This Entire Skincare Routine (Including Retinol!) Is Under $50 and Will Transform Your Skin

Ever stand in front of the skincare aisle or scroll through pages and pages of products online and think, can someone just tell me what to use? Because life is confusing enough without having to also wade through ingredient lists and marketing speak to figure out which products are right for you. Likewise, nobody wants to drop hard-earned cash on some trendy serum or lotion only for it to end up in your skincare graveyard with other half-used bottles that didn’t live up to the hype.

So if you’re frustrated by skincare shopping or just want to follow a solid routine for healthy, glowing skin without the hassle or trial and error, there’s a new brand to get on your radar STAT. The INKEY List’s main goal: Deliver science-backed, results-oriented skincare—and make shopping for it way easier and more affordable.

Skincare, Simplified (Finally!)

Founded in the U.K. 2018 and now available at Sephora, The INKEY List was built on a few key beliefs—first, that knowledge powers better decisions and makes the skincare shopping process simpler. To that end, the brand works to educate consumers on skin concerns and best treatments. It relies only on tried-and-true hero ingredients backed by science and recommended by dermatologists, blended into innovative formulas with supporting actives. In fact, its go-to ingredients reads like a derm’s who’s-who list.

The brand’s products are shockingly inexpensive; there’s not a single product over $15.

Think all-stars like retinol, niacinamide, salicylic, glycolic and hyaluronic acids and vitamin C at results-driven percentages. And with super-descriptive and straightforward product names like Hyaluronic Hydrating Serum and 15% Vitamin C and EGF Brightening Serum, you immediately know both the hero ingredient and what it’s going to do for you. No guesswork or translating label lingo required.

The INKEY List’s final key belief is that effective ingredients and quality formulas should be accessible. After all, great skincare and a stress-free shopping experience is only truly great if you can actually afford it! So along with making it easy to navigate your choices, the brand’s products are shockingly inexpensive; there’s not a single product over $15.

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Build a Skincare Routine That’s Right For You—For Under $45

Think of The INKEY List as a well-curated boutique. There’s plenty of products to choose from—a range of options for every skin type and concern—but not so many that you feel overwhelmed. Here, we’ve rounded up a few examples of the effective ingredients and products that help you create your perfect skincare “recipe” and achieve your best skin yet.

To smooth fine lines and wrinkles

Retinol has been the gold standard and dermatologist-favorite over-the-counter anti-aging ingredient for decades. The reason it’s been in the top spot so long: It’s proven to speed cell turnover and smooth the appearance of lines and wrinkles while also brightening and evening out skin tone. The Retinol Anti-Aging Serum, $10, features a slow-release formula that helps reduce risk of irritation from the potent active.

Retinol Anti-Aging Serum

The INKEY List sephora.com

$9.99

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Caffeine doesn’t only wake you up in the morning. As a topical, it’s known to energize and de-puff tired peepers, too, acting as diuretic that reduces water retention. The Caffeine Eye Cream, $10, also includes Matrixyl 3000, a patented peptide that helps smooth fine lines.

Caffeine Eye Cream

The INKEY List sephora.com

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$9.99

If skin needs a radiance boost

Hyaluronic acid is one of the most effective hydrators around thanks to its ability to hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. Even better: It helps skin retain moisture, leaving it looking smooth and plump, but feels lightweight and non-greasy, even at the 2 percent concentration you get in the Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Serum, $8.

Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Serum

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The INKEY List sephora.com

$7.99

For oily or acne-prone skin

Salicylic acid, a longtime go-to for clear skin, can penetrate pores and exfoliate the dead skin cells, oil, dirt and other debris that contribute to blemishes. The brand’s Salicylic Acid Acne + Pore Cleanser, $10, contains a potent 2 percent concentration, plus zinc to reduce oil and soothing allantoin.

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Salicylic Acid Acne + Pore Cleanser

The INKEY List sephora.com

$9.99

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Niacinamide has years of scientific research showing its skincare benefits, which include regulating oil and clearing acne without drying out skin. The B3 vitamin can also address redness and even out skin tone. You get 10 percent concentration in the Niacinamide Oil Control Serum, $7, which also delivers hyaluronic acid for added, non-greasy hydration.

Niacinamide Oil Control Serum

The INKEY List sephora.com

$6.99

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Build and shop your brand new skincare routine over on The Inkey List

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Updated: September 11, 2021 — 3:53 pm
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