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The Inkey List

Multi-Biotic Face Moisturizer

1.00 fl. oz. for $ 12.99
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Brand Overview

The Inkey List’s Multi-Biotic Face Moisturizer has a lot going for it—just bear in mind that its probiotic (yogurt powder) isn’t quite as heroic as it’s made out to be.

First things first, the “multi-biotic” portion of the name refers to pre-, pro-, and postbiotics. In a nutshell, these “biotic” ingredients work together to help strengthen skin’s surface, enhance moisture retention, provide soothing benefits, and help maintain a healthy pH balance that keeps skin’s good bacteria in and the bad bacteria out, which would be especially valuable to those dealing with immune system issues that impact the skin or severe eczema. Applying biotics to skin not impacted by these issues helps maintain a normal pH, keeping skin in its happy acidic state.

First up is the prebiotic inulin, which plays a vital role in fueling probiotics to function at their best within your skin’s microbiome. We’re glad to see it in such high concentration in this formula.

For the probiotic, the Inkey List went with yogurt powder, which they claim to be using in 5% concentration. Oddly enough, the yogurt powder comes after the 2% squalane that they claim to be using, so the math literally doesn’t add up. No matter, because it’s unlikely that its probiotic strains would survive the heat involved in the manufacturing process for yogurt powder.

Another important thing to know about probiotics is that because everyone’s microbiome is unique, there’s no way to really know which probiotics your particular skin needs. That said, yogurt powder is a non-irritating ingredient, so there’s no harm in including it—it’s just not as heroic for your skin as The Inkey List makes it out to be.

In terms of ingredients that function as postbiotics (giving your skin the kinds of beneficial substances a healthy microbiome would normally make on its own), this formula’s sodium hyaluronate and heptapeptide-7 help round out that role. The squalane is another nice addition as a replenishing source of fatty acids and antioxidants.

As for the highly-touted “Brightenyl” (a blend of water, glycerin and diglucosyl gallic acid) that Inkey List claims can help even out skin tone, the manufacturer’s study showed an improvement in overall skin brightness and slight fading of dark spots. We’re intrigued and hope to see more research published from independent sources to confirm those benefits.

It’s important to point out that when it comes to biotics, the packaging matters. Probiotics are particularly tricky to stabilize in skin care products, which is why is we’re glad to see that this moisturizer comes in an opaque bottle with pump (as opposed to a jar that allows them to break down prematurely).

Multi-Biotic Face Moisturizer has a lightweight lotion texture that sinks right into skin—no heavy, greasy feel—making the formula workable for any skin type. All told, we’re happy to recommend this product even though the probiotic element isn’t quite as impressive as it’s made out to be, because the prebiotic and postbiotic ingredients are actually more significant anyway.

BTW: This formula is technically fragrance free (which is good news for the health of your skin), but you may pick up on the slightly sour scent of the raw ingredients (likely the yogurt powder). Thankfully, it’s not overpowering and quickly dissipates.

  • Contains prebiotic and postbiotic ingredients that help promote healthy skin as claimed.
  • Squalane replenishes skin with fatty acids and antioxidant properties.
  • May help brighten skin tone.
  • Lightweight lotion texture that sinks right into skin—no heavy, greasy feel.
  • Packaged to help keep the formula stable.
  • Doesn’t contain irritating fragrance ingredients.
  • Yogurt powder isn’t as beneficial as it’s made out to be (and has a slightly sour smell).
Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: No

A multi-biotic moisturizer that combines pro-biotic, along with its nutrients (pre) and byproducts (post), to help balance and promote healthy skin.

Water, Inulin, Glycerin, Isoamyl Laurate, Propanediol, Squalane, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Yogurt Powder, Sodium Caproyl Prolinate, Carbomer, Isoamyl Cocoate, Benzyl Alcohol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Diglucosyl Gallic Acid, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Dehydroacetic Acid Polysorbate 60, Dehydroacetic Acid, Citric Acid, Heptapeptide-7, Lecithin, Potassium Sorbate, Propanediol, Sodium Benzoate, Xanthan Gum, Sorbitan Isostearate.

The Inkey List is the creation of Colette Newberry and Mark Curry, respectively the former branding and product developers of the widespread UK-based drugstore chain Boots, which has its own namesake skin care line. As with a number of up-and-coming “indie” brands, the media coverage centers on their inexpensive products with minimalist formulas that tend to focus on a single star ingredient, such as hyaluronic acid, squalane, or retinol.

If you’re wondering about the inspiration for the name, it’s the pronunciation of the acronym “INCI,” which stands for the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients, an agreed-upon, regulated list of how cosmetics ingredients should be identified on product labels. Each product has its chief ingredient listed on the packaging with dictionary-style writing underneath showing how the name is phoneticized, a clever and slightly erudite touch.

Though the formulas are somewhat basic, The Inkey List gets its packaging spot-on – all products are in opaque containers, with no jars or clear containers to be found. Fragrance isn’t on this brand’s radar, either--at least not in terms of adding it to their products (which will make your skin very happy).

We’d like to see more complex formulas, but then again such formulas cost more to make, and The Inkey List is mostly a bargain brand. We wrote “mostly” because in some cases, on an ounce-per-ounce basis, The Inkey List costs just as much as some other brands offering the same type of products (like leave-on exfoliants) in larger sizes.

Even with the predominantly one-note ingredient theme, the brand typically includes beneficial ingredients in efficacious amounts and skips irritants, with the exception of a couple a products that contain witch hazel water and drying denatured alcohol.

That aside, the brand offers a good selection of effective products, something we’re always glad to see. The Inkey List is sold exclusively in the U.S. at Sephora; you can learn more about the brand here:

About the Experts

The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.

Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.

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