NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint SPF 30 Makes Makeup Life Easier With Sheer, Natural Coverage

Published in: Face, Makeup, NARS, Product Reviews

nars velvet matte skin tint spf 30 review

The new NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tints ($44 for a 1.7-oz. tube), coming in 12 shades January 15 to NARS boutiques and the NARS website, and February 1 to NARS counters

It’s a bold statement to say that I love a foundation after only using it three or four days, but that’s all the time it took for me to see how NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint SPF 30 rocks.

I put it through its paces last weekend on my three-day trip to Monterey and Carmel, and I can’t remember the last time I thought my skin looked better, whether in real life or pics. I think when you’re on vacation — and, assuming that you’re wearing makeup on that vacation because, let’s face it, on some vacations, like beach vacations or long walking tours, you don’t always want to wear makeup, especially a full face of makeup — that’s a good time to really test a new foundation, because you’re out and about for long stretches of time and probably taking hundreds of pictures along the way.


Also, and maybe this is just me, but I don’t like to spend a ton of time on my makeup when I’m on vacation, especially first thing in the morning. I can usually tolerate spending about 15 minutes (ideally less), but then I want to be out the door because adventure awaits!

I can say with absolute certainty that new NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint — which is really just a fancy name for a tinted moisturizer with an almost fabric-like matte finish — is the sh*t. Based on the crucial vacation/low-patience-for-makeup test, it totally checks off all the right boxes.

nars velvet matte skin tint

Wearing NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint in St. Moritz (this pic was taken with a flash, BTW, and I think you can still just barely see my freckles and moles)

nars velvet matte skin tint

Again wearing St. Moritz, except this time in natural light after about six hours of wear

In some ways, NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint is a lot like that superstar of the NARS foundation line, Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer, of which I’ve gone through bottles, and on which I’ve gotten many friends hooked. And, mind you, these friends don’t even wear makeup on the regular, but they still love Pure Radiant.

Yup, it’s that good, and this new one, Velvet Matte, is just as great, if not better.

Like Pure Radiant’s finish, this one looks like real skin, but it still evens out your skin tone. Also, again like Pure Radiant, Velvet Matte Skin Tint contains broad-spectrum SPF 30, along with extra skincare bells and whistles like vitamins C and E.

“This oil-free formula delivers NARS’ signature natural-looking finish and shine control with the skincare benefits of an all-in-one treatment. NARS’ innovative Velvet Illusion Complex Technology creates a soft-focus effect with a soft-touch feel. Transparent Blurring Powders instantly enhance the look of skin by helping to blur imperfections and even tone — naturally dimensional skin that doesn’t look flat, masked, or chalky.”


The coverage is sheer but build-able up to medium, by the way, so don’t expect it to cover every single freckle or imperfection. My freckles and moles peek through, but I’m totally fine with that right now. I’ve been loving a more natural look lately, but I think you really have to like that whole, “What, me? Am I wearing makeup?” look to appreciate the finish.

nars velvet matte skin tint spf 30 swatches

NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint swatches from the left: Terre-Neuve, Finland, Alaska and Groenland

As for the formula, just as lightweight as NARS Pure Radiant. Seriously, at some point I kind of just forgot that I was wearing makeup. It’s SO comfortable.

Where the two — Pure Radiant and Velvet Matte Skin Tint — really differ is finish. Pure Radiant’s is dewier, although Skin Tint isn’t completely flat, but I think that if you’re all about that matte life, and/or you have oily skin with a lot of natural dewiness already, then Skin Tint would be the better choice.

nars velvet matte skin tint spf 30 swatches

St. Moritz, Cuzco, Annapurna and Cuba

Funny thing is…I’m not always a matte finish gal. Most of the time — OK, maybe like all the time — I’ll choose dewy over matte because I feel like matte foundations, as beautiful as they are, particularly in pics, can appear slightly aging because of how they tend to settle into pores and fine lines and look heavy and cakey, but this matte finish looks fresh, incredibly natural and youthful.

nars velvet matte skin tint spf 30 swatches

Malaga, Seychelles, Martinique and Polynesia

I think this bad girl’s gonna be like the Taylor Swift of the tinted moisturizer world. Soon, everyone and their mama’s gonna be talking about it, and you’re going to be seeing it all over the frickin’ place.

Of the 12 shades, I wear St. Moritz, a medium with neutral yellow undertones, and I think it’s pretty much a perfect fit for my middle-of-the-winter skin.


The 12 shades include…

  • Terre-Neuve (Light0) — lightest shade with neutral pink undertones
  • Finland (Light1) — lightest with neutral yellow undertones
  • Alaska (Light2) — light with a neutral balance of pink and yellow undertones
  • Groenland (Light3) — light medium with a neutral pink/peachy undertone
  • St. Moritz (Medium1) — medium with a neutral yellow undertone
  • Cuzco (Medium1.5) — medium with a neutral pink/peachy undertone
  • Annapurna (Medium2) — medium with a neutral peachy undertone
  • Cuba (Medium3) — medium with a neutral balance of pink and yellow undertones
  • Malaga (Med/Dark1) — medium-dark with warm caramel undertones
  • Seychelles (Med/Dark2) — medium-dark with golden olive undertones
  • Martinique (Med/Dark3) — medium-dark with warm red undertones
  • Polynesia (Dark1), — dark with warm chocolate undertones

If you like how NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint sounds, look for it starting January 15 in the NARS permanent line at NARS boutiques and the NARS website, and then a little later on February 1 at NARS counters.

I have a feeling you’ll really like this one.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 30 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. NARS looks like such an amazing brand! These tinted moisturisers look like just the thing I need, something a little lighter than a foundation but still with quite a bit of coverage. The medium to dark shades would probably suit me best. Overall great post!
    – Liv Xxx

  2. Agata says:

    It sounds like a great product and your skin does look flawless! I can’t wait to try a sample of it!
    Agata recently posted … Birthday Perks

  3. Indya says:

    Really, really hoping Polynesia will work for me!!!!!!!!! I have been looking for a tinted moisturizer.
    Indya recently posted … Mizon Multi Function Formula Snail Recovery Gel Cream Review

  4. Erin says:

    I’m Terra Nueve in the Radiant but this looks more pink. Finland looks too yellow. Goreland looks like the perfect undertone but too dark! GRRR! I have dry skin but it still sound like I’ll try it. I haven’t tried the last few foundations from NARS because I’ve been so happy with the RTM.
    Erin recently posted … Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Hydrolysate

  5. Chelsea says:

    Your skin looks so blurred and beautiful! Or maybe it’s just pregnancy :p I’ll have to keep my eyes out for a sample – gotta check colors (Finland looks like it might work, Terre Neuve is way too pink) and see how it agrees with my skin – powders in it make me think it won’t, because I’m hella dry.

    I’m not actually unhappy with my current base at all, but, you know, always on the lookout for something bigger and better.

  6. Ilene says:

    Looking forward to Jan 15th. May I ask, what other makeup you were wearing in the vacation pic? Esp liked lipcolor!
    You glow girl!

  7. Tiffany says:

    YESSS!!! I’ve been dying for more swatches of this. I’m so getting this. I love the Pure Radiant TM

  8. Amanda Kilpatrick says:

    Looking forward to checking out this new product. I love the Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser. Are the shades similar? For example if I’m using the St Moritz shade in the Pure Radiant, would I use that shade in the new Velvet Matte Skin Tint? I usually buy my products online. Thanks 🙂 Love your reviews – I find them very helpful.

  9. Jessica says:

    I have a MAC bb cream i love…how does this compare?
    Jessica recently posted … Mad ACEO: Pan Pastel

  10. kim says:

    Ahhh, so exciting! Pure radiant is my jam and I’m about to finish my current tube. I’m really happy they have the same colors. I’m hard to match and groenland is perfect for me.

  11. So far I haven’t had much luck with NARS foundations… buuuuut I’m always willing to give second (or in this case I guess third or fourth) chances, especially after reading this!
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … Personal | Christmas beauty haul (+ lots of food, fun and fashion!)

  12. I am all about the matte life recently, because my skin is so shiny on it´s own due to the pregnancy hormones, and I haven’t found the perfect foundation yet, so maybe I´ll try and get a sample.
    LindaLibraLoca recently posted … Resolutions and relaxing

  13. Zsófia says:

    Can’t wait to have this. Unfortunately, their current tinted moisturizer is too dewy for me, disappears fast. This is gonna be just perfect for those days when I don’t feel like blending their Luminous Weightless foundation.When does it come to Europe?

  14. Andrea says:

    I heard a rumour that the Velvet Matte Skin Tint is meant to replace the Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer… Have you heard anything about that! I sure hope not, because that tinted moisturizer is my HG!!!

  15. Christina says:

    Ummm…I need this. Like now. I love Pure Radiant but find it’s a little to dewy for me as my post-pregnancy skin is a little more oily. Can I ask how you apply it? Beauty Blender, brush, fingers? Thanks!

  16. Jasmine says:

    Eek you have well and truly sold this to me! The Pure Radiance Tinted Moisturiser is one of my favourites and is perfect for my drier winter skin but I definitely tend towards facial shine during the summer so this sounds like it’s the answer 😀
    Just one question, are the shades the same as in the tinted moisturiser? I know that the Luminous Weightless had the same names as Sheer Glow but the shades turned out to be different so I’m a bit wary! xx

    Jasmine Talks Beauty

  17. A tinted moisturizer with a matte finish sounds right up my street!
    Carol in a Page recently posted … Colored Pencil Liners: Lazy Makeup with a Twist

  18. Kellie says:

    This is now on my to try list!!! I loved the Pure Radiant TM when my skin was clearer, now I am in need of a matte finish. I am going to try once my current base runs out, which I am loving! Urban Decay Naked Skin. I am almost to the bottom of the bottle and I love it! I never use up one foundation as quickly as I did that one.

  19. Sandy P says:

    Where can I grab some samples? Have never tried Nars and so far I have given thumbs down to Smashbox, Bare Minerals and Cover FX. Right now I am using a new Clinique foundation that is full coverage AND concealer all in one. But would like to have something light for the spring/ summer! Hate to put money out on another product that will just get buried in my cosmetic bag 😍😍

  20. Fancie says:

    Wow this looks amazing! Your skin is naturally flawless but finish on this is unreal. It doesn’t look dry, cakey or mask-like. Almost hard to believe it’s matte formula it looks so good. I want to try this!
    Fancie recently posted … Best of 2015: Highlighters

  21. Iris says:

    This sounds perfect for me and I love the sunscreen that’s built in! If this is the same as the tinted moisturizer, I’m between Finland and Alaska, with the latter being my “summer” shade. I hope this is available in Canada with the SPF. Cheers!

  22. Clarissa says:

    Hi Karen, just wanted to say I really love your makeup blog and that I admire your carefree attitude towards life as well as that your personality is beautiful! 🙂 <3 your blog brings me indescribable happy vibes. Stay happy <3 Hello from Singapore. 🙂

  23. Jay says:

    Eeek Karen, this looks amazing for oily skin! Do you know whether this has mineral sunscreen or chemical?

    Jay xx
    Jay recently posted … L’Oreal Volume Million Lashes So Couture – Review

  24. Emme says:

    OMG Karen…I am soooooooooooooooo in!! I liked the Pure Radiant, but I’m such an oily girl and it was TOO radiant. I am definitely gonna get a sample the next time I’m in Sephora. Thanks. PS…you look great!

  25. Maya says:

    You look really great in that picture.

  26. Connie says:

    Looks great! What did you apply it with? Fingers, sponge, brush?

  27. Carina says:

    Does the product dry a little lighter than the swatch? In the second picture it kind of looks like it but I can’t tell for certain. Im half Mexican with freckles and my skin can be so hard to match. Also, do you think this foundation would allow freckles to show through or give a muddled look?

  28. Karen says:

    I think you have sold me on this! The packaging is absolutely gorgeous and your skin looks amazing with this on, I couldn’t believe it was on your face for 6 hours in that photo! From your swatches I’m guessing I would either be Alaska or St Moritz 🙂

  29. Hemona says:

    U look u recommend st Moritz for my nc37-40 skin tone ..m dying to get it st Moritz looks a tad too light for me in the swatches

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