Honest reviews, regular hauls and all things beauty.

Wednesday 16 February 2022

Brand Focus: The Inkey List

Brand Focus: The Inkey List
All of these products were kindly gifted to me, without obligation.

This post has been a long time in the making, as I received the products last November, and as with all skincare (although there are some haircare products too), I like to thoroughly test everything before sharing my opinion. For reference, I have dry skin and a chronic illness, which makes it tricky to achieve everyday fresh-looking skin. I need my products to work hard, and I also work on my skin from within. My hair is also very dry, it's fine too, but I have a lot of it. 

I'm sure that you are all aware of The Inkey List, but if not, the brand was founded in 2018 by Colette Laxton and Mark Curry, who believe that quality skincare products should be available to all, regardless of budget. They also don't prescribe to a "one product fits all" theme, which is why they provide so much information about each product, for you to mix and match, to create your own perfect skin recipe. The brand began by focusing on skincare, but has since expanded into haircare too. I had previously tried some products, as my friend, Doctor Anne, is a big fan of the brand, so when I was kindly offered to be sent a selection of products, based on my skin and hair needs, I jumped at the chance. 

I know that initially a lot of people thought that this was just another case of a brand jumping on The Ordinary bandwagon - skincare at affordable prices, however I don't agree. For starters, you don't need a degree in science to work out what your skin needs, or what each product actually does (their website is very helpful), plus they make building a routine much easier, by having symbols on the back of each product, which suggest whether it should be used morning or night (or both), how much product, and at what point in your routine. I like the simple, monochromatic packaging, which is practical, but also looks chic. Now, on to all of the products I was kindly sent and my thoughts:

Fulvic Acid Brightening Cleanser: This is really great value (a running theme in this post!), at 150ml for £10.99 or €11.99. Fulvic Acid is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, however it is also an antioxidant, which is rich in Vitamin C, hence the brightening aspect. It's a gel cleanser, suitable for both morning and night, as a first or second cleanse, best used on damp skin. I'm the first to admit that I prefer an oil or balm cleanser as my first cleanse, as I like to wear a lot of mascara and find that these types of cleansers tend to break it down without any tugging on the gentle eye area. Therefore, my preference is to use this as a morning cleanser, as I also find the gel texture refreshing. You really don't need to apply a lot of product, so this tube will last for months, even if using both morning and night. I find that this rinses well, leaves my skin feeling soft, without any sort of stripped feeling, and with consistent use, my skin definitely looked brighter (not an easy task with naturally dry and dull skin). 

Niacinamide: Regular readers will know that I love this ingredient and always make sure to have it in my routine. This contains 10% niacinamide, plus 1% hyaluronic acid, to give it some extra slip, and add hydration, which helps it to layer well with other steps in your skincare routine, without any pilling. I tend to mix it with another serum, rather than layer, but you can do whatever works best for you. Niacinamide is brilliant for red/irritated/inflamed skin, as it calms it down, and is oil-free, so will work for all skin types. What is also great about it, is that helps in the reduction of visibility of pore size - something that most of us become more conscious of as we get older, however it can be an issue for those with younger skin too. I really like the formula of this product - like I said, it's easy to layer, but my preferred method of use is with another serum/treatment product.

Hyaluronic Acid: I dread to think what my skin would look like without this ingredient! I use it both morning and night every day, as it holds 1000 times its weight in water, so anybody with dehydrated skin will appreciate this in their life. This serum contains 2% hyaluronic acid, so it may not be hydrating enough for some, but the beauty of these affordable products, is that you can create a serum/combination that works exactly for your skin type. I find that this layers/combines well, absorbs well, doesn't pill and plumps the skin. For my skin, which is both dry and dehydrated, I need a product that has a higher % of the ingredient, however, as I can combine it with other treatments, it suffices for me, but I probably wouldn't repurchase, but that is purely based on already having products in my routine that give my skin exactly what it needs. 

Polyglutamic Acid: This is a product that I had previously used, and this is what suits my skin better than the Hyaluronic Acid, because it can hold four times more moisture than HA, and given that my skin is both dry and dehydrated, this works really well for my skin. It has a richer/more gel like texture than the other treatments, but absorbs well. I like that it has a pump dispenser, and can be used both day and night, combined with other ingredients (for brightening etc). The only thing that I don't personally like about it, is the scent - it smells synthetic to me, but soon dissipates, so I can get over it, but it gives me the ick when I apply it! That said, for the skin smoothing and moisturising results, I can get over it, and will most probably repurchase it.

Bakuchiol: There are debates as to whether this ingredient truly is nature's alternative to retinol, but either way, it's a gentle place to begin your journey into anti-ageing skincare. This can be used both morning and night (don't forget your SPF), and it contains Squalane and Sacha Inchi Oil, both of which help to buffer against any irritation, which you may experience. I'll be honest, this product is not for me. It just does nothing for my skin, but remember that my skin is very well accustomed to much stronger ingredients, which are more effective in the battle against fine lines and texture. For somebody younger, this could be a great 

Retinol: What was I doing with my skin before I discovered retinol? It is definitely the ingredient that has made the biggest difference to my skin! I have been using it for a good number of years now (I probably should have started earlier, but better late than never), and the improvements have been huge in terms of texture, pigmentation, clarity, firmness and more. Due to the fact that my skin is well-accustomed to this ingredient, this product, which contains only 1%, really doesn't do much for my skin. I am used to higher percentages, but that doesn't mean that it isn't a great starter product (it's important to build your way up when you begin to use retinol, as skin can be easily irritated. This is a night-time only product, and be very vigilant about your SPF when using retinol, as your skin will be more sensitive to sunlight. I'm not saying it's a bad product - just not strong enough for my skin.

Retintol Eye Cream: Again, a night-time only product, I really like this eye cream, which is easily absorbed (patted in to the eye area, gently), and non-irritating. Again, I am used to retinol products, so I'd recommend starting with maybe twice weekly use, and building up from there. It will take time to see a difference, but it is worth persevering, as the under eye area will look smoother and firmer, which in turn makes you look fresher.

Peptide Volumizing  Hair Treatment: This is said to be suitable for all hair types (I have fine hair, so was looking forward to seeing the volumizing results), and it works by multiplying the appearance of hair strands immediately after use. You shake the bottle well, then dispense some into your hands and distribute throughout your hair (I brush through, to ensure that it is well dispersed), before drying your hair. I have to say that I haven't noticed a huge difference in terms of the volume of my hair, but as I said, my hair is fine, but also quite long. I think that if I had some layers in my hair, I'd gain volume anyway, but I might see more difference when using this product too. It's just not a product that I would repurchase.

Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Hair Treatment: This is designed to help fight frizz, hydrate and boost shine - my kind of product! Again, this is a post-wash product and although it's very light in texture, you have to be careful not to use too much, or your hair will become greasy much more quickly. I have to say that, again, I'm not really a fan of this. I didn't notice the shine, hydration or de-frizzing properties and my hair just looked a bit limp when I used it.

Brand Focus: The Inkey List
These products were kindly sent to me, without obligation.

Recent additions to the range:

Hyaluronic Acid Cleanser: I was very excited when this cleanser was released, as my skin loves Hyaluronic Acid, so I didn't let the "lightly foaming" description, put me off. It's suitable for both morning and evening use, and contains both HA and Inulin Compound (a humectant), which hydrate the skin, as well as 2% Betaine, which protects against environmental aggressors. It is massaged into damp skin, before rinsing to reveal clean skin, yet whilst it doesn't strip the skin, for me, it feels a little more drying than the Fulvic Acid Brightening Cleanser. It doesn't leave my skin feeling uncomfortable, but it just doesn't leave it feeling as fresh and it feels a little thirsty afterwards. I can rectify it out with other products, but it's worth mentioning.

Omega Water Cream: Finally, a new moisturiser, which upon first touch, I thought would be too lightweight for my dry skin until Spring, however I find that it works well as a morning moisturiser (depending on if I'm on medication or not!). It's oil-free, which again, wouldn't usually be my go-to type of moisturiser, but it contains a combination of fatty acids, glycerin, betain and niacinamide, all of which create a beautifully lightweight, hydrating moisturiser. If my skin is still feeling a little dry, I can add a drop of oil to it. I love how fresh and glowy this leaves my skin looking and I know that I will use it every day in the warmer months (please hurry up!). In the meantime, it's perfect for morning use and I would recommend it for all skin types.

The treatment bottles may look tiny, but they contain 30ml of product, as with most serums, and a little does go a long way. It's the non-elaborate packaging that might make the bottles seem smaller than those from other brands, but it makes them very practical for small spaces, and for travelling.

Overall, I think that the concept of the brand is brilliant. I like that the products are affordable, they're perfect for skincare enthusiasts and newbies alike (the advice of the back of each bottle, regarding the quantity of product and when to use it, is brilliant), plus you will definitely find the perfect recipe for your skin. I am less keen on the haircare products, but that's purely personal preference and I have products that I already love, that do a brilliant job for me, so it was always going to be a difficult job to replace them. 

This brand has a definite place in the market and is here to stay for the long-term, in my opinion. I would love to hear your thoughts?

Available from The Inkey List, Look Fantastic, Feel Unique, Cult BeautyBoots UK/Ireland, Arnotts, Brown Thomas, and many more sites worldwide.

Thanks for reading!

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All products are bought by me, unless otherwise stated. Anything marked with a * has been kindly gifted, without obligation. I don't do sponsored posts. Opinion is always my own. Affiliate links may be used.


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