The INKEY List Vitamin C Serum – Review

The INKEY List, one of the few brands that offer exciting ingredients in simple formulas and at bargain prices. Do those products work? I would say they are hit and miss; you never know until you try.

This product features 30% of ascorbic acid in a water-less formulation, basically dimethicone and silicone. It’s sort of a primer you could say. Ascorbic acid can be quite irritating, especially in high concentrations and for first-time users, so be careful. Also, I’ve read reviews saying that people experienced not only irritation but also dryness with this product. I’ve found the product sensitising at times, but not drying. Perhaps because I used it with a lot of hydrating moisturisers and serums to make this gritty paste somehow spreadable; it should’ve been named an ointment, not a serum.

Experience-wise, the product is pretty mediocre. I had expected better results from a product with 30% of ascorbic acid, but they were comparable to products with lower percentages of the same ingredient. I’ve noticed some brightening and the skin tone evened out a bit, but nothing spectacular. I would rather use Rohto’s Melano CC Essence instead because it delivers pretty good results quickly and doesn’t irritate me at all. Another reason why I don’t like this product is that it’s hard to apply, and it rolls when you apply too much. It’s quite bothersome to use. 

Lastly, the reason why I wouldn’t necessarily fall for this or similar products with high concentrations of active ingredients and bare formulas is that the vehicle and technology used to formulate a product are paramount to the efficacy of a product. A good example is Skinoren/Finacea – gel vs cream. The gel formulation of Skinoren/Finacea with only 15% of azelaic acid (AA) delivers double the amount of the active ingredient to the skin, compared to the cream version of the product with 20% of AA.
Another example is Neutrogena’s sunscreens. The US versions of Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer® Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 45 and the Ultra Sheer® Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 55 have precisely the same percentages of active ingredients, UV filters, namely avobenzone 3%, homosalate 10%, octisalate 5%, octocrylene 2.8%, oxybenzone 6% (SPF 45 & SPF 55). Also, the ingredients lists of the bases look the same; both products include Helioplex technology. Therefore, we can deduce that it depends on how Neutrogena worked with the ingredients to achieve the specific UVB protection factors. It’s not as simple as just mixing a certain amount of active ingredients together; there’s more to it.

I think these two examples perfectly convey what I am trying to say. The affordable brands that offer products with high concentrations of active ingredients may not provide the most efficacious products. These companies can use the same ingredients as companies that will charge triple or more for a similar product. But, at the end of the day, it depends on how a product is created. It’s not enough to dump massive amounts of active ingredients into a jar and call it a day. It’s essential to make a product that actually works. That is why I prefer to use Rohto’s Melano CC Essence because the technology used to formulate the product is patented. Rohto hold a patent for the combination of vitamins C and E, which make an ascorbic acid solution stable and more powerful. I am currently using the Essence, and I am much happier with it than I was with The INKEY List’s serum.  

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t want to come across as a pretentious person that never uses affordable skincare. I do quite a lot, but I don’t use many products from the newly emerged, affordable brands. Some of the products are fine, but some of them are just OK. Honestly, there are not necessarily that affordable, because again the Rohto’s Melano CC Essence retails for about €10 online and so does this serum. I have to buy both of them online because neither is readily available in physical shops. Personally, I would instead get the Melano CC Essence

It’s a lengthy rant for a four-ingredient product, but necessary. If you want to try this serum, go ahead and do it; it’s not too bad.


Dimethicone, Ascorbic Acid, Polysilicone-11, Peg-10 Dimethicone. (

The INKEY List’s Vitamin C Serum retails for €9.59 from


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