FGW’s Brand Vs Bargain: Tinted Moisturizers

February 28, 2008 at 8:36 am 8 comments

mac-select-tint.jpgIn the cosmetics world, you know something’s really hit the big time when the cheap drugstore brands start making their version of it.  Inspired by Jen I recently went in search of a good tinted moisturizer.

My first stop was Nordstrom, where I hit up most of the major counters. It’s a sad fact that I am, for some reason, a hard skin tone to match. It took several tries but I finally found a color that would work for me at the MAC counter. At $25 Select Tint is priced pretty close to most other brands, if a bit less.

Later that day I happened across Wet ‘n Wild’s sheer tinted moisturizer and figured I’d give that a shot too. I’ve found some super cheap things that are decent, so what could it hurt to try yeah?  I grabbed the lightest color they offer and got it for under $5, including tax.

In appearance the two seem pretty similar, but the proof of the pudding and all that, I had to delve deeper.  The associate at the MAC counter told me their formula tends to be more pigmented than other brands, and I liked that because this I’m just changing from a regular foundation to tinted moisturizer.  I didn’t want to make too much of a change all at once. 

It’s slightly thinner than regular foundation, and goes on soft and sheer. It takes a bit to sink in, but it wears much better than a regular foundation , leaving my skin looking natural with just enough color to even out my tone.  Because it sinks in there was nothing on the surface of my skin to settle in wrinkles.  It’s easy to blend and lasts fairly well, oily skin and all.  I did apply a layer of loose powder over the top to set it, but that is a step that could easily be skipped by someone with normal or dry skin.  It’s not the most hydrating moisturizer out there, so if your skin is very dry I’d recommend using your usual lotion and letting it sink in before applying Select Tint, but skip the thick creams.  It’s likely that in the summer no extra moisturizing would be needed.

Wet ‘n Wild’s formula is more pigmented than MAC’s, it seems more like a light foundation than a tinted moisturizer. It took a little extra blending to get the color just right but once it was on it stayed put.  It felt like a matte foundation as opposed to a moisturizer.  It felt as though it provides little to no actual hydrating, so it almost has to be used over a regular moisturizer, even on my oily/combination skin. The thicker formula settled into some of my less appealing wrinkles, including one between my brows that I can’t stand. I left a cheek print on my cell phone every time I used it while wearing this product and I got tired of cleaning the screen over and over again.  A minor annoyance, yes, but something to take into consideration. Other than that the color stayed fairly well, especially in that wrinkle I mentioned, and it was not a good thing.  Wet ‘n Wild is great for the younger girls, and those wrinkle free beauties are the only ones who should walk around wearing it.

In short, the MAC tint left my skin feeling soft and light, like a moisturizer should, and added a welcome touch of color. The Wet ‘n Wild felt drying and thick, something I would expect more from a foundation and the color was off just a touch, which certainly didn’t help the appearance.  The winner, by decision, with moisture and a soft, wrinkle friendly formula.…Brand Name: MAC Select Tint SPF15!

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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. mejojac  |  February 28, 2008 at 11:22 am

    Rats… I was so hoping the cheap knock off would work just as well… I guess you get what you pay for, eh?

  • 2. jen38  |  February 28, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    I do too! My favorite TM’s are not cheap either.

    Tarte’s Smooth Operator
    Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer
    Model co Fluidsplash

    Mo, great post! Any foundation that collects in your lines or wrinkles and rubs off on your phone has GOT TO GO! Those are my biggest pet peeves when it comes to foundations in general.

  • 3. tracy m  |  February 28, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    So is a tinted moisturizer a better way to go than a regular foundation? I have a brand new bottle of MAC fluid foundation, and while it matches my skin nicely, it’s really thick.

    I watched Mo put on the TM this a.m, and she was like: whaaaza, whip, whooooosh, zap, done.

    That’s what I want.

  • 4. jen38  |  February 28, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    Tracy you have me giggling with your onomatopoeia statements!

    Not to fear! It would be a shame to let your regular foundation go to waste. You might combine your existing foundation with a bit of your favorite moisturizer and find out what happens.

    The first time I ever used a tinted moisturizer, I caressed the bottle closely and whispered softly, “Where have you been all my life?!”

  • 5. mo mommy  |  February 28, 2008 at 9:46 pm

    One thing that has made a big difference in how the tinted moisturizer goes on is application. In the beginning I was applying it like foundation, one part of my face at a time and blend. But since I started applying it like a moisturizer, get a bit on the finger tips of both hands and rub it in, it looks and feels a lot better.
    I got a sample of Tarte’s Clean Slate primer and I am in L-O-V-E!! Do they do anything to less than perfection?!

  • 6. mo mommy  |  February 28, 2008 at 9:57 pm

    And just to clarify, I went to Tracy’s sans makeup and applied it there. It’s not like she was sleeping over or vice versa or anything. Just in case her comment made anyone wonder…like my husband…

  • 7. tracy m  |  February 28, 2008 at 10:33 pm


    Jen, did you just whip that out, or did you have to look up how to spell it? Cuz woman, that’s a $10 word!

    I can use it in a sentence, but spell it? Ha!

  • 8. jen38  |  February 29, 2008 at 8:11 am

    I have to admit. I looked it up; copied and pasted it.

    Are you kidding me? Spell check is my best friend! 😉


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