Tuesday, July 9, 2013

REVIEW! | NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in Alaska (Light 2)

In life, I am very decisive.  I do not struggle to choose between protein bars.  I do not fret over whether or not a paint color will live up to my expectations.  I can narrow down a purse in two colors that I love to one winner in 60 seconds.  For the most part, you can change something if you don't love it.  Repaint!  Buy new protein bars!  Exchange that turquoise purse for the coral one!  It's something I pride myself on, my ability to "love it or leave it" and not carry around the baggage of regret.  All of these deep thoughts are leading up to an important topic: tinted moisturizer (obvs)!
When it comes to foundations, I do not dole out the kudos easily.  I like to really use the foundation I'm testing for a long time so I can experience it during times of joy, stress, sad TV commercials, rain, sun, humidity, hormones, etc.  I LOVE foundation; it's one of my favorite items and has been since I started wearing makeup.  It's the most important step in your makeup routine.  It's called "foundation" for a reason!  You build on it, and no one wants to build on shaky ground.  So I definitely spend more time mulling over a foundation before declaring my love/loathing for it than normal people do.  :) 
I have combination oily skin, and the thought of "sheer coverage" does not set my world alight.  I like full coverage.  However, I decided to try lighter coverage in the summertime just as an experiment.  Could I ever identify with those people who have a "summer" and "winter" foundation routine, as opposed to my using my usual full-coverage pick year-round?  For three months (I know!!) I have been testing NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer (hereinafter PRTM) and I had an interesting "meh-to-marvelous" turnabout!
Originally, I wasn't wildly impressed.  I'd apply the PRTM in the morning after cleansing and I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of coverage.  Then I'd see myself around mid-day and I'd need a barrel of oil-absorbing sheets to tamp down the shine.  Frankly, I gave up and went back to the full-coverage foundation I'd been using and loving.  Maybe I'm just not a tinted moisturizer kinda gal?  But then something fun happened.  I got tan.

I went to Florida with my fiance and came back with some sun (even though I was applying SPF 80 like a maniac on a mission).  I'd also started Beautisol-ing and that was deepening my natural color dramatically, which made me look like I was clocking hours at the pool.
I'm thinkin' you guys can identify the before versus the after... ;)  With makeup // No makeup
Suddenly, I had no foundation that even remotely matched my new summer skin color.  I'm typically the second lightest shade offered in almost every line.  Casper with a hint of pink?  C'est moi!  However, after my tanning adventures, I couldn't use my normal base without ending up with a painted-on pale face and a dark neck and chest.  I remembered that the NARS PRTM was a little darker and yellower than my regular foundations, and had a lighter consistency.  I am so happy I gave it another try because that's when I started to LOVE it!  All caps LOVE, y'all!
Alaska, described as "light with a neutral balance of pink and yellow undertones", is the third lightest shade in the spectrum, and magically worked well on my NW20 skin AND my new tanned hyde.  I don't know what my current color is specifically (I should go to MAC and get shade-matched right now just to find out!), but I'm going to wager it's close to NW30-35.  That being said, Alaska does have a good bit of yellow to it, like most NARS foundations, but I don't think it looks overly warm on me.  And it has SPF 30!  Which is fantastic!
Unblended / Blended
First of all, don't make the mistake I did and over-apply!  It's tinted moisturizer; lotion with bit of pigment - not pigment with a bit of lotion.  The term "slather" should not be used!  Apply the same amount that you would of your regular daily moisturizer.  Sure, the coverage won't be as impressive, but you won't find yourself shining like a new dime the next time you look in the mirror!

Coverage-wise, I think this is one of the best options I've ever used in TM or BB creme format.  So if you're not ready to go for minimal coverage, this is perfect for you!  This level of coverage was enough to make me not worry about my imperfections so much, and just enjoy the simplicity of using a 2-in-1 product.
Wearing only NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer
As far as moisture, it's awesome.  If you have normal to dry skin, this could be HG material for you.  The PRTM does leave a dewy finish that looks really healthy and youthful.  If you're on the oilier side like me, I highly recommend finishing your makeup off with a dusting of powder to set.  Set it and forget it!  Once I made these two small tweaks, I had an Oprah lightbulb moment!  I finally *got* the point of having a lighter summer foundation!  It's lighter and breezier, and looks more like "you're skin, but better"!  This never broke me out, either.  Bonus chips!
NARS PRTM Only // NARS PRTM with a dusting of MAC Mineralize Skinfish Natural in Medium*
*Sorry I look like I'm contemplating robbing a convenience store in that one on the right.  ???

This was only foundation I used for a solid month and I just love it.  I'm wearing it in my NARS Douce France post here.  My tip?  Keep it in the bathroom so it's handy when you're done washing your face.  That way you're less likely to apply your regular daily moisturizer out of habit and then realize you've totally failed.  No one needs two coats of hydration during July!  
If you're looking for a solid tinted moisturizer option with SPF that still provides medium coverage, I cannot recommend this enough!  

My Rating: A
Cost: $42.00
Where to Buy: NARS, Sephora

Do you change up your foundation in the summer / winter?  What's your favorite summer face product?


  1. Hey Kristen, glad to hear you're a fan! I had the chance to check it out at the NARS counter last summer when I was in Taipei, but I didn't pick it up. I do change up my foundation according to the season. In winter I could use hydrating products that give me a glow (Guerlain Parure de Lumiere, Bourjois Healthy Mix), but in summer that can go wrong SO quickly! I recently discovered the L'Occitane BB cream. I'll write about it more later, but I like how it sets to the finish of a powder foundation and holds up well without making my T-zone an oil slick! I'll be packing it for Taipei for sure!

  2. I'm glad you ended up liking it! I haven't tried this one yet, like you I more often choose foundation. I am still normal-combination skin this summer and am making an effort to use up some TM. But, like you, find it making me oily. The Tarte Amazonian Clay setting powder is amazing at keeping the oil at bay. I don't have to touch up at all (but of course I do...hello, product junkie!) on days I use the Tarte Powder.

  3. TracyBeautyReflectionsJuly 9, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    Yay! Glad you made it work for you! I have dry skin so this one is as close to HG status as a foundation can get for me. "Contemplating robbing a convenience store" HAHAHAHAHAHA you kill me woman!

  4. This is one of my favorite tinted moisturizers for my insanely dry and crazy pale skin!

    DANG you got TAN! I just burn!

  5. Hmmm... I might have to retract my "no tinted moisturizers in the summer" statement - this looks great! I'll probably need the lightest shade since I'm also in the casper with a hint of pink family haha!

  6. If you're lighter than me (in my before photo), you should check out Phyrra's review & swatchy goodness of Finland and Terre Neuve! Her post definitely helped me select a shade online! http://www.phyrra.net/2013/04/nars-pure-radiant-tinted-moisturizer-spf-30-terre-neuve-finland-review.html If you try it, I'd love to know what you think! :)

  7. Dry skin! I don't even know what life would be like without blotting paper and powder all day every day! You have a beautiful fair complexion though - you can rock it! If my skin wasn't so oily or I didn't live in the humidity mosh pit that is Atlanta, this would be the ultimate for me! LOL - I did get kind of loco tan. I used to be a sun baby - free wheeling with no SPF. Now I get a dark tan when I use high SPF? I think I must have Indian blood in me somewhere! Well, that and the occasional hit of Beautisol. :)

  8. LOL! I mean what *is* that look if not pondering a life of crime?! You were one of my 2 biggest shade influencers on this purchase since I bought it online! So THANKS!!

  9. Ooh, thanks for the tip on the Tarte powder! I am always all ears when it comes to good mattifying helpers! I think this TM is the best for coverage, but I wish it was slightly less moisturizing! Do they make a TM Lite? They should! :)

  10. Oh interesting! i love L'Occitane and didn't even know this product existed! Thank you for mentioning it and i can't wait to hear how it performs in Taipei!

    And yes, i know exactly what you mean about a glow going sideways on you in the summer! Looks good in the morning, looks like you applied a coat of gloss by lunch time! :P


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