Byline: Laura Klepacki

NEW YORK — With the introduction of several mass-market moisturizers that also contain a hint of color, another niche beauty category is quietly developing.
Not that offering a tinted moisturizer is a new concept; most prestige cosmetics manufacturers market some version of one. In mass, Neutrogena’s Moisture SPF 15 Sheer Tint was introduced in 1988. Physicians Formula has offered moisturizers with mauve and green tones to help hide skin discolorations for several years, and Ultima II’s Glowtion, a skin-brightening lotion, is one of its leading items.
But in the last six months, at least three manufacturers announced the addition of tinted moisturizers to their product lineups. Those brands include Oil of Olay Cosmetics and Cover Girl’s CG Smoothers. Nivea is extending its Nivea Visage skin care brand with a tinted moisturizer in two shades. And last year, Physicians Formula moved beyond color-corrective shades with a peach-tone lotion designed to even out skin tone and give a “natural, healthy-looking glow,” according to the company.
Susan Savoie, senior vice president of marketing at Nivea, said introducing a cosmetic-type item is a natural move. “We still want to focus on skin care,” said Savoie. “But the two categories are meshing.” As further evidence that the product straddles segments, the moisturizers are merchandised in either the cosmetics department or the skin care aisle, depending on its maker.
Meanwhile, sales of Neutrogena’s Sheer Tint have been growing along with the rest of Neutrogena’s moisturizers, which are outpacing the market, according to Audrey Sommerfeld, marketing director for moisture and cleansing at Neutrogena. And a spokeswoman for Cover Girl said CG Smoothers Tinted Moisturizers, which launched in October with three shades, are doing well, along with the rest of the line. A fourth shade was added this spring.
Marketers say tinted moisturizers can be used under makeup for additional moisture and coverage, or alone for light, sheer coverage.
“Some women wear tinted moisturizers on weekends in place of their makeup, to give their skin a breather while still evening out skin tone and providing a hint of natural color,” said Sommerfeld.
The category is getting a push for a couple of reasons. “Younger women are wearing makeup earlier than ever before, yet some young consumers don’t want to look like they have a lot of makeup on,” said Sommerfeld. “The natural look, with color on the eyes and lips, has helped cosmetics and sheer, tinted moisturizers grow in popularity.”
Anne Martin, manager of global cosmetics marketing for Procter & Gamble, which markets Olay and CG Smoothers, noted another reason. “With increasing demands on their lives, women want to simplify their beauty regimen with fewer products that do more,” said Martin. “For Olay Cosmetics, introducing a tinted moisturizer offers women an alternative to traditional foundations for days when they want sheer coverage.”
The Oil of Olay Complete Radiance Tinted Moisturizer is priced like a high-end mass foundation at $13.95 for a 1.3-oz. bottle. Available in May, it comes in three shades — fair, light to medium and medium to dark. It has SPF 15 and vitamins A, B and E. The company says it moisturizes skin for up to eight hours. The moisturizer is being supported along with other new Olay Radiance items with ads that carry the tag line “Complete Lives Require Complete Radiance.”
Nivea, at $8.50 for a 1.7-oz. tube, provides an SPF 4 and contains vitamin E. Savoie commented, “It is designed for women who don’t want to use makeup everyday.”
CG Smoothers Tinted Moisturizer, described as a light gel complex formula, was introduced in October. A tube is $6.95.
In the past year, foundation sales have skyrocketed, up 19 percent to $600 million, according to Information Resources Inc. Moisturizers edged up 3.3 percent to $360 million.