Vitamin C Face Serum
The Inkey List’s Vitamin C Face Serum offers an inexpensive, concentrated formula to fight discolorations (including dark spots and post-acne marks). Not only that, it also aides in skin’s anti-wrinkle and anti-pollution defense.
Before jumping into the logistics, we must point out that the name Vitamin C Face Serum is a bit confusing considering that consistency has more of a velvety-smooth cream texture that imparts a dry finish. (On Sephora.com it goes by the name Vitamin C Cream, which is more accurate.) Regardless of what it’s called, the silicone-rich formula blends smoothly over skin, delivering a slight blurring effect for issues such as enlarged pores.
The Inkey List calls out the amount of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) at 30%. Research shows that in that high of a concentration ascorbic acid can offer myriad of visible benefits, including fading stubborn discolorations, brightening dull skin tone, and softening the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It can also help intercept free radical damage caused by environmental factors. All of this leads to healthier, younger-looking skin.
We’re glad that The Inkey List went with opaque squeeze tube packaging to protect the delicate vitamin C from light and air exposure (vitamin C is particularly vulnerable to both elements and can quickly lose its beneficial properties in their presence). We’re also appreciative that they made the formula fragrance free, which is best for the health of skin.
The only reason Vitamin C Face Serum doesn’t rate higher is due to the lack of supporting players (i.e. additional antioxidants, replenishing, and restoring ingredients) to round out the formula and be on par with the best vitamin C products on the market. However, if you’re already getting those types of ingredients from the other products in your routine, this is great way to see what concentrated vitamin C can do for you!
Note: This is a dupe for The Ordinary’s Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone (spoiler alert: The Ordinary’s version costs even less.)
- Highly concentrated in ascorbic acid to effectively fade discolorations.
- Boosts skin’s anti-wrinkle and pollution defense.
- Texture is easy to apply as a spot treatment or all-over—it’s up to you.
- Packaged to protect the delicate vitamin C.
- Fragrance free.
- One-note formula would be more impressive with additional beneficial ingredients.
A hero antioxidant and skin-brightening ingredient that tackles the appearance of hyperpigmentation, dullness, and fine lines.
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: https://www.sephora.com/brand/the-inkey-list.
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.