The InKey List Beauty Products: The Science of Skincare

My skincare journey hasn’t always been the smoothest (pun intended). I remember my first encounter with a skincare snob back when I was a cost-conscious university student. One winter afternoon, I went looking for a new facial cleanser at my local mall. My amble through the mall was hijacked by a pushy sales associate as I walked past her Israel-based skincare kiosk. We started talking, and upon hearing my simple ‘soap-water-moisturizer’ routine, she paused and turned her nose upward. The narrowing of her eyes made me wonder if she’d rather give me spare change instead of a recommendation. She finally said, “Buy cheap, get cheap.” At the time, I brushed off her comment as a manipulative sales ploy to get me to spend more money, and ultimately, meet her sales quota. Fast forward to Monday, January 21st, 2019, when I realized that, on some unconscious level, I was motivated in my purchasing decisions to prove that snooty shop girl wrong. You don’t have to spend a ton of money on quality products that deliver great results.
Let me repeat that:
You don’t have to spend a ton of money on quality products that deliver great results.
I know that this isn’t some new groundbreaking discovery, but it really helps to remember it. Everyone has different skin needs and concerns. What may work for one person with oily skin may cause breakouts on a person with sensitive skin. It seems that every day there are new miracle oils and masks that promises complete facial transformation before you can say, alpha hydroxyl acid. If you can afford your favourite skincare product/s that work for you then more power to you. With that being said, a little bit of research and shopping around can be rewarding in discovering some fantastic products that deliver solid results, are easily accessible, and are priced reasonably.
Ten years and countless moisturizers, cleansers, and scrubs later, I attended the exclusive launch event for The InKey List, a skincare brand from the U.K. This new brand entered the skincare game at a time where the cosmetics industry is extremely competitive and full of new, young, independent brands clogging up social media platforms to plug their snake oil products featuring the superfood of the year. The InKey List (fun fact: InKey List is an industry term for ingredients key list) was born out of the need to see better quality skincare products for less on the market, as well as provide easier access for product and ingredient information and education. Twenty months later, the founders Mark Curry and Colette Newberry have traveled to Toronto to announce their brand’s launch in Canada.
I arrived at the Gladstone Hotel on the morning of January 21st, 2019. I was extremely relieved to be out of the dreadfully cold weather and into a brightly lit gallery space with tables of fresh pastries, teas, and charcuterie calling out to be consumed. During the breakfast reception, the founders, Mark and Colette, cordially introduced themselves to the guests. They were very friendly and thanked us for attending the event, despite the -21⁰ C weather. After a few minutes of mingling, the event began with a quick introduction of The InKey List, how it was brought to life, and what it can offer to the consumer.
Both Mark and Colette came from extensive backgrounds in the beauty industry, with Mark coming from a science specialization and Colette being the marketing professional, having previously worked in marketing, branding, and product development for Boots, Soap and Glory, and No7. Their skincare line carries a total of fifteen products, featuring skincare essentials like retinol, glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid and vitamin C in the form of serums, masks, and moisturizers, just to name but a few products. Their price range starts at $6.99 (with the Kaolin Clay Mask) and tops at $14.99 (with the Squalane Face Oil). But don’t let the price tag fool you into thinking that the ingredients must be garbage to keep the cost low. Mark explained how they usually get their high-quality ingredients and still keep the prices affordable.
“We go further up the supply chain to get the best ingredients direct from the source – the raw material suppliers,” Mark said to everyone in the room. “This enables us to get premium grade ingredients without the premium price tag.” But it isn’t all about money. With their no-frills packaging and their online skincare experts that are available 24/7, they are all about simplifying skincare and making it approachable and straightforward. Even on their Instagram, they are frequently posting informative posts about their products and responding to their followers’ many questions and concerns. Their ‘skincare recipes’ are meant to replace the tedious-sounding ‘skincare regime’ and skincare routine’ while encouraging experimentation with different products to address their unique skin needs. Actively listening and marketing to the consumer, calling the products by their key ingredients, and removing the complicated lingo are all part of The InKey List’s mission in “taking the B.S. out of beauty” (Colette’s own words).
After the discussion, both Mark and Colette gave very in-depth, instructive, and engaging individual consultations to everyone in attendance. After giving Mark barely any information about my own skin needs and routine, he recommended four products that will brighten my dull combination skin, and shrink my pores, which are larger than dinner plates. To my surprise, he recommended the Glycolic Acid Toner as it’s very effective in reducing the appearance of pores, and the Squalane Face Oil (100% olive-derived light-weight oil) to seal in moisture, minimize fine lines, and control excess oil. The event ended with everyone taking home a box of their recommended products to try on their own time.
When I left the hotel that day, I looked into my box and smiled at the fact that I got take home some fancy, cult beauty products that can be bought at Shoppers Drug Mart prices. I boarded the bus and continued on my skincare journey, equipped with more knowledge and better products.
You can buy The InKey List products online and at select Shoppers Drug Mart stores. To learn more about The InKey List, please visit their website at

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