I Finished This Buzzy Cleansing Balm and My Skin's Never Been Softer

A dry skin savior.


The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm

the inkey list oat cleansing balm

The Inkey List

What We Like
  • Effectively removes makeup    

  • Helps to reduce blackheads

  • Affordable price

  • Can also be used as a mask 

  • Large container with plenty of product

What We Don't Like
  • Product can be difficult to squeeze out

  • Susceptible to temperature changes


The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm

the inkey list oat cleansing balm

The Inkey List

Cleansing is a non-negotiable step in my skincare routine. A twice-daily cleanse removes my eye makeup, foundation, SPF, and the dirt accumulated throughout the day. I've gotten breakouts since my teenage years, and practicing consistent cleansing with the right products has helped keep my skin clear over time. Still, the occasional adult acne breakout likes to make a rare appearance. Because of this, I'm always open to trying out a cleanser if it means keeping breakouts at bay.

There are countless cleansers on the market targeted for particular skin types and concerns. When I saw that The INKEY List Oat Cleansing Balm had over 92,000 "loves" on Sephora.com, I was curious to see how it compared to some of my other favorite cleansers and am thrilled to say that while using it twice daily, I've had minimal breakouts. I was so happy with the results and I felt compelled to share. Keep reading ahead for my detailed review on the product.

Best for: Normal or dry skin, including sensitive skin 

Active ingredients: Colloidal Oatmeal, Oat Kernel Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil

Clean: Yes

Cruelty-free: Yes

Vegan: Yes

About the brand: Founded in 2018, The INKEY List is committed to empowering consumers with the knowledge to make educated skincare decisions. Their live customer service program, #askInkey is available year-round and consists of full-time skincare advisors to help offer free personalized skincare education.

About My Skin: Combination but prone to stress-related breakouts

I have combination skin and am prone to stress-induced breakouts. I started using The Oat Cleansing Balm when my previous cleanser was no longer preventing breakouts, even with lifestyle modifications. Despite cleansing twice a day, I would often wake up to another blemish on my chin. I love experimenting with skincare products and I’m not afraid to try something new, but once I find a product I love, I’m loyal to it. 

How to Use

Gently massage a small amount (think dime-sized) onto a damp face and neck for about 30 seconds and rinse with water. You can use this cleanser in the morning and evening as the first step in your skincare routine and then follow with your products of choice. You can also use it as a nourishing face mask by leaving it on for ten minutes. Avoid using very hot water while cleansing because this can strip the skin. Instead, rinse with lukewarm water. On days I wear makeup, I use Oat Cleansing Balm as my first oil-based cleanser followed by a water-based cleanser. 

The Feel: A rich, thick consistency

The formula has a thick consistency and an initial grainy texture. However, this grainy texture emulsifies once you massage the balm into your skin. It can leave an oily feeling on your skin and is better suited for normal to dry skin. After using the cleanser, my face feels clean and smooth instead of taut. Once my skin is clean I follow up with my usual skincare routine.

The Ingredients: Gentle ingredients that work

The formula lists skin-loving ingredients, like oat kernel oil to reduce blackheads and maintain skin moisture. Colloidal oatmeal (which is used to treat many inflammatory skincare conditions) soothes irritation, and ceramides support the skin’s natural protective barrier. Skincare products containing colloidal oatmeal are generally known to have a low potential for irritation.

The Packaging: Minimal and sustainable

I was initially drawn to The Inkey List products because of its clean and minimal packaging. The products are named after their main ingredient, and each container includes the ingredient's pronunciation and intended use. The box also includes a graphic of where each product falls in your skincare routine. The Inkey List makes it simple to understand each product to inform your purchasing decisions. According to the product website, you can recycle the cleansing balm tube by separating the cap, cutting off the top (making sure to use any remaining product), and rinsing the tube out. 

The Formulation

One downside to the cleansing balm is that product can be difficult to squeeze out, especially when you're close to finishing the tube. The INKEY List notes that the balm is susceptible to temperature changes due to the formulation's oil content; therefore, the product can harden in colder climates. The brand recommends running the tube under warm tap water for 30 to 60 seconds to help soften the contents or warming the product between your hands for 15 to 30 seconds. If balm turns to a liquid-like consistency, the manufacturer recommends storing it in the refrigerator to help solidify the formula.

The Results: Clean, fresh skin

I’ve gone through many cleansers, and this one is part of my morning and evening routine. I savor the feeling of massaging the cleansing balm into my skin and watching all my foundation and eyeshadow melt away. This provides a great first cleanse, and I usually don’t feel like I need a second cleanse unless I’m wearing a lot of makeup. My skin feels clean, fresh, and moisturized every time. 

tanya kertsman

Tanya Kertsman

The Value

I did a double-take when I realized the product was $9.99 for 150 mL (5 ounces) when my previous cleanser was $35, and comparable oat cleansers can cost up to $75. All The INKEY List products are $15 or less, making me more likely to experiment with new products without feeling like I’m spending all my money on skincare. Next up on my list is the Brighten-i Eye Cream ($10) to help reduce the appearance of dark undereye circles.

Similar Products

Aveeno Calm + Restore Nourishing Oat Cleanser, $11`: Aveeno has a line of oat-infused products, including this cleanser for a comparable price. This is a milky gel-cream cleanser ideal for irritated, dry, or sensitive skin. I often use Aveeno products for my kids, especially during the winter when their skin is on the drier side, and we all love them.

Dermalogica UltraCalming Cleanser, $64: The Dermalogica cleanser is another great oat cleanser with a heftier price tag. It contains oat oil, lavender, and cucumber. Still, if you’re curious about oat cleansers, I would start with one of the lesser expensive options and see how your skin reacts before investing more.

Cocokind Oil to Milk Cleanser, $22: This is a rich pH-balanced formula with fermented oat that effectively removes makeup and sunscreen. The cleanser works for all skin types and helps support a healthy microbiome and natural flora on the skin. 

Final Verdict

Since I started using this cleanser consistently every morning and evening, my skin has been calm with minimal breakouts. My skin immediately feels cleaner and more radiant as soon as I rinse it off. I've finished my first tube and ordered my second container to make this balm a permanent part of my routine. If you have dry or sensitive skin, it's worth a spot in your collection.


  • Product Name Oat Cleansing Balm
  • Product Brand The Inkey List
  • Price $10.99
Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Criquet M, Roure R, Dayan L, Nollent V, Bertin C. Safety and efficacy of personal care products containing colloidal oatmeal. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2012;5:183-193.

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