Welcome back to the If I Could Only Buy One series, in which I give myself a week-long headache trying to decide on my absolute favourite beauty product from a given category. Please do read the disclaimer on the first post if you’re in any doubt as to how this incredibly important and (potentially) historically significant beauty challenge works.
The given category this time is “tinted moisturisers”: a tricky one to navigate in some ways, because it’s such a broadly-used term. Where do you draw the line? When it a tinted moisturiser no longer a tinted moisturiser? When the coverage becomes so opaque that it’s basically a foundation? (IT Cosmetics CC Cream comes to mind.) Or when the pigment level is so low that it just gives the tiniest hint of warmth and glow to the skin? (I bung these into the “complexion enhancer” category.)
For me, a tinted moisturiser is just that: a product that you can apply as you would a face cream, reasonably haphazardly, with no real need for a brush or applicator sponge and that gives enough coverage and colour to make you look less like an old parsnip. I like a tinted moisturiser to be a moisturiser – it should feel as plumptious and look as dewy as my face cream – and I like it to give a real-skin-but-better sort of radiance. Coverage needs to be relatively comprehensive – enough to even out skin tone and knock back dark circles and redness slightly. I’m not expecting coverage miracles from a tinted moisturiser – it’s more about the fresh, glowing finish – but I am expecting to look much, much better than I did before I put it on.
So which one would I buy if I could only buy one for the rest of my life? When I think of the cult favourites over the years – the Laura Mercier and the Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue, to name a couple – there’s one product that most definitely stands out from the crowd and that is the NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser*.
This glossy, hydrating face base is the gold standard of tinted moisturisers; it is glowy, fresh-faced base perfection. Supremely hydrating, my skin feels as moisturised at the end of the day as it did when I first put the tint on – there’s a tangible springiness and dewiness to the finish that simply doesn’t fade as the hours pass by.
In terms of coverage, I’d say it equates to a light-to-medium coverage foundation, somewhere in the realms of Clinique’s Even Better Glow. But with even more glow. It does well over redness at the sides of the nose, it makes a brave start on dark circles and it gives an overall evenness to the skin. It doesn’t mask, not quite, but the coverage is enough to distract. And you can always go over the danger zones with a lightweight concealer. (I find that a very heavy, opaque concealer looks odd over a sheer face base.)
There’s a broad spectrum sunscreen in this formula, SPF30, which is a bonus on days when I’m just nipping out on the school run but not being particularly outdoorsy. (I wouldn’t ever solely rely on the SPF in makeup for being in the sun, mainly because I rarely apply enough product to reach the stated protection level but also because it’s a pain to reapply.)
Sixteen shades, the most beautiful scent (not that scent should matter in a face base, but oddly it adds significantly to the whole application experience for me!) and with added Vitamin C for helping with longer-term brightness, it’s basically faultless. If I had to scrape the fault barrel to find something wrong with it, I’d probably say that people with oily skin might want to steer away slightly. Not because of the rich texture – the formula’s actually oil-free, which flabbergasts me because it has all the plumpy effect of a luxury oil! – but because the finish is so glossy and shiny. It just never feels that comfortable, having shine on top of shine and in my PMT week I tend to avoid tinted moisturisers for this very reason.
But that’s it – a minuscule caveat. Everyone else, knock yourselves out. You can find NARS Pure Radiance Tinted Moisturizer for £33 at Space NK here* and also at Cult Beauty*, LookFantastic* and Selfridges*.
I use the shade “Groenland”, which I think is a new shade, but previously used “Alaska”. If you need help finding your shade without going in-store then the website Findation.com is pretty accurate and brilliant at working out your shade in pretty much any face base currently in production.
The Cheater’s List
Because I couldn’t do this “one thing” decision without namedropping some others:
For those who want similar coverage but less on the outré glow front and plumpy residue, try Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer – one of, if not the, original product in this category. It dries down to a more manageable finish if you don’t like too much dew – find it at SpaceNK here*, £36.
For less coverage but a fresher, lighter feel, Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Gel Cream is unbeatable. The ultimate “slap it on” sort of base, this comes in 20 shades and has a subtle, healthy glow. Find it at Cult Beauty here* – it’s £30.
For similar coverage, slightly less dew but an ethereal, lit-from-within sort of radiance then try Trinny De-Stress Serum, I use the shade “Claire” but I think I could get away with a shade darker for summer. It’s £39 here*.
Don’t hold me to this but I think I’ve come up with a solution for those of you who don’t use Instagram but want to see the content I post on there. I’m experimenting with uploading the videos to Youtube as well as IGTV so that I can then embed them into the blog. So you should see a video screen below, with any luck, and you should be able to click and watch me making a berk of myself trying on too-short shorts.
Don’t say I never give you anything.
If this works (and why wouldn’t it?) then there will be a pleasant, permanent place for all of the content I make with the added benefit that it is Google-able. (Googlable?) It’s quite challenging keeping up with the ever-changing social media landscape and I feel safest when all of my stuff is anchored to this blog, my internet home and virtual mothership.
So let me know if this is handy for you – it should definitely please those old-skoolers who still watch Youtube but hate Instagram. And apparently most Youtube users now watch on their phones, so the vertical video should be popular too… I’ll still be uploading normal, horizontal Youtube content and so this IGTV stuff is basically a bonus for those who want it.
Anyway, onwards and upwards with the short-shorts – honestly, I don’t know how anyone functions in shorts this brief. How do they lean to get into a car? What happens if they have to tie up a shoelace? The gussets on said shorts are so small that you’re more or less walking around in a ticking time-bomb, in terms of accidentally flashing your fanjita. I’m all for a bit of body con in the summer if you fancy it but surely there’s a fine line between accentuating your best parts and, er, indecently exposing them…
Links are below if you fancy some short shorts of your own.
Short shorts: https://www2.hm.com/en_gb/productpage.0741356016.html
Tight shorts: https://www2.hm.com/en_gb/productpage.0816423003.html
The just-six-year-old can now read, really quite well, which means I have had to hide all of the novelty mugs with swear words on them and also stop leaving dirty messages to Mr AMR on the fridge door. (Who knew magnetic letters could be so much fun?)
In all seriousness though, I can’t tell you how much joy I get from listening to my daughter read through her school books, even the one about owls. I feel the same excitement for her as I did for myself when I was learning to drive: suddenly a whole new world of experience is opened up. When you can read there’s no limit to where you can go – different times, different countries, different planets. You can meet fascinating people, you can sail on a pirate ship, you can flounce about a tudor court in an uncomfortable dress. I’m quite passionate about reading and how good it is for brains – we all love to be spoon-fed a bit of crap telly, but there’s nothing like getting to work on a good book and plunging yourself completely into a new existence. Great for getting yourself to sleep at night, too, FYI.
This sudden improvement in reading has, and I’m sure this is not a coincidence, come at the same time as a huge “screen ban” in our house. Now before everyone goes crazy and says that screen time (as in TVs, iPads, apps, educational games) is fine and you shouldn’t shame it and how would anyone get anything done without screens and yes our parents didn’t have screens and they managed ok but that was a different era and things aren’t the same now and so on and so forth: I am not shaming it. I am the biggest advocate of a bit of Great Uncle iPad and his unrivalled babysitting prowess and I also love the afternoon movie “treat” that allows me to have a nap, albeit in the world’s most uncomfortable position, while the strains of Can You Feel The Love Tonight filter into my troubled dreams.
I have no problem with screens. God love CBeebies and all that they have saved me from. Rejoice, rejoice in the Toca Life apps and Minecraft games with their buildable worlds. All hail the painting programs that stop my four year-old from falling asleep on long car journeys (if he sleeps for even ten seconds in the day he WILL NOT go to sleep that night). Praise be Netflix with its endless rota of cartoon shite that both kids love and that might buy us an extra 40 minutes of sleep on a weekend morning.
You can see I’m a fan. What I’m not a fan of, however, was how much I was starting to rely on them and what was happening when the screens got turned off. Total meltdowns! On both sides of the parent/child barrier! We were having CBeebies at breakfast (allows enough time to make the packed lunch and find school uniform), CBeebies after school (while dinner was cooked), games on the iPhone when they were bored of the CBeebies, games on the iPad because if one of them had games then the other one needed them too…
And I was always a bit scared of what might happen if I took it all away. How the hell would we get anything done? How would we cook? How would we take an important phone call? How would we even go to the toilet if they weren’t tethered to a screen? (I’m exaggerating for effect, obviously, they weren’t on them constantly, but sometimes it felt like it.)
Well I can tell you what they do when you take all of the screens away: they play. Not for the first couple of days, the withdrawal phase, which is when they will come at you like angry Zombies, brandishing metal poles and threatening to kill you if you don’t give up the goods, but after that. A month in and they’ve stopped even asking for CBeebies. We haven’t had TV or a film on for the whole time and only a couple of games at the weekend when we had to go to Dorset to check something on the building site.
I can tell you it’s a revelation. They just play. And not really together, if I’m honest, so if you have one child and wonder whether this would ever work, I’d give it a go. They go off and just…do things. Potter. Ask constantly for things – like bits of string, glue, pens, card, boxes of an exact and unusual size, snail shells, water softening tablets – and occasionally have huge fights, but it’s actually less maintenance than when they’re watching the TV or iPad because they were constantly arguing over what to watch.
Note that they are four and five, my kids – they’re of the age where they don’t tend to get themselves into too much trouble. I’m not sure I could have done this a year ago because we needed constant eyes on my son who could unlock a Swiss bank safe in about thirty seconds flat and has a penchant for playing with bath taps. But now things are a bit easier I feel as though this “no screens” idea might be the way to go. It has been a lot more pleasant around here, I’m sure of it. I’m positive that the backchat I was getting from my daughter had been picked up from some of the things she’d been watching on Netflix, like Barbie Dreamland or whatever it was called.
And my son, with his love of Power Rangers and Mini Force and all of that robotic stuff, well. It all felt slightly violent, really. In comparison to CBeebies, anyway. Mind you anything seems X-rated compared to CBeebies. If you had only ever watched the innocent world of CBeebies, with its talking rabbit Bing and its Chuggington world and its Waffle Doggy, then an episode of Barbie Dreamhouse would be like watching the pool scene in Showgirls. You’ve only ever set eyes on Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures? Well take this, motherf*cka, your first glimpse of Mini Force would be the equivalent of accidentally seeing Scarface for the first time. (Age eleven.)
Say hello to my little friend.
So yeah, let’s see how long this digi-hiatus lasts. The best thing about it (probably) is that because the kids aren’t glued to a screen, it seems wrong for the adults to be glued to a screen, which means we’ve stopped scrolling the news apps or mindlessly delving into Instagram. I now have set times, usually when I’m on the toilet (you asked) and life feels better for it.
And there endeth my life update. I feel as though it’s been uncharacteristically positive but can’t imagine that’ll last. I love moaning too much!