Your Stylist: Tinted moisturizers put to the test


This article was originally on a blog post platform and may be missing photos, graphics or links. See About archive blog posts.

When it comes to trying to achieve a flawless face, the basic makeup items like foundation, concealer and powder come to mind. But a tinted moisturizer can act as a base for a sheer foundation or on its own for a lighter and less “made up’ look.

Tinted moisturizers often have a more dewy finish than most foundations and sink into skin like a lotion, so they’re perfect for slathering on to get even, polished-looking skin without looking too “done.” They’re also a bit more foolproof than foundation. You can quickly slather them on with fingertips like you would a regular face lotion and there are fewer shades to deal with -- usually just light, medium and dark, to enhance skin’s natural color rather than creating a mask-like base.


We’ve tested some new tinted moisturizers on the market, plus some go-to formulas that seem to work for a variety of skin tones, to see what kind of coverage they have and if they’re really as moisturizing as they promise.

Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint with SPF 20, $38 at This Culver City-based cosmetics company’s luminizing moisture tint lives up to its name, leaving skin glowy and radiant with one quick application. Our tester has dry skin and found that with this formula, she still needed a light layer of face lotion underneath in order to feel properly moisturized. But the finish of this tint is a bronze, beachy glow, perfect for perking up dull winter skin. It also has SPF 20 to protect against UVA and UVB rays and antioxidants like ginko biloba and ginseng extract.

Liz Earle Sheer Skin Tint with SPF 15, $34 at The U.K.-based skin care guru with a cult beauty line released her first makeup product, the Sheer Skin Tint, this past September and like her other products, it’s made with all-natural ingredients like vitamin E, avocado and borage oil. The consistency here is thicker, like a foundation, but it’s still easy to apply and soaks right into skin. Our tester has dry skin and found this heavy and moisturizing enough to wear without an additional layer of lotion. The coverage is also thick enough that no extra concealer was needed to even out some discoloration around the eyes. For people with oily skin, this may be too heavy to wear on a hot summer day, but it certainly works in cooler, dryer weather, locking in moisture while giving full coverage.

Peter Thomas Roth Un-Wrinkle Makeup-Less Chemical-Free SPF 30 Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer, $48 at
The term “makeup-less” sums this product up perfectly, as it delivers very sheer coverage that would work for the person who really just wants minimal color and finish. Our tester has sensitive combination skin that is prone to breakouts and found that while most of her fine lines and wrinkles seemed to fade away under a layer of this tinted moisturizer, the coverage of dark spots and imperfections was so minimal that she applied two layers of the stuff and some powder. She claims she would be most comfortable wearing this running errands or around the house, but not when she needed to look more done or dressed up. The high SPF here is a bonus, which might make this best for outdoor activities when you just need a little coverage.

By Terry Hyaluronic Face Glow, $65 at
Though this promises hydration, it didn’t deliver enough that it could be used without an additional lotion underneath. Our tester has combination skin, dry in some areas, oily in the T-zone, and found this to be a little drying. The finish was sheer and even, with a velvety look that provided enough coverage for a trip to the grocery store or the gym but not necessarily an evening event. She found the weight to be perfect for any season or weather.

Stila Sheer Color Tinted moisturizer SPF 20, $34 at
This tinted moisturizer delivers on its promise of being a sheer formula, with a light feel that left our tester feeling like she wasn’t wearing anything at all. She found it adequate to wear for day to night, saying it was versatile enough to add another layer for more coverage later in the evening. Because her skin is dryer in the winter, she had to add a layer of lotion, but claims that for warmer spring and summer days, it would be fine worn alone.


-- Melissa Magsaysay


Your Stylist: The best in brass jewelry

Your Stylist: A beauty how-to on the kitten eye

Your Stylist: Expert advice for soothing dry winter nails, hands

Photos, from top: Jouer Luminizing Moisture tint/Jouer; Liz Earle Sheer Skin Tint/Liz Earle; Peter Thomas Roth Un-wrinkle Makeup-less Chemical free SPF 30 oil-free tinted moisturizer/Peter Thomas Roth; By Terry Hyaluronic glow/By Terry; Stila Sheer Color Tinted moisturizer/Stila Cosmetics.