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Two brands bid to simplify beauty


Maggie Gibbons

Today I’m going to introduce you to two skincare brands you may not yet be aware of. They’re well worth checking out, both for their efficacy and their value.
Both brands come from companies that are working hard to create more transparency about their ingredients and their products’ promises in a confusing cosmetics and beauty market – so that can only be a good thing!

The Ordinary
The Ordinary is a brilliant budget-friendly skincare range with potent ingredients designed to target every skin issue you can think of. This brand is riding on the crest of a wave right now,  eschewing fancy packaging and expensive marketing to bring its products to market mainly through social-media platforms. It’s affordability is due to the fact that the products contain mainly just one ingredient, or a couple at most. It doesn’t make extravagant claims. You get what you see on the package.
If you ever walked around the beauty sections in one of the larger department stores you’ll know how totally baffling choosing skincare can be, each brand trying to outdo the other. Just who do you trust? That’s the 6 million dollar question.
Enter The Ordinary, the whole focus of which is on the individual ingredients and what they do, rather than creating fancy but false advertising blurbs and incorporating lots of ingredients that only add expense. With Ordinary, you can purchase five or six different products for under €50. I recently bought three of its vitamin C, Matrixyl™ and hyaluronic acid offerings for around €25. This allows me time to figure out what works best, without spending a fortune.
Hyaluronic acid plumps and firms – it can hold up to 1,000 times its own weight in water.  The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 (€6.75) product is supported with vitamin B5 to further enhance surface hydration.
The Ordinary offers a comprehensive range of vitamin C products. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that’s able to protect skin from environmental aggressors like pollution, UV and stress. It boosts collagen production, brightens skin and helps to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. To help you decide which of their products best suits you, The Ordinary have put up a really useful guide on their website at
Matrixyl™ is a peptide complex scientifically proven to reduce the look of both static and dynamic wrinkles – a powerful antiageing product. The Ordinary’s Matrixyl™ 10% + HA (€11.50) contains two forms of matrixyl in a specialized hyaluronic acid delivery system.  
You should be able to find The Ordinary products in Boots, Brown Thomas, Arnotts and selected pharmacies.

The Inkey List
When I bought both of The Inkey List products online I was initially confused by the brand’s similarity to The Ordinary in its packaging and terminology. However, they’re actually quite different. The Ordinary products come in little glass bottles with droppers, while The Inkey List comes in plastic tubes. The Inkey’s founders believe products should be easy to use and understand. Each product comes with a basic rundown of what it is, what it can do for you and what you should and shouldn’t mix with it.
Again,  the high-quality ingredients are hugely affordable. I bought the Rosehip Oil, Squalene and Caffeine Serum for under €30, three quite different products which I will compare with The Ordinary and see which I prefer.
Right now I’m loving the Squalene (€10.45) at night. Lightweight and non-greasy, it’s like an oil-based form of Hyaluronic Acid, though doesn’t feel oily on the skin. It’s great at holding onto moisture underneath the skin’s surface.
The Inkey List Rosehip Oil (€8.45) is a super hydrating and nourishing face oil. It works particularly well on scarring, it suits all skin types. The Caffeine Serum (€10.45) is terrific for under-eye puffiness and dark circles, giving your eyes a wide awake look.
Inkey List products are available in Boots, Arnotts and online.

> Maggie Gibbons is an Image/Style Consultant based in Louisburgh. She can be contacted at