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Once upon a time, being a probiotic nut made me stand out among my friends. It was a distinctive trait, as in, “Don’t worry, I’m sure Tanya will sit down for dinner soon, she’s just inspecting your cabinets for sauerkraut.”
But in the last five years, everyone in America and even my snobbiest European friends have caught up to my California crunchy ways, and I’m here for it. Now, even the beauty industry is in the microbe game. Pre-, pro-, and post-biotic skincare has probably already entered your consciousness either through an online ad, word of mouth, or from putting probiotic powder on your face because you’ve been bored and desperate during quarantine.
The link between topical probiotic ingredients and healthy skin has been scientifically proven. I’ve been using and loving microbiome friendly and probiotic skincare for the last year. But I haven’t seen microbes in makeup—until now. Cover FX revealed their groundbreaking new Luminous Moisturizer this week, and its ingredients are more exciting than smelling bacon on a sunny Saturday morning.
Bottom Line: Cover FX’s Luminous Tinted Moisturizer is a landmark new product for the brand. With an innovative topical prebiotic and probiotic formula, it’s the first major brand I’ve seen incorporate microbiome-friendly formulas and adaptogens like chaga mushrooms into makeup.
Best for: Glowing, daytime, fresh skin looks
Active ingredients: Prebiotic and probiotic active complexes, ginseng, chaga mushroom, Adaptogens
About the brand: Known for their formula and color customization, Cover FX figured out a way to make high-performance makeup using clean ingredients. With a vast range of skincare and makeup, the brand is a favorite among makeup artists and celebrities who love the Custom Color Drops to achieve the perfect foundation color.
About My Skin/Complexion: Dehydrated, oily, sensitive, perioral dermatitis
My skin may be the only thing that hates 2020 more than I do. Prone to stress breakouts and perioral dermatitis flare-ups, it’s been a six-month-long witching hour for all of my worst irritations. I’m always looking for methods to de-stress my skin and use microbiome-restoring ingredients. You can see why I got so excited when I heard about this Cover FX product.
My daily routine is always different depending on what my skin is like each day, or what products I’m testing, but I typically follow the same template. I typically start with a cream or balm cleanser; right now my current obsession is Augustinus Bader Cream Cleanser. Without fail, I use a daytime serum like iS Clinical Super Serum Advance+ to even my skin tone and fade any post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. That serum is like pressing the 4x fast-forward button on your skin’s cell turnover and healing. I do use a light daytime oil, like The Ordinary Squalane, before applying a skin tint or color correcting cream. ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint and IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream are my summer favorites.
After a light patting of squalane, I applied the Luminous Tinted Moisturizer, and my skin turned into the "after" photo of a filter commercial.
The Ingredients: Prebiotics, probiotics, mushrooms, adaptogens, oh my!
Prebiotic/Probiotic Complex: Recent medical journals prove that the topical use of probiotics in creams and serums reduces inflammation and speeds up wound healing.
Chaga mushroom: The superfood mushroom has recently been studied for its ability to help heal skin conditions like psoriasis when taken internally.
Ginseng: Ginseng has been heavily lauded for its anti-aging benefits in skincare. But in addition to blurring fine lines and wrinkles, the adaptogen can also depuff and diffuse the color of under-eye circles thanks to its circulation-improving and antioxidant properties.
Typically, I’m a finger-painter when it comes to any and all makeup applications. My dehydrated skin reacts well with the heat from my hands pushing product into my skin. Sometimes if I’m feeling particularly dry, I do the Bianca Jagger routine: I get into a piping hot bath after applying my makeup so that my body heat and natural skin oils blend the products into a seamless, dewy finish.
As a self-nominated head counselor of the fingers camp, it takes a lot to convince me to use a brush for foundation. The new custom application brush is different. I apply the product onto the brush, where it sits in 3 antibacterial silicone silos until you apply the tinted moisturizer. Essentially, the new technology saves a lot of product while the brush blends it flawlessly.
I consider this more of a priming skincare treatment than a tinted moisturizer, but it has the right amount of coverage for me for the summertime. You can easily build up on top of the product with a heavier foundation, or micro-conceal any area that needs extra help, but this is my favorite kind of product.
The Results: Smaller pores, even tone, filter face
I’ve recently submitted to the fact that, despite all of my valiant efforts and unstinting hopes, I’ll never be able to fix my pores. That may sound fatalistic, but it’s just a reality that I’ve come to accept. I’ve tried every treatment a dermatologist has to offer, so now I just rely on products to help me. To my amazement, the Luminous Tinted Moisturizer made my pores much less noticeable, like a really high-performing primer.
I was very dubious about the miniscule shade range, especially because Cover FX is known for their extensive foundation colors and customization options, but the brand promises one shade accommodates 30 different skin tones.
The Value: A better price point and a better product than industry comps
For a high-performance, clean, skin-healing product like this, $39 is a steal. I put this more in the skincare circle on a Venn diagram than in the foundation bubble, but it had a lot of pigment when I first applied it to my hand. I’m confused how this product works so well and adapts to such a large range, but I’m just going with it.
If you’re looking to heal your skin from a year of stress and resurrect your glow, this is definitely for you.
Tavaria FK. Topical use of probiotics: The natural balance. Porto Biomed J. 2017;2(3):69-70.
Kim Y-R. Immunomodulatory activity of the water extract from medicinal mushroom inonotus obliquus. Mycobiology. 2005;33(3):158-162.