March 17, 2011

Clinique Moisture Surge Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15 Review, Swatches

I’m on the hunt I’m after you…….I think that was a Duran, Duran song. I’m actually on a hunt for lighter coverage. As the Summer and the warm weather gets closer I want to start indulging in some lighter bases. I have a slew already but I like to check out all the new goodies so I can tell you all about ’em!

Clinique Moisture Surge Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15 was on my hit list first. I was out with my best friend a few weeks ago and we literally did the rounds at Macy’s stopping everywhere and picking up base product after base product. First Clinique, followed up by Chanel, Shiseido….they all have the same packaging! Dude!

Anyway let’s have a look at Moisture Surge TM and see what the deal is.

Clinique Moisture Surge Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15 is a hydrating tinted moisturizing with a lightweight formula and a hydrating finish!

This comes in a little squeeze bottle which pretty much seems the trend at the moment for base products as I see these little guys popping up everywhere. I think it’s great. The plastic bottle is squishy so it’s not hard to get product out at all. A single squeeze will get you just the right amount out of the thin tip. I really like the way this is packaged and can totally dig it over boring tubes any day! Plus it’s a refreshing change as most tinted moisturizers come in a tube, it’s kinda nice to get an older product, revamped and presented in a new fashion. Right?

Formula is pretty runny but has a certain thickness as well that isn’t quite creamy but isn’t completely watery either, it’s somewhere in between. As per its name you’re looking at quite a nice hydrating base. It absorbs easily, feels very lightweight and comfortable, plus it leaves behind a dewy finish. Dry skin users will adore it plus I feel like it’s lightweight enough to wear comfortably on oily skin as well and an added bonus of an oil free formula.

Coverage is minimal, hey it’s a tinted moisturizer, what did you expect right? But I’ve run across pigmented tinted moisturizers here and there and I’d say Clinique Moisture Surge runs on the lower end of the color pay off rung. I picked up in the shade 3 because my skin picks up color even if I’m hiding out of the sun so I thought that would be an ideal shade for Summer wear. I didn’t particularly love 3 as I felt it was too washed up beige for me with very little lightness. Even in the Summer when my skin is a shade or two darker I still think it’ll have a duller finish which I don’t particularly love. No fault of the product but just the color seemed wrong to me. I will say that the little pigment you’re getting here is just enough to smooth out your skin and create a nice flawless finish. It’ll even out skin tone and make a perfect little base for the rest of your makeup.

It wears nicely throughout the day but you’ll notice that it starts to fade within four hours in or sometimes a little less depending how you set. I know I avoided powder and it slipped right off within three hours but with powder I’d say I was looking at a three hour period before you can take notice that your base is gone.

Coverage is very lightweight and comfortable which makes an excellent pick for Summer plus a price tag of $24.50 is somewhat budget priced compared to Laura Mercier’s hefty $42 price tag and other brands for that matter.

Wasn’t particularly keen on the SPF 15. When is someone going to creat a tinted moisturizer with higher sun protection!?

  • Anyone looking for an inexpensive, lightweight tinted moisturizer for Summer.
  • Anyone looking for a lightweight base that already has good skin and doesn’t need alot of coverage.
  • Those with dry skin that want a good hydrating tinted moisturizer that doesn’t feel heavy or greasy.

  • Those who want sun protection that ranges higher than SPF 15.
  • Those who want a thicker, creamier tinted moisturizer (this has a looser texture compared to the standard tinted moisturizer formula I’ve been privy to).
  • Those who have acne scarring, acne, or general skin woe that needs extra coverage (if you need heavier coverage, you might want to look elsewhere as this isn’t pigmented enough to hide skin problems).

Overall, Clinique Moisturizer Surge Tinted Moisturizer has a good solid formula. I actually liked the formula alot and felt it was a tad more comfortable compared to others of its kind. The lighter texture and feel makes for comfortable wear and doesn’t have that greasy, heavier feel many of the same style products have. I really enjoyed the squeeze bottle as well, just seems to make distribution of the base and application so much easier.

It’s worth a look at if you’re wanting something super lightweight and you have good skin that doesn’t need a ton of coverage.

Have you tried it?

Do share!

Available now at Clinique counters or online at

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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  • Wendy

    Awww I was hoping you’d love this! This is probably a pass for me now — why does Clinique have such a poor shade range? Booo… did you notice a smell or anything? I tried another TM like foundation from them and it smelled like bandaids… yuck.

    • the Muse

      no smell wendy, pretty much all fragrance free but laughing at the bandaid comment ;-D! ha! this is my first base product from clinique I think…trying to think if I ever tried any of their bases….can’t recall…but yeah, three was all kinds of wrong on me, too beige ;-/ maybe I need 2?

      • Wendy

        Possibly, but judging by your FOTD photos it will be too light. I used to help out part time at one in Macy’s and HATED foundation matching people because I couldn’t just not sell them one, but I knew it definitely didn’t match… =/

        • the Muse

          wendy must be damn hard matching up foundation shades, hell I can’t get my own right never mind about several people coming at me asking what their shade is lol! My pet peeve on here is people who stop by and say “Hi I’m a mac NC20, with brown hair and green eyes will this work for me?” dude I’ve never seen you! how can I determine that?! ;-D

          • Wendy

            WORD, lol! It’s SO true. I got that a lot at the counter with older ladies… they were like “What foundation shade am I?”. I’d try to get them to sit down and let me match them properly and they didn’t want to. Oh, the joys of also working Estee Lauder… fussy old ladies.

    • Liz Brown

      I totally agree it is a very poor alternative to Almost makeup which it is supposed to replace. I found it had this weird pinky tint and it was also extremely drying, it was drying as I applied it. It is watery too and not as creamy as Almost makeup. Why oh why did they have to discontinue Almost makeup when it was so perfect. I would never buy this product again!

  • Lauren

    Hi! I just got a sample of this and I like it a lot. I think. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m really fair, but I’m not sure I can even tell the difference between the 01 and 02. I’m a BB Warm Ivory, with brown hair and green eyes: Which one do you think is better?! No, totally kidding! Just joking because of your comment above. Anyway, I’m wondering if you think this is better applied with a brush or just with fingers. I know there’s the whole “all foundations are better with a brush” school of thought, but one of the nice things about a TM is that you can skip the brush and just pat it on with your fingertips. Thoughts? Thanks so much!

    • the Muse

      omg lauren I was going to be like “SERIOUSLY!?” LOL!!!!! lord hun I always apply every base on own with fingers ;-D this is best with fingers imho! formula is too “loose” for a brush ;-D so def smooth it on and pat in place ;D!

  • Suzanne

    Hi Muse,

    Thanks for the review! I like the Laura Mercier TM because of its consistency and the coverage. I find LM’s TM to have better coverage than many other TMs on the market.

    I am wondering how does this product compares to LM’s?


    • the Muse

      hi suzanne…kinda went into great detail about the formula ;-D you can def get a feel for what this formula is like compared to LM’s by reading through the review as they are really diff. I hope this helps!?

  • S

    Thanks for the review! I find Clinique’s shade range to be on the narrow side and usually too pink for me. I’ve never tried LM. Right now I’m using Kiss My Face tm and like it quite a bit, and it’s only $7 at the health food store!

    • the Muse

      hey s! good deal ;-D if it works, don’t fix it hehe. LM is a fav of mine, quite good but $$$!

  • Ashley

    Oh Muse, I haven’t commented in a while but this review excites me!
    I’ve wanted to try this TM since I heard about late in January. I love the Clinique Moisture Surge so I have no doubts that I’ll love this TM.

    • the Muse

      hi ashley ;-D *waves* I think you’ll like it. It has a nice lightweight feel, color was off for me but product performed nicely overall ;D!

  • Deb

    Hey Muse….you want to know when someone is going to make a tinted moisturizer in higher SPF. Check out Physicians Formula. Tinted moisturizer, SPF 50, 4 shades. I have it and it works well. I have dry sensitive skin except for my nose which gets slightly oily in summer. I had to blot my nose a couple of times during the day but i have to do that no matter what so I can’t say for sure that the product caused that.

  • jonnie

    I know I’m a bit of an UD fangirl but… I really like the UD tinted moisturizer! I think I would’ve tried this one, but your review tells me no… oh well.

    • the Muse

      jonnie I really love UD as well, good stuff but tricky packaging :-/

  • jac-kie

    thanks for the review muse! =) i was very curious about this new tm since i heard it’s replacing another base product i have from clinique – almost makeup liquid foundation – which i actually really like [it’s kind of like a halfway between foundation & tm].

    if you haven’t already tried benefit’s tm comes in spf 30, i have the ‘light’ shade & it’s not orange like the normal one ๐Ÿ˜‰

    & becca also has one with 30 spf with quite a large shade selection [i have this too, it’s quite a runny formula compared to the benefit one but coverage is about the same i.e. minimal].

    • the Muse

      rebel you mean jackie? I’ve tried it, pretty great ;-D reviewed it on here as well. Haven’t tried becca’s version…but I heard it was good ;-D! thanks for the other recs!

  • Christina

    I just got this earlier in the week and have to say I really like it so far…provides enough coverage for me and is moisturizing but doesn’t make me greasy like some tinted moisturizers do. I think it might be a little too moisturizing for the summer months, but good for the transition between winter-spring and to summer.

    • the Muse

      happy to hear it christina ;-D I think I might agree, right now feels good but may prove a little too hydrating for the really humid/warm days of Summer ;D!

  • K

    Did you experience the powdery feeling? I always experience that when I wear any of the clinique foundation or tinted moisturizer. It stays on your skin and doesn’t sink in well.

  • Fuuka

    They changed the packaging on the old one? I remember I used to use this, but it was in a tube form and gave great moisture. This looks like less and more expensive >_> grrr Clinique….

  • Alexis

    I had been waiting for this as I’m something of a TM fanatic but so far the only one that’s really worked for me is the LM. I hate the pricetag though. So I finally saw this and first off the counter lady didn’t know which shade was lightest (?) and the one that did look to be was super yellow on me and I hate how runny it is. ๐Ÿ™ Guess I’ll be sticking to my pricy LM.

  • Alison A

    I’ve been wearing this for a month and hate it. Almost Makeup was a far superior product AND you got more for less money. I find the Moisture Surge goes on easily enough and has a nice finish for about 3 hours, and then gets all patchy and weird looking. Setting with powder makes no difference, and I’m not about to re-apply my foundation at the office in the middle of the day. Clinique foundations have never been much better quality than drugstore brands, I only stuck with Almost because it worked for me. I’m sure that for the price of the tinted Moisture Surge I can find something of better quality at my local Rite Aid.

  • AnnaMarie

    I have a combination skin but covarage is not a problem. Could some one tell me does this product plug the pores?

  • Lauren

    I loved it. It feels light, hydrating, and smooth-never greasy or heavy. It doesn’t clog my pores or cause breakout. It has surprisingly good coverage for a tinted moisturizer, yet still maintains that “no makeup look”. It just makes me look like I have great skin. I agree that Clinique really needs to start putting higher SPFs in their tinted moisturizer. I also wish that they would add some shade extensions…other than that I am really pleased with it.

  • Jan

    I received a sample of this and loved it so much that I went out and bought a bottle. It makes your skin look smooth and flawless. I didn’t think it wore off in three hours; it looked good all day. It makes you look like a “no makeup” natural beauty. I love it!

  • Jenifer

    I know this review is super old, but I really love this TM and Clinique recently discontinued it……of course! And I was wondering if in all your testing, what you would consider the closest to this? I find Laura Mercier to be too sheer. Same with Urban Decay Naked. I do own the Nars TM but find it too dewy and orange. I have drier skin, but tend to get oily in the Tzone. Any suggestions?