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The Inkey List


1.00 fl. oz. for $ 6.99
Expert Rating

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Brand Overview

The Inkey List’s Niacinamide harnesses the power of one of skin care’s truly multi-functional ingredients– we just wish there were a little more going on with the formula to make it an even more well-rounded product (it’s still pretty great, though)!

This fragrance-free serum comes in an opaque squeeze bottle. The lightweight texture is slightly tacky at first, but dries down within a few minutes to a non-sticky feel.

The star ingredient here is a 10% concentration of niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, which has the ability to improve skin in a variety of ways. Using niacinamide in this amount can help reduce the appearance of pores, diminish fine lines and wrinkles, help with uneven skin tone, and protect against environmental damage. The Inkey List claims that this can help reduce excess oil, and it likely can, thanks to niacinamide’s ability to normalize the lining of pores, thus keeping excess oil from getting backed up, which stretches the pore.

In addition to niacinamide, this serum has hydrating glycerin, antioxidant- and fatty-acid rich squalane, skin-plumping hyaluronic acid, and skin-soothing allantoin.

There isn’t much in the way of additional antioxidants to make it even more robust, but because of its high amount of niacinamide and the fact that it’s fragrance free, this gets top marks from us!

  • Contains a high amount of skin-refining and antioxidant niacinamide.
  • Includes hydrating squalane and skin-plumping hyaluronic acid.
  • Packaged to protect its light- and air-sensitive ingredients.
  • Fragrance free.
  • Formula would beeven more impressive with additional beneficial ingredients.
Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: No

A serum which works to help control excess oil, while reducing blemishes and redness. This lightweight, power-packed serum contains 10 percent niacinamide, a naturally occurring B3 vitamin that helps to reduce excess oil and fade the appearance of blemishes and redness. Additionally, this serum is formulated with one percent hyaluronic acid for added hydration and effective delivery.

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 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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