This post will be reviewing The Inkey List Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA).
A few weeks ago, I wrote about my first impressions of The Inkey List brand which is currently giving The Ordinary a run of its money. I was curious about this brand that was slowly gaining popularity so I went to check out their website. As a UI/UX junkie, I was incredibly impressed with their user-friendly/customer-centric website that I messaged one of the co-founders on LinkedIn to compliment her and her team on a job well done.
When I bought my first batch of products, I couldn’t use them immediately because I was using a lot of products already. I typically like to start a new brand on a fresh slate so that I can give my unbiased review and monitor how the products work on my skin.
First Impressions Of The Inkey List Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA)
Before I go on to talk more about this product, I will like to explain what BHA is and what exactly it does for the skin.
In simple terms, Beta Hydroxy Acid or BHA for short is a chemical exfoliant that works under the surface of the skin to unclog the pores that cause acne. This includes pimples, blackheads, whiteheads and the whole nine years. The clogged pores are usually caused by dead skin cells that are trapped in your skin. The most popular type of BHA is Salicylic Acid. As you might have guessed, the most important function of Salicylic Acid is to find its way beneath your skin and unclog those pores causing acne.
So, anytime you see a product with Beta Hydroxy Acid or Salicylic Acid (SA for short), just have it at the back of your mind that the product is a chemical exfoliant.
Instead of taking the regular route of making exaggerated product promises, The Inkey List just explains what this product does in simple terms:
Fight breakouts and blackheads.
They then go on to explain what exactly the product does in details like I explained earlier. In this regard, I’ll definitely give them an A for effort and transparency.
Size & Packaging
Like I mentioned earlier, this product is a chemical exfoliant. In the past, I have used two similar products to this; The Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant as well as the Cosrx Blackhead Power Liquid. Even though it is expensive, the Paula’s Choice BHA has become my go-to BHA. This is actually one of the reasons why I decided to try The Inkey List’s BHA. I thought it would be a cheaper alternative for me.
The Inkey List Beta Hydroxy Acid serum comes in a 30ml bottle which I thought was really tiny at first. But after a couple of uses, I realized that a little actually goes a long way. But the problem with this packaging is that you never actually use a little. It’s so bad that you either use too little or too much. There is no in-between. Most times, I end up using too much because of the way the bottle is. This is honestly a huge turn off for me. I really hope they look into fixing their packaging as I have also seen similar complaints.
It retails for £9.99. I don’t really have a problem with the price given how scarce BHAs suddenly are. The most popular BHAs in the market are cleansers.
This product is formulated with 2% Salicylic Acid which is pretty much industry standard. To make it even more hydrating, they added 1% Hyaluronic Acid. In theory, this wasn’t so bad. This way, people like me with dry skin will find the formulation hydrating enough to use. Practically, my skin hated the addition of Hyaluronic Acid and sent me back to my Paula’s Choice BHA ASAP!
Taking a leaf out of The Ordinary’s book, this product is completely fragrance-free.
Review of The Inkey List Beta Hydroxy Acid
We are directed to;
Use in the AM or PM as preferred. Gently pat 1-2 drops into the face and neck after cleansing and Hyaluronic Acid if using. It can also be used as a more targeted treatment for blemish-prone areas. Follow with preferred serums and moisturizer.
What I do
I never use chemical exfoliants during the day. So I use it in one of my PM routines. I use it after cleansing with Micellar Water and don’t layer it with any other actives. Sometimes when I wake up with a huge pimple, I use it as a spot treatment with the hopes that it would go away even faster.
How It Worked
The first time I tried it, I used it as a spot treatment and my pimples took forever to disappear. So, I found myself using it multiple times in between my routines. Eventually I had to use it all over my face hoping to wake up the next day with less pimples.
Unfortunately, I didn’t. My skin just didn’t agree with this formulation. It didn’t really see any improvement after using it for about two weeks. Instead, I feel like I broke out even more. I’ll probably be repurposing it for my body henceforth.
In their defence, I feel like they had good intentions for this product. They wanted something hydrating yet effective. But unfortunately, my skin didn’t like it. So I definitely wouldn’t be repurchasing.
If you feel like all the other BHAs in the market are not hydrating enough, you can try The Inkey List’s BHA. Who knows? Your skin might actually like it.
Where To Buy
Alternative Salicylic Acid Products
If you’re not concvinced about The Inkey List Beta Hydroxy Acid, here are alternatives:
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