THE INKEY LIST Retinol – New beginnings

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The first review of the year feels a little like the first snow. Everything looks different, feels different, and you are suddenly very conscious about the footprints you are going to leave.




Well, after the first hours of winter wonderland everything will turn into the same soggy mess it was before, slightly grey, really wet and clammy. At least this is true for German first snow, so I guess it will be true for this German Beauty Blog as well.

Same reviews, same ramblings, same blog, basically.

Now that we dusted off the first layer of new excitement, let´s focus on the review at hand. THE INKEY LIST Retinol Serum.



What THE INKEY LIST claims

A derivative of vitamin A, retinol helps to promote skin renewal and enhance collagen production to keep skin looking youthful, working at a cellular level to promote renewal and repair processes so that newer cells reach the surface quicker. As we age, the rate at which our skin renews itself slows down (sob) so retinol can be a great way of kick-starting cells back into action. Providing the highest quality ingredients formulated by a crack team of scientists and experts, THE INKEY LIST’s answer to retinol is sublime in its simplicity, uniting 1% stable retinol and 0.5% granactive retinoid (slightly stronger than retinol) with squalane for hydration and soothing. The slow-release formula minimises irritation while providing effective active delivery, working hard to minimise fine lines and wrinkles, even out skin tone tackle blemishes and improve skin clarity, leaving your complexion looking brighter, smoother and miles more youthful.





Prize and size

One squeezy tube contains 30 ml and retails for 9,99 GBP here. It is easy to control the amount of product you get and the tube doesn´t leak.


Texture and smell

Yellow tinted and without a noticeable scent.


Application and effects

It spreads easily and doesn´t leave a tacky feeling. I use my retinols at night, so I can´t comment on how it works under makeup, but I had no issues pairing it with other skincare products.

In terms of strength it isn´t the most gentle formula I have used (pixi Retinol Tonic and Sunday Riley Luna are gentler), but I didn´t experience any irritation either.



Favorable ingredients
  • Glycerin: Humectant
  • Butylene Glycol:Humectant, penetration enhancer
  • Propanediol:Humectant, penetration enhancer
  • Dicaprylyl Carbonate: Emollient
  • Dimethicone: Emollient. antiinflammatory
  • Caprylyl Glycol:Emollient
  • Phospholipids: Part of cellular membrane, repairs skins barrier
  • Caprylic/ Capric Triglyceride:Occlusive
  • Squalane:Occlusive, non-oily oil, natural in skin
  • Soybean (Glycine Soja) Extract:Rich in antioxidants
  • Sodium Ascorbate: Vitamin C salt, water solubile
  • Vitamin E (Tocopherol): Antioxidant, reduces hyperpigmentation and improves skins elasticity
  • Tocopheryl Acetate: More stable form of Vitamin E, antioxidant
  • Glycolipids: Emollient
  • Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate: Ester of retinoic acid (not to be confused with ester from retinol!), binds to the same receptors like retinoic acid. Claims to be less irritating, no independent studies on that yet.
  • Retinol: deactivates the matrix metalloproteinases that break down collagen, increases cell turnover, and improves skin’s moisture retention
  • Hyaluronic Acid: Humectant
  • Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1/-7/-38: Matrixyl complex, increases synthesis of collagen, elastin and glycosaminoglycans (no independent studies)
Other ingredients
  • Hydroxyethylacrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer: Thickener
  • Dimethyl Isosorbide: Solvent, enhances ingredient penetration
  • Carbomer: Thickener
  • Polysorbate 60 : Thickener
  • Sodium Hydroxide:pH adjuster, can be irritating
  • Disodium EDTA: Binding Agent
  • Leucostonoc ferment filtrate: Preservative (natural alternative to parabens)
  • PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil: Emulsifying, should not be used on broken skin
  • Polysorbate 20: Surfactant
  • Phenoxyethanol: Preservative

Retinol, granactive retinoid, Vitamin C and Vitamin E as well as peptides of the Matryxyl Complex – a fine blend of ingredients to fight premature aging indeed. A few anti-inflammatory ingredients and humectants as well, but the focus is definitely on the actives here.


Does it live up to its claims?


I am inclined to say yes, as the claims are all very reasonable, but there is this one exception: “and 0.5% granactive retinoid (slightly stronger than retinol)”. Granactive retinoid might be the new buzz ingredient, but there are no independent studies comparing it to retinol in terms of efficacy and irritation, so the “slightly stronger than…” is more of a guess than proven.


Would I repurchase?


It is a nice retinol, strong enough to satisfy my skin in between prescription retinoling, yet gentle enough to not cause me any irritation.


Who do I recommend it to?

People that already started with a gentle retinol and want to take things up a notch without going the prescription route. It is a medium strength retinol in my personal experience.


The Inkey List Retinol Serum Review
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