Review: The Inkey List Polyglutamic Acid

Where to purchase: Cult Beauty or the Inkey List HERE

Price: £12.99

Volume: 30ml

What is it?: A Gel containing Polyglutamic Acid (apparently an ingredient that holds 4x moisture than HA). It has large molecules which means this product forms a thin film over the skin’s surface to reduce water loss and helps plump fine lines. This contains 3% Polyglutamic acid complex.

Good for: Dehydrated skin (is what it says, but I would say this isn’t really a watery/water-based formula where you feel like it’s giving you a drink of water, so it doesn’t make the skin feel supremely hydrated – I think it works better if you use something watery underneath first (like a hada labo toner or a hyaluronic acid serum first) and then apply this on top to seal in the moisture. I think this would also be good for ageing skin (i.e to fill in those fine lines).


Packaging: Typical Inkey packaging i.e. cap with a squeeze-y lid. Good to travel with.

Directions: ”Apply a pea-sized amount to cleansed face and neck in the morning and evening, avoiding the eye area.” (ABSOLUTELY AGREE TO AVOID THE EYE AREA – My sister used this around her eyes (I didn’t know she did this) and the product gave her styes every time she used it on her eyes, so avoid this.

”The formula is best used after serums and before moisturiser.” – I agree! The Inkey list have said that you can actually mix this with their HA serum to boost the hydration of this product, and once again I agree with this i.e. putting something watery underneath for the polyglutamic acid serum/gel to form a barrier over to prevent EWL.

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How I use it: cleanse, tone, HA serum, THIS, SPF OR moisturiser depending if it’s AM or PM.

Key Ingredients: Polyglutamic acid – a moisturiser/humectant, Dimethicone (what gives this product it’s smoothness/smoothening effect), Glycerin (skin-identical ingredient, moisturiser and humectant).

Full Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Bis-PEG-12 Dimethicone, Glycerin, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Polysilicone-11, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Isohexadecane, Propanediol, Coco-Glucoside, Sodium Benzoate, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Polysorbate 80, Ethylhexylglycerin, Potassium Sorbate, Decyl Glucoside, Dimethylacrylamide/Acrylic Acid/Polystyrene Ethyl Methacrylate Copolymer, Sorbitan Oleate, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Polyglutamic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract

NOTE: The Incidecoder have a full ingredient list breakdown HERE

Texture: As you can see, it looks less like a serum and more like a gel. This doesn’t really run down my hand as it’s quite viscous.

This spreads fine BUT once this has fully spread and rubbing in, this turns into a sort of silicone-y powdery, dried down primer. It has that kind of blurring primer texture. It’s NOT heavy. This isn’t gloopy or sticky either once it’s dried down.


Initially this looks like a watery gel, however this dries down and provides a matte finish.


Leaving the product without rubbing it in fully, you can see it looks wet but it will dry down and mattify.


Fragrance?: No essential oils or added fragrance. BUT This is so far the worst smelling inkey list product I’ve tried – it smells like pure chemicals and I’m not sure why. It reminds me of bathroom cleaner when spreading this. Of course when this settles in and dries down, the smell is less pungent but it still lingers and it’s quite off-putting.

Good Under Makeup?: YES as this basically forms a dried-up, slightly powdery (silicone-y) layer on the skin which smoothes the skin out and makes it easy for makeup application.

How long have I been using this?: A month

The Effect?: a protected skin barrier in terms of this retains the moisture/hydration underneath. this product itself dosn’t feel particularly hydrating or moisturising but this holds in the underneath moisture layers better. This does work as a primer because it helps fill in fine lines so foundation can sit on better without settling into fine lines.

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What I like:

  • No Fragrance / Essential Oils
  • I love the pump packaging
  • Easy to travel with
  • Good primer
  • Seals in moisture

What I don’t like:

  • I really really really don’t like the smell – it smells intensely ‘chemical’ like putting bathroom cleaner on my skin. This smell goes away a bit once rubbed in/dried down but it does slightly linger.
  • Gave my sister styes (because she didn’t read that it says keep this product away from the eyes), but it’s annoying having to be careful to avoid the eye area i.e. I could use the soon jung hydro barrier cream around my eyes and it was fine. But this has the same sort of texture as the Mad Hippie Peptide eye cream (review HERE) and that product did give me styes. So you have to be careful to avoid the eyes.
  • Wont feel nice for those who don’t like formulations with a predominantly silicone texture.

Overall Rating and Conclusion: 2.9/5 – Not my favourite serum/gel as I personally am not a fan of that silicone-type finish unless it’s an SPF. I do get that this would seal in moisture and prevent TEWL so I don’t think this product should be completely disregarded, however I really can’t handle the smell which discourages me to keep using this.

Would I repurchase?: No (can’t get over the smell and I’m not the biggest fan of the finish).

My Skin Type: I am acne prone and have combo skin. My skin is usually tight where the cheeks and eye area is and the outer parts of my face. My T zone is oily. My skin isn’t a fan of thick/heavy formulas so I opt for lightweight formulas to prevent it from clogging up. My skin doesn’t like essential oils either and I try to avoid fragrance when I can.

Disclaimer: I am a skincare enthusiast and not a skin expert. I am not qualified to give out dermatological advice. This type of advice should only be given by a medical practitioner. Upon trying / using any of the reviewed products on the blog, please follow the manufacturer’s instructions and warnings and please seek medical advice if needed.

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