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The INKEY List Skincare Guide for Beginners

By Carly Cochrane -
The Inkey List Skincare Guide


Since launching in 2018, The INKEY List have managed to build an impressive fan base, rack up over 300 thousand followers on Instagram and even earn the stamp of approval from trusted ‘skinfluencers’ such as Hyram.

Following in The Ordinary’s footsteps, they are the latest brand to cause mass disruption in the beauty industry, with no plan on slowing down any time soon.

Knowing that beauty – especially skincare – can be hard to navigate, The INKEY List strive to supply simple but effective products. Their no-frill formulas cut through all the noise, complicated jargon and cluttered labels, and are powered by single hero-ingredients that deliver real results.

The best bit? Everything is affordable. With products setting you back no more than a tenner, you have the freedom to play around with ingredients and switch up your routine to suit your ever-changing skincare needs.

Not sure where to start? We’ve put together the ultimate beginners guide to The INKEY List skincare so that you can get to work on building your very own, bespoke regime.


The Cleansers

Best for: all skin types, from dry to oily and acne-prone. There’s a cleanser to suit every skin concern.

What is it? Cleansers are the first step in a skin care routine and work to remove the dirt, oil, makeup and impurities that build up on the skin’s surface throughout the day.

The benefits: clean, clear and clarified skin that feels healthy and hydrated.

The Products:

The INKEY List Salicylic Acid Cleanser

The INKEY List Salicylic Acid Cleanser

Salicylic acid is a powerhouse of an ingredient, especially if you have blemish and oily-prone skin. This gentle foam cleanser is loaded with the stuff in order to control oil production, correct skin texture and reduce blackheads and breakouts. It gives your skin a deep cleanse, without stripping it dry or causing irritation.

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The INKEY List Oil & Water Double Cleanser

The INKEY List Oil & Water Double Cleanser

Removing your makeup after a long day has never been easier. This two-in-one daily cleanser utilises naturally derived sea buckthorn and sweet almond oil in order to break down makeup and rinse away impurities, all whilst nourishing the skin. An extra infusion of panthenol provides a moisture boost, making this the perfect option for dry skin types.

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The INKEY List Oat Cleansing Balm

The INKEY List Oat Cleansing Balm

A colloidal oatmeal and ceramide fusion headline this cleanser in order to gently dissolve makeup and nourish the skin. The gentle balm formula works on all skin types but especially sensitive, as it soothes and supports the skin’s natural protective barrier.

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The INKEY List Fulvic Acid Brightening Cleanser

The INKEY List Fulvic Acid Brightening Cleanser

Meet the latest addition to The INKEY List’s range of cleansers. This gel formula helps you wave bye-bye to dull and uneven skin tone as it utilises 0.5% Nordic Peat, which is naturally high in fulvic acid, in order to gently exfoliate and brighten the complexion. Not to mention, it soothes and calms the skin, all whilst removing traces of stubborn makeup.

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The Toners

Best for: all skin types but works best on dull and congested complexions.

What is it? Toners remove any traces of dirt, makeup and impurities from skin that you may have missed whilst cleansing. Some toners offer gentle chemical exfoliation, whilst others help to restore your skin’s pH level.

The benefits: skin appears brighter, smoother and softer.

The Products:

The INKEY List Glycolic Acid Toner

The INKEY List Glycolic Acid Toner

Another big player in the world of skincare is glycolic acid. Sweeping this toner over your skin each evening helps to combat congestion, texture and pigmentation. Be mindful of its 10% potency though; it’s strong stuff that your skin may need some time to get used to!

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The INKEY List PHA Toner

The INKEY List PHA Toner

The INKEY List have supercharged this toner with PHAs (polyhydroxy acids) so that even the most sensitive skin types can enjoy a gentle exfoliation. The large molecules remove dead cells from the skin’s surface, whilst locking in moisture for a silky-soft finish.

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The Face Masks

Best for: oily and congested skin.

What is it? Face masks are a quick treatment that target specific skin concerns, depending on the ingredients used. The INKEY List’s collection of face masks help to unclog pores, absorb oil and prevent breakouts.

The benefits: a purified complexion that allows following ingredients to penetrate the skin better.

The Products:

The INKEY List Kaolin Clay Mask

The INKEY List Kaolin Clay Mask

Oily and blemish-prone skin types will love and appreciate this clay mask from The INKEY List. Kaolin clay is utilised for its ability to give skin a deep cleanse. It draws out the impurities and oils that clog pores, leaving you with a complexion that looks and feels fresher.

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The Treatments

Best for: problematic skin.

What is it? A selection of potent formulas that have been expertly developed to target your specific skin concerns, including blemishes, pigmentation and signs of ageing.

The benefits: healthy, youthful and radiant-looking skin.

The Products:

The INKEY List Tranexamic Acid Night Treatment

The INKEY List Tranexamic Acid Night Treatment

Wave bye-bye to dark spots, uneven patches and hyperpigmentation as this overnight treatment combines tranexamic acid and vitamin C in order to brighten and correct skin tone. As one of Hyram’s favourites, this is a must-have for your evening regime.

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The INKEY List Succinic Acid Blemish Treatment

The INKEY List Succinic Acid Blemish Treatment

Helping you take back control over your skin is this targeted treatment. Expertly formulated to combat acne, the cream utilises 2% succinic acid and 1% salicylic acid in order to clear blemishes and blackheads, reduce inflammation and unclog pores.

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The INKEY List Ceramide Night Treatment

The INKEY List Ceramide Night Treatment

Ceramides are essential when it comes to protecting and rehydrating the skin’s natural barrier. If your skin is feeling a little dry and parched, this overnight treatment provides a surge of skin-plumping hydration that’ll have you looking as fresh as a daisy by morning.

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The Serums

Best for: dry, congested, oily and acne-prone skin.

What is it? A pick and mix of serums that combat specific skin concerns.

The benefits: you can effectively give your skin the care it needs by treating everything from fine lines to dry patches and blemishes.

The Products:

The INKEY List Hyaluronic Acid Serum

The INKEY List Hyaluronic Acid Serum

Hyaluronic acid is the super serum that’ll keep your complexion soft, smooth, and plump. The moisture-binding ingredient can hold 1000x its weight in water, making it the ultimate hydrator. Be sure to apply it to damp skin for maximum results!

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The INKEY List Retinol Serum

The INKEY List Retinol Serum

Retinol takes the crown when it comes to tackling giveaway signs of ageing. The powerhouse ingredient stimulates skin renewal so that you can minimise the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and brighten age spots. This daily serum is supercharged with the stuff so that you can hold onto those youthful looks for longer!

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The INKEY List Niacinamide

The INKEY List Niacinamide

Another superstar ingredient that will transform your skin care routine forever is niacinamide. This lightweight, do-it-all serum effectively reduces excess oil, minimises the appearance of blemishes and redness, provides ultimate hydration and prevents blackheads and breakouts. With so many complexion-perfecting benefits, all skin types can get involved with this one.

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The INKEY List 15% Vitamin C & EGF Serum

The INKEY List 15% Vitamin C & EGF Serum

This cutting-edge serum from The INKEY List has been specially created to cheer up dull and congested complexions. Potent vitamin C is fused with plant-derived EGF in order to brighten the skin’s surface and boost cell regeneration.

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The INKEY List Alpha Arbutin

The INKEY List Alpha Arbutin

Looking for something to fade those pesky dark spots that are left behind after a breakout? The INKEY List’s Alpha Arbutin is the perfect remedy. Derived from the leaves of the bearberry plant, alpha arbutin targets the appearance of hyperpigmentation and dark spots so that you can flaunt a brighter, more even complexion.

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The Moisturisers

Best for: dry and dehydrated skin.

What is it? A line-up of moisturisers that help to seal in hydration and give your skin a huge dose of TLC.

The benefits: healthy, happy and hydrated skin.

The Products:

The INKEY List Bakuchiol Moisturiser

The INKEY List Bakuchiol Moisturiser

Fun fact: bakuchiol is a natural alternative to the much-loved retinol ingredient, making this moisturiser a must-have if you’re looking to combat signs of ageing. Applying a pea-sized amount to skin every day can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, plus even out skin tone.

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The INKEY List Snow Mushroom

The INKEY List Snow Mushroom

Snow mushroom is the powerful ingredient giving hyaluronic acid a run for its money. Renowned for its hydrating powers, it helps to soothe, calm, and reduce the appearance of redness. The jelly texture of this moisturiser provides an instant cooling effect on the skin, too, which is super refreshing in the morning and evening.

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The INKEY List Squalane Face Oil

The INKEY List Squalane Face Oil

Squalane is another ingredient in the skincare spotlight right now, and for good reason! The natural, non-greasy oil hydrates and protects your skin, whilst also reducing the appearance of fine lines and supporting oil control.

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The INKEY List Peptide Moisturiser

The INKEY List Peptide Moisturiser

Whilst peptides are small, they certainly pack a punch. This fast-absorbing moisturiser is a great choice for dry skin types, as the peptide duo boosts natural collagen and delivers ultimate hydration. The result? Soft skin that looks youthful and feels comfortable.

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The Eye Creams

Best for: tired, dull and puffy eyes.

What is it? A revitalising cream that helps to tackle signs of fatigue and ageing around the delicate eye area.

The benefits: no more dark circles, fine lines, or puffiness around the eyes, even after one too many late nights.

The Products:

The INKEY List Caffeine Eye Cream

The INKEY List Caffeine Eye Cream

This caffeine eye cream is a wake-up call for tired eyes. Designed to combat puffiness, dark circles and fine lines, it relieves water retention, brightens skin and smooths texture, making it a skincare saviour for those late nights and early mornings.

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The INKEY List Retinol Eye Cream

The INKEY List Retinol Eye Cream

If expression lines are ruining your bright-eyed and bushy-tailed look, then you’re going to want to snap up this eye cream, ASAP. Powered by retinol, this night-time eye cream reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and supports fragile skin so that you can wake up fresh-faced.

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Now that you have a complete breakdown of The INKEY List’s most sought-after skincare products, you can create a tailored routine with confidence. We can’t wait for you to reap the results of these ingredient-led formulas and put your best face forward!

If you’re looking to try brands that are similar to The INKEY List, be sure to check out The Ordinary Skincare Guide for Beginners.

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.