Friday, July 22, 2011

What does "tinted moisturizer" mean to you?

I realize that all I seem to do these days is whine, but bear with me.

I've been on the road a lot lately, having driven with Mr. Buxom to a very remote part of New York to watch our kids perform in a production of Les Miserables.

(Idiotic aside: I'm sure the reaction to seeing your 14-year-old dressed as a whore for the Lovely Ladies number isn't supposed to be "OMG she's adorable!")

Eventually we'll be home, and the painters will leave, and I'll be through with Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet, and I'll cheer up.

Meanwhile, everything makes me cranky.

Like Estee Lauder. There was a time when I wrote Estee Lauder off as a cosmetics company for Old Ladies. But then they came out with Idealist. And Resilience Lift moisturizer. And DayWear tinted moisturizer. And I unbent and bought them. And they were good.

But. These excellent skincare products are no longer available in their original state. Idealist has been new-and-improved until it's unrecognizable. The same thing goes for Resilience Lift, once my absolutely favorite daytime moisturizer.

And now Estee Lauder has reformulated my beloved DayWear tinted moisturizer. Which is maddening, because in the last three years, I've probably gone through three tubes of the stuff.

The original came in different shades, was light, moisturizing, and so sheer that color matching wasn't an issue.

The replacement is this stuff with encapsulated bronzing beads in it. It's a very pale cream, but when you rub it on your face, the bronzing beads burst and add a tint. Which makes me look like an Oompah Loompah.

I've been searching for a replacement. So far I've popped for the famous Laura Mercier product, which isn't moisturizing enough for my middle-aged skin. The shade I was "color-matched" for is kind of off.

I also tried the Chanel Hydramax version. It smells pleasant and seems OK, but again, the color is slightly off.

Why is this so difficult? I always thought that tinted moisturizers were moisturizers with just a hint of tint. Like, say, what would happen if you took your SPF moisturizer and mixed in a little foundation. Which would keep the titanium dioxide from making you look super pale, and provide a little coverage to even your complexion. How do I know this? Believe it or not, back in the olden days, I used to do this myself.  I know, I know--it's the makeup equivalent of baking my own bread. But it worked because the foundation I started with was already a good match for my skin.

To my way of thinking, the tint in a tinted moisturizer isn't supposed to be a bronzer. And when you use a tinted moisturizer, you shouldn't have to worry about a demarcation line at the jaw. The tint should be so small a proportion of the product that you shouldn't be able to see where it leaves off and your neck begins.

The stuff I keep buying seems suspiciously like foundation. OK, it's not  What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? full-coverage spackle. But it's not really tinted moisturizer.

Am I completely off base?

And does anyone have any product recommendations?


  1. I'm quite fair, and recently tried and like the tinted La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL, 50+. I'm a NW20 in MAC, and this is about that level of color. Nice for summer wear, too, as it's not thick.

  2. Did you ever try Tarte cosmetics? They have a tinted moisturizer that has a hint of color without any bronzer effect. It might be what you are looking for.

  3. Anonymous 1: Ooh, this sounds like it would preserve my magnolia-like pallor.

    Anonymous 2: Tarte ... hm ... I'll check it out next time I'm in Sephora. Thanks!

  4. I recently started using the Mary Kay tinted moisturizer. It's heavier coverage than what I expected, but it's at least true to color and doesn't "bronze" me.

    To get the coverage I want, I first apply my regular moisturizer and then add a small dab of the tinted over the top, just link I would with a foundation. I like that it's a much lighter feel and look than a real foundation would be and I get the extra moisturizer.

  5. I use a regular moisturizer with Clinique City Block SPF over top. There's just a tiny bit of color, and no orange tones that I can tell. The Clinique alone isn't moisturizing enough, but it seems to even out my skin tone, so just that and a bit of powder is enough.

    The LaRoche-Posay tinted is also good, but looks a little more bronzed than the Clinique.

  6. Just to clarify, the Clinique *over* a regular moisturizer + powder is enough.

  7. I use the Laura Mercier but I have to say that it is darker than the color it is supposed to be.
    I took it back (Sephora takes everything back) and got a lighter shade and it's still dark.
    And it's kind of heavy.

  8. Try Bobbi Brown. There are several shades, and it is exactly what you have described that you are looking for. Less drying (and less dry,powdery looking than mercier- at least on me!) Doesn't give a lot of coverage, just tones down redness and evens out skin tone.

  9. Oh boy, I was getting excited because I thought I'd tell you to try Laura Mercier. Oh well.

    Another idea - Becca is an Aussie company but should be readily available in the US. They specialise in having a huge range of shades and good sun protection.

  10. I've been using Aveeno tinted moisturizer (which is slightly "illuminating" )and the Physician's Formula sunscreen powder product in the bright orange compact, which I apply with a brush ala mineral foundation. I highly recommend both.

  11. I vote for aveeno, I used Laura Mercier but ran out and grabbed a tube of aveeno. I like it and it doesn't make my menopausal skin break out! Always a plus.


  12. Ladies, this is an embarrassment of riches to try out. Thanks!

    BTW, Eleanor, I'll be heading to Oz for a week next spring and will probably be looking for Aussie product recommendations! -(^^)/

  13. I also suffer from tinted moisturizer woes! I've been using Dr. Dennis Gross, which I actually really like, but have been searching for a natural, paraben-free replacement to no avail. My latest attempt was Juice Beauty, but sadly it's too dark for my complexion and also made me break out. Back to the drawing board. If I didn't care so much about it being all natural I'd just stick with the Dr. Dennis Gross, because it really is quite nice, though only SPF 15.

  14. HATE when that happens... Chanel and E.L do that a lot, I lost my favorite concealer and blush that way... anyway... Clinique makes a pretty good tinted moisturizer, but my favorite product is Maybelline's Instant Age Rewind... its not really a moisturizer but it has sunscreen and goji berry-collagen... but mostly, its just amazing for covering up blotches, scars, etc in the most weightless delicate fashion.

  15. I have very VERY pale skin, and i have a awful time trying to find something. I was going to recomend the Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer, but I see you tried it. I used the primer and then the girl mentioned the tinted moisturizer. The color isn't perfect but close enough I guess. I will be looking for the ones that work for you.

  16. I'm fair as well, but I don't mind a little warming effect. I do very much want sun protection. I have tried Aveeno (too thick), and Laura Mercier (dry and I find it has an ashy effect on my skin), as well as Stila (ok), and Josie Maran (quite thick like Aveeno and more expensive as well). Of all the tinted moisturizers I've used, the one that is best by far (to me), is Clarins Super Restorative Tinted Cream, SPF 20. The line is meant for over-50, but I'm over-40 and I love it. I use the Sand tint. It's more expensive than most, but absolutely fits the bill for me and since I rely on it I bite the bullet in terms of cost. It also comes in a well-designed package.


Gentle Readers:

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xxx, Poppy.