A grown-up sheer foundation with a deservedly good reputation. It’s one of our best foundation picks for a very good reason.
Light, dewy coverage that lasts
Strong on skincare ingredients
Suits a spectrum of skin types
Built-in sun protection
Smaller variety in darker shades
Less glow than original formula
By Fiona McKim
In a world of BBs, CCs, glow creams and water tints it’s easy to overlook good old tinted moisturiser. Easy, but extremely foolish and and Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer is a perfect example of why this type of base can make the best foundation choice.
As you’d expect from the name, this formula combines skincare ingredients and make-up coverage to give your complexion plenty of what it wants – to look healthy, even and glowy – plus a big dose of what it needs – nourishment, sun protection and brightening ingredients.
As tinted moisturisers go, Laura Mercier’s is undoubtedly a classic and a firm favourite on our beauty editor’s best foundation list. In fact, it kick-started the tinted moisturiser category in the mid 1990s and was one of the products with which make-up artist Mercier first launched her eponymous brand.
Naturally the formula has been tweaked since then, with the latest reformulation in July 2019 offering extra shades and improved sun protection, up from SPF20 to SPF30.
Despite tinkering with the formulation, the brand promises that the dewy, flattering coverage fans know and love has gone nowhere.
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer specifications
Coverage: Light-medium, buildable
Shades and inclusivity: 20 shades in cool, warm and neutral undertones. Range from Petal (very fair neutral) to Cacao (very deep cool)
Added extras: Seed oils, antioxidants, sun protection
Who should buy it?
Thanks to a unique combination of hydrating ingredients and higher than average coverage, this tinted moisturiser would suit a wide spectrum of skin types, from moderately dry to combination-oily. Extremely dry or dehydrated skin may find the formula not quite slippery enough, likewise very oily or acne prone skin might prefer something more robust. Otherwise, it’s likely to impress.
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Key ingredients
As you’d expect from a skincare make-up hybrid, this is jam-packed with ingredients designed to nourish and soften skin as well as improving its quality and texture over time.
Naturally dry skin types will benefit from the inclusion of macadamia and kukui seed oils, while antioxidants vitamin E and C work to prevent environmental damage from pollution and UV. Also included is every beauty editor’s favourite moisture-binding ingredient, hyaluronic acid. This molecule holds up to 1,000 times its weight in water, helping skin to appear plump and superficially reducing the appearance of lines.
Perhaps most importantly of all, from a skincare perspective it contains that newly bumped-up SPF30, which has been developed not to cause flashback (when SPF ingredients make the skin appear chalky in photographs).
It’s worth noting that unless you smear the thickest of layers on, you’re unlikely to benefit from a full SPF30, so if it’s sunny don’t rely on this as your only protection. This is the case with any foundation containing SPF, but is particularly true for any base designed to be worn as a light and sheer veil.
Coverage and lasting power
One thing that sets Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer apart from the competition is its grown-up coverage. Many tinted moisturisers are so light and sheer they give barely a wash of pigment and need regular reapplication. This is different, with robust enough cover to even out skin and last the day on all but the oiliest of skin types.
The reformulated version has a slightly different texture and finish to the original formula. It feels less slippery and spreadable, and is ever so slightly more opaque. This isn’t a bad thing, although if you have extremely dry or flaky skin you will find it trickier to blend.
This newly muscular formula is definitely more of an all-rounder than its predecessor, which was beautiful but could be a tad unforgiving on less than perfect skin. Now, those with redness or rosacea, little patches of pigmentation or oily-combination skin can get on board with a lighter base too. Once it’s set down, the finish is lightly radiant, almost satin-like with just-enough light reflection to look healthy but certainly no sparkle or shimmer.
It’s great to see that the shade range has been widened with the new formulation, but there is certainly still work to be done. Of the 20 shades currently available the lion’s share are still catering to fair to medium skin tones. Of course, formulas with lighter pigment are more adaptable, so there is a little bit of leeway in terms of shade matching. But It would be great to see this iconic and beautiful foundation offering a more plentiful selection of tones and undertones for darker skin.
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Packaging
A handy, lightweight tube with a screw-off lid that won’t smash or leak in your handbag. Once unscrewed, simply squeeze the tinted moisturiser out of a slimline nozzle. This works just fine, as the formula is on the thicker side, so doesn’t dribble out or make a mess.
Want to achieve flawless yet natural-looking skin with Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer? Who better than A-List make-up guru Mary Greenwell to tell you how it’s done.
“The most common thing most people do is to over-apply the amount of make-up they use, such as too much foundation,” explains Mary. “The less you wear for a natural look on the skin, the better. Stay away from a heavy or matte foundation, as this can quickly age you.
As a rule, use a light texture then build. Team Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer, matched exactly to the same shade as your neck, with concealer if you need more coverage. The concealer should be two tones lighter than your skin tone and be specific to the problem area. You can use your fingers or a sponge, but ensure it’s very well blended into the skin, from under the eye down to the cheek. Medium to full coverage conceals under-eye darkness and creates a soft focus effect.”
As woman&home's Senior Beauty Editor, Fiona Mckim has tried more products than she’s had hot dinners and nothing makes her happier than raving about a brilliant beauty find on womanandhome.com or her instagram grid (@fionamckim if you like hair dye experiments and cute shih-tzus)
Fiona joined woman&home as Assistant Beauty Editor in 2013, working under legend Jo GB, who taught her everything she needed to know about the industry (clue: learn about ingredients and employ extreme cynicism).
In a previous life, Fiona studied journalism back home in bonnie Scotland and honed her skills as a magazine features writer, with a brief and terrifying stint on the showbiz gossip pages of a tabloid newspaper in between. She's a skincare fanatic who can’t resist adding an extra step to her routine if it’s all the rage in Japan, loves fragrance, has fun with makeup and never turns down the chance to test a new hair tool. Basically, she loves it all.
When not slathering herself in self tan or squinting at a tiny ingredients list on a moisturiser, you’ll probably find Fiona enjoying something to do with food - cooking it, eating it, cajoling her friends into trekking across London to try a hyped pop-up in a dirty car park.
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