Thursday, May 18, 2006

Tinted Love: One Woman’s Search for the Perfect Tinted Moisturizer

Like that title? I learned how to do that in graduate school. The opening title phrase, followed by what we affectionately referred to as the “post-colonic surge.” Sounds like something to tell the doctor about, don’t you think? Anyway, it was more interesting than “Product Review: Tinted Moisturizers.”

In their June issue, Real Simple reviews tinted moisturizers. For several years now, I’ve been using tinted moisturizers instead of foundation. Back in my 20s, I wore foundation (Prescriptives, Clinique, Lancome). After that, I started wearing Studio Fix, and I wore it for years, until my skin got too dry. I tried to go back to foundation, but I had a hard time finding one that spread evenly, didn’t highlight dry patches, or didn’t settle in my pores.

I thought I would review some of the tinted moisturizers I’ve used over the years, as Real Simple didn’t include any of them in their review.

Prescriptives Traceless Skin Tint
Years ago, I was walking through Bloomingdales (I remember this was the weekend after 9/11, and the mall was creepily quiet for a Saturday.), and I spotted something new: Prescriptives Traceless Skin Tint. I decided to stop and test, and went home not just with the tint but with the powder as well. For a few years I switched between that and the Studio Fix, depending on the weather and condition of my skin.

This tint works best applied with a brush. Many skin tints you can apply as you would a moisturizer, but this isn’t one of them (believe me, I tried). It comes in a tube with a screw-off top. The best way to apply it is to squeeze a relatively generous amount onto your fingers, dab the tint onto your forehead, cheeks, nose and chin, and then use the foundation brush to smooth it out over your face. A note about this tint: you have to smooth it out quickly, or it starts to get streaky.

Overall, it evens your skin tone and also provides a soft glow. It could have been the shade I was using (I am a Y/O), but I also felt it whitened my face just a bit. The powder (which they recommend, of course), enhances the glow and gives a very moisturized, dewy effect. As the day goes on, however, it does tend to move around a little and settle near drier spots or in fine lines. This is easy enough to correct with your finger, but really, you shouldn’t have to. I didn’t wear primer back then, but primer may help.

One drawback, though, is that if you have really bad rough or dry patches, this tint will highlight every one of them, especially if you use it with the powder.

MAC Select Tint SPF 15
I gave up both the Prescriptives Traceless and the Studio Fix because my skin was simply too dry. I love MAC, though, and I read about their Select Tint on MUA (where I have been lurking for years), so I decided to give it a try. I’m an NW20, and the SA recommended I stay with that shade for the tint. I noticed that it tended to separate a little in the bottle (must have been water, because this is a water-based tint), and I had to shake it well before applying.

I applied this tint with my fingers as I would a foundation. It went on well enough, but it immediately settled in my pores and clung to my dry patches. Also, it appeared to make my skin a sort of tannish-pink color. My NW20? Pink? I’m not sure if I was used to being pale and dewy after the Prescriptives, or if the SA simply gave me the wrong color. (Is anyone out there one level in Studio Fix and another level in something else?) I can’t comment on its staying power, because I think that every morning I wore it, I ended up wiping most of it off completely as I tried to get it out of my pores and even out the dry spots. My skin is much less dry now, so I am tempted to go back and see another SA and give it a go. I also like that it has an SPF, even though I wear a moisturizer with SPF 15.

Clinique Almost Makeup SPF 15
I love Clinique products because they are so easy. Clinique was the first “grown-up” makeup I ever owned, and I appreciate that they have continued to develop their line as their customer base ages.

My skin was a wreck when I ordered this a few years back, along with their 3-Step system and some other goodies. (I know, I know. Don’t use the 3-Step. See my entry on The Skin Type Solution if you want to know about my obsession with skin care products.) It was winter, and I wanted nothing of the strange color effect I’d gotten with the MAC, so to be safe I went with Fair as my color choice.

I applied this just like a moisturizer, squeezing it out onto my fingers and then swiping it all over my face. And I got what I expected: light, fresh, even coverage. Almost Makeup has a terrific moisturizing effect, and provides a bit more coverage than the other tinted moisturizers I’ve used. It also stays put, especially if you just dust on a little translucent powder. All in all, I would say this is my favorite…except that I can’t, because my favorite is:

Stila Sheer Color Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15
Before I start this part of the review, have you all noticed that Stila has been removed from Could the rumor that EL is planning to stop (or sell) this line be true? If you know, please tell me, so I can stock up on this tint (and on my Convertible Color in Lillium). And while I’m at it, anyone tried the Sakura Collection? It looks so pretty…

Ahem. I read about this product everywhere. (Yes, Product Placement People, you got me. Good for you.) I’m pretty sure what convinced me was a good rating on MUA. But however it happened, I was out of Almost Makeup (AM), and I decided to try this. I bought it in Light.

Like the AM, I apply this as I would a moisturizer: squeeze some onto my fingers, swipe it over my face, and I’m done. So easy! I do put a little translucent powder over the top, just to even things out and feel “finished.” Honestly, though, I didn’t know how much I loved this product until I was almost out of it and I decided to go back to AM. But when I used the AM again, it seemed thicker, and also not quite the right color. The Stila blends perfectly with my skin. There’s no lightening effect at all. I may have always been using the wrong color for AM, but the texture also no longer felt so “natural” after the Stila.

My only complaint about the Stila is that it does wear off a little, and the AM does not. However, I started wearing the Smashbox primer after reading about it on the Beauty Addict’s site (and also Cavewoman’s review on Blogdorf Goodman). I picked up a sample tube of this at Sephora (I hate to commit if I don’t have to), and it’s lasting forever. Now the Stila pretty much stays put. On days when I don’t wear the primer (because I am too lazy or running late), I see a big difference. My nose is glowing by late afternoon (Um, Br. Baumann, why does a DSPW have a shiny nose?), and I have to powder.

Of course, I say I love it, but I’m so darn fickle…I’m almost out, and I’m thinking of trying DuWop’s Revolution Face, after reading Beauty Addict’s review. Real Simple recommended Cosmedicine’s tinted moisture for dry skin, so that’s a possibility as well. Or I could go the drugstore route with Neutrogena’s Healthy Skin Face Tint.

Anyone out there tried these, or have a tinted moisturizer you think I should try? Let me know, and I will review it here.
**photos of Prescriptives, MAC, and Clinique from; photo of Stila from