Monday, February 14, 2011

Stila’s Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer

Yesterday morning, I was extremely tired and looking at the front end of a busy day, so I wanted nothing more than makeup that I could do quickly and easily. In an attempt to combine some steps, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to try out the Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 15 from Stila. Moisturizer and SPF in one with a little added coverage sounded really good at the time. I actually got this in a well-priced gift set which honestly, I grabbed for the shadows in it, so I hadn’t paid this much mind yet.

1 Stila Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer Shade 01

2 Stila Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer Shade 01 size 
After one (long) day with it, I can’t say that I’m all that impressed. Firstly, let’s talk about the size (and yes, this is a full sized tube). In the photo at left, I have it next to Urban Decay’s XL Primer Potion (.55 oz. or 16.3 ml). The entire bottle is just about the length of my hand from wrist to middle fingertip (though I compared it to UDPP because I believed you all would be familiar with the size of the bottle for a solid frame of reference). The moisturizer only has 1.7 oz. (50 ml), so there really isn’t a lot of product in here, yet it costs $32 when purchased alone. $32! I can honestly say that I was a bit shocked when I looked up its full price on Sephora’s site – no way would I pay that much for this little product.

Secondly, I didn’t find the effect of it all that flattering. It definitely does give an illuminated effect (pretty much what you’d get with any good highlighter), but I found that this looked very strange when it was all over the face. I wouldn’t say it looked like I was oily… more like I went a little overboard with some shimmery powder. Answer this, would you apply a highlighter all over your face? Then why apply the equivalent in lotion form? You could tone it down by applying powder over top, but wouldn’t that defeat the purpose of the product? I also really didn’t notice that it gave any coverage. As a tinted moisturizer, I did expect the coverage to be pretty low; but this really didn’t seem to give anything.

To make matters worse, a few hours in I noticed that it seemed to be setting into some pores around my nose – making them (much) more noticeable. I consider myself to have pretty good skin, so it’s quite a feat for something to make it look uneven – I did not appreciate it.

And finally, I didn’t feel that it was moisturizing at all. It was just… there.

3 Stila Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer Shade 01 swatch4 Stila Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer Shade 01 swatch blended

There are only two shades (though not an issue for me, could prove very frustrating for many people), and I have the lighter – shade 01. Though a tad darker than my skin tone even when blended out, it wasn’t really noticeable when applied on my face. In the second photo, you can get an idea of the ‘illuminated’ effect on the side with the product versus the bare side. If only applied on typical highlight points, I think the effect could be very lovely, but all over the face just seemed like too much.

However, I do have to say that I seem to be in the minority with my lack of enthusiasm for this product. After scanning through reviews on Sephora, many more people seem to love it than not. Shade 01 on Sephora seems to have disappeared though, and they now only offer shade 02. I checked Stila’s site and the product is gone all together. There is an SPF 20 version available on both sites (in the same 2 shades) now, but I don’t know if this is the same product, just with a higher SPF, or a reformulated version. Unfortunately, the ingredient list is not provided for the SPF 15 one, so I can’t compare them to see if there are any inconsistencies to suggest a reformulation. Regardless, the new version is the same small size at the same big price, so I know I probably wouldn’t be purchasing it anyway.

Since so many people seem to love it; rather than suggest completely skipping on it, I’d say make a point to test it out in a store before purchasing.

If you’ve tried and loved this, please let me know. I get terribly frustrated when I can’t find the good in a product that many people love because I end up feeling like I’m missing something!

I hope this helped some of you.
Thanks for reading :)


  1. Great review! It's so disappointing when a product doesn't perform to expectation. I agree, this is definitely on its way to being phased out. Sephora has been getting a bunch of new Stila products that look to be repackaged/reformulated replacement products.

  2. You're not alone! This gives NO coverage, not even a hint of coverage!! Thank God I got it as part of a set as well. It's really expensive and definitely not worth the money. x

  3. Reductionista: I'm just hoping the new ones have been reformulated. I can't find anyone who has compared the old to new, but the packaging of the new SPF 20 still looks very similar to this one.

  4. Stavroula: haha I'm glad I'm not alone! I was afraid I was somehow missing something since so many people love it :P


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