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10 Ingredient-Led Skincare Brands You Will Love

By Carly Cochrane -
ingredient-led skincare


The demand for ingredient-led skincare is booming right now, especially as shoppers start to swot up on what actually goes into their products.

Us ‘skintellectuals’, formerly known as the skin-savvy, are on an ongoing quest for healthy skin. With standout brands like The Ordinary proving that you can achieve real results with simple, science-backed formulas, and all for a pocket-friendly price, we’ve become passionate about stripping back our skincare routine and indulging in all that ingredient-led brands have to offer.

But what are they, exactly? Ingredient-led brands are, quite simply, skincare brands that create products based around one hero ingredient. Hero ingredients include the likes of hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, retinol, vitamin C, squalane, collagen; the list goes on. When formulas are made with hero ingredients and hero ingredients only, they become a total powerhouse within your skincare routine.

Sounds good, right? Here's 10 of the best ingredient-led skincare brands that we know you'll love.


The Ordinary

From viral Tik Tok videos to becoming the most searched beauty term on boots.com, The Ordinary are undoubtedly the brand paving the way for ingredient-led skincare.

Since bursting onto the scene in 2016, The Ordinary continue to raise the bar with their result-driven formulas, wallet-friendly prices and no-nonsense approach. Their simple and straight-forward products make it super easy to incorporate the likes of retinols, acids and antioxidants into your skincare routine. The only slight bump in the road is that the sometimes-scientific product names and potency percentages can be a little daunting, but once you’ve mastered the jargon, you’ll be well on your way. Plus, you can always refer to our guide to The Ordinary when in doubt.

Shop the best The Ordinary products:

The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

£6.30
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The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

£4.80
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The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

£5.90
Go To Store



The INKEY List

Coming for the crown is straight-talking skincare brand, The INKEY List. Just like The Ordinary, they pride themselves on the fact that their products are only ever powered by active ingredients - salicylic acid, niacinamide, retinol and vitamin C to name a few.

The brand is definitely having its spotlight moment, and who can blame them when they're affordable, efficient and backed by trusted ‘skinfluencers’ like Hyram. It’s definitely one to add to your wish list!

Shop the best The INKEY List products:

The INKEY List Salicylic Acid Cleanser

The INKEY List Salicylic Acid Cleanser

£10.99
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The INKEY List Glycolic Acid Toner

The INKEY List Glycolic Acid Toner

£6.99
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The INKEY List Tranexamic Acid Night Treatment

The INKEY List Tranexamic Acid Night Treatment

£14.99
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Revolution Skincare

Revolution Skincare is often dubbed as a dupe for The Ordinary; just one quick glance over their line-up explains it all.

Their philosophy is that better skincare equals better makeup application (if you didn’t already know, Revolution Skincare is a spin-off from the cult-favourite Revolution makeup brand), and so they're passionate about supplying a bunch of ingredient-led products that tackle any and every skin concern.

Again, you’ll find trending ingredients like niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, vit C and more lurking here, and all for a budget-friendly price.

Shop the best Revolution Skincare products:

Revolution Skincare Targeted Blemish Serum 2% Salicylic Acid

Revolution Skincare Targeted Blemish Serum 2% Salicylic Acid

£7.95
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Revolution Skincare Blemish & Pore Refining Serum - 10% Niacinamide + 1% Zinc

Revolution Skincare Blemish & Pore Refining Serum - 10% Niacinamide + 1% Zinc

£5.99
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Revolution Skincare 12.5% Vitamin C Serum

Revolution Skincare 12.5% Vitamin C Serum

£9.95
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Herbivore

If you’re looking for ingredient-led skincare that’s also Instagram-worthy, then allow us to introduce you to Herbivore. Behind the pretty packaging and rainbow-coloured formulas, this brand utilises cold-pressed oils, essential oils and natural ingredients to tackle problematic skin. From classic ingredients to the more unique powerhouses, such as bakuchiol and blue tansy, this is must-have for your collection.

Shop the best Herbivore products:

Herbivore Lapis Balancing Facial Oil

Herbivore Lapis Balancing Facial Oil

£13.00
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Herbivore Prism Exfoliating Glow Serum

Herbivore Prism Exfoliating Glow Serum

£49.00
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Herbivore Brighten Pineapple + Gemstone Mask

Herbivore Brighten Pineapple + Gemstone Mask

£38.00
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Paula's Choice

Okay, so Paula’s Choice isn’t solely a single ingredient-led brand but she does boast a variety of products that are too good to miss – if you’re on Tik Tok, you’ll know what’s coming next.

From the viral 2% BHA Lotion Exfoliant to the selection of retinol, niacinamide and hyaluronic acid boosters, Paula’s Choice has plenty of ingredient-led products for all skin types and concerns.

Shop the best Paula's Choice products:

Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Lotion Exfoliant

Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Lotion Exfoliant

£28.00
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Paula's Choice Resist 10% Niacinamide Booster

Paula's Choice Resist 10% Niacinamide Booster

£40.00
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Paula's Choice 1% Retinol Booster

Paula's Choice 1% Retinol Booster

£47.00
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Allies of Skin

Whether you’re suffering with hormonal acne, skin irritation, redness or dryness, Allies of Skin can help you out. Bringing formulas back to basics, their selection of creams, lotions and mists are supercharged with skin-loving ingredients like hyaluronic acid and vitamin C.

Shop the best Allies of Skin products:

Allies of Skin Multi Hyaluronic Antioxidant Hydration Serum

Allies of Skin Multi Hyaluronic Antioxidant Hydration Serum

£72.00
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Allies of Skin 20% Vitamin C Brighten + Firm Serum

Allies of Skin 20% Vitamin C Brighten + Firm Serum

£28.00
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Allies of Skin 1a Retinal & Peptides Overnight Mask

Allies of Skin 1a Retinal & Peptides Overnight Mask

£105.00
Go To Store


Drunk Elephant

If there’s any brand that cuts through all the noise to bring simple, straight-forward, ingredient-led skincare, it’s Drunk Elephant. Best known for banning the ‘suspicious six’ (essential oils, drying alcohols, silicones, chemical sunscreens, fragrance/dye), their products only ever utilise good-for-you ingredients.

Shop the best Drunk Elephant products:

Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum

Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum

£67.00
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Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum

Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum

£40.00
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Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream

Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream

£24.00
Go To Store


Bad Habit

You know it’s a good trend when it inspires celebs to launch their own line. Bad Habit is the brainchild of YouTuber and media personality, Emma Chamberlain. The skincare collection serves up clean formulas, which are headlined by purposeful active ingredients in order to combat the ageing effects of a fast-paced lifestyle.

Shop the best Bad Habit products:

Bad Habit Dewd Hemp Nourishing Facial Oil

Bad Habit Dewd Hemp Nourishing Facial Oil

£29.00
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Bad Habit Silent Mode Hydrating Hyaluronic Mask

Bad Habit Silent Mode Hydrating Hyaluronic Mask

£24.00
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Bad Habit Power Sleep Melatonin & Glycolic Night Cream

Bad Habit Power Sleep Melatonin & Glycolic Night Cream

£25.00
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Verso Skincare

Skincare after a long, hard and busy day can be a chore. Verso is the brand that helps you to take shortcuts, whilst still guaranteeing real results. Their focused formulas are not only powered by simple, science-backed ingredients – including their signature Retinol 8 complex – but they also follow a numbered, step-by-step system for extra convenience.

Shop the best Verso Skincare products:

Verso Skincare Acne Deep Cleanse

Verso Skincare Acne Deep Cleanse

£33.00
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Verso Skincare Hydration Serum

Verso Skincare Hydration Serum

£77.00
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Verso Skincare VERSO 6 Dark Spot Fix

Verso Skincare VERSO 6 Dark Spot Fix

£85.00
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SkinCeuticals

Last, but by no means least, we have SkinCeuticals. Whilst this collection sits on the pricier end of the spectrum, it’s completely worth every penny. The advanced skincare line utilises only the best science-led ingredients so that you can reveal a younger, healthier and more radiant complexion.

Shop the best SkinCeuticals products:

SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Moisturiser

SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Moisturiser

£54.99
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SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Serum

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Serum

£109.99
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SkinCeuticals Glycolic Renewal Cleanser Gel

SkinCeuticals Glycolic Renewal Cleanser Gel

£29.99
Go To Store

Now that you’re up to date with our favourite ingredient-led skincare brands, you can tailor your routine to suit your skin’s every want and need. We can’t wait for you to see how the hero ingredients transform your skin quicker, and better, than ever before!

If you’re keen to explore professional skin care that little bit further, be sure to check out our roundup of the best Doctor-Developed Skincare Brands.

Carly Cochrane

Written by Carly Cochrane

Carly is a beauty editor at Cosmetify and has been a part of our family for three years. She has over five years of experience in health, beauty and wellness writing.