A Guide to Affordable Skin Care in South Africa- The Inkey List & The Ordinary

My skin has been through alot the last year. From having Covid to struggling with extremely dry skin this winter I was ready to change up my usual skincare routine. Nafeesa from Zanya Medispa & Aesthetics always takes excellent care of my skin. I highly recommend a skincare consultation with her so that you can clearly establish what your skincare concerns are and how to treat them. She will guide you on the best treatments for your skin and I usually supplement my skincare routine with a facial or treatment she recommends.

As a skincare junkie I desperately wanted to get my hands on the Ordinary and The Inkey List. I love these brands because they cut through all the beauty jargon and deliver key active ingredients at competitive prices. Unfortunately, both these brands are very expensive in South Africa.

I decided to order 5 products from cultbeauty.co.uk. Shipping was free. My order totalled just over R600 + I paid an additional R400 for shipping. At R1000 for 5 products this didn’t work out too badly.

Here is what I bought and what I enjoyed as well as a wishlist of products I can’t wait to get my hands on.


The Ordinary’s AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

What I loved: This product lives up to its hype. It’s a 10-minute exfoliating facial that uses 30% AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) and 2% BHA (beta hydroxy acid) to improve your complexion tone, clarity, and texture. Over time it has given me clearer skin, my pores are significantly smaller and my blackheads are way less.

What I loathed: I would exercise extreme caution when using this product if you have sensitive skin.

How I use it: I use it as a treatment once a week during the evening, I follow up with a very gently cleanser, moisturiser and face oil. I seal everything with Vaseline or Aquaphor and wake up with glowing skin the next day. I tend to avoid actives when using this and I also ensure I am very careful about wearing sunscreen. It does tingle a bit when using it, please do a patch test on this product if you’re trying it. If you struggle with blackheads on your nose, use this as spot treament.

Rating: 11/10

Repurchase? Yes! This is good skin in a bottle.

The INKEY List Vitamin C Serum

What I loved: Vitamin C is a beauty buzzword and this formula contains contains 30% pure L-ascorbic acid and three silicones. It lightened my acne scars, and helped with hyperpigmentation on my skin significantly. It does tingle slightly while applying.

What I loathed: The product does pill a bit so be careful about applying under makeup (I usually apply this product at night). Also, patch test if you have sensitive skin.

How I use it: I use this as a treatment and usually spot apply to areas of my face with hyperpigmentation. Don’t forget sunscreen when using this product.

Rating: 8/10

Repurchase? Yes.


What I loved: This is the one product on this list I credit with clearing my skin. It is the perfect retinol for beginners, and with consistent use it helped clear my skin and brighten my complexion. This retinol is formulated with 1% RetiStar stabilized Retinol and 0.5% Granactive Retinoid as well as squalene and hyaluronic acid for added hydration.

What I loathed: Not much to hate about this product but it did cause a bit of irritation for the first few uses before my skin got used to it. It might be a bit mild if your skin is used to a retinol.

How I used it: I use this product as my nightly serum. I usually apply a pea sized amount to my forehead, cheeks and chin. Leave it on for 20 min before layering a moisturising face cream, my face oil and a thick layer of Aquaphor.

Rating: 9/10

Repurchase? Yes.

The INKEY List Bakuchiol

What I loved: The only thing I enjoyed about this product was the fact that it was very moisturising. Bakuchiol is a plant derived retinol alternative. This formula contains Sacha Inchi Oil and Squalane.

What I loathed: This product has a very thin consistency and it runs out very quickly. It also pools in the lid and is a bit messy to use. I felt the container wasn’t as full and this product ran out very quickly.

How I used it: I used this product as an AM and PM moisturizer

Rating: 6/10

Repurchase? No


What I loved: This comes in a container with a metal application that helps to depuff the eyes. It’s very hydrating for the under eye area but I’ll be honest I didn’t see much of a disappearance of my dark circles. This product does work extremely well under makeup (especially concealer).

What I loathed: I didn’t loath anything about this product, I just felt it didn’t do enough for my undereyes besides providing extra hydration.

How I used it: Squeeze a very tiny amount and rub the applicator around the eyes to instantly depuff. This is a great product to prep the under eyes before makeup application

Rating: 6/10

Repurchase? I want to try the caffeine eye cream as an alternative and see how it compares.


A few products I’m looking at getting next


The Ordinary:

The “Buffet:

Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

Retinol 0.5% in Squalane

Multi-Peptide Serum for Hair Density

Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%:

100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil

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PS. This is not a sponsored post

4 Replies to “A Guide to Affordable Skin Care in South Africa- The Inkey List & The Ordinary”

  1. Your blog’s inspire me. For I have skin that is acne prone. I hate wearing make up for it gives me more breakouts. Those affordable items allows me to save and try to get them. The most valuable input is your honesty and where to purchase.

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