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 skincare products.
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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 of botanical ingredients.
But as you’ll learn in our Innisfree review, the brand actually uses very low concentrations of these ingredients in their products. If that’s the case, what results can you expect with Innisfree skincare products?
We’ll answer that question below as we discuss the brand’s best-selling products, key ingredients, and the research that supports (or doesn’t support) the use of these ingredients.
We’ll also share some Innisfree reviews so that you can get an idea of what customers really think of these products.
Is Innisfree Skincare Worth The Money?
A common question about this brand is if the products are worth the cost.
In our opinion, Innisfree products deliver value for money, but take a look at other brands that don’t require you to sacrifice your precious money.
We recommend brands that are committed to developing clean yet effective products.
One brand is Carrot & Stick, a clean skincare brand that perfectly balances the gentle nurturing of plants with the powerful results of innovative science.
Carrot & Stick intro bundles deliver great value for money because you can bundle 3 full-size products worth up to
$240 for $88.
What’s Inside Innisfree Skincare?
Here’s a closer look at the active ingredients commonly used in Innisfree skincare products. Vitamin C, retinol, and peptides make up the core ingredients for the Innisfree skincare line. These ingredients should all be part of your skincare routine.
We’ve been hearing for years that Vitamin C is the best anti-aging ingredient. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that protects the skin from free radicals, the unstable molecules that contribute to the formation of premature wrinkles and fine lines on the skin.
It’s in Innisfree Brightening & Pore-Caring Serum, however, the formula contains a pretty low concentration of vitamin C.
But our favorite Vitamin C serum is Carrot & Stick The Defence Serum. It contains 3 distinct types of Vitamin C that work together to help fight free radical damage. We recommend using it every morning.
As you age, your body’s production of collagen and elastin slows down. These two proteins are responsible for your skin’s structural support. As a result, the skin loses its natural plumpness and smoothness.
While collagen is necessary for maintaining youthful-looking skin, the collagen protein is too large to absorb into the skin topically. That’s why applying skin care products that contain collagen won’t provide the anti-aging benefits you’re looking for.
This is where peptides come into action. Peptides are the building blocks of protein, and they are easily absorbed into the deeper layers of skin due to their smaller size.
Innisfree Skin Clinic Mask contains copper tripeptide-1, however, this is the lowest concentration ingredient inside this formula!
We recommend Carrot & Stick The Repair Serum. It contains 7 plant-based peptides to promote plumper and smoother-looking skin.
Retinol is the go-to anti-aging ingredient recommended by dermatologists and skin experts. While retinol provides many benefits to the skin, it’s also known to cause side effects like skin dryness and irritation.
It’s in Innisfree Retinol Cica Moisture Recovery Serum.
Use retinoids at night. We recommend this retinoid oil serum. It contains Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, an ingredient that provides similar benefits with less irritation.
The brand highlights the benefits of their ingredients derived from Jeju island, such as green tea and orchid extract. While it’s true that these are beneficial skincare ingredients, keep in mind that the brand uses very low concentrations of these ingredients in the Innisfree skincare products.
If you actually look at the ingredient list for each product, you’ll notice that the Innisfree skincare products mostly consist of humectants, emollients, and silicones. These are good ingredients that help to moisturize and soften skin, but there’s nothing special about them.
What Are The Top 10 Best Innisfree Skincare Products?
Innisfree offers an extensive range of skincare products with categories such as cleansers, toners, masks, moisturizers, serums, essences, eye care, UV protection, targeted treatments, and lip care. Here’s a breakdown of the top 10 best Innisfree skincare products.
This Innisfree sunscreen has a lightweight, watery texture that creates a very dewy finish when first applied, but it blends in and absorbs quickly, leaving your skin looking and feeling smooth.
The formula provides invisible SPF 36 protection with a combination of three chemical sunscreen ingredients (avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate).
While chemical sunscreen ingredients won’t leave a white cast, we don’t recommend these types of sunscreens due to research that has shown they absorb through the skin and into the bloodstream. It’s still unclear if these chemicals are linked to health conditions, but it’s known that they do enter the body. In our opinion, mineral sunscreens are a safer choice.
The rest of the formula consists of humectants, silicones, and emollients. Together, these ingredients help to moisturize and soften the skin.
Bottom Line: Innisfree Daily UV Defense Sunscreen provides lightweight hydration and SPF 36 protection with three chemical sunscreen ingredients.
This Innisfree product serves double duty as both a primer and broad-spectrum sunscreen. The combination of mineral sunscreen titanium dioxide with chemical sunscreens octisalate and octocrylene offers SPF 37 protection.
The rest of the formula consists of numerous silicones, which are multi-tasking ingredients that provide many benefits. For instance, you’ll notice that this Innisfree sunscreen has a silky texture that glides on skin effortlessly, and you can thank silicones for that.
Silicones also help to blur the look of fine lines and wrinkles, while at the same time creating a matte finish to keep shine at bay. They also help even out skin texture and allow makeup to go on smoother and last longer.
Bottom Line: A broad-spectrum sunscreen and primer in one that creates a matte finish, reduces excess oil, and smooths skin texture thanks to a combination of several different silicones.
Innisfree Dewy Glow Jelly Cream is one of the brand’s most popular products, and we can see why; this jelly cream has a bouncy texture that absorbs instantly into skin to hydrate and boosts radiance, leaving it soft and glowing.
We love that the formula contains a decent amount of niacinamide, which is one of the best skincare ingredients, in our opinion. And there’s research to back it up.
For example, a publication in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, states that niacinamide can repair the skin barrier and improve skin moisture, as well as reduce inflammation, blotchiness, hyperpigmentation, and wrinkling.
There’s also moisture-binding betaine and soothing Jeju cherry blossom extract in this formula.
The only drawback with Innisfree Dewy Glow Jelly Cream is the inclusion of a synthetic fragrance blend. Fragrance in skincare is never a good thing because it can cause skin sensitivity reactions. This is true whether the fragrance ingredients are natural or synthetic.
Bottom Line: Innisfree Dewy Glow Jelly Cream has a bouncy jelly texture that feels nice on the skin and hydrates well, but the inclusion of fragrance in this cream prevents us from recommending it.
This best-selling creamy clay mask is formulated to be used once to twice per week in order to absorb excess oil and impurities without drying or stripping skin.
The mask includes the brand’s proprietary Jeju Volcanic Clusters, which are finely ground hardened volcanic lava that help absorb excess sebum and impurities from pores.
There’s also two types of clays in this mask — kaolin and bentonite — which further assist in clearing pores. And there’s even research to back up the oil-absorbing and detoxifying effects of these clays.
According to a publication in the journal International Geology Review, “The high adsorption and absorption capacities, cation exchange capacity, as well as the extremely fine particle size of certain clays, e.g. smectites (expandable clay minerals) and kaolin group minerals are important reasons why these minerals are used to remove oils, secretions, toxins, and contaminants from the skin.”
The brand claims that lactic acid is a key ingredient, but the amount of lactic acid in this formula is too low to provide much (if any) benefits. You’re much better off using a concentrated lactic acid exfoliant, such as The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA.
Bottom Line: Innisfree Pore Clearing Clay Mask combines volcanic ash with two clays in order to absorb excess oil and impurities from pores.
This creamy cleanser transforms into a foam upon application to help whisk away excess oil, dirt, and impurities, leaving skin feeling clean and refreshed.
The formulation of this cleanser is pretty standard; it includes a combination of glycerin with several different surfactants.
Unfortunately, the brand has included a synthetic fragrance blend in this cleanser, which may lead to skin sensitivity. In fact, there’s more fragrance in this cleanser than green tea extract (which the brand claims is a key ingredient).
Bottom Line: A creamy cleansing foam with basic ingredients, low concentrations of green tea extracts, and a concerning amount of fragrance.
The Innisfree Green Tea Balancing Toner has a lightweight watery-gel texture that absorbs into the skin quickly to provide lightweight hydration.
The majority of the formula consists of humectants, such as propanediol, butylene glycol, 1,2-hexanediol, and betaine. Humectants will help draw moisture into the skin, leaving it hydrated and plumped.
Despite green tea being in the name of this toner, green tea extract is actually the lowest concentration ingredient!
And once again, there’s more fragrance in this formula than there is green tea extract. What a disappointing formula!
Bottom Line: The Innisfree toner consists of water, humectants, and fragrance, with green tea extract being the lowest concentration ingredient in the formula.
A Byrdie review called Innisfree’s Green Tea Seed Serum a “fast-track to hydrated skin” — but this couldn’t be further from the truth!
Here at The Derm Review, we carefully evaluate the product formulation, not just what the brand claims to be key ingredients in the formula.
When looking at the Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum ingredient list, you’ll see that alcohol is the third highest concentration ingredient.
While alcohol gives products a weightless feel, helps to reduce excess oil, and provides a temporary tightening effect, this ingredient is not doing your skin any good.
Research shows that topical application of alcohol-based products can lead to skin dryness, irritation, and even disruption of the skin barrier. So the temporary benefits of alcohol-based products are not worth the long-term consequences.
Oh and let’s not forget to mention the synthetic fragrance blend in this Innisfree serum, which isn’t doing your skin good whatsoever.
Bottom Line: Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum contains a very high concentration of alcohol, which may initially lead to benefits (like reduction in shine and temporary tightening) but causes problems when used long term.
This Innisfree lip balm has a typical lip balm formulation with a mixture of emollients and waxes, such as squalane, castor seed oil, sunflower seed wax, and more.
Once again, the brand emphasizes the benefits of the green tea in this product, but it’s the second to last ingredient in the formula.
If the green tea from Jeju Island is so special, why use such a low concentration? Perhaps the answer is to save money, or the story about the green tea is just marketing to draw you into purchasing the product.
Regardless, this lip balm will help to keep your lips soft and moisturized, but there really isn’t anything special about this formula.
Bottom Line: A lip balm composed of emollients and waxes to soften and moisturize lips.
Orchid extract from Jeju island is said to be the key ingredient in this Innisfree eye cream, but like most of the brand’s products, orchid extract is almost the very last ingredient in the formula (meaning there’s a very low concentration).
So if orchid extract isn’t the key ingredient, what is?
Taking a look at the formula, we noticed there’s a mixture of humectants, emollients, and silicones, which all contribute to softening and moisturizing skin.
There’s also a decent amount of niacinamide in the formula, which should help to brighten, strengthen, and protect skin.
We were disappointed to find fragrance in this formula, especially since this is an eye cream and the skin around the eyes is particularly delicate!
Bottom Line: Don’t expect to see benefits from the orchid in this Innisfree eye cream; it’s one of the lowest concentration ingredients!
Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Powder
Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Powder combines silica, corn starch, and a silicone polymer in order to absorb excess oil, thereby keeping skin smooth and matte.
The formula also includes the mineral mica to reflect light from the face, creating the illusion of a smoother, softer, and more radiant skin tone.
The finely milled powder is housed in a portable compact that makes it easy to apply when you need to get rid of excess oil ASAP.
Bottom Line: Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Powder absorbs excess oil in order to keep skin smooth and matte.
How Much Do Innisfree Skincare Products Cost?
Innisfree skincare products are pretty affordable, with the prices being comparable to higher end drugstore brands such as Olay and Burt’s Bees. For example, the Innisfree Dewy Glow Jelly Cream costs $25 USD for 1.69 fl oz, while the Daily UV Defense Sunscreen costs $15 USD for 1.69 fl oz.
Where to Buy Innisfree Skincare Products?
Innisfree skincare products are sold on the brand’s website, as well as several third party online retailers, such as Sephora.com, Amazon.com, StyleKorean.com, and more.
What is The Innisfree Return Policy?
The Innisfree return policy states, “If you are not completely satisfied with an innisfree product for any reason within 60 days of receipt of delivery, please review our return policy below. We offer easy returns and cover return shipping! innisfree.com purchases can be returned if unopened or gently used without any additional fees to innisfree.com.”
Is Innisfree Cruelty Free?
Innisfree is not cruelty free because Innisfree skincare products are sold in mainland China where animal testing is required by law.
Is Innisfree Vegan?
Innisfree may offer some products that are suitable for vegans, but this is not a 100% vegan brand.
Innisfree reviews on the brand’s website are overall very positive, but there aren’t very many customer reviews available. To get a better idea of what customers think of these products, we looked on Sephora.com for Innisfree reviews.
One product that has received plenty of positive feedback is the Innisfree Daily UV Defense Sunscreen, which has earned an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars after more than 700 customer reviews.
The positive reviews for this Innisfree sunscreen mention that it absorbs quickly, moisturizes well, and is good for sensitive skin.
For example, one review says, “10/10! I’ve repurchased and absolutely will continue. It doesn’t pill, it’s easily blends, it’s hydrating, and very sensitive skin friendly. My skin barrier was reactive to many products and I had to cut down on what I was able to put on my face, this was a staple and will continue to be a staple. Price is great, and I go through this so quickly.”
And another 5-star review says, “it didn’t leave a white cast and also didn’t take an aggressive amount of rubbing for it to seep into the skin. it also wasn’t too greasy, although if you have very oily skin you may want to be cautious. no breakouts due to this! it also doesn’t smell too strongly if that’s something you’re worried about.”
However, there are a handful of negative reviews for this Innisfree sunscreen from customers who found the formula to be quite greasy.
For example, one review says, “Formula is nothing spectacular – kind of greasy and it’s probably due to the sunflower oil. It’s mildly scented and not that cosmetically elegant. There are better sunscreens out there, this one is only popular due to the price.”
And other Innisfree reviews mention that this sunscreen led to breakouts, as one reviewer shares, “Made my face break out so bad!! Was using this for the longest time and was wondering why I had such bad acne around my chin/mouth. Found out it was from this! As soon as I stopped using my acne cleared up! Had my sister try it too and her face broke out.”
Overall, we are pretty disappointed in most of the Innisfree skincare products due to the low concentrations of “key” ingredients and the synthetic fragrance blends used in nearly all products.
- Formulas contain beneficial ingredients (emollients, humectants, niacinamide, clays, etc.)
- Many positive Innisfree reviews
- Most Innisfree products contain fragrance
- Many Innisfree products contain very low concentrations of “key” ingredients
- Innisfree is not cruelty free
What Are Some Alternatives to Innisfree Skincare Products?
There’s no need to compromise when it comes to finding skincare that’s effective and safe.
If you’re looking for effective skincare products that skip harmful toxins, one brand we recommend is Carrot & Stick.
Carrot & Stick is committed to creating plant-derived formulas that deliver extraordinary results without relying on toxic chemicals or standard preservatives.
Carrot & Stick takes a tough love approach to skincare, perfectly balancing the gentle nurturing of plants with innovative science.
J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2010 Feb; 3(2): 22–41
Int Geol Rev. 2010 Jul 1; 52(7/8): 745–770.
BBA Biomembranes, May 2012, pages 1410-1419
Women’s Voices for the Earth “Unpacking The Fragrance Industry” 2018