I tend to gravitate towards foundations that provide medium coverage with a matte finish. Therefore, I usually stay away from tinted moisturizers, which often provide a luminous finish and minimal coverage. However, the Nars Velvet Matte Skin Tint is not your traditional tinted moisturizer, which is why I decided to give it a try.
Nars Velvet Matte Skin Tint Broad Spectrum SPF 30 ($44 for 50ml/1.7oz)
Packaging: It comes in a plastic squeeze tube and is very travel friendly. It's also easy to dispense the amount of product that you need. The mouth opening does quickly get dirty if you don't wipe it after every use, but it's not a deal breaker.
Color: It comes in 12 shades with various undertones. I'm currently a MAC NC30/35 and Alaska (Light 2) is too light, while St. Moritz (Medium 1) is too dark. Groenland (Light 3) has an undertone that's not yellow enough for my warm complexion. So, I have to mix Alaska and St. Moritz together to get a perfect color match. The MAC Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof foundation in NC30 looks similar to St. Moritz in the swatch pictures, but the color is actually lighter when applied to the face.
Scent: It has a slight citrus scent when I smell it on the back of my hand, but quickly dissipates and is unnoticeable during application.
Application: The oil-free formula is creamy and blends into the skin easily. (Keep in mind, you must moisturize your face before application or else it will cling to dry and flaky patches.) It provides more coverage than a traditional tinted moisturizer, but not as much as a traditional foundation. It's enough coverage to even out your complexion, while feeling lightweight and without looking cakey. It also leaves a soft, matte finish that doesn't look flat and makes your skin look like skin, but better.
Longevity: I have an oily t-zone and normal (not dry or oily) skin on the rest of my face. The product doesn't last as long as a traditional foundation, even when set with a powder, such as the Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder, which is holy grail status. However, it lasts at least 7 hours before separating around the area where the skin is most oily, such as the t-zone. (Those who have great results with primers may experience better wear time with the Skin Tint, but I unfortunately don't find face primers to substantially lengthen the wear of my makeup in general.)
Active Ingredients: Octinoxate 7.5%, Octisalate 3%
Inactive Ingredients: Methyl Trimethicone, Alcohol, Water, Adipic Acid/Neopentyl Glycol Crosspolymer, Isononyl Isononanoate, Lauryl PEG-9, Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Dimethicone, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Isododecane, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Calcium Carbonate, Fragrance, Sodium Chloride, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Aluminum Hydroxide, Trimethylsiloxysilylcarbamoyl Pullulan, Hydroxyapatite, Tocopheryl Acetate, Rosa Multiflora Fruit Extract, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate
+/- May Contain: Titanium Dioxide and Iron Oxides
Nars #41 Diffusing Brush ($32) - The natural bristles are made of pony hair and feel very soft without any prickly feeling at all. It's intended for applying a light wash of color to the lids, but I find the brush to be too big in general for applying eyeshadow. I prefer to use it for blending the lid color and softening the highlight color on the brow bone. It's also great for blending the contour lines of the nose and highlighting the bridge of the nose and cupid's bow. My favorite way to use this brush is when I want to create a sharp contour line on the hollows of the cheeks. I just dip the brush once into my Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder and it applies and blends the product into my skin, seamlessly. (The total length of the brush is 7.4 inches.)
Pictures of the Dolce & Gabbana Big Blending brush ($33) and MAC 239 ($25) are shown for size comparison. I don't favor one over the other because I use them for different purposes. However, I find that the Dolce & Gabbana one provides better control when blending on the eyes since it's smaller compared to the Nars one, while the MAC 239 is ideal for laying down product onto the lids when you want maximum control.
Nars #42 Blending Eyeshadow Brush ($32) - The natural bristles are made of 80% AAA goat and 20% pony hair and feels softer than the Sonia Kashuk #109 ($3.99), which is made of pure goat hair. The Sigma E38 ($16) is made of synthetic material and works best at blending cream products. It's pictured for size reference. As for the Sigma E35 ($16), I have the old version that's made with natural bristles and it feels just as soft as the Nars #42. (The one that Sigma currently sell is made of synthetic material.)
The Nars #42 is intended for applying "bold, shimmery shadows" when you want to tone down the intensity and to create a "soft-focus effect." In other words, it's ideal for applying a quick and light wash of color to the lids. It's also suitable for blending light, transition colors. (The total length of the brush is 7.4 inches.)
The Sonia Kashuk #109 and Sigma E35 are bigger and more ideal for those with a bigger eye space. For those who are looking to blend out dark, harsh lines, I recommend using a firmer and denser brush, such as the Sephora #27 ($20) and for those who want more control, the Sonia Kashuk #116 ($5.99).
Bottom Line: The quality of the brushes are excellent. They feel soft, don't shed and serve multiple purposes, while looking exquisite. As for the Velvet Matte Skin Tint, it's the ideal product to use when you want to look put together without looking like you put much effort. It's for those days when you're on the beach, having brunch with girlfriends, running errands or when you're out just for a few hours.
Note: The Nars Velvet Matte Skin Tint, #41 Diffusing brush and #42 Blending Eyeshadow brush are available at Beauty.com, Nordstrom and Sephora.
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