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The Inkey List


1.00 fl. oz. for $ 9.99
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Brand Overview

The Inkey List’s Bakuchiol harnesses the potential of one of skin care’s trendiest emerging ingredients in a formula that has great aesthetics – we just wish it offered a bit more.

Packaged in an opaque squeeze tube that protects its ingredients from light and air (which can cause some of them to lose effectiveness), this lightweight lotion is suitable for all skin types. It’s fragrance free, absorbs quickly into skin, and works well both over and under other skin care products.

The star of the show is bakuchiol, an ingredient that has some exciting research regarding its benefits. A small number of studies show it has many of the same benefits as retinol, including the ability to diminish the appearance of wrinkles and reduce the effects of sun damage (thus helping even out skin tone).

Bakuchiol is claimed to offer retinol-like benefits without the potential irritation retinol can cause; however, many people use retinol without issues at all – and since bakuchiol isn’t retinol, it’s not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison. Still, it’s a worthwhile ingredient to include here and, like retinol, it also kicks in antioxidant benefits.

In addition to bakuchiol, there’s antioxidant- and fatty-acid rich squalane, plus hydrating sacha inchi oil, which will keep skin moisturized and help strengthen its barrier.

In fact, the only reason this doesn’t rate higher is that it doesn’t have a greater complement of skin-beneficial ingredients, including additional antioxidants. Still, this is a worthwhile consideration, especially if traditional retinol hasn’t been working for you and you’ll be pairing it with another skin care product that contains a better assortment of age-fighting ingredients.

  • Emerging research shows bakuchiol has benefits similar to retinol.
  • Includes fatty acid- and antioxidant-rich squalane.
  • Contains hydrating sacha inchi oil.
  • Packaged to protect its light- and air-sensitive ingredients.
  • Fragrance free.
  • Formula would be more impressive with additional beneficial ingredients.
Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: No

A natural alternative to retinol, bakuchiol moisturizer helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Plant derived, and with antioxidant properties, this natural retinol alternative helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and even skin tone. Formulated with the Omega-3-packed sacha inchi oil and squalane, it also works to hydrate and nourish the skin.

Water (Aqua), Squalane, Glycerin, Propanediol, Plukenetia Volubilis Seed Oil (Sacha Inchi oil), Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Bakuchiol, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Caproyl Prolinate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Carbomer, Sodium Hydroxide, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Polysorbate 60, Phytic Acid, Glyceryl Polyacrylate, Sorbitan Isostearate, Tocopherol.

The Inkey List is the creation of Colette Newberry and Mark Curry, respectively the former branding and product developers of the widespread UK-based drugstore chain Boots, which has its own namesake skin care line. As with a number of up-and-coming “indie” brands, the media coverage centers on their inexpensive products with minimalist formulas that tend to focus on a single star ingredient, such as hyaluronic acid, squalane, or retinol.

If you’re wondering about the inspiration for the name, it’s the pronunciation of the acronym “INCI,” which stands for the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients, an agreed-upon, regulated list of how cosmetics ingredients should be identified on product labels. Each product has its chief ingredient listed on the packaging with dictionary-style writing underneath showing how the name is phoneticized, a clever and slightly erudite touch.

Though the formulas are somewhat basic, The Inkey List gets its packaging spot-on – all products are in opaque containers, with no jars or clear containers to be found. Fragrance isn’t on this brand’s radar, either--at least not in terms of adding it to their products (which will make your skin very happy).

We’d like to see more complex formulas, but then again such formulas cost more to make, and The Inkey List is mostly a bargain brand. We wrote “mostly” because in some cases, on an ounce-per-ounce basis, The Inkey List costs just as much as some other brands offering the same type of products (like leave-on exfoliants) in larger sizes.

Even with the predominantly one-note ingredient theme, the brand typically includes beneficial ingredients in efficacious amounts and skips irritants, with the exception of a couple a products that contain witch hazel water and drying denatured alcohol.

That aside, the brand offers a good selection of effective products, something we’re always glad to see. The Inkey List is sold exclusively in the U.S. at Sephora; you can learn more about the brand here:

About the Experts

The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.

Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.

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