Battle Royale: Tinted Moisturizers

Years ago, I found my Holy Grail tinted moisturizer.

The Ulta Fabulous Face Tinted Moisturizer was lightweight, moisturizing, and with just enough pigment that any facial imperfections were covered. PLUS there was an illuminating factor to it, meaning that it made your face glow like J Lo. Add this to the fact that it was commonly “Buy One, Get One Free” at $12 and I couldn’t have asked for anything more. Oh, but there’s just one problem.

Ulta replaced it with a BB Cream, but it’s just NOT the same to me. The consistency is not where I want it to be. I grabbed a few tubes off of Ebay, but you can’t even find it there anymore. After wiping my tears away, I decided that now was the time to find a replacement. After trips to Sephora & Kohl’s, I came home with these contenders.



tarte BB Tinted Treatment 12-Hour Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen
theBalm BalmShelter Tinted Moisturizer SPF 18
Dr. Jart+ Beauty Balm set in Premium Beauty Balm and Radiance Beauty Balm


Here were my findings (in the photo from left to right).
Tarte BB Tinted Treatment Primer

  • SIZE: 1 fl. oz.
  • SPF 30, Broad Spectrum
  • COLOR: “Fair”
  • 12-hour primer
  • Healthy Treatment, Buildable Coverage, Oil-Free Moisutrizer, Pore Minimizer, Skin Brightener
  • Without paragons, mineral oil, phthalates, sodium laurel sulfate, gluten
  • Made with Diamond powder, mineral pigments, plant extracts, lipoamino acids
  • $36

My thoughts: This stuff felt like pure silk. It glides over the skin with such ease and fills in any pores or imperfections. With that being said, I’d definitely call this more of a primer rather than a tinted moisturizer/BB Cream. The color payoff is almost non-existent. If you’re looking for a great, silky foundation primer, this one is for you.

theBalm BalmShelter Tinted Moisturizer

  • SIZE: 2.5 fl. oz.
  • SPF 18, Broad Spectrum
  • COLOR: “Light”
  • Advertised as more of a sunscreen (telling you to apply before going in the sun)
  • $25

My thoughts: Right off the bat, there’s two things you notice about this one: The packaging is HUGE compared to the others (more than double the size), and the cost is the cheapest per ounce. Now, cheaper does not always equal “better” (especially in the makeup world), but I’ve used several products by theBalm, so I wanted to give it a shot. When I squeezed it out of the tube, the first thing I noticed was that the consistency was the most similar to my beloved Ulta Fabulous Face. It glides on easily, but yet it’s still thick enough to provide a decent amount of coverage for a tinted moisturizer. It even has a bit of a glow to it. Plus, there’s NO tacky feeling to it. A lot of people set their moisturizers with powder, but I never do, so I look for a moisturizer that dries down and isn’t sticky. The only “downside” is that this product had the lowest SPF rating of all of them. Still, so far, so good!

Dr. Jart+ Beauty Balm set in Premium Beauty Balm and Radiance Beauty Balm
These two came in a package together. Total cost was $18, but I’ll break down the benefits of each.

  • SIZE: .5 fl oz each
  • Radiance: SPF 30, Premium: SPF 45
  • Radiance Transforms skin clean & radiant, brightening & hydrating effect, corrects blemishes & uneven skin tone
  • Premium: Firming moisture technology, sunscreen & antioxidants, anti-aging serum with bio-peptides, brightens and conceals uneven skin tone
  • Both: “Helps prevent sunburn”

My thoughts: Both of these Beauty Balms are supposed to be a sort of “One Size Fits All” when it comes to the tint. However, both showed up SO light on my skin. I have light-to-medium skin as it is (NW20 at MAC), so I can only imagine what this would look like on someone with a darker skin tone. Also, this set was the only one that didn’t have Broad Spectrum SPF. It even said on the packaging that if you thought you’d be in the sun for a while, make sure to use this in conjunction with a broad spectrum SPF product. This one just wasn’t my bag, baby.

I’m going to return the Dr. Jart+ set for sure. theBalm moisturizer is my absolute favorite right now! Between the coverage, the price, and the sheer size of the bottle, I’m loving it so far. I’m still on the fence about whether or not to return the tarte product! I may keep it to use as a primer, since it’s just so silky, but not sure yet.

What is your go-to tinted moisturizer or BB cream? Give me your recommendations!

Love you guys, as always.

9 responses to “Battle Royale: Tinted Moisturizers

  1. is there any color transfer with the Balm? or are there other tinted moisturizers you’d recommend? like you, I want something that moisturizes and provides some evening of the skin, but everything ive tried so far (which admittedly isnt that much) is really more like a thin foundation than anything else (which is still heavier than i really want)…and if i touch my face, the color transfers off. also like you, i dont want to have to set it with powder!
    i just want a magical product that evens things out, moisturizes, and feels like im wearing nothing — is that so much to ask? 😉

    • Girl, apparently, you and I are in the same boat. We want so much of these products. haha So I’m with you!

      I’ve found NO color transfer with theBalm product as of yet! I’ve had it on my face for the last four hours today,, and it looks the same now as when I put it on. Plus, I’m wearing a white shirt today that I had to pull over my head AFTER putting makeup on (doh!), and there’s not a speck of makeup on it.

      So far, I’m loving this product! And so glad to hear I’m not the only one NOT setting these with powders. I have dry skin – powder just makes it worse.

      • Dear Linda,
        I would like to go makeup shopping with you and have all kinds of ridiculous, foul-mouthed fun that only we Marylanders can possibly have. 😀
        Or, more specifically, please teach me how to slap on a face.
        Please check this box…

  2. Love your post! It is so informative – I never tried any BB cream as I always go for lightweight foundation but I really want to try some! Do you think they would be good for oily skin types as well?

    • Hi Arielle! I think that theBalm or Dr. Jart+ BBs would be best for oily skin. The tarte one I tried, while it’s very silky, would probably just slide right off of oily skin.

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