Whether you're a skincare obsessive or not, chances are you've probably heard of super affordable skincare brand, The Inkey List. Just like The Ordinary and Skin Proud, the focus is on expert-approved ingredients such as salicylic acid, vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, which target specific skin needs like breakouts and dehydration – all without completely breaking the bank. A favourite among dermatologists, editors and influencers, the brand recently announced that it has branched out into haircare, but the move isn't as surprising as you might think.
Your scalp isn't entirely different from the skin on your face, or even the rest of your body. According to trichologists, it is simply an extension of the skin elsewhere, so it's just as susceptible to dryness, oiliness, breakouts and dullness, which may reflect the condition of your hair. In other words, your hair and scalp demands similar attention to facial skin. You don't have to take your 10-step Korean-inspired skincare regimen and apply it to your hair but supplementing your current hair routine with a couple of targeted products could make a world of difference, especially if you're grappling with issues like dandruff, excess oil or colour fade.
Cruelty-free and 100% vegan, each product in the line (from exfoliating scalp tonics to hair growth serums) is formulated without essential oils, fragrance, alcohol, sulphates and mineral oil. These ingredients aren't necessarily bad but if you have a sensitive scalp or your hair is dry, damaged or over-processed, you might want to give them a miss. The best part, though? Everything is under £14.99. So what's really worth your money? I put the range to the test.
The best Inkey List product for dandruff: Salicylic Acid Exfoliating Scalp Treatment, £11.99, available at Cult Beauty.
This is excellent if you struggle to get rid of dandruff but find targeted shampoos too harsh. It's a pre-shampoo treatment, so should be massaged onto the scalp and left on for 10 minutes before rinsing out and shampooing. Star ingredient salicylic acid exfoliates away dead skin, leaving roots squeaky clean and free from flakes. A must-buy and a little goes a long way.
The best Inkey List product for hair growth: Caffeine Stimulating Scalp Treatment, £14.99, available at Cult Beauty.
This is a clear, lightweight serum best left on overnight and washed out in the morning. Unlike other caffeine hair products, it isn't sticky or greasy and users have reported a spurt in baby hairs, especially around the hairline. One downside is the size of the bottle. For best results, the brand recommends using the product for three months, so you'd need to stock up to see a real difference.
The best Inkey List product for greys: Amino Acid Anti Gray Scalp Treatment, £14.99, available at Cult Beauty.
Of course, you don't need me to tell you that there is absolutely nothing wrong with going grey. It's an entirely natural process and we'll all get grey hair at some point. But if you aren't happy to embrace your silver strands, this might interest you. The watery serum may not look or feel like much, but it contains 1% Darkenyl, which studies have found counteracts white hair and reactivates dormant pigment follicles over time.
The best Inkey List product for dry hair: Shea Oil Nourishing Hair Treatment, £9.99, available at Cult Beauty.
This is a treat to use. It makes thick, coarse hair prone to parched ends and frizzy roots soft, smooth and glossy. Rake one pump through towel-dried hair before blow-drying and another to the ends to seal in shine.
The best Inkey List product for fine hair: Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Hair Treatment, £9.99, available at Cult Beauty.
Hyaluronic acid is one of the most hydrating ingredients in skincare, minimising dullness and that uncomfortable tight feeling. It also has benefits for your hair. If your hair is on the fine side and serums or oils just make your lengths greasy or stringy, reach for this stuff. It's featherlight but smooths down frizzy bits and imparts shine instantly, especially when applied to dry hair post-styling.
The best Inkey List product for boosting volume: Peptide Volumizing Hair Treatment, £9.99, available at Cult Beauty.
Lots of beauty brands are jumping on board the peptide bandwagon, and for good reason. The ingredient is essentially a protein, which plumps strands from the inside out, making hair appear fuller. For an extra boost, apply through towel-dried hair. Take a round barrel brush, lift your hair at the root and apply heat from a hairdryer for two to three seconds. The results are positively surprising.
The best Inkey List product for coloured hair: Vitamin C Brightening Hair Treatment, £9.99, available at Cult Beauty.
If your hair is damaged and in need of a good cut but you aren't too keen on hitting the salon just yet, try this serum. A couple of pumps enhances shine from root to tip, making hair appear brand new, while the vitamin C protects against dulling pollution particles. It's suited to all hair types and textures.
The best Inkey List product for curly hair: Chia Seed Curl Defining Hair Treatment, £7.99, available at Cult Beauty.
Reviewers report that this creme (similar to OUAI's cult Curl Jelly) enhances the shape of curls without weighing them down or making them feel crispy. It's moisturising enough to use alone but works well with styling gel for extra hold.