9 Favorite Skincare Products From The Inkey List

The Inkey List — for those who may not know and consequently have been seriously missing out —  is a U.K.-based brand that made its way to Sephora shelves worldwide back in 2019. Brand co-founder and chemist Mark Curry along with co-founder Colette Laxton were devoted to creating a brand that introduces effective ingredients into your skincare routine without asking you to spend more than $15. In other words, you get to save some money while you watch your skin thrive.

Not only is the brand very reasonably priced, but it’s also very easy for a consumer to navigate and shop. Each product in The Inkey List is named after its main ingredient. For example, if you want to try a hydrating hyaluronic acid, it makes a serum that’s simply called Hyaluronic Acid. The same goes for exfoliating glycolic acid; the brand offers a Glycolic Acid Toner. You get the gist. And if you’re confused about which ingredients you need for your skin type, concerns, and goals, it has you covered with plenty of helpful information. 

With more than 30 affordable, ingredient-centric products in The Inkey List’s lineup, it’s hard to know what you may want to start with. While I enjoy a lot of the products, I’ve narrowed it down to nine of my favorite products.

Oat Cleansing Balm

The Inkey List’s Oat Cleansing Balm is formulated with oat kernel oil to keep skin moisturized and colloidal oatmeal to reduce redness. This surprisingly luxurious face wash will strip all the makeup and dirt off your skin but will never strip your skin of moisture. And that’s why it won a 2020 Best of Beauty Award.

Shop $10

Hyaluronic Acid

For just $8, the Hyaluronic Acid is a great pick if your skin needs a burst of hydration. Just a dime-size amount of this lightweight serum and your dry, dehydrated skin will be thanking you for quenching its thirst.

Shop $8

Caffeine Eye Cream

The Caffeine Eye Cream does for your eyes what a cup of coffee does for the rest of you: make you look more awake. The formula is made up of caffeine that reduces puffiness and Matrixyl 3000, a peptide that cosmetic chemist Ginger King says will help to boost collagen to firm up the skin and minimize fine lines. When the two are combined, you’ll be looking like you had a full night’s rest (even if you didn’t).

Shop $10

Salicylic Acid Cleanser

The Salicylic Acid Cleanser gets a gold star for helping acne-prone skin get — and stay — clearer. This formula features 2 percent beta hydroxy acid to exfoliate skin and unclog pores, and its zinc compound helps reduce inflammation.  

Shop $10

Glycolic Acid Toner

The Glycolic Acid Toner features 10 percent of its star alpha hydroxy acid, glycolic acid, to minimize the look of pores and fine lines. It also has witch hazel to help control excess oil. After just one use, you’ll notice smoother, brighter skin. 

Shop $11

Kaolin Clay Mask

The Kaolin Clay Mask is ideal for getting all that gunk out of your pores. The mixture includes kaolin and smectite clays, which work together to remove gunk from pores and absorb excess oil. All in all, this mask will leave skin looking even and feeling clean.  

Shop $7

Rosehip Oil 

After winning a Best of Beauty Award in 2019, the Rosehip Oil is still an all-time favorite. It’s made of 100 percent pure rosehip oil, which promotes softer and smoother skin. Apply a couple of drops as the last step in your skin-care routine before you go to sleep, and you’ll wake up with glowy, moisturized skin every time.

Shop $11

Tranexamic Acid Night Treatment

According to Miami board-certified dermatologist Roberta Del Campo, tranexamic acid is an increasingly popular ingredient for treating discoloration. “It’s known to help not only lighten [hyperpigmentation] but decrease recurrence,” she says, and that’s exactly what the Tranexamic Acid Night Treatment does. After your pimple heals and becomes a dark spot, just apply a pea-size drop of this magic potion every night, and you’ll surely notice a difference in your skin after about a month’s use.

Shop $15

Vitamin C  

Get your glow on with the Vitamin C cream. The formula is 30 percent L-ascorbic acid, a form of vitamin C that brightens dull skin. Another perk: Use this moisturizer before your morning makeup routine and you can say hello to a smoother canvas for your foundation. 

Shop $10

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Why The Internet Can’t Stop Raving About Tranexmic Acid

The brightening skincare ingredient can tackle hyperpigmentation.

As far as brightening skincare ingredients go, vitamin C is an A-list star. However, there are other effective ingredients that can treat post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from acne, sun damage, or melasma that deserve some time in the spotlight, too. 

Tranexamic acid is one such ingredient having a moment, with more and more skincare influencers and beauty brands shining light on its benefits and including it in product formulas. While tranexamic acid can be effective on its own, it works even better as an ensemble with other dark spot-fighting ingredients such as vitamin C, kojic acid, niacinamide, and more.

What Is Tranexamic Acid? 

“Tranexamic acid is a synthetic form of lysine, which is an amino acid needed to make proteins,” says Dr. Shari Marchbein, board-certified dermatologist in NYC. “It works by decreasing the production of melanin and we know that the oral form is much more effective at treating melasma than topical form. That being said, serums and other products that contain this ingredient have a lot of potential to help improve hyperpigmentation.” 

The ingredient originally was used as a hemostatic agent to help blood clots, but recently has been utilized as a brightening ingredient to help minimize hyperpigmentation as well as melasma.

What Are the Benefits of Using Tranexamic Acid? 

One of the major benefits of tranexamic acid is that it plays nice with other brightening ingredients, so you can really zero in on hyperpigmentation. 

“There are many treatments for dark spots and these often work well together including licorice, niacinamide, kojic acid, tranexemic acid, retinoids, chemical exfoliants [such as glycolic acid, an alpha-hydroxy acid], and more,” Dr. Marchbein says. The dermatologist often recommends serums with tranexamic acid and other brightening agents be used in the same routine for the ingredients to work synergistically to improve post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and melasma. 

Tranexamic acid is also a safer, effective alternative to hydroquinone, a potentially irritating bleaching ingredient. “There aren’t many options when it comes to safe, effective skin lightening bioactives,” says Krupa Koestline, clean cosmetic chemist and founder of KKT Consultants. “Hydroquinone is banned in the EU and restricted in many countries due to its safety concerns. Tranexamic acid has shown promising evidence as a plasmin inhibitor and therefore an effective treatment for UV induced discoloration, dark spots, and redness.”  

What Are the Side Effects of Tranexamic Acid? 

All skin types can use tranexamic acid, but like adding any other new ingredient to your skincare routine, it’s best to do a patch test to ensure you won’t experience irritation. 

It’s also important to wear SPF when using tranexamic acid, along with other brightening ingredients, because the sun can make hyperpigmentation darker. 

“Remember that before you spend your money on antioxidant serums, brightening ingredients, and retinoids to improve the tone of your skin and hyperpigmentation, the most important and first step is diligent daily sun protection,” Dr. Marchbein says. “It is key to reduce the appearance of brown spots (otherwise you are literally throwing your money away).” The dermatologist recommends a broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher should be applied to the face, neck, and ears every day — even in the winter.

How Do You Add Tranexamic Acid to Your Skincare Routine? 

Dr. Marchbein says to use tranexamic acid once or twice a day. “I also layer tranexamic acid containing serums over Vitamin C serums and under SPF in the morning and under retinoids at nighttime, so this can safely and effectively be combined with multiple other actives.”

The active can be found in serums, moisturizers, and toners, so it’s entirely up to you what step of your routine in which you want to incorporate it. 

That being said, Koestline says serums are a popular way to go. “Most people do like using actives in their serum layer since you’re applying it before other products.”

Shop Tranexamic Acid Skincare Products:

SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense

Dr. Marchbein is a fan of this serum by SkinCeuticals, which she often recommends to patients treating post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and melasma. It’s infused with tranexamic acid, along with kojic acid and niacinamide, another two tried-and-true brightening ingredients. 

To shop: $98; skinceuticals.com

Peter Thomas Roth PRO Strength Niacinamide Discoloration Treatment

In addition to niacinamide, the all-star cast of Peter Thomas Roth’s discoloration treatment includes tranexmic and kojic acids, alpha arbutin, and pentapeptide. The lightweight cream can be applied twice a day on clean skin and is best followed by a moisturizer. 

To shop: $88; sephora.com

Joanna Vargas Bright Eye Hydrating Mask

Puffiness? Dark circles? Dryness? Crow’s feet? This eye mask by celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas checks all the boxes. It’s powered by brightening tranexamic acid, collagen-boosting matrixyl, soothing allantoin, and hydrating licorice root extract. 

To shop: $60/5; dermstore.com

La Roche-Posay Glycolic B5 Serum

In this dark spot-fading serum by La Roche-Posay, tranexamic acid is paired with exfoliating glycolic acid to even out skin tone. Use it alone or add a few drops to your favorite moisturizer.

To shop: $40; amazon.com

The Inkey List Tranexamic Acid Night Treatment

If post-breakout dark spots, hyperpigmentation, or dullness are your main skincare concerns, try swapping your usual moisturizer for this overnight treatment. Powered by tranexamic acid, vitamin C, and acai berry extract, it targets areas of discoloration and boosts overall radiance. 

To shop: $15; theinkeylist.com

SkinMedica 2.0 Lytera Pigment Correcting Serum 

Dr. Marchbein says SkinMedica’s Lytera 2.0 serum is another great option for treating discoloration. It combines tranexamic acid with niacinamide, phytic acid, phenylethyl resorcinol, and a marine extract blend to improve the appearance of hyperpigmentation without drying out skin.

To shop: $154; dermstore.com

INSTYLE article

The Best Eye Creams That Work Wonders For Dark Circles

Packed with eye-opening ingredients like caffeine and hyaluronic acid, these top-rated picks help you fake a full night’s rest.

The use of eye cream is a heated debate: half believe slathering the undereye area with decadent creams can help minimize the appearance of dark circles over time, while the other half seems to think they’re moisturizers in tiny tubs and offer nothing more than a placebo effect. There is one thing we can agree on: no one wants to look like they got roughly four hours of sleep.

Ahead, you’ll find the most luxurious and effective ones — packed with eye-opening ingredients like blood vessel-constricting caffeine and skin-plumping hyaluronic acid — to help fake a full night’s rest, no matter how many hours of Zzz’s you have or have not managed to squeeze in.

Peter Thomas Roth Vital-E Microbiome Moisture Defense Eye Cream

The integrity of the skin barrier is so important to the look and feel of your skin, especially in the very delicate undereye area. The 2020 Best of Beauty-winning Peter Thomas Ross Vital-E Microbiome Moisture Defense Eye Cream relies on prebiotic and probiotic ingredients, as well as powerful antioxidants to protect skin and ultimately reduce the look of lines and puffiness.

$55 (Shop Now)

Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Crème

The hint of yellow tint in 2020 Readers’ Choice and Best of Beauty Award winner Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Crème — which doesn’t actually contain banana, by the way — instantly brightens and color-corrects dark circles. Vitamin C and collagen support skin’s clarity and elasticity. 

$39 (Shop Now)

L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Hydra-Nutrition Manuka Honey Eye Gel

Equipped with a cooling rollerball applicator, L’Oréal Paris’ Age Perfect Hydra-Nutrition Manuka Honey Eye Gel won a 2020 Best of Beauty Award for its depuffing and dark-circles-reducing abilities. The soothing combination of manuka honey, caffeine, and hyaluronic acid is especially perfect for dry, mature skin. Gently pat in any excess product with your fingers.

$20 (Shop Now)

RoC Retinol Correxion Eye Cream

Retinol near your eyes sounds scary, but with this gentle cream you’ve got nothing to fear. RoC Retinol Correxion Eye Cream, an ophthalmologist-tested 2020 Best of Beauty Award winner, slowly releases the vitamin A derivative to fight fine lines around your eyes. And because it also contains hyaluronic acid, it does all this with lots of hydration.

$20 (Shop Now)

Dr. Loretta Tightening Eye Gel

Dr. Loretta’s peptide-packed Tightening Eye Gel nabbed a 2019 Allure Best of Beauty Award for best de-puffing eye cream for the ability to improve the area’s contour. But there’s a bonus: The proprietary Chromabright complex fades uneven pigment, making this a great pick for dark circles too.

$60 (Shop Now)

Kiehl’s Youth Dose Eye Treatment

Wake up tired eyes with Kiehl’s Youth Dose Eye Treatment, made with pro-retinol (a proprietary retinol derivative), vitamin C, and grapeseed extract. The trio works in tandem over time to brighten and minimize the appearance of lines and dark circles.

$40 (Shop Now)

Tatcha The Pearl Tinted Eye Illuminating Treatment

Like a tinted moisturizer for your undereyes, Tatcha’s almost-too-pretty-to-use The Pearl Tinted Eye Illuminating Treatment is available in three versatile shades to instantly mask discoloration and improve the appearance of skin.

$48 (Shop Now)

Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment With Avocado

This little white jar with its signature green text by Kiehl’s is a mainstay on top shelves around the world. Avocado oil in Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado is one of the most potent natural moisturizers and works to nourish and hydrate the eyes.

$50 (Shop Now)

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Eye Gel-Cream

Drugstore fave Neutrogena Hydro Boost Eye Gel-Cream is packed with potent hyaluronic acid, which as you may know, helps lock hydration into the skin. It’s one of those good-for-everyone picks: light enough for oily skin, hydrating for anyone, and the gel texture makes it cool to the touch.

$15 (Shop Now)

Saturday Skin Wide Awake Brightening Eye Cream

Hydrate the delicate undereye area with a formula that’s infused with hyaluronic acid, peptides, and avocado protein extract. Plus, brightening ingredients like date seed extract mean less concealer over time.

$46 (Shop Now)

Olay Eyes Brightening Eye Cream

Olay Eyes Brightening Eye Cream is formulated with vitamins and a light-reflecting complex to revive tired-looking skin — and the ghosts of sleepless nights.

$33 (Shop Now)

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Supercharged Complex

Not getting enough of those all-important z’s? Keep ’em guessing with Estée Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair Eye Supercharged Complex, a luxurious gel-cream that combats the side effects of sleep deprivation, UV damage, and pollution buildup.

$64 (Shop Now)

Dior Capture Youth Age-Delay Advanced Eye Treatment

Call it bright eyes in a bottle: Dior’s Youth Age-Delay Advanced Eye Treatment features a fast-absorbing gel to address concerns including sagging skin, dark circles, and puffiness.

$75 (Shop Now)

Belif Moisturizing Eye Bomb

Like a tall glass of water for your undereye area, Belif’s Moisturizing Eye Bomb kicks hydration into overdrive. The line-smoothing cream promises long-lasting moisture and a visibly radiant finish.

$48 (Shop Now)

La Roche-Posay Pigmentclar Eyes

La Roche-Posay Pigmentclar Eyes was born of studies about dark undereye circles. As it turns out, the blue ones are due to a lack of microcirculation, which can result from fatigue and are worse in the morning because we sleep horizontally; brown circles can result from sun exposure, genetics, and even excessive rubbing of the eyes. If you didn’t even know undereye circles came in two types, there’s good news: This innovative LRP product was created to target both.

$43 (Shop Now)

ALLURE article

The 16 Best Undereye Masks and Patches for Dark Circles and Puffiness

As Instagrammable as sheet masks are, they simply aren’t intended for the unique issues associated with the skin around eyes. Sure, a well-fitted face mask might deposit a few beneficial ingredients near your eyes, but sometimes you just want to target the periorbital area — without the mess of a drippy sheet mask. So it’s no wonder that there has been a veritable eye-mask boom, leading to a much-welcomed deluge of sticky, comma-shaped patches made specifically formulated to target the dark circles, early-morning puffiness, and texture changes that happen to this especially delicate section of skin.

Whether you want an overnight option for fine lines, a quick cooling fix, or a once-a-week way to hydrate and brighten, here are the 16 best eye masks on the market for those moments when you’re looking for a little more intensity than what a daily eye cream can provide.

Wander Beauty Baggage Claim Gold Eye Masks

The gold foil of Wander Beauty’s Baggage Claim Gold Eye Masks isn’t just for Instagram (though they do make for a great skin-care selfie). The precious metal actually helps retain heat so the hydrating serum doesn’t evaporate, allowing hyaluronic acid to absorb more effectively.

$25 for six patches (Shop Now)

Joanna Vargas Bright Eye Hydrating Mask

If you can’t get an appointment with aesthetician Joanna Vargas herself, these once-a-week sheets are the next best thing thanks to three kinds of peptides that promise to tone the under-eye area.

$60 for five patches (Shop Now)

Circcell Insight Collagen Eye Treatment

Talk about futuristic. The mechanics behind Circcell’s Insight Collagen Eye Treatment require you to press a fluid chamber to release an activator formula onto each patch. It’s the best way to get the most out the highly concentrated freeze-dried collagen within.

$90 for four patches (Shop Now)

Yes To Coconut Energizing Coffee Super Eye Mask

Yes To Coconut’s Energizing Coffee Super Eye Mask is made of 100 percent cotton and contains coconut extract to hydrate the delicate under-eye area, as well as coffee (hence the name) to boost circulate and reduce puffiness. Throw it on for ten minutes and you’ll see a noticeable difference once you take it off.

$4 (Shop Now)

Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Pure Retinol Express Smoothing Eye Mask

If you’re not yet using retinol in the eye area, Shiseido’s Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Pure Retinol Express Smoothing Eye Mask is a great place to start. The stretchy material keeps them perfectly in place for 15-minute line-reducing sessions.

$70 for 12 patches (Shop Now)

Belif First Aid 360 Eye Care Mask

Not all eye masks are patches. Belif’s First Aid 360 Eye Care Mask is a cream-gel formula made to be left on overnight so it can fight the look of fatigue long before you’re even awake.

$36 (Shop Now)

Wrinkles Schminkles Eye Smoothing Kit

Wrinkles Schminkles’ Eye Smoothing Kit comes with patches that are 100-percent, medical-grade silicone, allowing you to reuse them up to a whopping 30 times.

$30 for three patches (Shop Now)

Verso Reviving Eye Mask with Retinol

Verso’s Reviving Eye Mask with Retinol contains a hydrogel formulation in its patches that allows the gentle retinol within to penetrate for optimum impact, leaving under-eye skin moisturized and de-puffed.

$48 (Shop Now)

Rodial Dragon’s Blood Eye Mask

Rodial’s Dragons Blood Eye Mask combines a botanical extract known as dragon’s blood with the effectiveness of a bio-cellulose format to cool under-eyes into a less puffy state.

$39 for eight patches (Shop Now)

Sisley Paris Eye Contour Mask

Sisley Paris’s Eye Contour Mask might look like a simple tube of gel, but the formula promises to act like a patch once applied, reducing swelling and the look of lines — even after it’s removed.

$149 (Shop Now)

Patchology FlashPatch Restoring Night Eye Gels

Patchology’s FlashPatch Restoring Night Eye Gels take advantage of the body’s natural nighttime repairing abilities by sitting firmly under the eyes while you sleep, depositing an all-star cast of smoothing and brightening ingredients, like retinol and cucumber extract.

$60 for 30 patches (Shop Now)

Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels

As if de-puffing peptides didn’t make these impressive enough, the water embedded in these Skyn Iceland’s Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels is actually Icelandic glacial water. The result is a super-cooling effect to diminish the appearance of swelling.

$32 for eight patches (Shop Now)

Tatcha Luminous Deep Hydration Revitalizing Eye Mask

Originally created to help heal burns, Tatcha’s Luminous Deep Hydration Revitalizing Eye Mask are made with sheets that seal revitalizing, antioxidant-rich botanicals into the skin for intensive hydration.

$95 for ten masks (Shop Now)

HydroPeptide PolyPeptide Collagel

The caviar extract in HydroPeptide’s PolyPeptide Collagel works with collagen and hyaluronic acid to smooth out the look of crepe-y skin under the eyes.

$48 for eight patches (Shop Now)

111Skin Celestial Black Diamond Eye Mask

Beloved by celebrities like Victoria Beckham, 111Skin’s Celestial Black Diamond Eye Mask minimizes the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and crepiness with skin-plumping hyaluronic acid, retinol, and peptides. After just one use, the eye area looks visibly brighter, smoother, and healthier.

$115 for eight patches (Shop Now)

Erno Laszlo Multi-Task Eye Serum Mask

Erno Laszlo’s Multi-Task Eye Serum Mask targets all your concerns: dark circles, puffiness, fine lines and wrinkles, and crepiness. It does so with a powerful blend of algae extracts, vitamin B3, and soothing allantoin.

$38 for six patches (Shop Now)

ALLURE article

The $28 At-Home Facial Tool That Will Cool and Depuff Your Skin in Seconds

After gliding the cool-to-the-touch stainless steel surface up the neck and over the cheeks – you can soon feel and look refreshed. It’s nothing short of a godsend.

If you’re experiencing puffiness, be the cause too much salt or a poor night of sleep, within seconds, the eyes are less swollen, cheekbones more defined; and complexion appears calmer. Vogue’s senior fashion writer Liana Satenstein agrees: “It tightens, lifts, and reverts my skin to how it looked when I first came out of the womb,” she says in a text accompanying a (very sculpted) selfie.

Its utilitarian—dare I say ‘uncool’—design oddly makes it all the more appealing in a market flooded with three-figure sleek shapes and unnecessarily complicated gadgets; and it miraculously manages to maintain its freeze.

StackedSkincare Ice Roller

Buy on Amazon
Buy on their website
Buy at Sephora

VOGUE article