Best Bang for Your Buck Series: Tinted Moisturizers

Welcome to the ‘Best Bang for Your Buck‘ series!  Each week for the next few months, I’m going to tackle certain types of beauty products, and list the offerings from popular department store brands and their sizes vs. costs.  At a glance, you’ll be able to see which items are most cost effective in that category, and get a better idea if your money is being well spent, or if you’re being, well – a little ripped off!  Also, if you’re hedging on picking up a certain product because of the cost, this will give you an idea of the true value of the product and if it’s worth your hard earned cash.

Many of the sizes and dollar values of products are taken from online websites; please let me know if anything is listed incorrectly and I’ll be sure to fix it!  Also, for products which we don’t have here in Atlantic Canada, or for items that are more difficult to find overall, I’ll note in green where they’re located for your reference – though I tried to mostly include products relatively accessible as a whole. 

Week Seven: Tinted Moisturizers

Yet another item I’m in the market for, tinted moisturizers are ideal for the warmer Spring and Summer months, and since I’m too tanned now for the two foundations I own, I’m in need of something to even me out a bit.  I’ve been really diligent at testing out the contenders I decided upon (Stila’s and NARS’), though it was hard to narrow it down, as there are several other brands that sound like they also have great formulas!  And as many of the offerings are around the same size and similar price, it made it even tougher.  Thankfully, not even brand makes a tinted moisturizer, and I could only find 20 different versions to showcase, so that helped with the decision.  Check out which formula’s I found:

Best Value
theBalm Balm Shelter Tinted Moisturizer SPF18 ($14.22/oz)

Worst Value
Hourglass Illusion Tinted Moisturizer Oil-Free SPF15 ($64/oz)

Most Product
theBalm Balm Shelter Tinted Moisturizer SPF18 (2.25oz)

Least Product
*Four-way tie*
UltraFlesh Tinted Moisturizer (1.0 oz)
Clinique Moisture Surge Tinted Moisturizer SPF15 (1.0 oz)
CoverFX Skin Tint Tinted Moisturizer SPF30 (1.0 oz)
Hourglass Illusion Tinted Moisturizer Oil-Free SPF15 (1.0 oz)

Best Picks ($35 or less and 1.7oz or more)
theBalm Balm Shelter Tinted Moisturizer SPF18 ($32 / 2.25oz)
Urban Decay Urban Defense Tinted Moisturizer SPF20 ($30 / 1.69oz)
Smashbox Sheer Focus Tinted Moisturizer SPF15 ($35 / 1.7oz)

Worthy Splurges ($45+ and 1.7oz or more)
NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer SPF30 / PA+++ ($49 / 1.9oz)
Josie Maran Tinted Moisturizer ($46 / 1.7oz)
Tarte Smooth Operator Tinted Moisturizer SPF20 ($47 / 1.7oz)
Bobbi Brown Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer SPF15 ($50 / 1.7oz)


I was surprized at how expensive some tinted moisturizers are – I kind of feel like since they tend to have less coverage, they should be cheaper than your standard foundation, but that wasn’t necessarily the case.  The formulas I wanted to try were all around the same price, so that didn’t help me in whittling down which to investigate.  As well, for the most part many of the products are around the same size – though the few ones that were significantly smaller were essentially eliminated from my selection process.  What DID help was the limited shade selection of some of the brands, which considerably eliminated some of the products I could potentially check out (however, this won’t necessarily help you guys if you’re more fair than I).  I tried the Stila version before I left for Jamaica, which was a bit light (though I think the darker shade, which was too dark then, would be suitable for me now), and liked that it didn’t bother my skin at all and offered just the right amount of sheer coverage.  However, I’ve been trying the NARS version since I’ve returned, in a shade that matchs my tanned skin, and have been quite impressed.  Once I finish my sample as well as the last dregs of my Clinique Moisture Surge Tinted Moisturizer, I’ll be ALL over the Pure Radiant TM – it’s fantastic!

Do you like tinted moisturizers, or prefer a fuller coverage foundation?  What tinted option is YOUR favorite??

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  1. #1 by BeautyReflections (@BeautyReflectTS) on April 25, 2012 - 12:36 am

    I agree! The NARS one is amazing stuff. I think it’s my favourite for sure. I’m tempted to try theBalm one know though because of you! I wonder if it’s any good though?

    • #2 by Latoya on April 25, 2012 - 3:29 pm

      I’m not sure Tracy, I haven’t read anything about it (though as I say that, didn’t Liz have this at one point?). Sure is huge though for the price!!

      I’m pretty stoked about buying the full-size of NARS’ version, I really notice a difference in my skin texture and tone, plus the coverage is amaze w/o being heavy. Love!

      • #3 by Liz (@Reductionista) on April 25, 2012 - 6:13 pm

        I did, and it was very very sheer. I ended up swapping it or giving it away! Was nice and moisturizing, although I don’t think it’s quite enough for those with dry skin.

        Toya, your mind is like a steel trap, lol.

      • #4 by Latoya on April 25, 2012 - 9:04 pm

        Hahahaha that’s funny Liz – and totally not true!!! Well, at least, I don’t seem to remember every day things. Random stuff like the tinted moisturizer, or birthdays, or telephone numbers (really, numbers of any kind) seem to stay with me though. Weird.

        And thanks for the backstory on the TM – doesn’t sound like its something I’ll try, even if it is cheap-ish and huge!!

  2. #5 by BeautyReflections (@BeautyReflectTS) on April 25, 2012 - 12:37 am

    NOW, not know sheesh my brain and fingers aren’t connected lately

    • #6 by Latoya on April 25, 2012 - 3:29 pm

      Haha I hear ya Tracy!

  3. #7 by Eugenia on April 25, 2012 - 12:39 pm

    I have the NARS version in ‘St. Moritz’, and refuse to leave the house without it! Even my daughter is now a total convert to this amazing product, and you know how hard it is to impress an almost 18-year old, lol! I find that by applying NARS primer underneath, I eliminate any excess shine from developing (I have an oily T-zone) and this tinted moisturizer just seems to get better the longer you wear it! In my opinion, and totally without having tried the Stila or some of the others you mentioned, the NARS version is 100% worth the price. Love, love, love this! (I guess I should get my review on it up & running, eh?! Sheesh…..!)

    • #8 by Latoya on April 25, 2012 - 3:42 pm

      I think you’re right about the primer, Eugenia – Its been super humid this week and I’ve been somewhat shiny, but I think that could be cured if I wore a lil primer underneath. Otherwise its been damn near immpecable! Love the coverage, love how it blends, love how my skin is actually improving from using it – how could I NOT buy this? I was hesitant at first because of some potentially irritating ingredients, but I’ve had absolutely no problems 🙂 Can’t wait to buy a full-size tube!!

...And what do you have to say about all this?? Dish! :)

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