Product Review: Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer


It is perhaps human nature to want to paint our faces. In ancient Rome, both men and women used white lead powder and chalk to even and lighten their complexion. The Egyptians painted their faces, women during the Italian Renaissance and during the Elizabethan era painted their faces, too. When Max Factor (a makeup artist who has his own, very popular brand here in the U.K) invented the Pan-Cake foundation in the 1930s to enhance the look on the actors and actresses he made up, he proceeded to make it commercially available and the public at large dropped their powders and embraced the new product. Since then, foundation (and tinted moisturizers, BB creams, and the ever evolving marketing language around this, i.e, CC Cream, etc) has become a staple of many women's (and men's) makeup routine. Today, many women feel the need to paint their faces. I, frequently, am one of them. 

It took me a long, long time to understand bases, this face-paint that women often spend their lifetime hoping to find the perfect one. At first, and until recently, I just never used them. I’d happily just smack some moisturizer on my face (and happily still do at times!) and apply some blush (so much blush…and, oh god, so orangey, too…). Foundation scared me and I don’t think tinted moisturizers or BB creams were in my vocabulary. And then one day, on a whim, I discovered Maybelline’s Dream Fresh BB Cream (blog post on that coming soon). I think it was from reading all about the BB cream hype, and maybe because it was cheap and it came in only three shades at the time I thought I couldn't really go wrong. So I put it on my face and was pleased by the result (evened out, more radiant skin). After all, my skin looked more like an enhanced idea of skin. A skin 2.0, if you will. 

While I've come a long way since, I’m still conservative when it comes to foundation. When it comes to skin, I prefer the more natural look, and I hate when foundation is visible. Pores are pores. We all have them, it’s what makes us us. Pimples? I'm pretty sure almost everyone on this planet has had them. We shouldn't be so obsessed with erasing every last thing that makes our skin look like skin. In fact, I always find women's bare skin, pimples showing through much more beautiful than the opposite: a skin in hiding, a skin in hibernation. Though some of us use high coverage foundations to hide blemishes or imperfections, I believe we should focus on making our skin healthy (often times aided by a good diet and skin-care routine). Come in the Nars tinted moisturizer. This one has an SPF of 30, which is great if the moisturizer you put underneath (I recommend you use one) does not contain any SPF or if you do not use a sunscreen. Though I'll write on the subject of SPFs later, I think EVERYONE overlooks their importance. In any case, Nars ticks the box of a good amount of SPF (an SPF that's under 30 does very little).

I love that this product comes in a huge variety of shades, and that, unlike the Maybelline BB cream, the one I color matched to has yellow undertones (which my own skin has). For a tinted moisturizer, it also gives a very even coverage to the skin but still makes it look natural and fresh. Though dewy is not what I'd call the finish, natural and glowey is. The product is very easy to apply with your fingers and lasts throughout the day. I do like to powder my T-Zone though (I have combination skin) because I find that it can make my forehead look a tad too oily. 

While I try to go tinted-moisturizer or foundation free, I find this is a product I reach for often and can trust that I will be happy with the results. If I am to paint my face (I abhor brushes, so finger-painting is the way to go for me) a tinted moisturizer is a good halfway point to a tiny bit of coverage that enhances skin's radiance while still showing what skin is made out of: pores, freckles, hair, spots, etc...However, I'm on a mission to find something of a similar effect that won't cost me an arm and a leg.

The pros: natural, but good coverage for a tinted moisturizer. Gives you fresh, somewhat glowing skin. Great color range. SPF 30. Not tested on animals.

The cons: The price. God, the price. $43/£29.00 is a little hard to dish out, especially if it's a product you want to use on a regular basis. However, it's what one would expect from a high-end brand. 

Overall Grade: A- 

- Coline