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Monday, August 13, 2012

Review: e.l.f. Studio Tinted Moisturizer SPF20 in Nude

I have a secret to share with you, my lovelies. While testing and reviewing the Maybelline BB Cream and the L'Oreal BB Cream, I've also been quietly testing out some tinted moisturizers. Since US BB creams are basically just tinted moisturizers with a few added skin benefits (compared to Asian BB creams which tend to be true all-in-one products), I thought I'd put some actual tinted moisturizers to the test and let you know how they stack up to the US BB creams that have flooded the market as of late.

So today I'd like to share my thoughts with you about the new e.l.f. Tinted Moisturizer SPF20, which I purchased for $3 at my local Target several weeks ago. 

I've heard that e.l.f. is going to be coming out with a BB Cream soon, but compared to the US BB creams I've tried over the past few months, I'm not quite sure that  e.l.f. needs to make a BB cream. I find that the e.l.f. Tinted Moisturizer is VERY MUCH like a US BB Cream and, dare I say, even better? Keep reading to find out:

 e.l.f. Studio Tinted Moisturizer SPF20 in Nude
(retail: $3, 0.88 oz)

 e.l.f. is notorious for inaccurate color swatches on their products, so I LOVE that they added a description to each shade in this range. It's SO helpful. I knew that Nude was my best bet after reading the description above.

To see all SEVEN (yes, seven!) shades in the range, click here.

The full ingredient list, from the e.l.f. website:

ACTIVE: Benzophenone-3, Ethylhexyl Isopalmitate, Titanium Dioxide.
INACTIVE: Water, Mineral Oil, Cyclomethicone, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Propylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Steareth-21 Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth-2, Glyceryl Stearate, Xanthan Gum, Methylparaben, Propylparabem, Tocopherol(VE), Retinyl Acetate(VA), Ascorbyk Palmitate(VC), Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, MAY CONTAIN: Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891) 

Before and after:

Texture, consistency and ease of application: The texture of this product is thin, but it's not super watery or hard to apply. It's got the consistency of a light moisturizer (not heavy or waxy-feeling) and it spreads across the skin quite easily. I prefer to use my fingers for application and I haven't had any issues with spotty or uneven coverage.

Finish, coverage and staying power: I would say that the finish of this product is right in the middle between the Maybelline BB Cream and the L'Oreal BB Cream. It's nowhere near as "dewy" as the Maybelline BB Cream, but it also doesn't have the matte finish of the L'Oreal BB Cream. Put it this way: if the Maybelline BB Cream left your face a little too "dewy", then you will love the finish of the e.l.f. Tinted Moisturizer. It feels like it's got a little bit of shine control to it, without looking matte. As for coverage, I'd say it's right on par with the Maybelline BB Cream, if not a tad bit more opaque. For a tinted moisturizer, the coverage is seriously impressive, as it works quite well to even out my redness and hide minor imperfections. It doesn't do much to decrease the appearance of my pores, but it also doesn't settle into my pores (or my fine lines). This product manages to make my face look dewy and healthy without looking greasy. And unlike the Maybelline BB Cream, I can get a full 7-8 hours of wear from this product if I set it with powder after application. This is quite impressive for a tinted moisturizer (or for a US BB Cream, for that matter!).

Fragrance: I detect very little scent from this product--there is no perfume to it and I cannot smell it at all during application. I literally have to put my nose right up to the tube to smell anything, and even then I only get just the faintest "lotion base" scent--it's basically void of fragrance.

Ingredients: This product has an SPF of 20 with UVA/UVB sun protection. I like that it contains, among other active ingredients, 5% Titanium Dioxide. The only downside to this product that I can find is that it does contain a good amount of mineral oil (the second ingredient on the list after water). If you are sensitive to mineral oil (I know that some people break out from mineral oil but thankfully I don't), you'll definitely want to skip this one. Also, this product contains two forms of parabens (in case you're trying to avoid those too).

FINAL VERDICT: Overall, I find very little difference between the e.l.f. Studio Tinted Moisturizer and some of the BB creams that are currently in US drugstores. In fact, if the name of this product were "e.l.f. BB Cream SPF20" I wouldn't blink an eye, and I'd probably call it my favorite US BB Cream to date. Sure, it's not perfect (those who are sensitive to mineral oil won't be reaching for this one), but it performs much better on my oily skin than the Maybelline BB Cream (my oily skin devours the Maybelline BB Cream in just a few hours). At just $3 for 0.88 oz (vs. Maybelline BB Cream at $8.49 for 1.0 oz), it's a steal as well. The shade Nude is a great color match for my MAC NC20 skintone--it evens out my redness and provides the same amount of coverage as the Maybelline BB Cream (maybe even a tad bit more). In the unbearable heat we've been experiencing on the West Coast lately, I find myself reaching for this product over my BB creams when I want to skip my moisturizer and not wear a heavy foundation. Add a light dusting of powder on top and I'm good to go and looking good for several hours, even in extreme heat (which is more than I can say for any of the US BB creams I own). If you're OK with the ingredients, then I say give this one a shot. Especially if the various US drugstore BB creams have let you down.

Do you already own the new e.l.f. Studio Tinted Moisturizer SPF20? Thoughts?


  1. Nice! Definitely going to pick one up to try next time I'm at Target~

  2. Yay! So glad you reviewed this. I've picked it up so many times. I tried the Maybelline BB Cream (HATED) and love my Boscia BB Cream but for around $40 I'd love an alternative! Thanks!

  3. I just wished the website gave the descriptions on the product, in fact it would be nice to get descriptors on all the products. I recently bought two pressed powders (to try and find the perfect shade)...both were off :/ Anyways, thanks so much for the review and I will definitely be checking out the ELF section at Target soon!

  4. Prior to my finding the Loreal skin beautifying BB (SUCH a long name, lol, but since they have two I have to specify).. which is an A+ on my oily skin... I really enjoyed the WNW tinted moisturizer. Totally cheap, awesome pigmentation (almost foundation pigmentation), lasts all day.. just a bit too greasy for me. Looks fine when I first apply it but I have some breakthrough oilies to deal with as the day goes on so I have to blot and powder, probably due to the spf. Still a great go-to if I need a quick, lightweight, spf option.

  5. Gah!! If you left a comment here today (8/13) and you do not see it here, I'm SO sorry. I accidentally hit "delete" instead of "approve" on three comments that were left on this post today. Please feel free to leave your comment again, and I promise that, this time, you'll see it. Sorry again!

  6. I have tried this TM before and I loved it. It was my go to for the majority of the summer... I recently replaced it with Nars TM... But ELF's is definitely worth trying :)

  7. I so wish they would make paler shades of this! I have been searching for an affordable tinted moisturizer that won't be too orange on my pasty ghost-girl skin but even the "porcelain" shade in this range is much too dark.

  8. Thank you for reviewing this!! I recently saw it at my KMart & wondered about it... and I'm not in love with my Garnier BB cream (it leaves me too shiny; screw dewy, flat out SHINY!!), so I think I'll pick this up and give it a go! Also, thanks for the L'Oreal bb review too - I prefer a more matte look, so I think I'll pick this one up too.
    As a fellow West Coaster, I have been dying here - the humidity (which I normally love over a dry heat) has me continuously sweating. I mean continuously. I know that powder is not possible until I'm at work and have blotted the heck out of my face with a hankie, and I also know that I'm losing more of my bb when I blot because of the sweat. Reapplying at work is not really the best option (especially if I'm running late ;) ), so would the elf be ok, or am I going to more than likely have the same problem??
    Thanks so much G for your help!!

  9. Thanks for the review. I was curious about the elf tinted moisturizer line.

  10. Thanks for the review. I've heard good things about this one. I'm wondering if the mineral oil might add a little boost of moisture/dewiness in dry winter air?

  11. I'm glad you reviewed this. I LOVE elf's tinted moisturizer. I have been using it for a couple summers now and have recommended it to all of my friends. It provides very good coverage for a drugstore TM and it works great on my oily skin in the summer. Just set it with some powder and I'm good to go for the entire day! So much better than caking on foundation in this heat. Grateful for your review! Hopefully more people will pick this up :-)

  12. I purchased this without reading the ingredients and I had to throw it away because it contains mineral oil. I do like the range of colors that they have though.

  13. I've had this for a while. I love it! It is perfect on days that I don't want any heavy foundation on.

  14. I ll be getting mine in a couple of days cant wait

  15. I bought this and was liking it, until I took it with me on a trip and it started leaking everywhere! I don't know if it was because of the air pressure on the plane or what, but the lid won't screw on securely, so if it gets bumped at all, I'll have a mess of foundation all over. I guess I'll just make sure to carry it around in a Ziploc baggie at all times. I don't know how long it will last if the product is seeping out seemingly nonstop though.

  16. i have one, and i like mine too. have it in nude as well, kinda weird because im asian and live in the tropics so i'm sure im on the darker side, but Nude just blends into my skin. with 3 little dots all over , im good to go. i like that it is sheer and lightweight and it doesn't clog my pores whatsoever, and this is good since my skin breaks out easily.elf totally pull it off yet again.

  17. I love this stuff! I use it as a light foundation. Actual foundations break me out but this doesn't:)

  18. trying to decide if I want to risk this or not. Like Courtney I break out and when I break out it takes absolutely forever to get cleared up again. Maybelline had a product in a green bottle a few years ago that was 50% water and then 50% everything else that worked GREAT on my skin. too bad they discontinued it :(

  19. I just found your blog post by searching this ELF tinted moisturizer because I knew someone else out there had to love it as much as I do! It is great!! I normally use Bare Minerals, but my skin has gotten paler in the past month so I picked up the ELF Nude shade as well. It really is great!

  20. I tried this out about a year ago and was horrified at the oxidation. It quickly went to my "product fail bin" at the bottom of my makeup cabinet. However, something reminded me of it recently, and I pulled it back out. I tried a different application technique . . . and am totally in love with it. I've used it every day for almost two weeks. It is inexpensive, lasts all day, and I find it combats my oily skin better than anything else I've tried. I am truly glad I found the courage to try this product again after my disastrous start with it. :D


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