A tinted moisturizer is the perfect lazy-day product. It will make you feel effortless and elegant, while still giving your skin a bit of a pick-me-up. It’s a must in your makeup arsenal if you’re into that “cool girl” aesthetic. It’s a great counterpoint to the high-coverage foundations that have taken over Instagram.
There are no rules out there saying you can’t enjoy one complexion style for dressy nights out and another for casual days when you want to look more down to earth. I highly encourage you to keep just one tinted moisturizer sitting around, for those days when you want a “my skin but better” look.
I’ve got a nice selection of the best tinted moisturizers for every skin type and formulation preference, including some great all-natural options. I then go on to explain what tinted moisturizers are, and how they differ from foundations and BB creams.
If you’ve ever wondered if a tinted moisturizer can replace your regular moisturizer, I’ve got the answer to that as well. I’ll give you the low down on how to apply tinted moisturizer perfectly, as well as a few other application tips.
Tinted Moisturizer Makeup Guide: Contents
- 25 Best Tinted Moisturizers for Every Skin Type
- What Is a Tinted Moisturizer?
- Tinted Moisturizer vs. BB Cream vs. Foundation
- Should You Still Use Moisturizer with Tinted Moisturizer?
- How to Apply Tinted Moisturizer
- Other Tinted Moisturizer Facts & Uses to Know
1. Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20
This gorgeous product is considered the best tinted moisturizer by a massive amount of beauty gurus and influencers, so it definitely deserves our number one spot. It manages to work for nearly everyone, giving weightless moisture and coverage with a natural finish that is neither dewy nor matte. It contains vitamin E and hyaluronic acid to nourish and protect the skin. It will work best for those with dry, normal, and combination skin types. Order it from Net-a-Porter!
2. bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30
This gorgeous formula is made with natural ingredients and no silicones, to give sheer coverage and mineral sun protection. It has a very glowy finish that is perfect if you like your skin to always look a little dewy and strobed. It is made with coconut alkanes, which make it very silky and moisturizing but will break some people out. This is the best tinted moisturizer for those with dry and normal skin types. Buy it from Sephora!
3. NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30
This is the perfect “my skin but better” tinted moisturizer. It gives the skin a super healthy glow that is not greasy, and it feels very comfortable sitting on the skin. The formula is very hydrating and nourishing, with probiotic ferment ingredients and antioxidant-rich botanical extracts. It is a great choice for all skin types, but because of the probiotics avoid it if you have fungal skin issues. Get it at Nordstrom!
4. Tarte BB Tinted Treatment 12-Hour Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen
The use of mineral ingredients in a tinted moisturizer formula is a winning one. This is the best tinted moisturizer for those with oily and combination skin because it has a demi-matte finish that controls oils throughout the day. It is a fragrance-free option with a short ingredient list, so it is unlikely to irritate sensitive skin or cause breakouts. It is available at Sephora.
5. Chantecaille Just Skin Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15
This luxurious tinted moisturizer will make your skin radiant with its soft, light coverage. It is loaded with hydrating humectants like glycerin and antioxidant extracts from green tea and honeysuckle, so it is absolutely an anti-aging formula. The finish is definitely on the dewy side of things, so it will be best for those with normal and dry skin. Pick it up at Nordstrom!
6. Charlotte Tilbury Unisex Healthy Glow Tinted Moisturizer
This super nourishing formula is definitely both skincare and makeup in one. On the skincare side of things, it contains some wonderful hydrating and anti-aging ingredients like glycerin, urea, and alanine. On the makeup side of things, it’s the best tinted moisturizer infused with some reflective minerals, so it gives a gorgeous strobed effect to the skin. It is sold online via Net-a-Porter.
7. Bobbi Brown Nude Finish Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15
This is one of the best tinted moisturizers for those with dry skin. It really does double nicely as a moisturizer because it contains jojoba oil and hyaluronic acid. It is made to neutralize redness and lightly even out the skin tone, and it blends in really nicely with just fingers. Once it’s on your skin you will definitely forget about it, because it is just so natural-looking and comfortable. You can find it at Nordstrom.
8. Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat All-In-One Glow Tinted Moisturizer
This super hydrating tinted moisturizer will keep your skin moist all day long because it is made with a whole range of wonderful humectants. It also contains potent skin soothers like vitamin E and calendula extract, to keep redness at bay. The creamy formula has a glowy finish that is best for dry and normal skin, and it offers a light coverage that doesn’t settle into fine lines or pores. Order it online from Sephora!
9. Jane Iredale Dream Tint Moisture Tint Broad Spectrum SPF 15
This is one of the best tinted moisturizers for those who prefer natural formulas. It does contain a small amount of silicone, but it’s not dominant – the main ingredients here are titanium oxide, which gives mineral sun protection, algae extract, which softens the skin and protects from free radical damage, as well as a collection of moisturizing plant oils. It gives a glowy finish that is perfect for normal and dry skin. Buy it at Nordstrom!
10. 3Lab Perfect BB SPF 40 Tinted Moisturizer
The separation between a BB cream and a tinted moisturizer is a tenuous one, with this Korean beauty product taking on the honor of being both. It offers fairly high sun protection, which is commendable and has a very moisturizing formula that is chockfull of natural plant extracts that help to prevent extrinsic aging. It has very sheer coverage that is natural and satin-like. Get it from Net-a-Porter!
11. MAC Cosmetics Lightful C Coral Grass Tinted Cream SPF 30
This fairly new addition to the MAC roster is a delightfully glowy tinted sunscreen that also acts as a great makeup primer. It contains skin-brightening vitamin C and soothing coral grass extract. The coverage is very light, as is expected, but it does help to control oils and even out redness. It works for all skin types. Pick it up at Nordstrom!
12. First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30
If you normally find it hard to find a shade match, then have a look at this tinted moisturizer. The shade range is wide enough to cover most skin tones, and the formula itself is creamy, light and soothing without being too dewy. It contains calming colloidal oatmeal and white tea extract, to keep skin soothed and healthy. It is available at Sephora.
13. Lancôme Skin Feels Good Hydrating Skin Tint Healthy Glow SPF 23
This skin tint gives a lovely, lit-from-within glow that tends to look great even over combination skin. It is very sheer but can be built up slightly to perfect the skin. The formula is extremely hydrating and includes skincare superstar ingredients like moringa extract and hyaluronic acid. It is sold at Nordstrom.
14. NYX Bare With Me Tinted Skin Veil
NYX always proves that great products can come at all kinds of price ranges. This is the best tinted moisturizer for anyone on a budget. It has light coverage and gives a satin finish to the skin. It is one of the few non-sunscreen formulas here, which is convenient if you struggle with a flashback in photos from SPF products. Find it at Ulta!
15. La Mer The Reparative SkinTint Broad Spectrum SPF 30
The very name La Mer exudes sophistication and self-care. This tinted moisturizer was made with the typical La Mer ingredients, like their wonderfully nourishing and anti-aging signature marine broth as well as a large quantity of vitamins and antioxidants. The formula is sheer and glowy, and it should work beautifully with mature or textured skin. Order it from Nordstrom!
16. Kosas Tinted Face Oil Foundation
This tinted product is entirely unique. Instead of your typical tinted moisturizer, it’s actually a tinted face oil. The nourishing oil blend of jojoba, avocado, and raspberry is infused with pigments that even out the skin tone and cover redness. Despite the high oil content, the finish actually ends up being velvety because the oils are absorbed by the skin. It will work for all skin types, but might not work for someone who is acne-prone. Buy it from Sephora!
17. EltaMD UV Elements Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 44
More than just a tinted moisturizer, this is truly a tinted sunscreen. EltaMD makes the most wonderful sunscreens around because they have the least greasy or heavy texture imaginable. It’s a mineral formula with a light tint that prevents a white cast and events out the skin, and will also not cause any irritation to those who are sensitive. It will work for anyone with light to medium skin. It is available online via Dermstore.
18. Dermalogica Sheer Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20
Dermalogica is known for its skincare, so it follows that this will be one of the best tinted moisturizer formulas for those wanting real skin benefits. This creamy tinted moisturizer protects the skin with ingredients like walnut extract and hydrates it with hyaluronic acid. The texture is silky despite being low on the silicones. It has a satin finish but works for all skin types. Pick it up from Nordstrom!
19. PÜR 4-In-1 Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20
This wonderful all-in-one formula really aims to replace multiple products in your beauty routine. It contains a remarkable amount of anti-aging ingredients, including skin-retexturizing vitamin A and brightening vitamin C. There is also a plant extract complex in here that will fortify the skin with antioxidants. It has a radiant finish and offers coverage that is somewhere between light and medium. Get it at Ulta!
20. Winky Lux White Tea Tinted Veil Tinted Moisturizer
This newer beauty brand is really starting to generate some buzz. This tinted moisturizer contains white tea extract to keep the skin calm, as well as anti-aging vitamins A and E. The sheer coverage is great for just a bit of a boost, and the finish is totally natural. It also gets bonus points for smelling incredible and having the cutest packaging imaginable. You can find it at Nordstrom.
21. Estée Lauder DayWear Multi-Protection Anti-Oxidant Sheer Tint Release Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 15
It is a fact that Estée Lauder complexion products are always a safe choice. This tinted moisturizer will give your skin comprehensive hydration thanks to plant ferments that help boost the microbiome and infuse the skin with moisture. It also contains a ton of antioxidant and firming plant extracts, including coffee bean extract rich in tightening caffeine. It only comes in one shade that should work for those with fair to medium skin. Order it online from Sephora!
22. Pixi by Petra H2O Skintint
This gentle formula infuses the skin with moisture while helping to lightly diffuse imperfections and conceal discoloration. It is made with refreshing rosewater, as well as ultra-soothing lavender and chamomile extracts. It is definitely made with dry skin in mind, as it has a dewy finish that continuously moisturizes throughout the day. It is sold at Dermstore.
23. Giorgio Armani Prima Color Control Glow Moisturizer SPF 35
This is another fabulous tinted moisturizer option for anyone who likes serious strobe. It is extremely glowy, with a nourishing formula that is best for those with dry skin. The coverage is very sheer and natural, and you’re liable to forget that you’re wearing it. Grab it at Nordstrom!
24. Sisley Paris Tinted Moisturizer with Botanical Extracts
This is the best tinted moisturizer for those with oily skin that still want an anti-aging effect. It has a matte finish that controls oils throughout the day, but it still gives traditional sheer coverage. Anti-aging ingredients include mallow extract, sunflower oil, and vitamin E. It has a blurring effect that helps diffuse fine lines and minimize the look of blemishes. Pick it up through Net-a-Porter!
25. theBalm BalmShelter Tinted Moisturizer SPF 18
This punny tinted moisturizer has a cult following online, and it’s becoming increasingly hard to find in stores. We can’t imagine why, because it is definitely one of the best tinted moisturizers ever crafted. The formulation is silky but not heavy, without any ingredients that can irritate sensitive skin or cause breakouts. The coverage, though sheer at first, can be built up a bit. Buy it from Amazon!
A tinted moisturizer straddles the space between foundation and moisturizer. It offers the skin hydration, but it is also pigmented to slightly even out the skin tone. Most tinted moisturizers offer light coverage, so they are insufficient for concealing major discoloration.
Tinted moisturizers are great for anyone who would like to feel a little made up but doesn’t want the heavy look or feel of a foundation. They are often made with a variety of skin-loving ingredients, and generally, provide some slight sun protection as well.
Tinted moisturizers, BB creams, and foundations are product categories that are not clearly separate from each other. There is a lot of overlap between the various products, so it is better to understand what the usual rules are when it comes to classifying each one.
• A foundation is more of an umbrella category, as it refers to any makeup product that is meant to be applied all over the face in order to even out the skin tone and cover imperfections. Foundations can range very widely in coverage levels as well as textures and finishes on the skin. They can have skincare benefits, but they are makeup products first and foremost.
• A tinted moisturizer essentially bridges the gap between foundation and moisturizer. You could think of it as a moisturizer with a bit of coverage, or a very moisturizing, light-coverage foundation.
• BB creams (and, more recently, CC creams) are also touted as products that bridge the gap between makeup and skincare. Their skin benefits are often blown a little out of proportion, but they can certainly be great for the skin.
The main difference is that the original alphabet creams coming out of South Korea offered medium to full coverage, as opposed to tinted moisturizers, which offer light coverage. They also tended to offer fairly high SPF. However, many Western brands essentially repackaged their tinted moisturizer formulas as BB creams, thereby muddying the distinction and also changing consumer conceptions of what a BB cream should be.
Depending on your skin type, you may find yourself needing to use both a moisturizer and tinted moisturizer. This totally depends on your skin type, your total skincare routine, and the time of day when you are putting on a tinted moisturizer.
As always, I have to talk about sun protection first. If we’re talking about applying tinted moisturizer as part of your daytime routine, no matter your skin type, you want to make sure to apply a product with SPF first, even if your tinted moisturizer offers sun protection.
This is because the amount of product required to get the full level of sun protection listed is much higher than the amount of tinted moisturizer you would want to reasonably apply to your skin. If you were to put on the full ¼ teaspoon of SPF required for comprehensive protection, your skin would inevitably look a little cakey and overly made up.
If you have oily skin, you will likely find that the combination of a product with SPF and a tinted moisturizer is all the hydration you need to last you throughout the day. However, if you have dry or normal skin you might find that this is not enough moisture.
If you have dry skin, you could cleanse or tone, apply a hydrating serum or dedicated moisturizer, a dedicated product with SPF, and then your tinted moisturizer. It’s all about experimenting and building a personalized routine that makes your skin look and feel good all day long. You can also experiment with applying a primer between the SPF and tinted moisturizer, or finding a primer that offers sun protection.
• As always, begin with clean skin. If you’re going out in the daytime, make sure your skin has been prepped with a protective layer of SPF. If you’re getting ready to head out after the sun has set, you can simply apply a primer, or opt for a hydrating serum or moisturizer if you have dry skin.
• Choose your tool for applying the tinted moisturizer.
• You can use your fingers if you’re a low-maintenance kind of person, but make sure your hands are clean. Simply dot your tinted moisturizer over your skin, and then use the pads of your fingers to warm it up and smooth it over your skin, working your way from the center of the face outwards. The result will be very well-blended.
• To avoid getting your fingers dirty, use a flat-topped foundation brush. It will give you a natural and blended finish with typical light coverage. You will want to dot the tinted moisturizer over your skin.
You can dispense product directly on the face, or dispense it on the brush and then dot it lightly over the face. Then, to spread it and blend it out, use circular buffing motions, making sure to pull the product all the way to the hairline, as well as to below the jawline and potentially even down the neck.
• To get a sheerer and dewier look, use a damp makeup sponge. Once again, you will want to first dot the tinted moisturizer over your skin. Instead of using a buffing or blending motion, however, you will want to use a tapping or bouncing motion to spread the product over the skin.
Use the pointy end of the sponge to get coverage in hard-to-reach areas like around the nose and under the eyes. You can also use a sponge after applying a tinted moisturizer with a brush, in order to sheer out or blend things out better.
• Once your skin is fully covered in a very thin layer of tinted moisturizer, you can now use a concealer to add more coverage only to the areas where necessary, like under the eyes or over areas of blemishes or discoloration. Apply your concealer with a brush or a finger, and then use your brush or sponge in a tapping motion in order to meld it with your tinted moisturizer.
• If necessary (particularly if you have oily skin or if you need to ensure longevity), set your tinted moisturizer with a setting powder. Use a fluffy brush to avoid overapplying powder. You may choose to only set the areas where foundation usually wears off or your skin gets oily.
• Finish off your makeup as you normally would, although a tinted moisturizer is thankfully light enough that it can also be worn on its own without looking strange.
• Because tinted moisturizers offer such light coverage, one shade can blend nicely into a range of skin tones. Even if at first it looks like a brand doesn’t have your skin tone, you can still test out the closest match and you might be surprised that it fits.
• To test a tinted moisturizer, apply it along your jawline and then blend it into both face and neck. You want something that will match your neck, as the face can sometimes be a little darker or redder than the rest of the body.
• A tinted moisturizer can be applied almost exactly like foundation, although it’s important to note that whereas you can normally build up your coverage with a foundation by adding more layers, this is a little harder to do with a tinted moisturizer.
• Tinted moisturizers are awesome mixing mediums. You can blend them with a foundation to sheer out its coverage.
• Remember that in order to get the full SPF benefits of a tinted moisturizer, you have to use around a ¼ teaspoon to cover your whole face. This can look okay sometimes, but other times it might feel like too much product. In that case, you definitely need to apply a dedicated SPF first.
• If you think you need more coverage, simply layer a bit of concealer on top of your tinted moisturizer.
• To keep your skin extra dewy and hydrated throughout the day, feel free to spritz on some hydrating face mist over your tinted moisturizer. It’ll help you keep that radiant glow.
Photos via @_hollyt, @jasminedowling, @xomissdanielle, @amaliegabs