I’ll be wearing this $5 tinted moisturizer all summer
Snag this now to even your skin tone without blowing the budget.
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When I was in high school and experiencing cystic acne, I was determined to find a complexion product that evened out my skin tone. I walked into a Sephora and sampled full-coverage matte foundations, ultimately landing on the Makeup Forever Matte Velvet Skin Full Coverage Foundation, which I thought was the only way to hide the pimples. Over the years, I tried a handful of products, hoping to do away with redness and make my bumpy acne look flat and otherwise nonexistent. That “must conceal” mindset stuck with me through most of college long after my breakouts turned to acne scars.
It wasn’t until my skin was breakout-free (thank you, Accutane) and the acne scars had begun to fade that I realized I didn’t want to mask my skin anymore, at least not the way I had been. I wanted a foundation that covered enough to even out my complexion's hyperpigmentation, but that allowed freckles and the natural contours of my face to show through. I didn’t want to “blank out”—as I called it—my face anymore.
Ever since, I’ve gravitated toward light to medium foundations, BB or CC creams, or tinted moisturizers, depending how much coverage I wanted. And this year, I found my favorite complexion evener of all time in the $5 Wet n Wild Bare Focus Tinted Hydrator Tinted Skin Veil.
What is the Wet n Wild Bare Focus Tinted Hydrator?
This tinted moisturizer hydrates the skin with hyaluronic acid, an ingredient that plumps the skin and helps it retain moisture, and vegan squalane, a lipid that can be derived from plants, like this one is, or animals. It offers a semi-matte finish and sheer to medium coverage, depending on how much you apply. Wet n Wild claims that it’s suitable for all skin types, and it comes in 12 shades ranging from “porcelain” (a pale cream) to “rich” (a milk chocolate).
What’s it like to use the Wet n Wild Tinted Hydrator?
The skin veil goes on like a moisturizer—it’s creamy and blends into the skin with ease. I’ve used the tinted hydrator with two primers: the Wet n Wild Glass Correct Primer Base that claims to brighten with vitamin C and color correct with a yellow tint, and the Peter Thomas Roth Skin to Die For No-Filter Mattifying Primer & Complexion Perfector that aims to blur the look of pores and fine lines with its silicone-like texture. I’ve applied the tinted hydrator to my skin without a primer over a moisturizer or sunscreen, too. With the exception of slight sheen changes—my skin looks glowier with the Wet n Wild Primer and more matte with the Peter Thomas Roth—the tinted moisturizer adds a natural-looking veil of color, regardless of the base.
To apply, I put a blueberry-sized amount of the product on the back of my hand, dip my middle finger into it, and dab small dots on my cheeks and forehead. Then, to blend it in, I’ve used my fingers, a Real Techniques Expert Face Brush, and a Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge, and all of them create a smooth, non-streaky finish.
A sponge is my go-to for all complexion products because it allows me to blend the color without being too precise. As I spread out the Wet n wild product and dab it into my skin, I notice the redness from hyperpigmentation on my cheeks looks more faded and there’s an overall healthier but still skin-like (read: semi-matte) appearance to my skin. The result is not a blank canvas—I can see the natural shadows of my indented acne scars and some redness from old or current acne. But it creates a more even appearance and livens up a dull complexion.
One layer provided sheer to light coverage, but I can achieve medium coverage by applying more as the first layer dries. When I want to touch up my skin without looking like I’m wearing makeup, one thin layer of the moisturizer is ideal; when I want to do a full eye look and pack on some blush and bronzer, I enjoy building up the formula.
What do I like about the Wet n Wild Tinted Hydrator?
The best part of the Wet n Wild Tinted Hydrator is its versatility. If you prefer a “no-makeup makeup” look, this is a great addition to your routine. If you like more coverage, but dislike the heaviness and cakiness of some liquid, cream, or powder foundations, this will impress you with its featherweight feel. In fact, I often forget I’m wearing the product, especially if I use lightweight cream or powder products on top of it to keep an airy feel.
What do I dislike about the Wet n Wild Tinted Hydrator?
With just a dozen offerings, this product’s shade range is limited. The first four shades are fair to light, the next four are considered medium or tan, and the last four are labelled deep or rich. The deepest shade, called “rich,” appears significantly darker than the next lightest shade called “deep,” which makes me think that not everyone with a darker complexion will find a great shade match within this line. Because the tinted moisturizer provides less opaque coverage, it's possible that each shade may work for people within a range skin tones. Still, it’s worth keeping the receipt in case your shade doesn’t suit you as well as the “fair” options works on my fair-neutral skin.
Another small quibble: I've noticed it can settled into my smile lines within a few hours of application, but this doesn't happen if I take the step of setting the moisturizer with powder (I use the Maybelline Fit Me Loose Finishing Powder in fair).
Who should buy the Wet n Wild Tinted Hydrator?
Assuming you can find a shade that matches your skin tone and you enjoy lighter coverage, you’ll love this tinted moisturizer. It’s lightweight, it appears as natural as skin once blended in, and it evens skin tone enough to give a fresh-faced, healthy looking canvas for the rest of your products. Oh, and did I mention that it’s only $5? Run, don’t walk.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.