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As a beauty editor, my phone is always buzzing with friends and family asking for skin-care recommendations. There are a lot of brands out there, so you can imagine how hard of a task it is to pick favorites. I never want to recommend something too pricey, but I also want it to make sure I'm suggesting something I know will be effective. Enter The Inkey List, a U.K.-based brand that made its way to Sephora shelves worldwide back in 2019. Brand founders Mark Curry (who is also the brand's lead chemist) and Colette Laxton took the beauty industry by storm when they launched their "everything under $15" brand. There are more than 30 affordable, ingredient-centric products in its lineup, and I got to try the two newest ones — Fulvic Acid Brightening Cleanser and SymBright Moisturizer — first.
The Inkey List believes in guiding its customers to have their best possible skin, and Curry and Laxton are all about making those customers happy. "We don't expect every customer to stick around with us forever," says Curry in an exclusive interview with Allure. "If we can teach them something about a certain ingredient that they will take with them to another brand, we've done our job."
Each product is named after its main ingredient, making it easy to shop, and the brand has something for any skin type. If you're confused about what your type is, the brand offers a service called #askInkey, where customers can ask for advice prior to adding products to their cart. Talk about customer service, right? And to celebrate the newest launches, there will be a live Ask-a-Thon Event on Thursday, February 18, from 2 to 6 p.m. ET, where fans near and far can ask the founders about their skin concerns and The Inkey List's products — including the two latest launches.
Fulvic Acid Brightening Cleanser
With Fulvic Acid Brightening Cleanser, The Inkey List welcomes its third cleanser to the family. As the name indicates, this face wash's main ingredient is fulvic acid, a natural exfoliant that comes from the nordic peat plant in Finland (you can actually see the particles in the gel). "This ingredient is found in soil and works as an antioxidant and may provide anti-inflammatory benefits," says cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson.
Inside the tube, you'll also find Kakadu plum extract, which is rich in brightening vitamin C, licorice root to reduce redness, and aloe vera to calm and hydrate. All this to say, what you see is what you get with the Fulvic Acid Brightening Cleanser, says Robinson.
The directions on the packaging say that it doubles as a makeup remover so, to put it to the test, I lathered a quarter-size amount onto my full face of makeup. After working it into my skin, I could feel the nordic peat go to work, which Robinson says will exfoliate away dead skin cells. I also noticed the gel-like formula melting away all my makeup (including my stubborn waterproof mascara). The scrubbing was super gentle, and after I rinsed, my skin felt hydrated and even clean enough to skip my normal double-cleansing routine.
You're probably wondering what the hell SymBright is. Well, it's an extract that's produced during the fermentation of clary sage, a plant that's popular in the DIY space .SymBright is meant to brighten skin while optimizing its hydration levels, so if hyperpigmentation is getting you down, this is the treatment for you. The formula is also loaded with red algae, which are packed with protein and minerals that help replenish hydration.
I applied a generous amount of the moisturizer immediately after using the cleanser and focused on really working it into the post-acne dark spots on my cheeks. The cream just melted into my skin and left me with a natural glow — I just looked brighter and healthier. It was soft and super easy to rub in. My skin appeared dewy, felt supple, and my dark spots definitely seemed less noticeable after using it just once.
If you are looking for brighter, softer skin, look no further than this duo. Both products can be used during daytime or nighttime routines and work to give dull skin a "lit from within" glow. The Fulvic Acid Brightening Cleanser and the SymBright Moisturizer are $11 each and will be available February 23 on sephora.com and theinkeylist.com.
Until these two gems drop, check out some more of our favorites from The Inkey List:
The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm
The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Serum
The Inkey List Rosehip Nourishing Night Oil
The Inkey List Vitamin C Brightening Cream
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