Wednesday, January 30, 2019

REVIEW: Kosås Tinted Face Oil

We're all prone to marketing pushes, and I'm no exception. When Kosås started promoting their products via Instagram ads, and several accounts I follow began posting about the Tinted Face Oil, I started nosing around for reviews and photographs. Despite the hype kicked up by that marketing push, however, there's still relatively few in-depth reviews of the Kosås brand. Wanting to fill that gap, slash, totally suckered in by slick advertising and products that seem right up my alley, I purchased both the Tinted Face Oil and a Weightless Lip Color on Black Friday.

Natural light on top, ring light on bottom. From left to right: Kosås Tinted Face Oil in 02, MAC Face & Body in C1, NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly, Sephora Bright Future Concealer in Fondant.

I purchased the Tinted Face Oil in shade 02, since it's the lightest shade with yellow undertones. As these swatches demonstrate, 02 is roughly NC15 on a MAC scale. It works fine for me when I'm self-tanning my neck, which, frankly, is something I've been doing regularly for the past six months or so because I'm tired of trying to match the single whitest part of my body. Since this is not a full coverage base and it has a skin-like finish, I'd guess it would work for anyone in the NC10 - 20 range. There are only 10 shades in the entire range, but there's a solid gradient, and Tone 10 is quite dark.

The texture of this product is different from just about any other foundation I've tried, and I've tried dozens. My Instagram followers bombarded me with two questions over and over--"How does it compare to the original Glossier Skin Tint?" and "How does it compare to MAC Face & Body?"--and I'm here to tell you that it's kind of like those two products had a super-runny baby. The texture is extremely thin and watery; it starts running down your hand immediately after you squeeze it out of the thin, plastic nozzle. A little goes a long way: a dime sized amount was enough for my entire face, and it has an incredibly powdery, silicone-ish feel to it that makes it slide across the skin in seconds.

Initially, I wanted to call the Tinted Face Oil a light coverage base. However, looking at these photos, I can see why the brand would call it medium coverage. This has the same sort of blurring effect that the original Glossier Skin Tint had, making it look like it provides more coverage than it technically does in photographs. In both real life and photographs, redness and patches of uneven color are evened out; blemishes are softened, but not completely covered; freckles are still visible. The difference is that the tint has a "soft focus" effect in pictures and a "skin like" effect in real life.

You can see the oil settling in to the fine lines around my lips. I took this photo after I'd already patted the product out of these lines three times. By the way, I hope you all appreciate the fact that 30-year-old me is giving you these sexy shots of my fine lines, youth-obsessed culture be damned.

The problem with this blown-out effect, of course, is that it's pretty damn hard to take macro shots. While this looks perfect and natural in pictures, and from about a foot away from my face, get a little closer and you'll see that this clings to dry patches. Even more annoyingly, it doesn't stay put: I had to pull this tint out of my fine lines at least four times, and it would transfer on to my fingers or fabric if I touched it for hours after application.

In terms of wear, the Kosås Tinted Face Oil is "meh," and I say that as somebody with very dry skin. My nose was oily in a few hours, which is no surprise, but you can also see a bit of shine and wear on my forehead and chin at both the 4 hour and 10 hour marks. I also noticed that my skin looked even dryer and flakier after several hours of wear. And each time I wore this product, I would notice new, painful, under-the-skin pimples in odd places at the end of the night, suggesting that something in the formula broke me out. Since it's hard to see in these time lapse photos, here are some super-sexy macro shots:

That picture on the left gives new meaning to "frosted flakes."

When it comes to rating the Tinted Face Oil, there's part of me that wants to give it three stars. I'm thrilled to see the darker shades at the end of the range, the actual texture of this product is beautiful, and it looks fantastic in photographs. But even if I set my personal acne triggers aside, I have to think about how useful this will be to most people. It doesn't stay put, even on dry skin, and it emphasizes both dry and oily patches. I have to admit to myself that I lean toward a 3 out of 5 because I so desperately wanted this to be a new favorite for me. That desire? That's not worth an extra star.

Rating: 2 out of 5
Kosås products are available on their website.


  1. Ahhh, so sad. "Soft focus" is definitely the best way to describe how this photographs - it looks just gorgeous. How disappointing!

    1. Isn't it amazing in photographs?! Man, I was disappointed in how it wore and what it did to my skin.

  2. Ah bummer. Well whatever you do then don't even think about trying the Gressa foundation - the color is good but even on my oily skin it looked super dry.

  3. It looked so promising too! If you have those struggles with dry skin then this is something I will have to avoid with combo skin. It’s a shame too because it has the level of coverage I want in life, I just don’t want to look like I tried to outseim the Exxon Valdez oil spill.