Fat-free foundation.
March 7, 2012 7:58 AM   Subscribe

Is there a decent multi-purpose tinted moisturizer for someone who hates the feeling of moisturizer?

Mid-30s, light olive/yellow complexion, still get occasional acne, use prescription Retin-A (when I remember, probably 3-4x/week), getting laser hair removal which requires me to keep the area protected from sun. Any blemishes I get tend to leave a long-lasting dark mark on my skin.

My skin is super oily. I never wear moisturizer unless it's very cold and dry (not often where I live), but I would like a way to lightly even out my skintone and get some sun protection in the same product. I've been using Smashbox Sheer Focus in Light but it feels heavier than I'd like, leaves me skin with a visible oily sheen and is too orange for my skin. I would really like something that provides greater than 15 SPF, doesn't feel greasy at all, has enough opacity to cover little healed acne spots and provides a bit of mattifying if possible.

I'm willing to spend on this, but I have no idea where to start. I wouldn't use Smashbox again. I've seen a lot of these new BB (Beauty Balm) creams coming on the market but I'm afraid they may be too heavy for me. I'm also looking for something that has olive/yellow tones but isn't too dark. Most foundation products tend to be too dark or have too much red/orange tints to match my skin.
posted by Kitty Stardust to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (14 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I've recommended this I think at least three times this week, but Laura Mercier's tinted moisturizer is awesome. It comes in an oil free version you might check out. SPF 20!
posted by dpx.mfx at 8:08 AM on March 7, 2012 [5 favorites]

I like Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer - it has heavier coverage for a tinted moisturizer, which is probably what you're looking for. It comes in an oil-free version, which is probably better for your skin than the original version. It has a pretty wide shade range - go to a counter or a Sephora and try out different shades. Get a sample or two, to test out in different lighting.

Have you tried applying with a brush rather than your fingers? I find that I get a more even application, and the foundation / tinted moisturizer feels much lighter on my face - I can't really feel it at all, actually. The Sigma F80 is my favorite foundation brush, and the Real Techniques stipple brush (sold only at Ulta) is my second favorite.

However, I'm concerned that you won't get enough sun protection from a very light layer of tinted moisturizer. It probably depends on how much you are outside, and how strong the sun is where you are.
posted by insectosaurus at 8:10 AM on March 7, 2012

You might try experimenting with mixing a drugstore foundation and an oil-free moisturizer.

I also have light olive skin and started doing this because the drugstore tinted moisturizers were too pink for my skin, but I was unwilling to spend $40 on a tube of Laura Mercier or Stila. I just put a little of each in my palm and mix it up with my finger.

I actually prefer this method - I can play with the proportions depending on the opacity I want, and I can use a facial moisturizer with a much higher SPF than is usually available in makeup formulations.
posted by lalex at 8:16 AM on March 7, 2012

Nthing Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer.

However I use a separate SPF moisturizer for sun protection before the Laura Mercier. I also only apply tinted moisturizer to areas that need evening out and not all over the face. I suspect it's the pigment that leaves the moisturizer 'feeling' as I only get that skin-feel when I use a tinted product.

I do not recommend the Garnier BB cream if you dislike feeling of moisturizer. It is noticeably heavier than the Laura Mercier.

Also recommend watching Lisa Eldridge videos on concealing (or heck, any of her videos) for application tips. She's an advocate for applying coverage only where needed and her forte is making skin look perfect.
posted by kitkatcathy at 8:34 AM on March 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

I used to mix a water-based drugstore foundation with my oil-free moisturizer, but Ive heard good things about NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer which includes SPF; I think your best bet might be to go to a makeup counter so you can feel them on your skin, or sample sizes possibly from eBay.
posted by sm1tten at 8:53 AM on March 7, 2012

Maybe you're looking for powdered mineral makeup.

You can also mix the powder with a sheer sunscreen for better protection--something like Neutrogena's dry touch, which goes on very lightly.
posted by padraigin at 9:04 AM on March 7, 2012

Check out Smashbox's Camera Ready BB cream. It's 5 in 1, spf 35, controls oil, tinted, hydrates, can be worn alone or under foundation.
posted by shoesietart at 9:14 AM on March 7, 2012

BB creams have a much lighter texture than most foundations, and are very wet and spreadable but dry to a powder finish. I only use a pea sized drop for my whole face, whereas I end up brushing on tons of liquid foundation for the same effect.

Plus, many bb creams have a brightening or whiting function, which evens out your complexion even when you are not wearing it. I would recommend the Asian formulations, the western brands are more akin to tinted moisturizer and less their own thing.

I have light olive skin, and I use the Skin79 brand in the pink bottle for the same reasons that you are looking for. It provides moisture and sheer coverage, has full spectrum SPF 27 PA++, anti-wrinkle treatment, and a brightener to fade old scars and redness. Love it.
posted by cakebatter at 9:33 AM on March 7, 2012

Laura Mercier, but if you try the Oil Free version you might want a sample first. It's really, really dry. (But it might be perfect for you). If it's too dry, you can try setting the regular version with powder.

Makeup counter ladies will probably be able to help you find a match, and I've found that it wears really well on my yellow-toned skin.
posted by stoneandstar at 9:54 AM on March 7, 2012

From your description, my complexion and skin issues are very similar to yours. I despise cream moisturizers, even the oil free versions, because I've never met one that did not clog my pores to some extent. I rely on a combination of a hyaluronic acid product like the HadaLabo Super Hyaluronic Acid Lotion or the Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Gel and sunscreen to moisturize my face, then mineral foundation to even out and conceal.

I've also experimented with Le Metier de Beaute's Anti-Aging Complexe Tinted Treatment, which was well-received by my skin. Sheer coverage--it evens out one's skintone--but it was enough for me as I use concealer for darker spots anyway. I'd go back to it, but I'm exploring other products right now. One skincare + foundation product I've mulled over but have not tried is Perricone MD's No Foundation Foundation, but it only comes in one shade. While not a tinted moisturizer per se, Sunday Riley's Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer is getting good reviews in magazines and beauty blogs--I'd definitely take that with a grain of salt, but I'm going to give it a shot once I'm through with my Naruko BB cream (I have an SPF version). The latter's pretty lightweight and hasn't caused any breakouts so far, but I don't use it daily. It skews a bit pink on my olive/yellow complexion, but that fades after a while (oxidization?). A fairly big con, however, is that it has a nauseating floral scent. For heavy duty coverage, my favourite mineral makeup brand glo-minerals has a matte liquid foundation in its lineup.

My suggestions above don't always have a matte finish or SPF, but I've come to terms with my natural dewiness as long as the T-zone isn't too slick, and I believe in using sunscreen under makeup no matter what. I hope you find something that works for you, good luck!
posted by peripathetic at 11:36 AM on March 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

I had such high hopes for the Laura Mercier oil-free tinted moisturizer, because I've been hearing it'd be the TM of my dreams. I got it home (in the perfect shade), and it feels more like a mask than my Origins foundation. GRAR.

A friend of mine told me that the oil-based LM one feels way better, but I haven't tried it yet, and that might not be preferable for your skin. Definitely try some samples.
posted by scarykarrey at 12:14 PM on March 7, 2012

It is only 15 spf, but I love Jane Iredale Dream Tint moisturizer
posted by dottiechang at 1:54 PM on March 7, 2012

My HG tinted moisturizer is from ELF's studio line. It literally feels like there's nothing on my face, and it has really great coverage [meaning that, while it certainly won't cover my dark circles, it downplays any blemish and gives my face a polished look] My only complaint is that it's not very moisturizing at all, but that might be exactly what you're looking for.
posted by oxfordcomma at 6:09 PM on March 7, 2012

I've decided to go with the Laura Mercier oil-free, though I've also gotten some samples of other BB cremes to try out as well. Thanks, all!
posted by Kitty Stardust at 1:08 PM on March 26, 2012

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