It is no secret in the beauty industry that South Korean beauty and skincare, often referred to as K-beauty, is far more advanced in terms of innovation, formulas and ingredients compared to the west, especially the US. In fact, other skincare brands often reference or get inspired by K-beauty, as was the case in the recent rise in popularity of an ingredient called centella asiatica in the west which, however,  has been used in Korean beauty products for many years. One of the most cult Korean brands is Innisfree, a brand that combines the country’s heritage with modern innovation to achieve youthful, glowing and healthy skin.

The question is – is Innisfree worth the hype and its cult status and following? In this Innisfree review, we are going to answer that question by looking closely at the brand’s philosophy, ingredients, products, and perhaps most importantly, existing customer reviews. So to find out, read till the end.

Innisfree

About Innisfree

Innisfree is a South Korean-based brand of skincare and makeup, using sustainably sourced natural ingredients from the Jeju Island. Jeju Island is a volcanic island off the coast of Korea that is protected by the likes of UNESCO and World Biosphere Reserve for its unique ecosystem. Thanks to its fertile volcanic soil, mineral-rich water and climate, the grounds are perfect for growing crops such as green tea as the brand’s founder Sunghwan Suh discovered before starting the beauty company in 2000.

Today, the organically grown green tea fields of the island are unmatched anywhere in the world and it has become one of Innisfree’s signature ingredients. But it is not only green tea that Jeju Island provides the brand with as Innisfree sources around 15 other fair trade ingredients from the land, including camellia, cherry blossom and tangerine, using innovative extracting methods that preserve the ingredient in its purest and most potent form.

As the Jeju Island lies at the heart of the company, its name was also much inspired by it. Namely, the inspiration was a lyrical poem The Lake Isle of innisfree by William Butler Yeats about the desire to leave the city for a beautiful peaceful island like Jeju.

About Innisfree

As a Korean brand, Innisfree utilizes the traditional Korean approach to beauty, which is that of prevention and protection, and combines it with innovative natural ingredients and approaches without preservatives and harmful chemicals. The brand is also committed to sustainability and giving back to the environment more than what it takes, especially to the sacred Jeju Island.

Pros
  • Sustainability-oriented and supporting environmental causes
  • Natural ingredients with formulas free from harmful additives and preservatives
  • Wide range of products
  • Affordable price points
  • Offers a rewards programme
  • Offers 60-day return policy
  • Offers 3 free sheet masks when you order 10
  • Free shipping on US orders over $50
  • Free returns
Cons
  • Limited fragrance-free offering, uses a lot of fragrance in formulas
  • Doesn't ship outside of the US
  • Isn't cruelty-free or vegan as the brand allows its products to be tested on animals

Innisfree Product Review

Clarifying Cleansing Foam Review

The Clarifying cleansing foam is one of the latest launches by Innisfree and has already managed to become one of the company’s bestsellers. The product provides a deep cleanse removing any pore buildup, paired with gentle exfoliation and is best suited for people with oily and acne-prone skin. On the other hand, people with dry skin might be left with overly stripped skin.

This cleanser’s star ingredient is bija seed oil, derived from the fruit of the bija tree growing on the Jeju Island. This ingredient is very effective in protecting and strengthening skin’s moisture barrier, as well as soothing and balancing the skin. The richly lathering cleanser also includes plant-derived salicylic acid which is a chemical exfoliant that removes any buildup and dead skin cells deep from pores, menthol for soothing and cooling the skin, and rose extract for hydration. The formula is free from alcohol and soap which are known to strip and dry out the skin.

The product is sold in a 150ml tube for very affordable $12. However, if you’re wearing makeup, it is recommended to first using an oil-based cleanser or a balm, before applying the Clarifying cleansing foam as a second-step cleanse.

Clarifying Cleansing Foam Review

Intensive Hydrating Serum Review

Innisfree’s green tea range is its most signature as mentioned before. And the Intensive hydrating serum with green tea seed is one of the brand’s cult favorites and bestsellers. The classic has been given a face lift though and has recently been reformulated to make it even better, according to the company. The product delivers up to 24-hour hydration to the skin and improves its moisture barrier.

The serum comes in a gel formula that is infused with green tea, a hydrating antioxidant, green tea-derived probiotics that supports the skin’s own ecosystem, and added hyaluronic acid which draws water from the environment and holds it, hence offers the skin even more hydration. Innisfree has been criticized before for high levels of added fragrance in its products and the brand clearly listened as the fragrance in this particular product has been lowered by 70% compared to the original.

The lightweight serum is to be applied after cleansing, following up with a moisturizer. An 80ml bottle retails for $28 which is a regular and acceptable price for a serum.

Intensive Hydrating Serum Review

Youth-Enriched Eye Cream Review

The Youth-enriched eye cream utilizes the antioxidant properties of the Jeju Island orchid – a flower that blooms during the most freezing colds and rises even through the snow, hence the antioxidant properties – and hyaluronic acid derived from the island’s soybeans to target early signs of aging such as fine lines, dryness and loss of elasticity, by firming, smoothing, hydrating and brightening the under-eye area. Innisfree uses every part of the orchid, including the roots and petals, to create its Orchidelixir 2.0 which includes antioxidants similar to those of vitamin C, niacinamide and hyaluronic acid.

A 30ml pot of the eye cream retails for $29 which as far as eye creams go is a very good price.

Youth-Enriched Eye Cream Review

My Real Squeeze Mask Review

Sheet masks, a single-use thin paper mask soaked in serum, are a trend in skincare that we have all grown accustomed to. However, it is one that originates in South Korea where it was popular long before it made the trip over to the west. Innisfree has its own range of sheet masks, each catering to different skin needs. A single sheet mask retails for $1.80 but the brand offers a deal of buy 10 and get 3 for free. They make a great companion for travelling as they are sealed in individual packets.

Choose from 13 varieties including star ingredients like manuka honey for moisturizing, ginseng for anti-aging or aloe for soothing. The masks are crafted from biodegradable eucalyptus fibers which are more eco-friendly.

My Real Squeeze Mask Review

Velvet Cover Foundation Review

Innisfree started with skincare but it wasn’t long before it tapped into the world of makeup as well. The Velvet cover foundation is only one example. As the name suggests, the foundation provides a velvety matte finish. The product feels lightweight on the skin while giving it a natural look with a full coverage.

The foundation is available in 24 shades which is rather impressive for a Korean brand. The formula includes powders that control the oil and make it last longer on the skin, while it doesn’t include any talc or parabens.

The foundation is currently on sale, discounted from $20 to $16 for a 30ml bottle which is a bargain.

Velvet Cover Foundation Review

Vivid Cotton Ink Review 

The name of this product is slightly misleading as it suggests something along the lines of an eyeliner rather than lip tint, which is what the Vivid cotton ink actually is. Available in 17 shades from natural nudes to deep berry hues, the $12 lip tint is highly pigmented and long-lasting. The name is inspired by the product’s intensity comparable to ink and the comfort of wearing it, like wearing soft cotton.

The finish is matte and velvety, despite being applied with a doe foot brush much like a lip gloss, without being too drying as it is infused with moisturizing oils like camellia, avocado and cotton seed oils.

Vivid Cotton Ink Review

Innisfree Customer Reviews

The brand hasn’t earned a cult status for nothing. Innisfree and its products are generally well-received and liked by its customers, which is reflected in the product ratings which range from 4.6 to 4.7/5 on average. Of course, as with any product and brand, low-rating customer reviews do occasionally occur because no product works for everyone. But here is a taste of some of the Innisfree customer reviews of the brand’s products we have covered in this review:

“Left my face completely dry. I hope they come out with a more moisturizing version because it didn’t make my skin happy. I’m sure it’s great for clearing pores because of the ingredients, but my skin did not like it.”

“My under eyes never looked better! The quality of this product is amazing. It has helped with puffiness and dark circles. It smells great ! So far the ingredients from this line have worked very well with my combination skin.”

“Works amazingly! My oily dirty skin is now less prone to breakouts and the dry/oily patches are evening out.”

“I’ve used this routinely for years now and it’s a staple in my skincare routine. It delivers an extra burst of hydration morning or evening, is cool and light, and doesn’t clog pores. It’s a good tool to have in your skincare Arsenal so you can tailor your skincare routine to your daily needs.”

Innisfree Customer Reviews

Sign Up for Innisfree

Innisfree offers a Rewards Program for which anyone can sign up for free. Being a member, you earn points with each purchase which turn into cash discounts on your following purchases. The membership also provides you with perks like free gifts and early access to promotions and sales. Upon signing up, Innisfree will send you a complimentary welcome kit with your first order.

Innisfree also offers a subscription to the Sheet Mask Club. The brand will send you a bundle of 30 sheet masks of your choice every 30, 60 or 90 days – up to you. By subscribing, you will save 25% and delivery is free.

Where to Buy Innisfree

Within the US, Innisfree is available through the brand’s website, as well as Amazon and Sephora, both online and in physical stores. Use the Store Locator tool on the site to find your nearest Sephora location stocking Innisfree.

Where to Buy Innisfree

Innisfree Shipping and Return Policy

Innisfree US ships only domestically within all the US states, including Alaska and Hawaii, and doesn’t ship internationally. The brand offers free shipping on all orders over $50. Otherwise, the shipping fee is capped at $7.95.

Returns

Innisfree operates under a 60-day return policy from the receipt of your order if you are not satisfied with the product for whatever reason. The brand accepts unopened and gently used products and provides free return shipping labels so you don’t cover the return costs.

Innisfree Promotions & Discounts

As mentioned before, the Korean company offers a promotion on its sheet masks so that when you purchase 10, you will receive 3 for free. Innisfree also offers $10 off your next purchase when you refer a friend who spends over $50 on their first order.

Contact Innisfree

If you have any other questions that you feel haven’t been answered in this extensive Innisfree review, feel free to get in touch with the company directly via:

  • Email at [email protected] to contact the support team who will respond within 72 hours
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • YouTube

Contact Innisfree

Innisfree: Editors Verdict

Now back to the million dollar question that we all want the answer to – is Innisfree worth the investment? First of all, speaking of the investment, Innisfree makes that easier by its affordable price points so if you do decide to purchase, your bank account won’t end up completely drained. And based on our research of the customer feedback, the products are effective at what they promise to do. But no brand is without its flaws. For one, Innisfree is not cruelty free and allows testing on animals. And its products include high levels of fragrance and fragrant essential oils, with very limited fragrance-free options, which excludes the many customers that have sensitivity to fragrance. But ultimately, we think the brand is worth it, as long as you are not vegan or have fragrance sensitivity.