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10 Ingredient-Led Skincare Brands You Will Love

By Carly Cochrane - 1 year ago | Updated
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 Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

£5.50 £5.60 (2% off)
The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

£5.79 £6.50 (11% off)
The Ordinary Natural Moisturising Factors + HA

The Ordinary Natural Moisturising Factors + HA

£4.96 £5.00 (1% off)



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 Hyaluronic Acid Cleanser

The INKEY List Hyaluronic Acid Cleanser

£10.79
The INKEY List Glycolic Acid Toner

The INKEY List Glycolic Acid Toner

£8.29 £8.49 (3% off)
The INKEY List Symbright Moisturiser

The INKEY List Symbright Moisturiser

£11.62 £11.99 (4% off)


CeraVe

Another brand that has swiftly become a household name is CeraVe. While we're sure you've heard a thing or two about their iconic cleansers, CeraVe also offer a line-up of moisturisers, serums, sunscreen and more. You'll find that each formula is laced with ceramides, whilst other hero ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and niacinamide, are often thrown in for good measure. If you want to repair your skin barrier with gentle but efficient formulations, make CeraVe your go-to.

Shop the best CeraVe products:

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser

£7.60 £10.00 (24% off)
CeraVe SA Smoothing Cleanser

CeraVe SA Smoothing Cleanser

£9.50 £12.50 (24% off)
CeraVe Moisturising Lotion

CeraVe Moisturising Lotion

£8.25 £11.00 (25% off)


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 Angry Mood Soothing Overnight Face Mask

Revolution Skincare Angry Mood Soothing Overnight Face Mask

£6.40 £8.00 (20% off)
Revolution Skincare Pink Clay Detoxifying Face Mask

Revolution Skincare Pink Clay Detoxifying Face Mask

£7.95 £8.00 (1% off)
Revolution Skincare Skin Care X Jake Jamie Avocado Face Mask

Revolution Skincare Skin Care X Jake Jamie Avocado Face Mask

£7.95 £8.00 (1% off)


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
Herbivore Prism Exfoliating Glow Serum

Herbivore Prism Exfoliating Glow Serum

£49.00 £54.00 (10% off)
Herbivore Brighten Pineapple + Gemstone Mask

Herbivore Brighten Pineapple + Gemstone Mask

£30.40 £38.00 (20% off)


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

£29.96
Paula's Choice Resist 10% Niacinamide Booster

Paula's Choice Resist 10% Niacinamide Booster

£41.62
Paula's Choice 1% Retinol Booster

Paula's Choice 1% Retinol Booster

£49.12


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

£59.28 £78.00 (24% off)
Allies of Skin Molecular Multi Nutrient Day Cream

Allies of Skin Molecular Multi Nutrient Day Cream

£95.00
Allies of Skin Promise Keeper Blemish Sleeping Facial

Allies of Skin Promise Keeper Blemish Sleeping Facial

£95.00 £115.00 (18% off)


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 Fresh Day Serum

Drunk Elephant C-Firma Fresh Day Serum

£52.80 £66.00 (20% off)
Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum

Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum

£33.60 £42.00 (20% off)
Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream

Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream

£25.00


Medik8

Skincare after a long, hard and busy day can be a chore. Medik8 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, but they are also free from nasties.

Shop the best Medik8 products:

Medik8 Hydr8 B5 Serum

Medik8 Hydr8 B5 Serum

£9.12 £9.60 (5% off)
Medik8 Retinol 3TR Serum

Medik8 Retinol 3TR Serum

£24.00 £33.00 (28% off)
Medik8 Night Ritual Vitamin A

Medik8 Night Ritual Vitamin A

£11.40 £12.00 (5% off)


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

£63.95 £72.00 (12% off)
SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Serum

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Serum

£126.95 £150.00 (16% off)
SkinCeuticals Glycolic Renewal Cleanser Gel

SkinCeuticals Glycolic Renewal Cleanser Gel

£26.95 £40.00 (33% off)

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

As the Senior Content Editor for Cosmetify, Carly is the go-to for all the latest (and greatest) beauty tips, tricks and trends. With over six years of experience in the industry, she knows all the ins-and-outs when it comes to health, beauty and wellbeing. 

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