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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Tinted Moisturizer 101: Everything You Need to Know, and A Few of DSP's Faves!

As summer is now fast approaching - or here already, for most of you - DSP has been getting TONS of questions concerning summertime skincare, foundation issues, and the ever-confusing Tinted Moisturizer.  Hopefully this quick breakdown will help all of you figure out the purpose, benefits, and uses of these summertime favorites!  (Your skin will thank you!)
2 Things Your Skin ALWAYS Needs, Especially on a Hot, Summer Day:
  • Moisture! - Just like you need to guzzle a bottle of water to keep yourself feeling cool and alive during these humid days, your skin needs an extra kick of moisture for itself. Moisture is the key to healthy, balanced, CLEAR skin - even those of you who complain of oily skin should be slathering on a daily moisturizer, because it will help your skin relax and get back to a natural, even cycle of oil production and clarity. You should be applying a moisturizer EVERY MORNING and EVERY NIGHT - for ultimate hydration. Moisturizers also aren’t limited to your face, although many people seem to neglect one area or another, you should be slathering on the lotion ALL over your body in order to keep yourself healthy, smooth and soft. Facial moisturizers should be applied last in your skincare routine, before you apply your makeup.
  • Sun Protection! - It’s a sad, sad fact that most of us DON’T apply some kind of SPF every day. Even on cloudy days, or days when you’re not going to be outside much, the sun’s damaging UV rays can penetrate your skin - through windows, clothes, and makeup. This is why you should always make sure to put on some sunscreen if you plan on being outside - you should be putting SPF on your face DAILY even in the winter months. Fortunately most moisturizers and even many foundations these days come with some level of SPF protection, which eliminates a step for you and makes remembering your SPF a little easier.
Tinted Moisturizers provide both of these essentials every day, PLUS other great benefits!
  • An Easy, Non-Permanent Sunless Tan! - Yes that’s right. TM’s can be applied on your face, AS WELL AS your neck, chest, shoulders, even your arms - to give you moisture, SPF and a bit of summer glow all at once! Tinted Moisturizers aren’t permanently tinted, so if you’re afraid of going tanning or using those iffy streaky self-tanning products, using a TM is a great option for you.
  • A Daily Dose of Vitamins for Your Face! - Lots of Tinted Moisturizers provide skin soothing and healing ingredients, like Vitamins A and E. Some contain things like cucumber extract, soy, aloe or even Retinol - ingredients that are great for your skin and will help keep your face looking even and clear!
  • Sheer Coverage! - Back in the day when TM’s first made an appearance, they had much less tint in them than they do today. Nowadays, TINTED MOISTURIZERS HAVE THE COVERAGE OF A SHEER FOUNDATION! They can cover up dark spots, freckles, redness, and even some blemishes or undereye circles - just remember, before you jump into them, that they’re very sheer. The first object of a TM is moisture, the coverage is just an added bonus. These are great for summertime when you don’t want to be wearing a heavy foundation, your skin is looking clear or you’re afraid your foundation is going to melt off in the heat.

Things You Should Know about Tinted Moisturizers BEFORE You Buy:
  • Tinted moisturizers generally run dark.  They do not come in a wide variety of shades, and usually even the lighter ones are rather dark.  THIS IS BECAUSE they are meant to give you ‘tint’ - a little bit of summertime glow.  They aren’t meant to be foundation, just give you a bit of color and moisture at the same time.  So don’t purchase one expecting it to be your exact shade - it is sheer enough so when you blend it in, they will look natural.
  • Tinted moisturizers don’t smell like flowers.  Take a whiff of your foundation right now - not half bad, but not pretty.  Smell your moisturizer - a bit different scented, but you’ll live with it.  A tinted moisturizer smells like these two things together.  KEEP IN MIND if you buy a ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ tinted moisturizer, it’s going to smell AWFUL - because they’ve eliminated harmful fragrances which give it a tolerable scent.  NONE OF THE SMELL will transfer onto your face, it goes away.
  • Tinted moisturizers AREN’T going to cover your blemishes completely. Things like acne, dark undereye circles, or rosacea will be concealed slightly, but they will still be visible.  HOWEVER you can always apply a bit of concealer or foundation over top of these spots, it won’t hurt.
  • Tinted moisturizers sink into your skin over time.  Not to sound scary - but as it is a moisturizer, the lotion will sink into your skin, and the tint can fade.  It won’t look blotchy, but if you’re trying to cover something significant it may wear off.
Frequently Asked Questions about Tinted Moisturizers:
  • Is a tinted moisturizer going to break me out? - It’s possible.  Most TMs contain oil, which is part of the hydration factor, and just like any foundation, there is the possibility of a breakout.  HOWEVER TMs are much lighter than regular foundation, and you CAN get oil free ones.
  • My tinted moisturizer is starting to separate!  Help? - You should shake TMs every time you use them - the ingredients in them have a tendency to separate, but most often they can be shaken back to their normal consistency.  If shaking doesn’t help, start storing your TM in the fridge - humidity can cause it to separate and seem oily.
  • If I wear a foundation primer underneath my TM, will it last longer?  - Please don’t use a primer underneath TM - a tinted moisturizer is a MOISTURIZER and should be treated as one.  If you layer a primer underneath it they will cancel each other out, and the primer will definitely be useless.  
  • Should I use a regular moisturizer underneath a TM?  - You don’t need to, unless you’ve used a TM and your skin is more dry than normal (which rarely happens).  The TM should have more than enough moisturizing properties.
  • My face looks kind of shiny after I apply TM, is that normal? - Yes, just like your face can look shiny after you apply a regular moisturizer.  It will go away as the moisturizer settles into your skin.  If you’re still having issues, sweep a light powder over your face and you’ll be matte all day.
DSP’S Top 3 Favorite Tinted Moisturizers:
Aveeno Positively Radiant Tinted Moisturizer - This is my go-to tinted moisturizer.  It is incredibly hydrating, and actually makes your skin look more even and clear the more often you use it.  It provides SPF 15, 30, or 50, and comes in a Light, Medium, and Dark shade.  Usually retails at about $13.
Physicians Formula Organic Wear Tinted Moisturizer - This should be my favorite tinted moisturizer, and it would definitely be my go-to; however I use the Aveeno PR moisturizer daily, so it’s just natural that on days I use TM I would select the same brand.  THIS IS THE BEST TM FOR YOUR SKIN - it is 100% PARABEN FREE, 100% FRAGRANCE AND SYNTHETIC COLOR FREE, 100% CRUELTY FREE.  It contains SPF 15, and comes in 4 shades - Ivory to Fair, Fair to Light, Light to Natural, and Natural to Tan.  Retails for about $11.
Neutrogena Healthy Skin Enhancer - This TM is great because of it’s unique ingredients.  This product contains Retinol - most commonly used to fight wrinkles and signs of aging, but is also thought to help clear acne and even out skintones.  It’s rich in vitamins as well.  This TM is also OIL FREE, and won’t clog your pores like regular foundation!  Comes with SPF 20, and there are six shades - ideal for those with darker skin.  Retails for around $11.


  1. Hello,
    I just wanted to take a minute to tell you that you have a great site! Keep up the good work.

  2. Very informative and helpful. Thanks a lot !

  3. Oh man, i've been looking into buying a TM and just KNEW looking here would be the best way to find out more about them :p glad I was right! :)

  4. I don't know, I've been using Becca's primer underneath their Luminous skin colour TM; the results are excellent, radiant, flawless skin. Maybe its because their primer is quite liquid itself.

  5. This was a great article, very informative and helpful! Thanks a bunch!! :)

  6. I just wanted to thank you for a great site! I always WANT to buy the less expensive products but fear wasting my money. I have used benefit's rebel tinted moisturizer for a while and was looking for an inexpensive alternative since its running out. After reading your review I purchased the aveno brand and was thrilled to see that it works just as you stated. I would even say it gives BETTER coverage and moisturizes better than what I was using before. So anyways, thanks again!

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  47. Hi! I just stumbled across your blog today and have no idea if you respond to comments, but I do have a question for you. I don't really wear makeup but have gotten into the habit of applying moisturizer in the morning after showering. If I were to apply tinted moisturizer instead, is it something I would need to wash off at the end of the day? I don't typically wash my face before bed (bad, I know), but was wondering if the "tint" could clog my pores? Would I need to wash it off like I would a foundation or whatever? Just wondering and would appreciate a reply. Thank you!