This $42 tinted face oil is a lightweight, buildable foundation that covers my blemishes and fine lines

Kosas face oilSephora

  • Kosas Tinted Face Oil ($42) is my new favorite foundation. It's a lightweight, medium-coverage base that doesn't feel like anything on the skin, even when you build it up.
  • The shade range is quite balanced, with 16 colors designed to adapt to 48 different skin tones and undertones.
  • Though it resembles lighter coverage skin tints, this oil actually does an impressive job of covering up redness, blemishes, and fine lines.

I know I'm not alone in my deep distaste for most foundations. Sometimes I get the urge to try a medium-to-full coverage base after watching a particularly glamorous YouTube tutorial, but I always end up regretting it. Most foundations make me look somehow worse, highlighting fine lines and areas of texture I didn't even notice on my makeup-free face.

Kosas Tinted Face Oil is a totally different story. The brand sent me a bottle around the beginning of the summer, and it's proven to be a standout in my collection. This foundation has a featherlight, serum-like texture. It's similar to products with much lighter coverage (like another favorite of mine, Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint). But this is an actual foundation, with solidly medium coverage that is buildable.

Kosas face oil 2Sephora

I was initially shocked by the opacity of the formula, considering how thin it is right out of the bottle. This stuff feels truly like nothing on my face, while doing a great job of covering up redness and diminishing blemishes. As the name suggests, this is an oil with pigment. But don't let that scare you off - it dries down to a surprisingly non-greasy finish and absorbs to be fairly undetectable. For reference, I have fairly "normal" skin (not super dry, not super oily), though I do tend to get shiny on my forehead and nose if I don't set that area with a light powder.

Though there are only 16 shades, the formulas are self-adjusting so many skin tones can find their ideal match. I've been using Tone 01 (porcelain with pink undertones) and find it to be a great match with my complexion. That being said, hopefully the brand rolls out more shades to fit a broader spectrum of skin tones.

You only need a couple of drops to cover your entire face. I use one to three for light-to-medium coverage, but you can build the formula for an even more perfected look. The brand recommends allowing the first layer to dry, which only takes a few seconds, before adding additional coverage with your fingertips or favorite brush or sponge. I also love that I can layer cream blushes and highlighters on top without disturbing the foundation.

Despite the oil-based formula, this actually feels more secure and less runny on my face than other foundations, even in the heat. Plus, Kosas pays special attention to keeping formulas good for your skin and for the environment. Tinted Face Oil, like all the brand's products, is cruelty-free, vegan, and gluten-free.

Kosas face Oil 3Sephora

As with most things in life, there are a couple of drawbacks to this foundation. First of all, it's extremely liquidy. You need to shake the bottle really well. Even then I find that the product comes out of the squeeze bottle too quickly. Secondly, I sometimes experience product pilling depending on what skin care I've used that day. To minimize the chances, I try to wait at least 15 minutes between applying sunscreen and makeup, which can be time-consuming when I'm in a rush.

The bottom line

Overall, if you're looking for a comfortable foundation that's not too matte, not too glowy and doesn't enhance your imperfections, I don't think you can go wrong with Kosas Tinted Face Oil. It wears beautifully for hours and doesn't make my face itch like so many other foundations. At $42 for a 1-ounce bottle, it's a bit spendy. However you really need very little product. I anticipate one bottle lasting quite a long time.

Pros: Lightweight, long-lasting, 16 shades that adapt to 48 skin tones, Clean at Sephora

Cons: Pilling, very runny texture

Buy Kosas Tinted Face Oil for $42 at Sephora

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