levels. PGA is found in the skin and is said to hold 4x more moisture than Hyaluronic Acid (some even say up to 10x as much!). It's great if you're suffering from dehydration, if your skin feels tight and if you're suffering from redness and inflammation. You might wonder why you need the serum if PGA already occurs naturally, or perhaps you feel that you drink loads of water, but unfortunately that alone does not do the trick. We can take in enough water, but what this Polyglutamic Acid serum does, is create a film over your skin to help reduce the amount of water that evaporates, thus helping your skin keep the moisture in.

Polyglutamic Acid is a peptide, or a protein, which is derived from fermented soy beans and is also known to reduce the appearance of fine lines, aiding the skin's exfoliation and stimulating the natural moisturising process, keeping our skin looking plump and healthy.

What do I love about it?

I love the consistency of this serum. It has a gel-like texture and the film it leaves is silky soft. The serum contains 3% PGA which doesn't seem like a lot, but let me tell you, it does the trick! It is so moisturising and perfect for morning and evening after any other serums but before moisturising. I have to be honest, I didn't expect to love it as much as I do, because it contains silicones which I am personally not a fan of. However in this case the silicones are mixed with water, making it so refreshing yet great as makeup primer too!

Vitamin C


The Inkey List Vitamin C serum is a silicone based serum that contains a whopping 30% pure stable vitamin C, also known as L-Ascorbic Acid. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and is used in skincare to reduce the impact of environmental damage to the skin by for instance pollution and UV light. It brightens the skin and evens out the skin tone but it also aids in the production of collagen, and keeping the skin plump.

It only contains four ingredients so they have definitely kept this one as simple as possible. You can use the serum in the morning and evening, although using it in the morning, it will be the most beneficial. One thing to bear in mind is to always follow with an SPF if you use vitamin C in the morning.

What do I love about it?

I love that this serum contains a minimum amount of ingredients and such a high concentration of Vitamin C. Unfortunately the fact that it is a waterless formula and instead contains silicones is the downside for me. The most common form of Vitamin C is a powder and I can really feel that in the consistency of this serum. It reminds me of applying a grainy silicone primer rather than a serum, and I am not a fan. Having sensitive skin with mild rosacea did not form a good base for this either and I found the serum too powerful for me to use. However, I do have to note that the Inkey List give the tip to use it in combination with Hyaluronic Acid which may make the experience more pleasant. If the texture of a grainy silicone primer doesn't bother you and you're okay with Vitamin C, this is a great serum to have because of the percentage of vitamin C in it, in which case I would recommend trying it, but if you are suffering from very sensitive skin, you may wish to give this one a miss.



Another product with very few ingredients is The Inkey List Squalane Face Oil. This oil is in fact made of 100% plant-derived Squalane oil. Squalane is the processed version of Squalene, which is an oil that naturally occurs in our skin. It is produced to form a protective layer on the skin to prevent it from losing moisture, which is why it is an oily substance. As we get older, the amount of Squalene produced reduces, making it more difficult to maintain moisture levels. So we need a little bit of help and that's where Squalane comes in. The reason why there is a processed version of Squalene, is to increase the shelf life as Squalene goes rancid fairly easily whereas Squalane can be kept for some time, in this case up to 6 months after opening the oil.

Squalane is suitable for all skin types, however if you have oily skin and suffer from acne you may want to use it sparingly. If you have dehydrated skin, and dry or combination skin, this might be a good one to give a go.

What do I love about it?

When you think of a facial oil, I tend to hesitate because I have combination skin and sometimes I feel that the last thing I need is more grease, especially during the summer months. The amazing thing about this oil is however, that although it is an oil, it is so light and does not leave a greasy layer at all. My skin loves it and absorbs the oil within seconds. It leaves my skin feeling soft and it definitely seems to make it easier for my skin to stay hydrated. You can use the oil after serums and hydration in the morning and evening, but I prefer to use it in the evening only, when I try and give my skin as much hydration as I can.



The Caffeine eye cream by the Inkey List promises to reduce dark circles, puffiness and fine lines, and contains an antioxidant derived from coffee.

Key ingredients:
• Albizia Julibrissin Bark Extract - helps reduce signs of fatigue in the undereye area.
• Squalane - an oil that hydrates and protects the skin.
• Caffeine - acts as an antioxidant and gives the undereye area that little boost of energy we sometimes need.
• Palmitoyl Tripeptide-7 or Matrixyl 3000 which boosts the production of collagen.

What do I love about it?

Everything! The caffeine eye cream has a beautiful soft consistency, is lightweight and absorbs well into the skin without leaving a layer. My undereye area feels instantly refreshed and more awake. Puffiness appears visibly reduced straight away and I love how well this cream works under makeup, it stays put and does not form patchy areas which I've previously had with other eye creams. This is an absolute winner for me and it does exactly what it promises.

So what's the verdict on The Inkey List?


After trying these four products, I have rarely been so excited about a brand as I am about The Inkey List. What an amazing set of products at such a great price point. I love their no nonsense approach when it comes to ingredients and their packaging. It's all very straight forward and understandable to anyone really.

There will always be products that work for you and some that don't work for you. It is very rare that an entire range suits you, however so far The Inkey List have come very close and I already have their new Brighten-i Eye Cream and their Snow Mushroom moisturiser on my wishlist to try next!

Shop The Products Here

What Inkey List product have you tried? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Thank you so much for reading.

If you're interested in trying more affordable skincare, you can read a review on some items of The Ordinary HERE.

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