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The Inkey List

Hepta-Peptide Face Serum

1.00 fl. oz. for $ 14.99
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Brand Overview

The Inkey List’s Hepta-Peptide Face Serum sounds like a cutting-edge product, but the formula and aesthetics turn out to be unimpressive.

Housed in an opaque bottle and dispensed via pump, Hepta-Peptide Face Serum has a lotion-like texture that transforms as you blend it into skin—and not for the good! The concentrated mix of silicones and polymers that make up the bulk of this serum produce a slight dragging sensation as you try to spread it across skin.

That sensation hinders your ability to smoothly blend makeup over this formula, as it causes foundation to “grab” to skin unevenly. That’s not a deal-breaker if you’re only using this as a part of your PM skin care routine, but it contradicts the Inkey List’s claim that Hepta-Peptide Serum doubles as “a great makeup base.”

On the plus side, the formula provides a slight blurring effect as promised, for issues such as enlarged pores.

What about the superstar “seven sequence-peptide to help give the skin a smoother looking appearance” (a.k.a. heptapeptide-7)? There’s not much independent research to back it up, but it appears to be an intriguing ingredient for reinforcing skin’s support structure. The catch is that heptapeptide-7 falls near the tail end of the ingredient list, meaning it’s being used in low concentration, so you’re not likely to see much benefit.

In terms of the rest of the formula, it’s pretty bland. The fragrance-free formula contains a pinch of skin-replenishing squalene and glycerin + antioxidant carnosine, but it’s not enough to really brag about.

Our verdict: Hepta-Peptide Serum may seem like a bargain, but you’ll actually get a bigger bang for your buck with more robust, concentrated serums. If you decide to give it a go, the texture is best suited for normal to oily skin (others will likely find it too drying).

  • Provides an instant blurring effect for issues such as enlarged pores.
  • Fragrance free.
  • The “superstar” of this serum (heptapeptide-7) is used in very low concentration.
  • Pretty basic formula.
  • Does not pair well with makeup, despite claims to the contrary.
Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: No

An instant blurring effect with leading-edge cosmetic soft-focus technology combines with a seven sequence-peptide to help give the skin a smoother looking appearance. A great makeup base, its patented peptide sequence helps reduce the look of crepey skin and fine lines and wrinkles.

Water, Polysilicone-11, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Caproyl Prolinate, Laureth-12, Benzyl Alcohol, Carbomer, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Squalane, Ethylhexylglycerin, Carnosine, Sodium Hydroxide, Glycerin, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Polysorbate 60, Dehydroacetic Acid, Citric Acid, Heptapeptide-7, Lecithin, Potassium Sorbate, Propanediol, Sodium Benzoate, Xanthan Gum, Sorbitan Isostearate.

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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