Does A Sunscreen-Enriched Moisturiser Provide Adequate Sun Protection?

by Gio
the inkey list zinc oxide cream moisturiser

Is it sunscreen? Is it a moisturiser? Is it both?

The Inkey List Zinc Oxide Cream Moisturiser is one of those hybrid products no one understands. That can be dangerous.

When SPF’s involved, you need to get the application right. The last thing you want is to find 10 years later your sun protection was failing you all along…

But when you get it right… Ah, when you get it right, you can say goodbye to sun damage – without turning your skin into a greasy, white mess. Can this cream give you that? Let’s find out:

Key Ingredients In The Inkey List Zinc Oxide Cream Moisturiser

UV Filter

Don’t let the name trick you! Zinc oxide ain’t the only UV filter in The Inkey List Zinc Oxide Cream Moisturiser. A few chemical UV filters are hiding here too.

Here’s the complete list (in order of concentration):

If you’re a total mineral sunscreens fan girl, this ain’t for you. But if you’ve been avoiding them for fear of the dreaded white cast, this moisturizer/sunscreen is a good compromise.

Related: Is Zinc Oxide The Best UV Filter Ever?


Ah, the family everyone loves to hate. It’s a shame, because silicones have a lot going for them:

  • Better texture: they gives moisturisers that silky soft feel that makes them a pleasure to use.
  • Enhanced slip: they make moisturisers glide smoothly on the skin.
  • Blurred imperfections: they fill in wrinkles and blur out pores so they look smaller.

So, why are they so hated? Cos people believe all sorts of nasty things about them:

The real problem with silicones is they just airbrush skin. They don’t have antioxidant or antiaging properties of their own. I totally get if you prefer to use moisturiser with natural oils and butters that go the extra mile.

Just stop blaming silicones for things they do NOT do!

P.S. The Inkey List Zinc Oxide Cream Moisturiser is loaded with silicones. If you don’t like them, this ain’t for you.

Related: Are Silicones Bad For Skin?

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride

I bet you’ve seen Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride in 90% of your moisturizers. The Inkey List Zinc Oxide Cream Moisturiser has it, too. What makes it so popular?

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride is a mixture of coconut oil and glycerin. It’s just as moisturizing as coconut oil, but not as thick and NON comedogenic.

In other words, it gives you all the benefits of coconut oil without its side effects.

Related: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Coconut Oil In Skincare

Can A Sunscreen-Enriched Moisturiser Provide Adequate Sun Protection?

The Inkey List calls Zinc Oxide Cream Moisturiser a sunscreen-enriched moisturiser. That’s just a fancy way of saying moisturiser with SPF.

Does it provide adequate sun protection? Yes and no. It depends on how you use it. Let me explain…

UV filters don’t stop providing sun protection just because they come in moisturiser form. They stop providing ADEQUATE sun protection when you DON’T apply enough.

It doesn’t matter if you’re using sunscreen, moisturiser, tinted foundation or whatever. If you want to reach the SPF stated on the packaging, you need to apply 2.0mg/cm^2 of skin. In plain English, that’s 1/4 of a teaspoon.

That’s A LOT of product. I don’t know anyone who uses that much moisturizer. Heck, even The Inkey List tells you to apply a pea-sized amount of it. 🙄

If you do apply enough, kudos to you. You’ll get adequate sun protection. Anyone else, layer this under a proper sunscreen.

Related: Do Cosmetics With SPF Provide Adequate Sun Protection?

Let’s Put It To The Test: Personal Use & Opinion

By the way, did you notice what’s missing in the ingredients breakdown above? Yep, antioxidants. The Inkey List Zinc Oxide Cream Moisturiser barely has a drop.

This isn’t an antiaging moisturiser. It’s a basic moisturiser with sunscreen benefits (if you apply enough!). For the price, can you really complain?

Texture-wise, the cream is rich but it doesn’t feel heavy on the skin. I don’t mind piling it up, but if you have oily skin, that may feel a little too much for you.

On my pale skin, it goes on smoothly without leaving a white, ashy residue behind. The finish’s matte, which I’m not too happy about. I prefer a dewy glow, but I can fix that with makeup.

I didn’t experience any irritation, breakouts or pilling from this moisturizer. But it’s not the most hydrating either. It’s ok for my combo-leaning-more-to-the-dry-side skin type now, but in the depth of winter, I need something more heavy duty.

I’m on the fence with this one. I’d have loved it in my late teens when antiaging wasn’t a concern yet. It can also work for people who are willing to apply enough to get the SPF benefits. Why use two products when the one will do?

Me? I’ll stick to antiaging moistruizers and use a separate sunscreen.

Available at: £8.99 at Asos, Cult Beauty and Feel Unique

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Zinc Oxide, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Butylene Glycol, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Glycerin, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Dimethicone, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polymethylsilsesquioxane/Silica Crosspolymer, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Isohexadecane, Isododecane, Phenoxyethanol, Polysilicone-11, Cetyl Alcohol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Polysorbate 80, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Hyaluronate

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Mariana April 9, 2019 - 3:12 pm

Thanks for this review, I’ve been curious with this product ever since Nadine Baggott first mentioned it. I think the brand is soon to be really hyped up!

Gio April 12, 2019 - 3:59 pm

Mariana, my pleasure! It’s certainly riding The Ordinary wave. I think the textures are better but some of the products are a bit gimmicky.

kate April 9, 2019 - 8:00 pm

What about the IT moisturizing foundations?

Gio April 12, 2019 - 3:59 pm

Kate, if you want the SPF stated on the label, you need to read the product as a sunscreen and apply 1/4 of a teaspoon. Otherwise, it’s just a regular foundation.

TKG August 20, 2019 - 9:05 am

I tired this cream, and I loved it for texture, even applying the recommended 1/4 teaspoon. However, my problem is that they don’t actually state that this has any SPF properties, which makes me question if they’ve subjected it to any third-party testing that would allow them to print SPF claims on the label. In trying to get information on the company to ask them directly, a quick google search doesn’t turn up any Inkey List official website, which is odd, right? I find it confusing, it’s like they’re putting it on consumers to make assumptions about this moisturiser having sun-protecting properties, without going through the legwork of getting it certified as such. In short, I wouldn’t trust this as an SPF, even applied at the 1/4 teaspoon amount. What are your thoughts? Do you have any insight into why an SPF claim isn’t printed on the label?

Gio September 14, 2019 - 12:18 pm

TKG, thank you for spotting that. It’s probably because they didn’t do the testing to determine the level of SPF. There’s enough zinc here to provide some sun protection, but as we don’t know the exact SPF it’s best to use it with a separate sunscreen indeed.

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