The Inkey List skincare just launched in Australia and it's the new 'The Ordinary'.

People who love cult skincare brand The Ordinary really, really love it. Then, there are those who really, really don’t.

Why? Because for all the people who kneel at the altar of the brand’s single ingredient lotions and potions, there are others who have no clue what any of the products do and which ones they’re meant to use.

With names like ‘Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%’, ‘Retinol 1% in Squalane’ and ‘Vitamin C Suspension 23% and HA Spheres 2%’, you can understand how that could happen.

In good news, there’s a new ‘The Ordinary’ in town and it’s way less confusing.


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This month, UK skincare brand The Inkey List launched in Australia’s  Sephora stores. Since hitting shelves in the UK and US just six months ago, the brand’s minimalist products sell every 30 seconds.

The Inkey List – which is paraben and fragrance-free, and isn’t tested on animals – is one of four beauty brands under the British parent company BE For Beauty and promises accessible skincare that does exactly what it says on the box. No complicated packaging or ‘5 % acid peeling and brightening emulsion thingy’ product names you need a science degree to figure out.


It was also founded by Colette Newberry and Mark Curry, both of whom are former branding and product developers for Boots (the UK’s version of Priceline).

But what makes this brand different to every other one out there? Here’s a rundown on what you need to know about The Inkey List.

The Inkey List products:

the inkey list
Behold, the full The Inkey List offering in Aussie Sephora stores. Image: The Inkey List/Amy Clark.
Here's five I got my hands on before the launch. Image: Amy Clark.

The Inkey List's Australian product offering includes 12 serums, oils, moisturisers and masks, all with one primary ingredient. They are:

  1. The Inkey List Q10 Serum, $11.
  2. The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid, $12.
  3. The Inkey List Kaolin Clay Face Mask, $12.
  4. The Inkey List Glycolic Acid Toner, $17.
  5. The Inkey List Rosehip Oil, $17.
  6. The Inkey List Collagen Face Serum, $18.
  7. The Inkey List Squalane Oil, $18.
  8. The Inkey List Caffeine Under-Eye Serum, $18.
  9. The Inkey List Alpha Hydroxy Acid Serum, $18.
  10. The Inkey List Turmeric Moisturiser, $18.
  11. The Inkey List Lactic Acid Face Serum, $18.
  12. The Inkey List Vitamin C Serum, $18.

The packaging is basic. There's nothing all that fancy or special about the bottles and tubes, which is likely one of the reasons they come with such a low price tag.

But take the time to look at the boxes and you'll find everything you need to know about the product in simple, easy to understand language.

the inkey list hyaluronic acid
The front and back of The Inkey List packaging. So informative! Image: Amy Clark.

For example, the Hyaluronic Acid box tells you:

  • How to actually pronounce 'hyaluronic acid' (i.e. hi-lu-ron-ic a-sed).
  • What hyaluronic acid is (i.e. a powerful moisture-binding ingredient that works beneath the skin's surface and can hold up to 1000x its weight in water).
  • What skin concern the product targets (i.e. dehydrated skin).
  • What the product does (i.e. hydrates the skin, reduces fine lines and reduces the appearance of wrinkles).
  • The percentages of the product's ingredients (i.e. 2% pure hyaluronic acid).
  • How to use the product (i.e. use a pea-sized amount AM and PM on cleansed skin, follow with serum and moisturiser).

It really doesn't get simpler than that.

So far, I've tried five of the brand's products - the Hyaluronic AcidCaffeine Under-Eye SerumTurmeric MoisturiserSqualane Oil and Lactic Acid Face Serum. Here's my initial thoughts.

The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid, $12.

For $12, this hyaluronic acid is a winner. Image: Amy Clark.

This hyaluronic acid looks and smells exactly like any other I've tried. It comes out clear and has a thin, watery consistency, and goes slightly tacky after pressing into the skin (hyaluronic acid serums are meant to feel a bit sticky when you apply them).

The bottle is teeny tiny and I'd probably go through it in a fortnight, but first impressions of this $12 serum are great!

The Inkey List Turmeric Moisturiser, $18.

I could live without the turmeric moisturiser, but also wouldn't mind if it decided to hang around. Image: Amy Clark.

I'm not the biggest fan of this moisturiser, mostly because it has a faint but detectable turmeric smell. That said, there's nothing overly offensive about the product and it feels like a standard daytime moisturiser.

I'll probably stick to keeping turmeric in my cooking rather than on my face, but if you're curious about turmeric beauty products, $18 is a pretty low risk price to pay for it.


The Inkey List Lactic Acid Face Serum, $18.

The lactic acid face serum is gentle, but effective. Image: Amy Clark.

The lactic acid is a mild chemical exfoliating serum to eat away at dead skin cells for a brighter complexion, without burning your face off like more hectic acids can.

The serum is clear and absorbs into the skin quickly, and you'll only feel a very mild tingling and cooling sensation. I'd recommend this as a very non-intimidating baby's first chemical exfoliant. Well, not for an actual baby. You get the idea.

The Inkey List Caffeine Under-Eye Serum, $18.

Get excited about the caffeine under-eye serum! Image: Amy Clark.

I was most excited to try this product on Sunday on my hungover, fluid-retaining under eye bags. The consistency looks like a thin moisturiser but you feel a cooling effect on the skin instantly.

The product doesn't have the big anti-ageing ingredients you'd need to permanently reduce fine lines around the eye, but I definitely noticed a de-puffing effect.

The Inkey List Squalane Oil, $18.

Could also take or leave the squalane oil, but great for non-sticky day wear. Image: Amy Clark.

I'd put this squalane oil (its job is to hydrate the skin) in between a serum and face oil consistency. It's not as thick as I was expecting, but the oil absorbs nicely and has a more matte finish - also wasn't expecting that.

I'd use this oil in the day during winter under a moisturiser for when you want extra hydration, without your face feeling like an oil slick. I'll keep using my thick, juicy face oil for night time.

You can find out more about The Inkey List on their website, and shop The Inkey List in-store and online at Sephora Australia.

Have you tried The Inkey List? Tell us what you thought in the comments!

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