Review of NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer by chrissieO
Having been “blessed” with very oily, acne-prone skin, I am relatively new to the world of tinted moisturizers/BB creams; normally I opt for powder or liquid foundations that typically offer medium coverage. Unfortunately my skin gets clogged very easily if I am using products that have comedogenic ingredients, or if I am using so-called ‘non-acnegenic’ foundations that offer heavy coverage (e.g. ELDW) but with with daily usage eventually break me out in cystic acne. In my quest to lighten the load on my face, I decided to try my luck with tinted moisturizers – and that is how NARS pure radiant TM came into my life 3 weeks ago.
What I have used before:
I have also tried Laura Mercier oil-free (in Tan, I think), Bobbi Brown oil-free (light-medium), Tarte Smooth Operator (Agent 14) TMs as well as EL’s DayWear BB cream (medium). LM turned me into a shiny grease ball even before I was out the door even with powder on top), Tarte’s was too rich/too shiny and broke me out in 3 days, BB’s application needed too much hocus-pocus with moisturizers/blending techniques because it grabbed onto dry areas on my face (I have these due to my topical anti-acne treatments of BP and salycilic acid), and EL’s BB cream looks too ashy/fake tan-like on me. Thank goodness, NARS TM is another story!
NARS TM shade/coverage:
I use the shade St. Moritz which is a perfect match to my skin tone - I guesstimate to be around NC35-ish as I do not use MAC makeup since Studio Fix gave me a bad breakout. For reference, I am Stromboli in NARS Sheer Matte (my perfect colour match during the winter), apricot (3+) in Sisley Phyto-Teint Eclat, B50 in Chanel’s Perfection Lumiere, and 410 Bisque W in Lancome’s Teint Idole Ultra 24h. It is definitely gives a medium-light (but not sheer) coverage, if fact I think it has the most coverage among the TMs I have tried.
Here are the currently avaiable 9 shades from fairest to deepest, with a MAC skin colour/tone guide based on reviews here on MUA/friends’ hauls. Your best bet is to sample in person.
1. Finland (light1) netural pink&yellow NC15, NW15? more neutral, beige
2. Alaska (light2) netural pink&yellow NC20-25, even up to NC30; may also match NW25-30; more yellow-toned than Finland
3. St. Moritz (medium1) neutral yellow NC35-NC37; bit dark for NC30, too light for NC40+
4. Annapurna (medium2) neutral peach NC40
5. Cuba (medium3) neutral (pink&yellow) NC40-NC44
6. Malaga (medium dark1) warm caramel NC42-NC45
7. Seychelles (medium dark2) golden olive NC??
8. Martinique (medium dark3) warm red NW43-45
9. Polynesia (dark) warm chochlate NC/NW45+; may match up to NW50
What I like about NARS TM:
- very nice finish: it truly give a subtle glow (unlike the greasy “glow” of LM’s TM);
- with only one midday touch-up with MAC’s blotting powder, it still looks good by the end of the day even on my very oily skin. I should add that my oiliness is being curbed by applications of a blemish control toner (Paula’s Choice Clear Toner), my HG primer (Hourglass), and Mattify! powder (in T-zone only).
- the “my-skin- but-(much)- better” look it gives all day; I should mention though that it does not cover redness, acne marks well so a concealer is still needed
- allows me to skip moisturizer, and spf; yey, less products on my face!
- applies easily: spreading a pea-sized drop with my fingers if in a hurry, or a dabbing 2 pea-sized drops with a wet sponge (best method to prevent smudging off concealer)
-versatile: I can use it as my principal coverage as per above, or I can use it as a moisturizer under a powder foundation to get a more all-over coverage. I have also used this TM to add a tid-bit of a glow to my day look when using a somewhat flat looking powder foundation: on top of a powder foundaiton, I pat VERY little (1/4 pea-size) of this TM on my forehead, and into the V-shape area of my cheeks marked by the outer corners of the eye and nostrils, but of course I omit the nose; this definitely saves me from the fate of looking like a Twilight vampire in the sunlight, something that I can always count on when I try to use an illuminator during the day.
- is moisturizing enough for me; I am very oily though so it may not be moisturizing enough for drier skin types.
- contains a physical sunblock (titanium dioxide) that is photostable so it offers decent protection from both UVA and UVB rays without having to reapply it every 2hrs or so (and I have yet to meet a person who does that with TMs and foundations out there that contain only chemical sunscreen ingredients)
- gives a softness to my skin that stays even after I take this TM off
What are the cons with this TM:
- the price; $49 CDN is pricey for a TM especially because I will need to purchase at least one darker shade to match my skintone over the course of the summer; however if I consider that I do not need a separate spf and moisturizer, the price is not so bad
- shade range: though I have found a perfect shade (St. Moritz), the shades from one to the next not only jump a lot in depth, they also vary in undertone; I have tried Annapurna, the next shade after St. Moritz, and it looked not only darker, but dinstinctly more orange on me (I am very yellow toned though so this may not be a problem for others)
- the fact that despite stating this TM is non-comedogenic, it contains a moderately comedogenic ingredient (tocopherol, the more comedogenic form of vitamin E) as well as a highly comedogenic, though thankfully minor, ingredient (algae extract). Of course, ingredients are only potential porecloggers until proven so by zits but some of the reviewers here have already complained about acne due to this product....
UPDATE 7/Dec/12: In 8 months of daily use, has not clogged my pores, and no breakouts. Greatly improved the softness of my skin. For summer, I had to buy 2nd shade (Cuba) to mix with St Moritz. Despite the cost, HG!