Velvet Matte Skin Tint Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen is a sheer foundation that looks and feels amazing, especially if skin is combination to oily. That's why it's so disappointing to report that the formula has a weakness that keeps it from earning our recommendation—the amount of alcohol present poses a risk of irritation.
Though this foundation does provide reliable broad-spectrum sun protection to make good on its anti-aging claims, the amount of alcohol is concerning. As the second inactive ingredient, you can detect its scent—over this product's added fragrance. The alcohol helps this foundation set to its matte finish faster, as does the dry finish silicone that precedes it, but there are other formulary ways to get this effect without exposing skin to the problems alcohol presents.
It's truly a shame because from an esthetic perspective, NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint is amazing. It's a joy to blend, its matte finish (which holds up over oily areas quite well) looks fresh and dimensional rather than dry or flat, and the coverage, while not getting past the sheer-to-light range, still manages to blur imperfections and minimize the appearance of pores.
Our assessment of the shades reveals NARS has lost none of his touch creating real skin colors that lean to the warm side—a benefit for most skin tones. Shades are available for fair (but not porcelain) to dark (but not ebony) skin tones, with only a few minor missteps. St. Moritz is slightly bright peach; Cuzco is noticeably peach and definitely not as natural-looking as it could be; Martinique has a reddish-copper tint that's limiting but not unworkable for some dark skin tones.
NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen is worthy of its accolades when viewed from an esthetic perspective—great lightweight texture, easy to blend, natural-looking, pore-blurring coverage, and a beautiful warm-toned range of shades for most skin tones. But the amount of alcohol it contains poses a risk of irritation, even if your skin is oily. For preferred options, check out our round-up of foundations with sunscreen for oily skin.
Alcohol-Based Skincare Products: Alcohol helps ingredients like retinol and vitamin C penetrate into the skin more effectively, but it does that by breaking down the skin's barrier—destroying the very substances that keep your skin healthy over the long term (Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 2012 and Journal of Hospital Infection, 2003).
A significant amount of research shows alcohol causes free-radical damage in skin even at low levels (Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 2012). Small amounts of alcohol on skin cells in lab settings (about 3%, but keep in mind skin-care products contain amounts ranging from 5% to 60% or greater) over the course of two days increased cell death by 26%. It also destroyed the substances in cells that reduce inflammation and defend against free radicals—this process actually causes more free-radical damage. If this weren't bad enough, exposure to alcohol actually causes skin cells to self-destruct (Alcohol, 2002).
Research also shows that these destructive, aging effects on skin cells increased the longer skin was exposed to alcohol; for example, two days of exposure was dramatically more harmful than one day, and that's at only a 3% concentration (Alcohol, 2002). In fact, the effect of inflammation in the skin is cumulative, and repeated exposure to irritants contributes to a weakened skin barrier, slower healing (including of red marks from breakouts), and a dull, uneven complexion (Aging, 2012 & Chemical Immunology and Allergy, 2012).
Introducing Velvet Matte Skin Tint SPF 30 Instant gratification. Effortless application. Protects and perfects with a soft-matte finish. Oil-free. All-day wear. 12 global shades. Transforms the look of skin immediately and over time. Transparent Blurring Powders instantly enhance the look of skin by helping to diffuse imperfections with a powerful optical effect. The powders’ unique, spherical shape compresses like a cushion, delivering a velvety-smooth, touchable feel and superior comfort on application. Rose Fruit Extract visibly minimizes the appearance of pores, while controlling shine. Vitamins C, E, and broad spectrum SPF 30 protect against free-radical damage caused by environmental stress.
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, Iron Oxides.
Frenchman Francois Nars has been painting the faces of New York's top models since arriving in the United States in 1984. Their images and his handiwork have been seen on the covers of countless fashion magazines, most notably Vogue and Elle. As the story often goes for the talented makeup artists who have become celebrities in their own right, Nars became frustrated with the state of available makeup and, surprise, another cosmetic line was born.
Beginning (as Bobbi Brown did) by launching a small collection of lipsticks in 1994, the clamor for the colors was incredible, and demand for more NARS products from the artist grew. Shortly thereafter an entire product line followed, gaining attention with vibrant, deeply pigmented colors, sleek, tactile-enhanced packaging and risqué shade names.
As an overview, NARS makeup has many strengths—it reaches its zenith with blushes, tinted moisturizer, foundations, brushes, and lipsticks. If you’re a fan of bold colors, you’ll find them here, and the brand offers consistently impressive foundations and concealers. NARS consistently impresses when it comes to offering a wide range of shades to suit nearly any skin tone.
Where NARS often falls short is in the amount of fragrance added to many of their skincare formulas. In some cases, the amount and specific fragrance ingredients chosen outweigh the potential benefits, so be sure to double check their review before buying. Overall, NARS offers a lot to love, and if you don’t mind splurging a bit (as their prices can be on the spendy side) there are quite a few makeup picks that come with our highest recommendations.
Strengths: Superior foundations and foundation shade options; excellent blushes; splurge-worthy lipsticks; beautiful bronzers and consistently impressive color products.
Weaknesses: Can be expensive; a few skincare formulas contain high amounts of fragrance.
For more information about NARS, owned by Shiseido, call (888) 788-6277 or visit www.narscosmetics.com.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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