Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Lancome Aqua Fusion Tinted Moisturizer

The Tinted Moisturizer Challenge: Lancome Aqua Fusion

Lancome Aqua Fusion Teinte Continuous Infusing Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 20 ($38.50 for 1.7 oz.) is a lovely light to light-medium coverage tinted moisturizer available in four shades: Naturel 1, Sand 2, Bisque 3, and Bronze 4. The active ingredient for sun-protection is octinoxate (7.5%), which covers the UVB range, but it doesn’t get the UVA range, unfortunately, so you’ll still need a product with an ingredient like zinc oxide or avobenzone for broad spectrum coverage.

My favorite part about this tinted moisturizer is the coverage it gives. It still has an amazingly lightweight feel, but it delivers more than sheer coverage–I’d even go as far as to say light-medium (not quite medium). It covered some healing acne and post-acne marks on my face and gave me a lovely, natural finish. I also love that this moisturizer absorbs and sinks in quickly and doesn’t leave behind a dewy finish. It has a nearly matte finish, so it’s great for my oily-skinned friends, in particular.

It has a mango-ish scent–defintely fruity, but not overly sweet or tropical–and I’d say it lingers for about fifteen to twenty minutes before it fades away entirely (at least to my nose). The packaging is a slim tube, so it’s easy to apply the amount you need, plus it is travel friendly, being under 3 oz.

Even though I love, love the feel and coverage of the product, there are a few noteworthy drawbacks. If you’re pale, I don’t know if you’re going to find a good match. Surprisingly, I’m Naturel 1–the lightest shade–in Lancome’s Tinted Moisturizer. I originally tested out Sand 2, because I assumed it would work well for my medium skin tone, but it was definitely too dark on me. This is why I caution those with paler skin tones to try it at a counter first, if possible. Sand 2 would work for those who are definitely medium or medium-dark, though. I think Sand 2 might work for me after the summer, perhaps, but right now, Naturel 1 is a much better match.

I’d also prefer to see broad-spectrum protection here, because it is moisturizing enough (without being heavy or greasy) to be worn without an additional moisturizer, but since it lacks UVA protection, you’ll need to use another product to get broad-spectrum protection (like a moisturizer!). It’s not advertised as broad-spectrum, so I didn’t reduce points, but it’s certainly something I’d love to see in the future.

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  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: Fabulous coverage for those who want more than ultra sheer coverage that most tinted moisturizers provide but still has the lightweight feel of a tinted moisturizer.

Availability: Nordstrom

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Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Urban Decay Urban Defense

The Tinted Moisturizer Challenge:  Urban Decay Urban Defense

Urban Decay Urban Defense Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 ($32.00 for 1 oz.) is new for summer from Urban Decay. It’s a sheer, lightweight tinted moisturizer that provides a touch of color to even out the skin tone with a slightly dewy finish.

Active Ingredients: Octocrylene (8.0%), Octinoxate (7.5%)

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-40 Castor Oil, Glycerin, Silica, Dimethicone, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Litchi Chinesis Pericarp Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Montmorillonite, Butylene Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyenthanal. May contain CI77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI7749/77492/77499 (Iron Oxides).

On the SPF front, octocrylene is a chemical sunscreen that covers the UVB spectrum and short UVA (but not long UVA). The formula also contains dimethicone, so those who are sensitive to silicone-based ingredients may find it irritating. It’s high enough on the list that I was a bit concerned for myself, but I didn’t notice any skin issues (well, no more than usual!) after using this for a full week.

Urban Defense feels and looks natural and doesn’t feel greasy. It absorbs and dries down quite fast, and if you have very, very dry skin, you’ll still want to use a moisturizer first before layering this on. However, even though it feels lovely on, it does have a bit of a dewy finish. In real life, I think it reads dewy, but in photos, I found it made me look oily. Either way, I still preferred it with a dusting of translucent setting powder on top! (Check out the before and after photos at the end of the post!) It also lasted me six hours or so without ever looking greasy or fading (I never seemed to wear it longer than that while I was testing it!), which was definitely nice!

There are four shades, and while none seemed overly warm-toned to me, they did seem a little more yellow based. I think those with redder or cooler undertones may find that these aren’t perfect matches. I would recommend trying in-store (or buying from a retailer with a good return policy) if you have particularly red, pink, or cool undertones.

  • Halo is the lightest and I think is neutral enough to work on both cool and warm toned skin, but it may not be light enough for our ultra pale friends.  I think if you fit into MAC’s NC/NW15-20 range, this would be the best fit for you.
  • Bodyguard is the next lightest, described by Urban Decay as “medium light,” and it’s the shade I use. I’m NC25 in MAC, and I find Body Guard to be a decent match, if a little light. Ideally, I’d probably mix a bit of Bodyguard and Bulletproof together, but since the pump is such an issue, it’s not really possible.
  • Bulletproof is a medium shade, but it’s actually a big step from Bodyguard. It didn’t work for me as NC25, so I’d imagine it’s more around those at the NC/NW30-40 level.
  • Forcefield is described as medium dark, and it’s not too much darker than Bulletproof. It’s noticeably darker, but it doesn’t seem as big of a leap as from Bodyguard to Bulletproof. I would say this would suit shades around the NC/NW40-45 level.

But the biggest issue and problem with this product is the packaging. It is a pump packaging that dispenses about 10 times too much product with a single pump. It takes a very gentle hand and patience to pump out just enough (and still, often a bit too much) for your needs. I did one solid pump and it was tinted moisturizer for DAYS… enough to cover my body.

This was a pretty big deal to me, because it squeezes out a ridiculous amount. I think this product would have been much better in a tube or in a pump that doesn’t squeeze out a week’s worth at once.  (Personally, I also don’t dig the label–seems like the printer was low on ink!)

I’d also love to see a more expansive shade range, because fitting so many varieties in skin tone shades and undertones into just four is a bit frustrating for some.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 2/5

Recommendation:   The feel and coverage of Urban Defense is right on, but the packaging is such a disappointment that it really takes away from the product itself.

AvailabilityUrban Decay

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Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Bobbi Brown

Bobbi Brown EXTRA Tinted Moisturizing Balm with SPF 25 Review, Photos

Bobbi Brown EXTRA SPF 25 Tinted Moisturizing Balm ($50.00 for 1 oz.) is a thick tinted moisturizer that comes in a glass pot with a black screw-on lid. It’s available in eight shades: Alabaster (lightest), Extra Light Tint, Light Tint, Light to Medium Tint, Medium Tint, Medium to Dark Tint, Dark Tint, and Deep Tint.

It is described as, “A lightweight foundation alternative for dry, dehydrated skin, this formula is ultra-rich, and blends easily, giving skin a dewy look with light coverage. SPF 25 helps protect skin against damaging UVA/B rays. Dermatologist tested.”

Bobbi Brown also has a SPF 15 Tinted Moisturizer (not so thick) that retails for $40.00 for 1.7 oz. (but I haven’t tried it myself beyond squeezing a drop or two out in-store, so I can’t give you direct comparisons). According to the Bobbi Brown website, though, the SPF 15 Tinted Moisturizer is ideal for Normal to Dry skin types, whereas the SPF 15 Tinted Moisturizing Balm is recommended for drier skin types.

EXTRA feels like a cream and looks like one, too, in the jar, but you have to remember that it’s a tinted moisturizer and not use it as a cream–seriously, if you use it as a cream, you’ll end up with far more product than you need! Whether you use fingers or a brush (or a clean spatula, whatever!), you really don’t need more than a pea-sized application to cover the entire face with a sheer, lightweight layer of tinted moisturizer. It also has a lovely lemon-y citrus scent that’s dreamy (very tarte, not sweet).

This tinted moisturizer does have a distinct dewy finish; it was too dewy for my taste by itself, so I had to set with powder to minimize some of the dewiness–then it was just fine for everyday wear. It’s also definitely a sheer coverage product; I’ve tried some tinted moisturizers where coverage is a bit more than sheer (more like a light coverage foundation), but EXTRA is sheer. It’s like “your skin but better,” because it’s not going to hide too many skin imperfections, but it will help even out your skin tone. This is, though, the very nature of tinted moisturizers, to be sure!

When I’m on a good skin kick, EXTRA is just enough for me to wear on a daily basis, even with full makeup elsewhere (eyeshadow, lipstick, blush, etc.). With the dryness of the winter season, my skin is definitely more normal-to-dry, so EXTRA is just moisturizing enough to help keep my skin hydrated throughout the day. I do, though, tend to use a moisturizer in the morning, because I often shower in the morning but not apply makeup until a few hours later. I don’t find it too heavy, though, doing that double-duty moisturizing.

I do think this may be a little too rich for those with normal or normal-to-oily skin types, just because it such a thick, rich cream-type tinted moisturizer. I would recommend trying a sample to see if it works with your skin type. Most tinted moisturizers feel more like a lotion or a thickened liquid foundation, but this feels just like a face cream, so it does feel quite nice when applied to skin. I would also recommend waiting five to ten minutes for it to dry a bit before layering any makeup on top (like blush or bronzer).

Bottom Line: I like it a lot, but I’m more of a matte-finish kind of gal, so the dewy finish is just not my style. I did receive several compliments from readers when I wore it in some looks this past month–some saying it looked better than my usual tinted moisturizer (Kiehl’s, lately). It’s a good tinted moisturizer for those with drier skin who are only looking for sheer coverage to help even out skin tone. It is also significantly pricier than Bobbi Brown’s regular Tinted Moisturizer–EXTRA costs $10 more and you get about 35-40% less. To be fair, a pot of EXTRA is going to last you at least a few months since you need so little per application, though.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you’ve been looking for a more hydrating tinted moisturizer, Bobbi Brown’s EXTRA may be the one to quench your skin’s thirst!

Availability: Bobbi Brown

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