Innisfree is a South Korean cosmetics brand owned by Amore Pacific, Korea’s largest beauty company. The name “Innisfree” was inspired by a lyrical poem, ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’, by William Butler Yeats. The poem expresses a longing to leave behind urban life for a beautiful peaceful island, where you can enjoy the fruits of nature’s abundance. And that’s also the concept behind Innisfree skin care products.
The brand’s marketing promotes the use of natural ingredients responsibly sourced from Korea’s pristine Jeju Island. The theory is that this clean, pollution-free environment is a special source for botanical ingredients. In addition, Jeju Island has a unique ecosystem and resources to nurture skin due to its volcanic origins. According to Innisfree, their proprietary extraction methods preserve the purity and potency of these wholesome ingredients from plant to bottle, offering advanced formulas that safely address all skin concerns without the use of harmful chemicals and preservatives (even though their products do contain preservatives). In this Innisfree review, we’ll discuss the key products, key formulation, Innisfree reviews from real customers, and an alternative for you to consider.
Innisfree offers an extensive range of skin care products with categories such as cleansers, toners, masks, moisturizers, serums, essences, eye care, UV protection, targeted treatments, and lip care. Below we’ll discuss three of the most popular Innisfree skin care products, which are the Hydrating Cleansing Oil, My Real Squeeze Mask, and Cica Balm.
Innisfree Hydrating Cleansing Oil is a lightweight oil cleanser that is said to hydrate while dissolving makeup, sunscreen, and impurities. This product can be used alone or as the first step of your double cleansing routine.
Innisfree My Real Squeeze Mask is a biodegradable sheet mask made from 100% eucalyptus fibers. My Real Squeeze Masks come in 3 levels of hydration: water base (light and fresh), essence base (deeply hydrating), and cream base (intensely nourishing).
Innisfree Cica Balm is a gel balm that is said to help improve the skin’s protective barrier, tone, and texture. This product is recommended for those with troubled skin, such as acne or redness.
Innisfree has a list of “Jeju ingredients” which are used throughout their line of skin care products. Jeju ingredients include green tea, volcanic cluster, tangerine, orchid, bija tree, cherry blossom, green barley, soybean, aloe, and lava seawater. As you can see, some of these ingredients are unique to Jeju island, while others are common ingredients used in skin care products. Below we’ll discuss the formulation details behind each of the Innisfree key products.
The key ingredients found in Innisfree Hydrating Cleansing Oil include isopropyl palmitate, C12-15 alkyl benzoate, and pentaerythrityl tetraisostearate. Isopropyl palmitate is a texture enhancer and emollient that may be synthetic or derived from plant and animal sources. It can potentially be problematic for those with oily skin, especially since there is a high concentration used in this product. C12-15 alkyl benzoate is a synthetic ingredient that is used as an emollient and texture enhancing agent. Pentaerythrityl tetraisostearate is a liquid emollient derived from isostearic acid that gives a rich, cushiony skin-feel. There is a small amount of green tea leaf water and root extract used in Innisfree Hydrating Cleansing Oil. However, there is more fragrance used in this formula than green tea leaf extract, which can be problematic for the skin.
Innisfree My Real Squeeze Mask comes in a number of different varieties, such as aloe, green tea, bamboo, rice, lime, rose, manuka honey, fig, broccoli, pomegranate, shea butter, acai berry, cucumber, oatmeal, ginseng, coconut, tomato, and tea tree. The main formulation for most of the masks consists of water, glycerin, and either dipropylene glycol or butylene glycol. Of note, some of the masks consist of a high concentration of alcohol, which may cause dryness, irritation, and even damage to the skin barrier. Be sure to check the ingredient list before purchasing a mask to ensure that alcohol is not listed within the first 6 ingredients.
Similar to the Hydrating Cleansing Oil, Innisfree Cica Balm contains a very small amount of the “key” ingredients Centella asiatica (cica) extract and Bija fruit essence. In fact, these ingredients are close to the very end of the ingredient list. The majority of this formulation consists of water, propanediol, glycerin, two types of silicones, and squalane. Squalane is actually very beneficial to the skin because your skin has its own version called squalene (note the e). It is produced by the oil glands in the skin, and plays an important role in skin lubrication and protection. However, the amount made and retained in the skin decreases over time. Topical application of squalane helps to replenish the skin’s lipid barrier, thereby keeping skin hydrated and healthy.
Innisfree reviews on the brand’s website are overall positive, with most products receiving 4 or 5 star reviews. Many reviewers seem to be happy with the products, and the relatively low cost of these items seems to play a role in the positive feedback. One Innisfree review for the Hydrating Cleansing Oil says, “Really love it. It helps to clean away my waterproof makeup easily without dehydrating my skin.” Negative Innisfree reviews point out that most of the Innisfree skin care products contain fragrance, which can be problematic for many skin types.
What are some alternatives to Innisfree?
One problem with Innisfree skin care products is that the brand claims that ingredients like green tea leaf extract and Centella asiatica extract are used as key ingredients. However, if you look at the product’s ingredient list, these “key” ingredients are found in very low concentrations. That’s why we recommend using a line of skin care products that includes potent concentrations of high quality ingredients in their products. One brand that does exactly that is Formulyst.
If you want to gain the skin benefits of green tea plus a blend of other potent botanical extracts, we recommend Formulyst’s Anti-Aging Concentrate. Unlike Innisfree products, the Anti-Aging Concentrate contains high concentrations of green tea leaf extract, shea butter, squalane, peptides, vitamins C and E, and more. Together, these ingredients help to promote silky smooth skin, a brighter complexion, and fewer signs of aging.