A (EWG-Approved) Tinted Moisturizer and BB/CC Cream Face Off

Okay folks, after reading through all of your tinted moisturizer and BB/CC cream recommendations, I decided to try out a few myself. The only caveat? The formulas had to score a 3 or lower on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep website. Trust me, that designation cuts out A LOT. As you know, I have spent an enormous amount of time cleaning up my act over the past decade. (My household cleaner post started it all 7 years ago…can you believe that post was SEVEN years ago?) I’ve completely overhauled what we use to clean our house, our medicine cabinet, cooking tools, the food we put in our bellies…everything.

Except beauty products.

When I sit down and think about the fact that I’ve turned a blind eye to everything I put on my skin, it’s kind of ridiculous. I mean, our skin is our largest organ…yet I continually apply lotions and cleansers and sunscreens and cosmetics without any consideration to the ingredients. Well, things are changing around here. Big time. (And I apologize in advance for forthcoming posts on the subject if you aren’t very interested, but I am in the process of replacing ALL of my beauty products. Just wait until you see the before and after photos of my bathroom cabinet. I easily got rid of 85% of my products. Not going to lie, my attempts to rationalize holding onto lipsticks chock full of horrible chemicals were pretty entertaining. I did chuck them, though!)

Anyway. Back to the current subject matter. Tinted moisturizers and BB/CC creams. These days, mama needs to put a little something on her face before stepping out. I don’t know if it’s my age or what, but GOODNESS GRACIOUS, I just can’t go out and about with a bare face anymore. It is not right, people. I took Wita to get her bangs trimmed last week without anything on my face, took a gander at myself in the stylist’s mirror, and audibly gasped at the situation before me. Dark circles, redness around my nose and mouth, hyperpigmentation…I mean, gahhhhhhhhhhhh.

So. Yes. Bring on the tinted moisturizers. I love tinted moisturizers because they create a natural, healthy look while “buffering” some imperfections. They don’t cover the imperfections completely, but that’s okay with me…I’m not looking for a mask.

After doing research on the safest ones for skin, I chose three to try out. Tarte BB Tinted Moisturizer, and Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream, and Beauty Counter Tint Skin.



Aren’t the color variations crazy?

Here are the results. Get ready to look at lots of closeups of my mug. Sorry about that.

Here I am, au naturale and au blotchy.


The first product I tried is Tarte Amazonian Clay BB Tinted Moisturizer in Light, $35.

tarte bb tinted moisturizer review

This tinted moisturizer boasts all the benefits of a BB cream in an ultralight formula. I like the coverage and how it evens out my complexion, but unfortunately, I couldn’t deal with the feel of the product. Let me explain – I prefer to use products that feel hydrating on my skin and leave me feeling dewy. This formulation is velvety smooth and super lightweight – it practically disappears on the skin immediately after applying. My skin in no way felt moisturized or hydrated after application – in fact, I had to put moisturizer on over it because my skin felt like it might crack off.

However, let me say, people LOVE this BB cream. (Just read the comments!) If you have oily areas or get shiny very easily, you will probably love this product. Younger ladies would probably enjoy it too. However, if you have dry skin or don’t like a velvety dry finish, I would hesitate. This tinted moisturizer scores a 2 on Skin Deep, comes in 5 shades and has an SPF of 20. It was also the longest-lasting of the three products.

Next up, Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream in Light/Medium, $37.

clinique moisture surge cc cream review

This is a hydrating, dewy moisturizer that feels very moisturizing on the skin. This CC cream comes in 8 shades, and unfortunately I was sent home from Sephora with the wrong color sample. As you can see, it’s a bit too dark for my complexion, so I think the Light or Natural shade would have worked better for me. This one was the thickest of all the three, and I felt like it was sitting on top of my skin a little bit. However, it did give a really nice glow. I’d like to check out the lighter shades, because it could be a great option during the drier winter months. I love that the product is SPF 30, and it scores a 3 on Skin Deep.

The last product I tried is Beautycounter Tint Skin in Linen, $38.

beautycounter tint skin review

I love the way this product feels. It’s creamy, super easy to blend, and feels very hydrating. I used the color “linen,” which I think was a touch too pale for my skin tone at the time of these photos. I had a little bit of color left from summer when I shot these, but the linen shade works really well on me now. This tinted moisturizer has a EWG score of 2, and comes in 7 shades.

The only bummer about this product is that it doesn’t contain sunscreen. I love it though, and if Beautycounter comes out with a version with sunscreen, it will be my holy grail product.

By the way, many of you asked about my makeup in the photo below from a previous tutorial, and it was predominantly from Beautycounter.

beautycounter tint skin review

I have recently started using Beautycounter skin care, lip sheers, blush, and eye shadow. Shampoo, conditioner, and the kids’ personal care items are on the way to me right now and I’ll report back. I am completely enamored with the brand, especially their mission to get safe products into the hands of all consumers. More on this later, but if you are interested in learning more, check out all the products here or shoot me an email. I have LOTS to say.

So, for me, Beautycounter Tint Skin wins the face off. I’ve been wearing it for about a month now and love it, plus I’m not scaring folks on my morning grocery store runs anymore. Bonus.

  1. Sarah

    October 20, 2014 at 7:56 am

    I use the Tarte product and get you on it not feeling like a moisturizer. I really like how it has the sunscreen built in though. So, I’m curious as to what you’re using for sunscreen with the Beautycounter product. I really try to use natural products but a sunscreen for my face has really stumped me!

    • whoorl

      October 20, 2014 at 11:06 am

      See below!

  2. Katie

    October 20, 2014 at 7:59 am

    Thanks! This is just what I needed. Are you wearing a sunscreen underneath? Which one? I definitely need one as I am now getting brown sun spots! Ugh!

  3. whoorl

    October 20, 2014 at 8:17 am

    Hey Katie and Sarah, currently I’m finishing off a bottle of Olay Complete SPF 30 for Sensitive Skin, which I’ve used for years and scores a 4 on Skin Deep: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/product/566722/Olay_Complete_Defense_Daily_UV_Moisturizer%2C_Sensitive_Skin%2C_SPF_30/

    But I have been sampling the Beautycounter Protect Face and I like it just as much, and it’s a 2 on Skin Deep, so I’ll be switching over when the Olay is finished. http://bit.ly/1utqSo6

    (Also, I’m secretly wishing that they come out with a tinted moisturizer WITH sunscreen!)

  4. Mina

    October 20, 2014 at 8:28 am

    Where do you purchase Beautycounter products? I don’t see them listed on Sephora or Nordstrom websites. I hate ordering online without trying shades on in the store but I’d love to clean up my skincare/make up as well. Do you still use the Neutrogena Healthy Skin cream?


    • whoorl

      October 20, 2014 at 11:00 am

      Mina, they are direct-to-consumer via the website or through consultants. They do have a good return policy and 30-day money back guarantee if products don’t work. (I think if you pass the 30-day mark, you get a product credit.)

      As for the Neutrogena, I don’t use it anymore. It has a questionable ingredients, and I’m pretty sure the one I used for so long was discontinued recently.

  5. Mina

    October 20, 2014 at 9:34 am

    Also, EWG’s Skin Deep is SO overwhelming! Is there a trick to it?

    • whoorl

      October 20, 2014 at 11:00 am

      I use it to specifically look up products I’m thinking about using via the search feature.

  6. Emily

    October 20, 2014 at 10:16 am

    Thanks for this post, I’m in the process of doing an overhaul as well. Are you wearing anything other than BB cream/tinted moisturizer under your eyes? I’m starting to battle deep circles as well, but have sensitive skin (especially in this delicate eye area).

    • whoorl

      October 20, 2014 at 11:06 am

      Hey Emily, I use the Beautycounter Touchup Skin Concealer: http://bit.ly/1ybdPLR

      It’s really creamy and easy to blend without tugging the eye area.

      I have also used Clinique Airbrush Concealer in the past: http://bit.ly/1AwxgOI but I can’t find safety information on it and am phasing it out. Hope this helps!

  7. Christy

    October 20, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    I feel like you’ve done all the time-consuming research, now I just need to go shopping. :) I’m running low on my Bobbi Brown TM, so I just ordered the Beautycounter Tint Skin.

  8. Stacey

    October 20, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    I did a similar test of BBs last fall, and Tarte was my #1. I haven’t heard of beauty counter though, so I’ll have to check that out!

  9. Brie

    October 20, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    Have you bought Egyptian magic? It scores a zero. I have really liked it, healing and good around the eyes and on lips. After my recent face freak out it seems to have helped. Great on scars too. I like the kids bc products as i said before and sunscreen. I want to love the face stuff but i don’t. Maybe i should try the oil or tinted cream.

  10. Emily Peck

    October 20, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    I use bare minerals as my foundation BUT I was using a tinted primer/bb cream underneath for a little extra coverage and staying power. I am in between shades for the bare minerals BB so after using it for a while, i stopped. :( Now, I’m onto Tarte BB Primer but ALSO the lightest is too light and the next shade is too dark….I am thinking of trying Sunday Riley next but I don’t know how it fares on EWG. :\

  11. Jenny Post

    October 20, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    I’m a Tarte tinted moisturizer LOVER, so I had to chime in. I noticed in the first picture of the post that the label on the little bag says Tarte BB Primer which is a different product than the Tarte BB Tinted Moisturizer. Sephora was sold out of the shade I needed once and convinced me to buy the primer instead and what a mistake! I wound up returning it, which I never do, because it was not at all moisturizing and way too matte. After I read your comments about how un-moisturizing it felt, I wondered if maybe it was the primer and not the moisturizer you used.

    • whoorl

      October 20, 2014 at 7:42 pm

      OMG. OMG! I think you’re right! I’m going back to Sephora tomorrow to try again. Thank you!

  12. Lauren D

    October 20, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    I started switching over a few years ago and feel like I have my skincare down but make up I am constantly trying new products. Beauty Counter doesn’t ship to Canada (beep) but maybe they will in the future?!

    Some of my favourites:
    John Masters Organics Bare Shampoo and Conditioner
    Sweet Almond oil as a makeup remover and body moisturizer
    Eminence organics calm skin chamomile cleanser
    Pai rose hip oil (good retinol alternative)
    Jason sea fresh toothpaste (pretty sure you are a legit hippy if you use this but it is awesome)
    Tata Harper be adored lip treatment
    One love organics everything!

    I often purchase from Eco Diva Beauty and they have awesome samples too :)
    I also love no more dirty looks http://nomoredirtylooks.com those girls know their stuff! The book is awesome too!

    I hope that helps, enjoy natural beauty shopping!

  13. claudia098

    October 21, 2014 at 9:00 am

    OMG that website is sucht a timesuck! I have a bit of thing for lipstick. Yesterday I went through all 2500+ lipsticks and am happy to say I threw out several I had. What’s your personal threshold for products? I’m kind of thinking to discard anything that’s 7 or above (red warning!), but wondering if anything over a 5 should go. And what do you do with products you love that aren’t reviewed by EWG?

    • whoorl

      October 21, 2014 at 11:42 am

      A 4 is as high as I will go, although I prefer to stick with 2-3 range. As for the products, not reviewed, you can look through the ingredients yourself (Skin Deep has a list of the bad ones), and if they have any, chuck ’em! And if you can’t find the ingredients anywhere for your product, for sure chuck them! That’s usually a bad sign.

  14. Jill Will Run

    October 21, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Oh Sarah… if that’s you “au blotchy” I feel really bad about my “au blotchy!” :-)

    I’m actually intrigued to try the Tarte one because I feel like my skin is still a little oilier than I’d like, even in my late 30’s. And I’ve had some mean zits in the 30’s, far worse than anything I ever had as a teen and they’ve left spots behind. I need some coverage to be presentable as well! My problem is that along with being a hair dunce, I’m also kind of a makeup dunce. That’s part of why I like BB/CC creams, I can put that on without as much trouble as a real foundation. Thanks for the reviews!

  15. Ashley

    October 21, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    So, I just turned 30. And am thinking that I should probably start washing my face. Or a cream? Of some sort? I AM SO CLUELESS. Any advice, oh, skin guru?

    • Dori

      October 22, 2014 at 9:22 am


      It can be overwhelming. Find a Beautycounter consultant in your area. The products truly are amazing and they are all safe. Makes life easy. :)

      Good luck!