June 15, 2010

Urban Decay Urban Defense Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 Review and Swatches

I swear it’s the irony of my life that I sit in my office all bloody week and watch perfectly beautiful days go by but when the weekend arrives it rains.  WTH Mother Nature! Seriously?

I feel Summer is already over because it rains almost every single weekend. Where the heck is the fun in that?

Oh well..

Regardless, I’m still all about lighter, fresher coverage for Summer and Urban Decay Urban Defense Tinted Moisturizer is the awesome for it!


A buildable tinted moisturizer that’s hydrates tired skin, evens out dull complexions, and offers sun protection with an SPF 20.

They had me at tinted moisturizer. Urban Decay is known for more of their color products and not so much their base so when they said tinted moisturizer I was all, “oh hello there how are you?”

This comes in a 1oz pump style jar for $32 bucks with an SPF 20. Laura Mercier’s version? SPF 20 as well in 1.5 oz size for $42 so you’re saving a few bucks on UD’s version even though Laura’s is a tad on the bigger size. I’ve always wondered why tinted moisturizer costs more than foundation, weird right?

This is extra thick, extra creamy, and has decent pigmentation. It blends beautifully into skin and leaves behind a nice hydrated feel, no oily or greasy feel just light, hydrating coverage. It isn’t pigmented enough to cover major skin woe but it does even out my complexion well and creates a good even base for my makeup. It’s buildable yes but I always feel like tinted moisturizer is best used on “good” skin sans acne, acne scarring, fine lines, etc….because if you’re looking to conceal with this, it simply won’t do that as the coverage is lighter than a regular foundation.

It has decent wear time and doesn’t oxidize as quickly as many foundations do on my skin so I can get away with at least 5 hours of wear with proper setting on my part. The even finish of the product allows for my face to remain flawless and healthy looking without turning ashy or fading.

The lighter coverage feels incredible particularly on a warm, humid day. You can easily smear a little on the sides of your nose and blend out without overdoing it or giving yourself a made up look.

Now as great as the product is you may find that it’s a tad too thick for your liking. If you prefer a more runny, watery consistency from your tinted moisturizer this may prove a bit too rich for your tastes. I actually prefer my TM’s (tinted moisturizers) to have a thicker texture as they blend and absorb beautifully.

Sadly, Urban Decay Urban Defense manages to win my lust and love for an awesome tinted moisturizer that allows me to look fresh and flawless however the packaging leaves alot to be desired. On first glance I was excited about a pump style bottle however it’s drastically flawed as the a single press will give you enough product to cover your body with. The depressor is very tricky to use and 9 in 10 uses you’ll end up with WAY too much product. I’ve been using this for over a month and I still have not successfully pressed down (even when doing it slowly and patiently) and gotten just the right amount of product. Most times I end up with a gob of product that I have to wipe off and toss out, quite wasteful!

SPF 20 is the norm in most cases for tinted moisturizer sun protection but I’d have loved a bit higher!

  • Anyone looking for light Summer coverage!
  • Anyone with good skin that wants light coverage to even out their complexion for a more flawless look!
  • Dry skin types who need a nice hydrating base!

  • Anyone seeking a high SPF in their base (this only has 20).
  • Anyone who has little patience with tricky packaging!

The packaging is not only irritating but a tad unforgivable. I love the coverage and the lightness of the overall product and think it makes a rather fabulous base for Summer wearin’ and tearin’ but I do find the packaging is wasteful and needs a bit of work. Perhaps Urban Decay might consider switching to a tube in the feature as this pump simply doesn’t cut it.

If I overlook the package details, I can easily say I love it and think it’s one of the better TM’s I’ve had the pleasure of using….

Would I buy it again?

Yes, but I’d still feel utterly depressed when I’m wasting half the bottle while trying to play around with a tricky pump!

Le sigh.

Package needs work but overall product is a win.

Anyone try?



Tricky packaging probs?

Share ’em, Rant ’em, Tell me all about ’em!

Available now from Urban Decay.

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • Phyrra

    What do you think of their color range for this product? I’ve never tried any of the UD foundations.

  • invie

    Tinted moisturizers might cost more because good moisturizers usually cost more than foundation. Adding a good spf ingredient that wont change the color of the tinted moisturizer also probably requires more expensive ingredients. I dont know I might be wrong but those are my guesses. Maybe check the ingredients?

  • Marina

    Don’t feel bad about the rain! I live in FL and it rains everyday during the summer!
    Looks interesting, but I probably won’t bite.
    BTW- speaking of annoying pumps…I saw a post of yours a while ago for that Iso Active Aquafresh toothpast, so I picked it up. First of all, it does wonders for my teeth. They are a lot whiter, and I just love the foam. It’s so fun! The pump is obnoxious though, because I always find some squirting out the next time I go to brush. But, I overlooked it and bought it again because it’s just so good…so thanks!

  • Kate

    Hmmm…..I might like a thicker tinted moisturizer. However I had a bad experience with UD foundation a few years back, so would have to see this in store before I buy it.

  • Kate

    The lightest color of the surreal foundation was very….beige.

    Though it wasn’t as bad as the tinted moisturizer situation I had this morning! My new Neutrogena moisturizer was “sheerly tinted” and I put it on at work and when my husband saw me at lunch he asked why my face was all orange! lol So I think I’ve moved into the try before buying stage of makeup purchasing.

  • Jeni

    Hmm… definitely must try this. I love using a tinted moisturizer for the summer but I totally agree with you that it won’t last long in Florida with it raining every afternoon. I live in Broward county (literally about 10 minutes from the Everglades). 😀

  • Zelle

    I tried Physician’s formula Healthy Wear tinted moisturizer and love it. Has higher SPF and way cheaper. Which one do you like better Muse?

  • Melissa

    I love this stuff it blends like a dream and doesn’t make e break out. I agree on the packaging. I’ve been using it alot and at this rate it will be gone in 2 months max.

  • jonnie

    I LOVE this. This has become my staple for summer. Totally agree on the packaging though… my first use when I covered my face and had enough left in my hand for seven more faces I though oh well, I pumped too much because I didn’t know. But only once have I managed to not pump waaay too much into my hand and yes, I weep every time I have to wipe a glob of it off my hand and throw it away… ahh, what fraction of my $32 was that? Siiigh.

    Color wise, the range is pretty limited but I remember reading on UD’s Facebook that since it’s sheer coverage each shade works on more than one exact tone, if that makes sense… I wear Nirvana in Surreal Skin cream to powder and Halo in this, if that helps anyone.

    • the Muse

      jonnie still playing with it but even after using it for a while now still haven’t gotten the trick down for not pumping too much out sigh!

      yes, it’s kinda universally flattering due to the subtly of the pigment 🙂

  • xMissxAndristx

    this *is* like 200 years later in blog-time… but i’ve had no trouble at all getting just the right amount to come out. maybe i have like… bionic finger control. i do type a lot haha. i’m a secretary (oh excuse me… administrative assistant) so i spend most of my day typing so maybe i have like… super finger muscles or something. *shrug*

  • Alina

    Hey muse, on UD it on sale for six bucks right now and I’m thinking about picking it up. does it natural, or fairly natural? Also, i’m not sure what shade to order. I tried Stila’s tinted moisterizur (which looked like a unicorn barfed glitter all over me) me in the shade ‘tone’ (which was a bit too dark I belive), do you think you have an idea about what shade I would be? I’m fair to light.
    Will it work on slightly oily skin?

    Wow…I just bombed you with like a million questions. Haha. Sorry Muse. BTW, your blog is great!

  • MDS

    Hey muse,
    they came out with this same TM in a tube!!!!! is it worth it???