Here's your personalised The Inkey List skincare routine depending on your skin type

inkey list review
Your straight-talking guide to The Inkey ListThe Inkey List

When The Inkey List first dropped onto our desks in 2018, we were instantly intrigued. The MO is simple: effective, fuss-free skincare products that sort your skin out without costing as much as your fave pair of trainers. Six years on and, after trying pretty much every product in the range, we're still utterly obsessed.

Once a modest collection of bare essentials, The Inkey List has escalated into a diverse brand with over 50 products in its range. But despite its successful scale, simplicity and single-ingredient-led formulas have remained at the forefront of the brand.

Put simply, when you’re on the hunt for affordable yet effective skincare solutions, its portfolio is truly one of the greats.

The Inkey List Reviews | A Routine For Every Skin Type

So, if your interest has been piqued and you want to learn more about this no-frills brand, scroll down to discover everything there is to know about The Inkey List, as well as the best products to shop depending on your skin type.

The Inkey List routine for dry skin


Dry skin needs – you guessed it – serious hydration. Taking things to the next level, Polyglutamic Acid is able to hold up to four times more moisture than Hyaluronic Acid. Slather this on in the morning and seal the serum in with the Bio-Active Ceramide Repairing and Plumping Moisturiser. It's brimming with ceramides to strengthen the skin barrier and provides insurance against a dry and flaky complexion.


Dry skin can really benefit from an exfoliating acid, especially from the gentle PHA Toner. It's a delicate chemical exfoliant that helps to remove dead skin that can lead to a lacklustre complexion, all the while feeding your complexion with moisture. Then, finish your routine with a dose of the deeply hydrating Rosehip Oil.

The Inkey List routine for oily skin


Oily skin needs balancing, so don’t be tempted to reach for harsh stripping products that will only throw your skin out of whack. Instead, opt for The Inkey List’s Salicylic Acid Cleanser. It's a great morning option as it helps to control oil levels and shrink the appearance of pores.

And, despite what you may think, oily skin still needs hydration. Just be sure to opt for an oil-free one, like the Omega Water Cream. It still provides plenty of moisture, but does so without feeling greasy or heavy on the skin.


Start your evening routine with your Salicylic Acid Cleanser, then balance those oil levels with the Niacinamide Serum – simple. For a brightening upgrade, add in the Glycolic Acid Toner, which works to dissolve dead skin cells and prevent clogged, open pores. (If you’re new to AHA toners, use this twice weekly, building up slowly to nightly use.)

The Inkey List routine for fine lines


Plumping and restoring fine lines needn’t leave a giant hole in your wallet, as this clever routine demonstrates. Collagen Peptide Serum is your new BFF: it uses advanced actives that mimic the plumping effects of the skin’s own collagen. For a boost around the delicate eye area, the Caffeine Eye Serum will de-puff and brighten in no time.


The Retinol Serum uses a precise blend of two vitamin A derivatives that work together to accelerate cell renewal without causing that dry, flaking feeling that other retinol products can do. Use it alongside the Retinol Eye Cream, of course.

Add on a thin layer of the Bakuchiol moisturiser to help boost collagen, and seal the deal with the Peptide Moisturiser. This works to support the skin's natural protein make-up for stronger, more resilient skin.

The Inkey List routine for blemishes and acne


The Salicylic Acid Cleanser is your first line of defence against breakouts. Use this religiously each morning, then reach for the Beta Hydroxy Acid Serum – a renowned blemish-banisher. Hyaluronic acid is your holy-grail hydrator to draw moisture directly to the surface of your skin and beyond.


Firstly, reach for your Salicylic Acid Cleanser (again) and then it’s time to treat. Apply the 2% Succinic Acid Treatment directly onto a pimple; the blend of salicylic acid and sulphur will work to shrink the size of the spot without irritating the surrounding skin.

If you're more concerned with post-acne scarring than fresh breakouts, the Mandelic Acid Treatment is a great shout. Combining 0.1% retinol with a heavy 10% mandelic acid, it's a very strong resurfacing treatment that also works wonders on pigmentation.

The Inkey List routine for sensitive skin


Of course, sensitive skin needs special treatment, so everything in this simple routine is designed to keep your skin barrier in balance. Hyaluronic Acid is a great way to boost your moisture levels while keeping inflammation at bay. Follow this with the 10% Urea Moisturiser – a dense cream that hydrates without aggravating delicate skin.


You're going to need a great cleanser for easily upset skin, ensuring that there are no drying alcohol or fragrant foams. Reach for the Oat Cleansing Balm, which gently melts makeup and comforts an out-of-balance complexion.

Sensitive skin can still benefit from chemical exfoliation – you just need to reach for the right acid product. The PHA Toner is excellent for reactive skin as it gently buffs away dead cells and improves the texture of your skin, without causing irritation.

The Inkey List routine for brightening


If your skin is looking 50 Shades of Grey, then chances are you have a load of dead skin cells sitting on the surface. These are a pain because they absorb light rather than reflect it. So, after washing your face with the Oat Cleansing Balm sweep the Glycolic Acid Toner over skin to remove the build of dead skin cells so that the shiny new ones sit upfront. Follow with the Brighten Eye Cream to dial down dark circles.


Remove any make-up with the Oat Cleansing Balm and then harness the powers of the Vitamin C 30% Serum. This antioxidant powerhouse works to brighten skin over time and protect against daily aggressors. Finish with the Vitamin B, C, E Moisturiser to keep skin healthy and fresh looking.

What is The Inkey List?

Each product in The Inkey List family is based around a single ingredient, making it easier to ascertain exactly what you’re putting on your skin.

Even better, the brand takes the confusion out of science-y formulas by clearly explaining exactly what each product will do to your skin and the skin types that will love it. Get the top-line info on the front of the (recyclable cardboard) box, or open it out to find a deeper dive printed inside. Clever eh?

What does The Inkey List mean?

So the brand’s name is actually wordplay on the ‘International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients’ or INCI List. In case you didn't know, this is the long old list of ingredient names you find on back of a beauty product’s packaging. And so the INCI List became The Inkey List, ‘Your Beauty Translator’.

Is The Inkey List cruelty-free?

In recent years, there has been a noticeable shift in the beauty industry, with a huge push towards sustainable, cruelty-free and vegan products.

This change was largely led by you, the customers, who called out for more transparency about where products come from, and how they are tested.

The Inkey List listened to your call. All of the brand’s products are cruelty-free (now recognised as Leaping Bunny Certified), and are not sold in any countries where animal testing is a requirement. However, not all of The Inkey List’s products are 100% vegan, but they do offer a wide selection of vegan-friendly products.

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