Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Tinted Balm…My Review and Swatches!

A couple of days ago, I posted a sneak peek of my latest foundation acquisition from Kevyn Aucoin…has far as I can tell, the Sensual Skin Tinted Balm is still not available for purchase online, but it is for sale at select KA counters at Barneys NY (thanks to my dear brother for picking it up for me)!  
Presumably formulated as a lighter version of the Kevyn Aucoin cult favorite, Sensual Skin Enhancer (swatched and reviewed HERE and HERE), the Sensual Skin Balm (which retails for $48) boasts a more liquid texture akin to today’s beauty balms, albeit lacking sunscreen.
Now that I have owned it for a week, I am excited to share my thoughts on this product, as well as a host of swatches…scroll on for images and details:
Above: The Sensual Skin Tinted Balm is packaged in a very slim box to accommodate perhaps the most slender tube of foundation I have ever encountered.
Above: I selected shade #3, which is perfect for light to medium skin tones with warm undertones.  Please excuse the faux woodgrain of my work desk…nothing like swatching on my lunch hour ; )
Above: The ingredients list for this base are quite brief…the Imperata Cylindrica Root Extract and Rice Extract are known ingredients for skin conditioning.
Above: The Sensual Skin Tinted Balm is made in Italy!
Above: KA Sensual Skin Tinted Balm #3 in artificial lighting.
The tube that the Sensual Skin Tinted Balm comes in is ever so unique…it is extremely flat; the back casing is made of hard plastic, while the front side has a transparent and malleable rubber/silicon type feel that can be depressed by one’s fingers to dispense the product.  
The texture of the balm is like a squeezable cream…similar to LMdB Peau Vierge (with more tint/coverage) or Illamasqua Skin Base (with less coverage).  It is silky smooth and easily blendable…also, while it may have some illuminating properties, I do not detect any obvious shimmer.
Above: KA Sensual Skin Tinted Balm #3 with a flash.
Above: KA Sensual Skin Tinted Balm #3 with a flash…this image best depicts the silicon-type top of the tube.
Above: The Sensual Skin Tinted Balm is dispensed through a tiny hole at the top of the tube….releasing product is a neat and clean endeavor.  I love that I can completely control how much product I want to dispense, simply by squeezing the tube.
Above: Although I chose #3, the sales associate at Barneys NYC was generous enough to provide me with samples of the other three shades.
The way I apply the product is as simple as the product itself: I simply squeeze out about a dime-sized amount and dab it on my forehead, cheeks, chin and nose.  Then, I buff it in with my Sephora Airbrush (much like I would with any foundation).  I can then go over certain areas (e.g., cheeks, nose, top of forehead) with an additional dab or two for more coverage.  It is that easy! I prefer to add a bit of concealer and powder for finishing and lasting power (lately, either NARS foundation powder in Santa Fe or Sulwhasoo brightening compact powder in #2) and then proceed with my bronzer and blush.
Above: Sensual Skin Tinted Balm swatches in natural outdoor light…the first swatch of each shade is heavy and the second swatch of each shade is blended.
Above and below: Swatches of the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Tinted Balm…
1. #1 is a very light beige with rosy undertones  (suitable for NW 10-20)
2. #2 is a pale beige with yellow undertones (suitable for NC 10-20)
3. #3 is a warm beige for light to light-medium skin tones (suitable for NC 25-30)
4. #4 is a warm beige for medium to medium-dark skin tones (suitable for NC 35-42)
The shade range is limited compared to the Sensual Skin Enhancer shades, however, because this formula is so sheer, there is a great amount of flexibility and adaptability for most skin tones in the lighter ranges.
Above: Sensual Skin Tinted Balm swatches in indoor light with a flash…the first swatch of each shade is heavy and the second swatch of each shade is blended.
Above: Sensual Skin Tinted Balm swatches in direct sunlight…the first swatch of each shade is heavy and the second swatch of each shade is blended.
Above: A super light makeup day…Sensual Skin Tinted Balm in #3, Rouge Bunny Rouge Bronzer in At Goldcombe Bay, Rouge Bunny Rouge blush in Gracilis, NARS Larger Than Life Eyeliner in Via Appia, RMS Living Luminizer (a new favorite highlighter…review soon!) and LMdB Lip Creme in Bloom.
Bottom Line: The Sensual Skin Tinted Balm is sure to fill the void for Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer lovers everywhere who are seeking a lighter, yet effective alternative.  The packaging is to die for,  the texture is silky smooth and the coverage is light to medium, but buildable.  It is obviously not as opaque as the Sensual Skin Enhancer, but if it was, why would it have been created in the first place?! I like the fact that this can be applied quickly without any mixing agents (I often cut the opacity of SSE with a bit of lotion) and it lasts for the entire day!  Since there are only four shades, it is sheer enough to blend in seamlessly with a variety of skin tones (though I will say that the offerings seem to favor fair skin over darker hues) and ultimately provides a natural, yet refined canvas, perfect for “no makeup” days.  This is destined to join the Sensual Skin Enhancer as a Kevyn Aucoin classic!

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Comments (14)

  • Unknown Reply

    Looks great, but such a shame with the limited shade range, think no4 will be slightly too light for my nc45-50 skin tone!!!

    November 19, 2012 at 7:02 pm
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Thanks, Aalexxy! I agree that the shade range is definitely limited and, sheer or otherwise, is not taking into account skin tones that are deeper than a NC 42…hopefully they are receptive to the need and introduce additional shades to vill this void in the future!


      –The Beauty Professor

      November 20, 2012 at 12:09 am
  • Unknown Reply

    Looks great

    November 19, 2012 at 11:55 pm
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      It is a pretty excellent product, Betzy!

      Hope all is well,

      –The Beauty Professor

      November 20, 2012 at 12:09 am
  • Kästi Reply

    Hi, I like your blog, should we follow us each other. I follow you right now.

    November 20, 2012 at 9:40 am
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Thanks, Kasti…I will make sure to take a peek at your blog!

      Take care,

      –The Beauty Professor

      November 21, 2012 at 12:52 am
  • Anonymous Reply

    Thank you so much for posting the full ingredient list! I am allergic to several ingredients. I really appreciate it.
    Thank you

    December 10, 2012 at 10:05 pm
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      The pleasure is all mine, Anon! I have sensitive skin and always need to read the ingredients first so I am happy to oblige ; )

      Take care!


      –The Beauty Professor

      December 11, 2012 at 12:43 am
  • Cagney & Lace Reply

    Another great review! I'm debating between purchasing this and the By Terry Sheer Expert, what's your preference? Also what shade do you think I'd be in this? I currently use Nars Sheer Glow Mont Blanc but want something with a little less coverage but lasting power.


    January 17, 2013 at 8:39 pm
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Hi Hannah (great blog name, by the way!),

      Thank you! In response to your question, I really like this, but the coverage is very light and I would call the lasting power medium (3-5 hours) at best. I am thinking you could get away with shade #1 (which has the most pronounced neutral to pink undertones) or #2 (which is probably perfect in terms of lightness, but has a yellow, rather than neutral undertone).

      Like its big sister, Cover Expert (which is amazing!), the By Terry Sheer Expert has fantastic lasting power…I think that you could get away with either #1 or #4…it will just depend on how light you prefer your foundation to be (Mont Blanc is probably a combination of the two).

      I hope that helps…thanks for reading and have a wonderful weekend!


      –The Beauty Professor

      January 18, 2013 at 6:25 am
    • Cagney & Lace Reply

      Thank you, that's very sweet of you to say.

      Thank you also for the shade advise, my inner debate for a lighter feeling foundation/tinted moisturiser continues!

      I hope you have a lovely weekend too.

      Hannah x

      January 18, 2013 at 8:53 am
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      My pleasure! I wish you the best in your foundation decision…please keep me posted on what you end up choosing!


      –The Beauty Professor

      January 19, 2013 at 1:15 am
  • Anonymous Reply

    Recently discovered your blog and I am so grateful to you. The swatches are a godsend for me as I live in India and it's impossible to check shades of these products at a store.

    I purchased the SX11 in the sensual skin enhancer, which is perfect.

    I now want to try this balm and was going to get the No. 4 but then realised they have now added two darker shades, No. 5 & 6 .

    In your opinion did the No. 4 match the sensual skin enhancer SX 11 or should I try the No. 5 ?

    Thank you!!

    April 23, 2015 at 4:11 pm
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      I am so glad you found your way here…thanks for the kind words. It's my experience that the #4 is very similar to #11 and I wear both interchangably when my skin is at that tone in the dead of summer!

      I hope that helps…xx,

      –The Beauty Professor

      May 3, 2015 at 9:04 pm

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