Tinted Moisturizer Showdown

by Sarah

As the makeup trends recently shifted towards “less is more”, the focus has been on base products that give the skin a more natural, effortless, radiant look.

Along with lightweight foundations, tinted moisturizers also came back into the limelight; in particular two very popular products:
Laura Mercier Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer and NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer

So, which one takes the crown as being the perfect Tinted Moisturizer? I have some interesting findings….

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 Laura Mercier Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer – NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer

I’ve had the Laura Mercier Oil Free Tinted Moisturizer in my kit for years…though I never reached for it too often, due to reasons I’ll discuss shortly.

In terms of base products, foundations in particular, I’ve always been a NARS girl. From Sheer Glow to heavier coverage formulas, NARS foundations always work really well with my skin.

So, when I realised I was running low on my Laura Mercier Tinted Moistruizer; and saw that NARS was advertising new shades being added to their range, I decided to shift gears and give the NARS one a try.

I did a side by side comparison chart, so lets delve into some technical details first…

Laura Mercier vs NARS

Right off the bat, both brands recently added new shades to their existing range; with Laura Mercier going one step further to revamp the design of the bottles also.

With these latest changes, Laura Mercier is now available in 20 shades, and NARS in 16 shades.

Both formulas are oil free; however Laura Mercier does have another formula which is more hydrating/rich if you have dry skin.
*I purchase the oil free version.

Both formulas are sheer to buildable coverage, both have 1.9oz/50ml product in a traditional squeeze bottle.

Laura Mercier contains SPF20 sunscreen, whereas NARS has SPF30 for that added protection.

Laura Mercier claims their key ingredient Licorice Root Extract soothes the skin, while NARS claims their star ingredient is Vitamin C and with regular use, brightens the skin and even reduces the appearance of dark spots in as little as 4 weeks.

Laura Mercier vs NARS

Now, lets get into the fun stuff; application, color and performance…



Much higher coverage than most tinted moisturizers
Beautiful glowing, smooth finish
SPF 20 which is essential in tinted moisturizers
Now available in 20 shades


Oxidises – on me personally
The oxidisation issue means I never had that perfect color match
Even the oil-free version purges on my T-zone after about 2hr-wear
Feels tacky, slightly sticky on the skin
Causes breakouts if I wear it more than 3-4 consecutive days



I’ve always loved the high coverage, smooth and glowing finish this tinted moisturizer provides. However, due to the cons I listed above, it’s seldom rare I reach for it over my daily foundation.




Super lightweight yet buildable (to medium coverage)
Radiant finish – not too oily, not too matte
SPF 30 for added protection
Color matches me perfectly and doesn’t oxidize
Dries down and doesn’t budge all day
Powder products such as blush and bronzer apply smoothly over it



Surprisingly none so far for me personally
16 shades in the range – which may seem limited, however being a sheer/buildable formula, there’s play-room between shades. eg: I had a sample pot of another color Mykonos which also worked fine on my skin tone



I think by now, you figured out my preference between these two products but I still want to add: I’m so impressed with NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer!

Considering how amazing the coverage, finish and the wear time of this product is, I just wish I tried it sooner. I’ve been happily using it in place of my everyday foundation since I got it.

With all the pros I mentioned, I gladly crown NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer the winner in this showdown.

Let me know if you tried either or both of these products; and what your thoughts are xo

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Bianca June 10, 2021 - 4:36 am

I was looking for a good comparison and here it is. Thank you! Ordering NARS now.

Sonya May 15, 2021 - 10:27 pm

Thank you so much for this great review. I’ve experienced the same with my Laura Mercier so I can’t wait to try the Nars one.


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