Tuesday, March 27, 2012

NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30/PA+++

I decided I would try the new NARS tinted moisturizer before it even hit the stores. Its reputation had preceded it. Every review I read - before and after its launch - was laudatory. Bloggers loved it. So did their readers. I'll skip to the bottom line. My reaction is mixed.

I purchased NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30/PA+++ ($42) from Sephora. The only question in my mind was whether the lightest of nine shades, Finland, would match my skin. It's described as light, with a neutral balance of pink and yellow undertones. That sounded absolutely perfect for me, and I was too lazy to zoom up to Nordstrom to test the shade. It might be more difficult for someone whose skin color is in the middle tones. Those little square color representations look very similar, but the descriptions are surprisingly accurate.

The good news is that Finland is, indeed, perfect in tone for my skin color. While it looks a tad yellow as I start to apply it, the shade is perfect when blended. It evens my skin, takes out the central redness, and has enough pigment to blur the imperfections on my face. Tinted moisturizers have two (three, actually, if you count SPF) major features that contribute to my impression as I consider them: color/coverage and hydration. NARS passed the test on color and coverage (with a slight exception described below).

The bad news is that this NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer isn't much of a moisturizer for my dry skin. The first time I used it, I struggled to blend it, even though I had applied Armani Crema Nera serum a half-hour before. It felt chalky and dry, and that's how it looked.  The next time, I applied an extremely emollient moisturizer under it and that worked pretty well. Why, though, would anyone wear a tinted moisturizer that requires a base of another moisturizer? It defeats the purpose. I was caught off guard by the hydration failure. I should have read the marketing description, which follows.

Infused with lush, naturally derived ingredients, this lightweight tinted moisturizer immediately helps thirsty skin feel hydrated. It has been proven to help reduce the appearance of discoloration and dark spots caused by hyperpigmentation for a clearer and brighter complexion in just four weeks. Oil-free and luxurious, it obscures the appearance of lines, wrinkles, pores, and other imperfections. SPF 30/ PA+++ adds a translucent veil of protection. 

Natural polysaccharides from Moorea island in French Polynesia hydrate, condition, and help encourage natural cell renewal. Mineral-rich seawater uniquely revitalizes and adds key minerals back into the skin. Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30/PA+++ helps improve the skin's overall condition. Soft and smooth to the touch, skin looks natural and glowing. This dermatologist-tested product is free of oil and synthetic fragrances and is non-comedogenic. 

There's my tip-off, in both paragraphs. This tinted moisturizer is oil-free, which means it's suitable for those with oily skin, will probably work just fine for those with combination skin, but doesn't provide enough moisture for dry skin. Normally, oil-free products are not the best for me - or anyone whose skin is dry to very dry and blemish-free.

According to NARS, 84% of women who tried it felt their skin was more radiant and luminous. I found that surprising. It leaves a very matte finish on my skin, and I see nothing that could be described as radiance when I'm wearing it.

Whether or not I've prepped my face before I apply Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer, I don't like the coverage on my nose, which, on close examination, is uneven because the pigment sinks into the pores. It also requires careful blending around my under-eye area, where it settles into fine lines.

I have no doubt that there's a huge market for NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30/PA+++. It offers UVA and UVB protection (albeit at a relatively low level of SPF 30); it's available in many shades, an acknowledgement of the realities of our varied skin tones; and it's readily available at Sephora, NARS counters, and online at NARS. Women with dry skin might want to look elsewhere. I'll be featuring a few other tinted moisturizers in the next few weeks that are better choices for dry types.

Photo courtesy of Sephora

26 comments:

mamavalveeta03 said...

It might be giving you such problems with settling and sinking in because of your dry skin. I, on the other hand, have menopausal hot-flash skin (it's usually combo, but these days, I get a hot-flash and...POOF!...makeup gone!) so it might work for me. I have a friend that works at a boutique that sells NARS and I'll try and get a sample before I purchase. Thanks for the completely thorough review!

lola seicento said...

I am not surprised that you have mixed feelings about the NARS Tinted Moisturizer, Charlestongirl. I have it and love it, but I have decidedly combination skin. I would not think that it would offer enough moisture for drier skin types- particularly since oil free formulas tend not to be terribly moisturizing. I use Alaska- the next shade up from Finland, and the color match is quite good for my complexion.

shontay07108 said...

It works on my dry skin. I use a really good moisturizer now (embryolisse) and that helps all kinds of foundations melt into my skin. I like that this foundation gives a glow, too. What I don't love is how it stains my brush and I have to work harder to clean it. I also worried that the SPF would irritate my skin as it often does. It doesn't in this case, though. Still, I prefer mufe face and body for the way it wears throughout the day.

Kate MacDonald said...

I did find that my skin looked radiant and glowy, although I'm not especially dry (more like dry/ normal). I used a softening toner before wearing it, which felt good, but if I added a moisturiser, it felt greasy.

I think this is really a summer product, because when my skin gets drier in the winter, it probably wouldn't be nourishing enough.

Thanks for the review!

Anonymous said...

My skin is combo and it makes it look natural, bright and luminous. Not quite dewy but not close to matte. Makes my huge pores look small. I was afraid it would break my out because of the silicones but so far so good. It very similar to the new el invisible foundation except it stays on my oily parts all day and el one is gone by mid day. Sorry didn't work for you. I tried the chanel va compact and it didn't work for me. Maybe that one will be better for you.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi MamaVal,

My sympathy. Those hot flashes can go on for years. I'm fortunate that I didn't really perspire. I just felt like I was!

Definitely try before you buy.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Lola,

The colors are fabulous. I was disappointed, but I see a huge market for it.

Charlestongirl said...

Question for you, shontay07108...

Are you applying your moisturizer before the NARS tinted moisturizer?

Charlestongirl said...

Hi there, Kate!

I think skin type is a huge factor with this one. You may be radiant even without it. I wish I could say that. My skin must be heavily moisturized.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Anonymous,

If you read the reviews from customers on Sephora, you will see amazing diversity of opinion. I seldom pay much attention to those reviews, but I read them today. Most of the customers loved the product.

I like several tinted moisturizers, such as La Prairie's and the LMdB PV. I just bought BY TERRY's product and can't wait to try it.

Eileen said...

I guess I'm very old fashioned, but I've never jumped on the tinted moisturizer band wagon. My skin is "mature", dry, and somewhat reactive. TM's never have enough moisturizing ingredients for me to wear them alone. The coverage is usually too sheer to effectively build without getting very heavy handed which is counter productive. The chemical SPF is usually problematic for me. So, what's a gal to do? Pick a good, nurturing moisturizer; a predominantly physical sunscreen (love Chanel Essentiel SPF 50); and select a creamy, soft focus foundation that has buildable coverage. Yes, it takes three steps instead of one, but the result--for me-- is far superior from the standpoint of skin care, sun protection, and coverage. I guess we have to work a bit harder as we get older ;-)

Now, after that little rant, let me say that I did get a generous sample of the Nars and gave it a go, but felt it was better suited to younger women with normal to oily skin.

Deb said...

Oh thank the heavens, I'm not alone. I'm sorry this didn't work for you Charlestongirl. But you are not alone. It was a huge fail for me too. I had the exact same issues you did. I read so many glowing (pun intended) reviews that I thought finally, here it is. The perfect tinted moisturizer. Especially with SPF. NOT!

shontay07108 said...

Yes. I apply the moisturizer before the Nars foundation.

kellinicole86 said...

I have EXTREMELY oily skin and this is the best tinted moisturizer I've tried so far. Is it the best thing since sliced bread? No. But I get a good 6 hours wear before getting a little "too shiny," which is longer than any other TMs I've tried. It hasn't caused any break outs and provides good coverage - any acne scars/pimples are covered enough where I'd feel ok going w/o concealer (but I do still add some if I have a major problem spot). I'm glad you reviewed this b/c I was going to recommend it to my mom but she has dry/combo skin so it may not work for her.

Tracy@Beauty Reflections said...

I love this stuff and it's glowy for me. I have normal to dry skin and I have no issues with application. I always wear sunscreen and moisturizer under any kind of foundation-I never rely on a TM to give me moisture.

Evelyn said...

I was thinking about purchasing this since I don't always like to put on a face of foundation and a simple tinted moisturizer seems like a better choice. I matched myself to Alaska, the next one up is distinctly yellowish on me. Reading the comments it looks like it should work on my combo skin, especially my nice oily forehead. argh!

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Eileen,

Ditto! Except that there are a few tinted moisturizers that I like - very few.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Deb,

I guess misery does love company. I think this is a product that arouses strong reactions - either pro or con. I'm bummed that mine was so con.

Charlestongirl said...

Glad to hear from you, kellinicole86! I figured oily skin gals would love it.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Tracy,

If you wear two products under it, another sunscreen and a moisturizer, why bother? It it just because the coverage is light? There are plenty of light-coverage foundations.

Charlestongirl said...

Just give it an in-store try first, Evelyn. You may love it.

Zeynep said...

I have samples of the Nars TM that I have been meaning to try. I'm going to be 35 and have combo oily/normal skin. I have never used a TM before so I'm curious to see what the result will be. I've been putting off trying it since I've been in love with my Koh Gen Do aqua foundation since I bought it two weeks ago. Thanks for the review CG!

Evelyn said...

Strangely enough, I've smoothed on my hand some of this moisturizer from a sample I have that is a shade darker than me and that spot on my hand becomes super smooth and soft so it's doing something. :) The ol'hand test!

Wendy said...

I wish it would leave a matte finish on my combo/oily skin. Instead of have a radiant finish, it just looks greasy.

LoveSugarBabyDoll said...

the SA matched me to Alaska and I tried the sample today- I looked jaundiced all day- I thought Finland would be better, perhaps I'll get a Finland sample tomorrow
My skin also looked and felt DRY all day.
I couldn't find a shade in Sheer Glow either.
I used to wear Chanel tinted moisturizer years and years ago, I'll have to look for it again- I think I'll try Dior too as I LOVE Capture Totale. Sometimes I like just a light coverage, little lip balm and out the door. Sigh- please don't tell me I'm too old

yessie said...

I'm with you-I have a mixed reaction to the TM too. I really want to love it, I have combo/dry skin and this has the opposite effect on me. It's very moisturizing and glides on. immediately my skin feels amazing, and glowy. (for reference I'm a NC42 and in the NARS am Annapurna). My only gripe (and for $42 it's a big one) it doesn't sit for long. I get 3, maybe 4 hours of wear. I've tried setting with different powders (Maybelline Dream matte, MSFN and the amazing Chanel Universelle Loose powder) and nothing:( (I even purchased the NARS pro primer and still had the same effect. I think I may still keep it for easy and quick days.