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The Inkey List

Oil and Water Double Cleanser

5.00 fl. oz. for $ 9.99
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Brand Overview

The Inkey List’s Oil and Water Double Cleanser is an interesting take on dual-phase cleansers. It does some things very well, but falters in other ways.

Packaged in a clear bottle, this fragrance-free liquid has a bright orange top layer, then a clear layer beneath. Shake the bottle to mix the solution, then dispense it onto a cotton ball or pad to remove makeup. After makeup removal, you’re instructed to rinse the remaining residue with water.

We found this did an admirable job removing most types of makeup, even longwearing and waterproof formulas. More to love: it contains some skin-loving ingredients, among them skin-conditioning sweet almond oil, sea buckthorn oil, and panthenol. Skin definitely feels softer and smoother after using this.

A couple of caveats keep this from being among the best of the best: first, if you rinse solely with water, you’ll still have a slightly oily feel on skin.

Second, the sea buckthorn oil, which gives this product its orange color, has the potential to stain skin if you choose not to rinse.

In both cases, we recommend using a soft washcloth to more thoroughly remove the last traces of this cleanser, although be extra-careful using a washcloth around the eyes, as you don’t want to tug at this extra-thin skin. Or use this as a double cleanse, with this being the first product and then follow with a water-soluble gel, cream, or lotion cleanser.

With those provisos in mind, this is still a worthy consideration – just keep in mind it might take a little extra work to remove it completely!

  • Effectively removes makeup, even longwearing formulas.
  • Leaves skin feeling softer and smoother.
  • Contains some good skin-conditioning ingredients.
  • Fragrance free.
  • Leaves a slightly oily film on skin, even after rinsing with water.
Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: No

A combined oil and water cleanser that works to effectively remove makeup whilst nurturing the skin. This two-in-one daily cleanser is formulated with naturally derived sea buckthorn and sweet almond oil to gently remove makeup and clear the look of blemishes. Added panthenol works to help improve skins moisture levels for a non-drying and thorough cleanse.

Water (Aqua), Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Isopropyl Palmitate, Isododecane, Hydrogenated Tetradecenyl/ Methylpentadecene, Hippophae Rhamnoides (Seabuckthorn) Fruit Oil, Panthenol, Disodium Phosphate, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Chloride, Glycerin, Gluconolactone, Sodium Benzoate, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Citric Acid, Avena Strigosa Seed Extract, Lecithin, Calcium Gluconate, Potassium Sorbate.

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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