The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm

Is The INKEY List Oat Cleansing Balm the best cleanser for sensitive skin?

Cleansing is the most essential part of a skincare routine, it is like laying the foundation of a house you are building. The house has to be stable, except in this case, it is your skin. It is my favorite part of a skincare routine, there is no better feeling than cleaning your face at the end of a long day and cleanse your troubles away.

It is not easy to find a good cleanser, especially when you are dealing with sensitive skin. I know, the struggle is real! However, you can make up your mind by trying out a few products. The INKEY List Oat Cleansing Balm has been on my wishlist on Sephora for a while now, so I decided to try it and tell you all about it.

Let’s start with the basics: Product claims by The INKEY List Oat Cleansing Balm

The INKEY List is a super affordable brand that has attracted quite the following. They are relatively new in the market, but they have managed to do a lot in a short time. I have used their peptide moisturizer before, which I found to be delightful to use.

This cleansing balm is one of the bestsellers and has positive views all around the web. According to their website, it is a cleansing balm that gently melts away makeup, dirt, and SPF without irritating it. Its core ingredients are Oat kernel oil and Colloidal Oatmeal which has soothing and antioxidant properties. It is touted as a cleanser for sensitive skin that also targets reducing redness on the skin.

The INKEY List Oat Cleansing Balm is a vegan formula and it is cruelty and gluten free

The product is best suited for dry skin, as it has very soothing and nourishing ingredients in a balm consistency. So, a very good start, indeed!

The ingredient list of The INKEY List Oat Cleansing Balm

The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm

I appreciate that it is not a very long list. Here is the full list of the ingredients:

Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Oil, Candelilla Cera (Cire de candelilla), Silica, Sorbitan Stearate, Tribehenin, PEG-60 Almond Glycerides, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Flour, Aqua (Water/Eau), Benzyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Lecithin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Tocopherol, Biosaccharide Gum-4, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil.

The star ingredients are:

  • 3% Oat Kernel Oil
  • 1% Colloidal Oatmeal

Oat Kernel oil

Derived from common oat, Oat kernel oil is a lightweight oil that is rich in ceramides. Due to this, as a humectant*, it retains moisture really well and is nourishing to the skin, especially dry skin. It also prevents TEWL (Trans Epidermal Water Loss) by supporting the skin barrier. In this case, it also acts as an occlusive*.

Skin Vocabulary:

*humectant – skin agents that draw moisture into the top layer of the skin

*occlusive – moisturizing agents form a protective layer on the surface of your skin to prevent moisture loss.

Colloidal Oatmeal

Colloidal Oatmeal has been acclaimed as a powerful antioxidant for a long time now. Research shows that even at 1%, it is effective for dry, itchy skin that suffers from eczema. A cream with a concentration of 1 % was able to repair the skin barrier*.

Skin Vocabulary:

*skin barrier (aka lipid barrier) – protects the skin from the outside world – pollution, bacteria, and chemicals.

You may have noticed the word alcohol in there, don’t let it freak you out!

The INKEY list oat cleansing balm contains fatty alcohol Cetearyl Alcohol which is the “good” alcohol in skincare. It does have softening qualities – that’s mainly why it is used for dry skin.

Benzyl alcohol is used in common skincare products as a preservative – so it can prevent the product from going bad. It is FDA approved and can be used safely at concentrations of up to 5%.

Get your alcohol facts right: The Truth About Alcohol in Skincare: Friend or Foe?

Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil

You may have come across this name in a number of cleansers. Disguised with the fancy name, sunflower oil is packed with fatty acids that only do good to the skin. It has a calming effect on the skin and is known for dealing with skin irritation.


The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm

I’d say the consistency of the INKEY List cleansing balm is quite unique. In a sense that I haven’t really used a cleanser with such thick consistency. Let me tell you something, if you are used to putting gel based cleanser on your skin, this might not be for you. The formula is very thick and nourishing. The good thing is there is no way it is going to irritate or strip off the skin once it is applied. I guess this is what makes it a great choice for dry (and extremely dry skin) and sensitive skin.

The product itself has a yellowish color, but melts into a transparent color once you rub it on the skin.

It has a slightly grainy texture when you squeeze it out, but then it emulsifies really nicely once it is on the skin. I guess with a consistency like this, you can easily use it as a face mask. Just leave it on for 10 mins or so, and it will leave your skin soft and smooth!

The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm

According to their website, the balm is very susceptible to temperature changes due to the oil content in the formulation. So, in winter the product can harden and make it difficult to squeeze out off the tube. Once this happens, just run it under a warm tap for 30 to 60 seconds to soften it out and it will be good to go.

Packaging and Scent

The packaging is quite minimal, the black and white design that screams the INKEY list. It comes in a tube which reminded me of toothpaste when I first used it. To be honest, I am not a big fan of this packaging, since squeezing out the product can be a bit annoying. However, we stan for recyclable packaging!

I would say this product doesn’t have any scent, since I didn’t really smell anything. I couldn’t find any information about it being fragrance free. I guess you could say it has a very minimal oatmeal-y smell.

How to use The INKEY List Oat Cleansing Balm?

The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm

If you double-cleanse (which, I hope you are) just like me, you would use this as the first cleanser. Since it is an oil-based cleanser, it makes sense to you see it first to break down all the makeup and SPF.

You can use it in your AM or PM skincare routine. I used it on the damped face, because I feel like when you put it on dry face, it doesn’t emulsify as much. Gently massage a small raspberry sized amount of the product onto dampened face (don’t forget the neck!) , then rinse it off.

As I mentioned before, it is a thick balm. So, it did leave an oily feeling on the skin. Once you follow it up with a water-based cleanser, like CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser, for example, the oily feeling goes away pretty quickly.

Who is The INKEY List Oat Cleansing Balm best suited for?

The INKEY List Oat Cleansing Balm is suitable for all skin types, but it works best for dry, sensitive skin as it suggests on the packaging. Colloidal oatmeal makes it a perfect match for sensitive skin.

Most importantly: Does this INKEY list cleansing balm work?

Overall, it does a good job as a cleanser. And yes, it does work!

The consistency is definitely meant for dry skin, as the oatmeal has that soothing and nourishing ability that dry skin needs. The finish is soft, it leaves the skin plump and hydrated. I used it as a first cleanser followed by a water-based cleanser (yay, double-cleanse!)

Because of its thick consistency, it did leave an oily feeling on my skin. I think it is because my skin is on normal/combination side in terms of moisture. So, when I put the water-based cleanser later, it was like I washed off all the “oiliness” of the INKEY list cleanser. I feel like they work together really well, since you need the oil to draw up all the nasties.

Also, little goes a long way with this INKEY list cleansing balm. It lasted for about 3 months for me. Plus, I liked how versatile the product is. You can use it as a face mask 1-2 times a week if not daily.

It did remove the makeup very well, however, it didn’t do a great job of removing my eye makeup. I could still notice some residue of my mascara and eyeliner. Sometimes a cleanser does well, but it is not that willing to wash off the mascara, you know? So, even though I love using The INKEY List Oat Cleansing Balm, I feel like using the Heimish – All Clean Balm for removing eye makeup works best for me. It is fragrance free, and it doesn’t burn my eyes, perfect for sensitive eyes.

The INKEY List Oat Cleansing Balm

The INKEY List Oat Cleansing Balm
4 5 0 1
A great cleansing balm for dry and sensitive skin.
A great cleansing balm for dry and sensitive skin.
Total Score
the inkey list oat cleansing balm

Final Verdict

If you have dry skin, The INKEY List Oat Cleansing Balm will check all the boxes for you. It is nourishing, hydrating and non-irritating. It is the best cleansing balm for sensitive skin? With all the cleansing balms out there, my verdict is that perhaps it is one of the goodies. It definitely checks the sensitive skin box for me, except for the slight oily feel. But I think it is a very great option for dry and sensitive skin, you shouldn’t miss out on it.


Is The INKEY List Oat Cleansing Balm suitable for all skin types?

Yes, it is suitable for all skin types, especially dry and sensitive skin.

Can I use The INKEY List Oat Cleansing Balm if I have rosacea?

Yes, The INKEY List Oat Cleansing Balm has skin supporting ingredients like Colloidal oatmeal. It is suitable for people with rosacea. Just to be extra careful, do a patch test for 24 hours and if there is no reaction, go ahead with using it.

Can I use The INKEY List Oat Cleansing Balm if I have eczema?

Yes, colloidal oatmeal in this balm has proved to be effective for the treatment of eczema. However, do a patch test before using it if you have eczema.

Can I use The INKEY List Oat Cleansing Balm as a face mask?

Yes, you can absolutely use it as a face mask once or twice a week. Leave it on for 10 minutes and then rinse it off.

Is The INKEY List Oat Cleansing Balm vegan and cruelty free?

Yes, it is vegan and cruelty-free. It is certified by The Vegan Society.

Is it safe to use The INKEY List Oat Cleansing Balm while pregnant or breastfeeding?

Yes, it is safe to use the product when pregnant or breastfeeding.

The INKEY List Oat Cleansing Balm

The INKEY List Oat Cleansing Balm
4 5 0 1
4.0 rating
Total Score

The Good

  • Very soothing and nourishing
  • Doesn't irritate or strip off the skin
  • Good value for money
  • Suitable for all types of skin
  • Little goes a long way
  • Contains natural actives

The Bad

  • Can be too thick for normal skin
  • Not the most practical packaging
  • Doesn't remove heavy eye makeup fully
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