Put “hyaluronic” in the title of any makeup product and I’m immediately interested. Couple that with a tinted moisturizer formula that claims to have “skin-perfecting, lightweight coverage for fresh, healthy looking skin” and I’m sold. ColourPop’s Pretty Fresh Hyaluronic Tinted Moisturizer, formulated with both hyaluronic acid and coconut water, is affordable, vegan, and oil, gluten and paraben free. Is it also as amazing as it sounds?
Find it HERE
Tested July 2020
When summertime rolls around, I start looking for lightweight complexion products that won’t melt off my face and don’t require a lot of maintenance. A tinted moisturizer sounds ideal for these situations, but honestly, I haven’t tried a lot of them. The Pretty Fresh Hyaluronic Tinted Moisturizer has a crazy number of good reviews online, so I figured it was time to give it a go. I love most of the products I’ve tried from ColourPop, so I was pretty sure I’d love this too.
And then I used it. And then I was disappointed. And then I found a few ways to make it look ok. And then I decided it’s probably more work than it’s worth.
I tried the lightest shade, Fair 1N, which is described as a neutral shade for very fair skin tones. It’s not a perfect match for me because it still leans a little yellow in my opinion, but the next two shades in the fair range have warm undertones, which I am even less suited for. One pump of this product looks like enough (it isn’t), and it has a much thicker texture than I expected; it’s not runny at all, but more like a firm cream.
Here’s what I thought would happen: I thought I would apply this all over the face with my hands and end up with slightly evened out, hydrated and dewy looking skin in as much time as it takes to pop on a moisturizer. Instead, I hated how this looked applied directly with my fingers. It’s too thick and tacky and it didn’t distribute evenly. It clung to my cheeks, sat in my pores and looked splotchy. I also tried using a Tati Beauty Blendiful to tap and buff this onto the skin (see Lea’s review of this tool here). While this applicator puff worked better than my fingers, I felt like the product sat like a film on my skin. On my third day trying this product, I used a Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge and finally found that this is the best application technique to keep the product from looking heavy. After some trial and error, I recommend applying one pump to the back of the hand, blending all over with a damp sponge, then doing another pump and focusing this product on areas with redness or those that need a little more coverage.
This tinted moisturizer leaves a natural, almost matte appearance (see the outdoor natural light photo below), so it wasn’t the dewier finish I was hoping for when I read “fresh, healthy looking skin” on the box.
Even with my two-pump layering system, the coverage was very sheer (but it felt like I was wearing a lot on my face?? Confusing.) I could still see my freckles and brown spots showing through, which I hope you can see in the photo below, and that is mostly fine with me.
Something that is not fine with me is that I can feel this product on my face for quite a while after applying because it is somewhat thick and tacky. It doesn’t mesh well with the surface of my skin and I had visible patches of unblended product even when I used a sponge and really worked at it. I should note that this seemed to happen with or without primer underneath. This tinted moisturizer looked ok from a normal distance, but up close I could see product sitting on top of my skin, often distributed more heavily in some areas than others no matter how much I blended.
After I finished applying, I also had flaky bits on the top and tip of my nose, so I can’t say it satisfied my hopes of being super hydrating. It settled around the corners of my nose throughout the day, but wore off the top of my nose where I have pretty minimal oils to begin with. After a full day of wear, this product would be totally rubbed off in some areas, leaving little bald patches I was not pleased to see. In the close-up photo below, I circled areas where the product wore off unevenly, and put a box around the dry patches and settling near my nose. I hope it gives you a sense of why this product was disappointing.
My final grievance with this product is that does not play well with others. I didn’t like setting it with powder (extra cake) and my normal powder bronzer did not apply evenly on top of it, neither did powder blush. This is best worn totally on its own or with cream products on top.
So, do I actually want a tinted moisturizer that I have to take time to apply in layers for it to just look ok from a distance? No, I guess I don’t. I had every expectation to rave about this product, but it didn’t impress me and wasn’t a good fit for my skin. I was much happier with the Physicians Formula Sheer Line of Defense Foundation (read my review here). At a similar price point, it has better coverage, a more lightweight formula and a healthier looking finish.