After 22 hours of research evaluating 82 products, we picked Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20 Oil Free as our top choice.
Let's face it, wearing makeup in the summer (or while on vacation) is never fun. No one wants to beat the heat with a full face of foundation. That's why finding the best tinted moisturizer will be your new summer B.F.F.
You might be wondering: what is tinted moisturizer really?
According to InStyle, the best tinted moisturizer combines the best of both worlds into one product. It's lighter than your foundation but still gives you just the right amount of coverage. And if that's not enough, it keeps your skin hydrated and, therefore, keeps you glowing all summer long.
Since choosing the right product isn't easy, we've decided to help you. We spent hours testing and researching every tinted moisturizer out there for your skin. The result? A list of the absolute best tinted moisturizer products. We even categorized them based on your skin type.
e.l.f is cheap, gives a hint of color, and provides anti-aging sun protection with UVA/UVB SPF 20.
The shades of this tinted moisturizer are darker than expected. In fact, even the lightest shade, porcelain, may be too dark for those of you with fair skin.
If expensive beauty products aren't your thing, we've got the perfect tinted moisturizer that will last up to 10 hours per wear. This stuff is creamy, thick, and leaves your skin fully protected with SPF 20.
e.l.f is just about as good as it gets if you're looking for a cheap product. Makeup users and reviewers everywhere love this brand - and so do we.
Coverage: The e.l.f formula provides a lighter coverage. What this means is, it will somewhat even your skin tone, but it won't conceal any dark spots or pimples.
We love that the texture is on the creamy side which is why it blends flawlessly with a beauty blender or brush. You may find that this formula is thicker than your typical moisturizer, but, not to worry. It still feels like you aren't wearing any makeup once applied.
This tinted moisturizer has a few shades to choose from (4 to be specific) so you can find a close match for your skin.
We love that this tinted moisturizer does not contain any fragrances or parabens. This product does contain nourishing ingredients like aloe, cucumber and vitamins A, C and E. These are going to help leave your skin feeling extremely moisturized.
For the $4 price, you can't find better - it's one of the cheapest products out there. However, this e.l.f tinted moisturizer costs a few dollars extra in stores so you're better off ordering directly from Amazon.
tarte Amazonian Clay Tinted Moisturizer is a moisturizing, lightweight moisturizer with SPF 20 and no harmful ingredients. Leaves the driest skin looking natural and dewey.
Not for those who need a lot of coverage. This tinted moisturizer provides minimal coverage.
The thick, foundation-like consistency of the Tarte Tinted Moisturizer offers lightweight, buildable coverage, making it easy to achieve a flawless complexion. The best part is, this formula stays put all day long.
Coverage: This oil-free tinted moisturizer offers the perfect amount of light coverage without looking like you've caked on the foundation. After applying, you're left with a beautiful, lightweight matte finish to your skin that becomes slightly dewy throughout the day.
Remember, this formula is buildable so you can add more layers if needed. The variety of color options is also a big plus! It comes in ten shades ranging from ivory to deep tan, so you should be able to find the perfect match.
What makes the tarte tinted moisturizer stand out is its ingredients. This moisturizer is formulated with SPF 20, chamomile, vitamins A, C, and E, and Amazonian clay.
Tarte claims that Amazonian clay is one of nature's best ingredients, as it nourishes, hydrates, and absorbs surface oil from the skin. The clay is naturally baked in the sun after being gathered directly from the Amazon River basin, which locks in the nutrients.
Finally, the clay is shaved into a fine powder and infused into tarte's formulas. Pretty cool, right? If that doesn't convince you, all of tarte's products are paraben, minderal oil, sulfate, phthalate and cruelty-free.
This $36 tinted moisturizer is a bit high-end, which makes sense since the ingredients come all the way from the Amazon. Not to mention, it will last you a good 6 months of daily wear.
An SPF 30, tinted moisturizer that evens skin tone and provides medium coverage without a full face of foundation.
This product isn't as natural looking as other tinted moisturizers out there. You can tell you're wearing makeup with this stuff. It's also not for those with dry skin.
The consistency of this best-selling tinted moisturizer is smooth and very creamy. It's not too thin but it's not so thick that it's difficult to apply.
We love that the texture is on the creamy side which is why it blends flawlessly. It also comes in quite a range of shades (11 to be specific) so you can find a close match for your skin.
Coverage: This medium coverage tinted moisturizer instantly eliminates all signs of blemishes and evens your skin tone. The best part is that it's lightweight, yet provides more coverage than others on our list.
After applying, your skin will be left with a luminous finish (a.k.a an irresistable healthy glow). An added bonus is that it's an oil-controlling formula which makes it the perfect product for anyone with seriously oily skin. This cream completely evens out skin tone and leaves a matte finish after applying.
There are plenty of moisturizing ingredients found in the Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer that are naturally derived such as algea extract and mineral-rich sea water. This lightweight tinted moisturizer immediately helps thirsty skin feel hydrated.
It also helps to protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays with SPF 30. This oil-free, dermatologist-tested product is free of synthetic fragrances and parabens, too.
At $45 for a 1.9 ounce tube, the price of this product is about the same as its competitors. Our favorite products are the ones where a little goes a long way (mostly because it saves us money). The Nars Tinted Moisturizer is one of them - only a small amount is needed for each use.
A multitasking gel-cream that combines hydrating skin care benefits with SPF 30. Hypoallergenic and free of all silicone and perfumes. Medium to full coverage with one layer.
Not for those with super oily skin.
The bareMinerals Tinted Moisturizer is one of our faves (and almost made best overall). Two reasons we love it so much: the coverage is amazing and it provides a decent layer of sun protection with SPF 30.
A third reason is, it stays put ALL DAY LONG (8+ hours). Trust us, we tested it ourselves. This product comes in 16 different shades ranging from Opal to Sienna. It even comes in 1 travel shade.
Coverage: bareMinerals provides medium to full coverage right away, so you don't need to use more than one layer of product at a time. As a bonus, the gel-cream doesn't feel heavy and spreads easily on your skin.
The pigmented formula gives a flawless, natural look that covers all traces of blemishes and evens the skin. It also smooths any rough spots you might have.
After applying, this tinted moisturizer is barely noticeable. All that is left on your skin is a bright (but not shiny) matte finish.
This tinted moisturizer is dermatologist-tested, clinically tested, and hypoallergenic. It's also free of silicone, fragrance, and oil which is why it's perfect for those of you with sensitive skin.
bareMinerals formulated their tinted moisturizer with olive-derived squalane, marine botanicals, hydrating moisturizers trehalose and glycerin, and coconut-derived ingredients to nourish and condition. It also contains heart-leaf globe daisy, an antioxidant which helps protect against environmental stressors.
And, you won't find any harmful parabens in this stuff. No wonder this product is an Allure Best of Beauty award winner.
The $30 price tag reflects the 1.18 ounce bottle...ouch. So what could possibly make this product worth the price?
The ingredients that improve appearance are well worth the investment. Plus, it only takes a little bit to cover your face. So although it comes in a small bottle, it will last you a long time.
This lightweight tinted moisturizer provides protection from the sun's rays with SPF 20 sunscreen, oil-control, hydration, and gives a natural, semi-matte color to your skin.
Because it's light coverage, it won't cover major redness, scars, or acne like a foundation will.
With a full range of shades to choose from (15 to be exact), you won't have any problems finding one that matches your skin exactly. Shades range from porcelain to sand to mocha.
The texture is so lightweight that while wearing this moisturizer, it appears as if you're not wearing anything on your face. In fact, all that's left on your skin is a dewy glow that's perfect for summer.
Coverage: The Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer provides light coverage that's a little more than sheer. It's honestly the perfect amount for evening out skin tone.
We have found that if you use a beauty blender instead of a foundation brush, you get more coverage out of it. You can add a second layer for more coverage if needed. But keep in mind it's still not full coverage. So, if that's what you're looking for, then you should be shopping for a foundation instead.
The main ingredients include SPF 20 UVB/UVA sunscreen and an antioxidant complex of vitamins C and E. And, there is no added fragrance so there isn't much of a smell aside from the slight hint of sunscreen.
The $45 price reflects the 1.7 ounce bottle, which is the only size available. The good news is, we've actually used this product and the tube lasts forever.
We all like to switch things up every now and then. As much as we love the look and coverage of liquid foundation, there are some days when we want to reach no-makeup makeup nirvana, or at least have something that’s lighter and more low-maintenance than a solid, full-coverage base. During these times, using a tinted moisturizer is the best way to go.
Tinted moisturizers don’t only offer refuge when we feel like wearing lighter makeup. They’re also perfect for hot and humid days because they feel less restrictive on the skin. What’s more, tinted moisturizers offer a bunch of other benefits apart from coverage, so they’re perfect for people with problematic skin who can’t wear heavy makeup.
You already know that for many people, a tinted moisturizer is a better pick during summer months because of how lightweight it is. However, like any other base out there, you can actually use tinted moisturizers all year round.
If that’s the case, what else separates tinted moisturizers from the usual foundation products? And how does it differ from other “lighter” bases, such as BB creams and CC creams? Check out their fundamental characteristics below.
Foundation is undeniably the classic base makeup. Whether we’re talking about liquid, cream, or powder formulas, a foundation will be able to give you a range of shades, finishes, and coverage intensities.
Foundations are a popular choice for those who are looking for unbeatable coverage. Although sheer-finish formulas exist, most foundation products offer coverage that is somewhere between medium to full. On top of this, you’ll be able to find foundations that look either natural, matte, satiny, or dewy. What’s more, foundations typically boast the widest variety of shades among all face bases.
The downside? They’re relatively “heavier” and thicker than tinted moisturizers, BB creams, and CC creams. They also tend to be the least natural-looking.
A tinted moisturizer offers sheerer coverage than a foundation. They’re also lighter, and most of them offer a “barely there” feel. True to its name, it’s pretty much a moisturizer that offers a hint of color, which makes it perfect for evening out your skin tone (provided that your face is pretty even-toned to start with) and giving your complexion an irresistible glow.
If you want something that is uber-simple to apply and has minimal coverage, tinted moisturizer may be your best bet. It doesn’t require complicated tools and techniques. You can simply slap it on with your fingers, and you’re out the door with very minimal blending needed. Of course, you can also use a makeup sponge or a brush for a more precise application, but it isn’t a requirement.
And because this product is essentially a moisturizer at its core, you get to enjoy an extra shot of hydration if your skin is feeling especially parched. If you’re on the oily side, on the other hand, using a tinted moisturizer will allow you to skip your usual moisturizer altogether. Talk about time-saving!
BB Creams became popular back when K-beauty first took the global beauty scene by storm. What makes BB creams special is that they offer additional skin-boosting benefits on top of sheer to medium coverage. A BB cream will typically contain moisturizing components, pigments, sunscreen, and skincare ingredients.
While these are amazing, the downside to BB creams is that they have rather limited shade and finish options. Most BB creams are dewy by default, so if you prefer a matte or semi-matte finish, you might not like BB creams at all. And because it’s a Korean beauty product, BB cream shades are mostly pale. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see BB creams that come in only two to three shades.
CC Creams, like BB Creams, offer sun protection and help address skincare concerns. However, the key difference here is that CC Creams focus on color correction rather than coverage. That said, they typically offer less coverage than the average BB cream, but they’re better for counteracting the effects of weird or excessive pigments on the skin—such as sallowness or redness.
Many CC cream brands also offer a relatively-wide array of shades, but not as much as foundations and tinted moisturizers. Unlike BB Creams, CC Creams can have either natural-looking, illuminated, or matte finishes.
Because a tinted moisturizer is a skincare-cum-makeup product, it makes sense that you must take your skin type into consideration as you shop. Buying a product that is specifically targeted to the complexion concerns associated with your skin type will give you the best results.
Whether you have dry, oily, or normal skin, there’s surely something out there for you. Extra-hydrating and moisturizing formulas will give dry skin a nice boost, while long-lasting formulas that offer oil-control properties will work well with oily skin.
You should also be extra wary if you have sensitive skin. Look for tinted moisturizers that are free of irritants and harsh ingredients. If you have acne-prone skin, a light, non-comedogenic formula will do your skin wonders.
How much coverage do you need? Tinted moisturizers may not offer the same level of coverage as a run-of-the-mill foundation, but it can still improve the appearance of dark spots, acne marks, and discoloration on your face.
If your skin is pretty good to start with, you might find that a sheer formula is enough to give you a subtle glow without feeling too heavy. If you need more than a sheer wash of color, look for a product that offers medium coverage.
Although tinted moisturizers aren’t as well-known as BB Creams for offering extra sun protection, some brands do incorporate SPF in their formulas. While it’s true that nothing will ever truly beat a standalone sunscreen product when it comes to fighting the harmful effects of UV rays, a little extra help from a tinted moisturizer wouldn’t hurt.
So, when looking for a tinted moisturizer, decide if you need a high-SPF product—or any SPF at all. At least SPF 30 is recommended if you’re extra sensitive to the sun.
We all have our preferences when it comes to the type of finish we want from a face base. Some of us like it super dewy, while others totally live for the matte look. The good news is that no matter what your preferred finish is, tinted moisturizers will give you a more natural-looking version of that (compared to what you’ll get from a foundation, that is).
And, of course, nothing is ever more personal than shade. Even if you really want to have a specific tinted moisturizer, you’re probably not going to enjoy using it as much if you can’t find the right shade for your skin tone. Remember: the right shade should match both your face and neck. Otherwise, you’ll end up looking like you’re wearing a mask.
Long-wearing formulas aren’t reserved for people with oily skin. Even dry-skinned gals can find themselves looking for a dependable, all-day tinted moisturizer when the peak of summer hits. Of course, there are also some of us who couldn’t care less about the longevity of our makeup, especially if you’re sitting in an air-conditioned room all day. That said, take your preferences into consideration when choosing which product to buy.
One of the best things about tinted moisturizers is that they offer coverage on top of the skin-enhancing effects of moisturizers. Some brands take it a notch higher and deliver more skin benefits in addition to the usual color-and-moisture combo.
For instance, some tinted moisturizers, like the Tarte Amazonian Clay BB Tinted Moisturizer and the e.l.f. Tinted Moisturizer, have added Vitamins A, C, and E that have antioxidant properties. Another example would be a product that contains tea tree oil which helps fight acne.
After you have chosen a tinted moisturizer, it’s time to figure out how exactly you should apply it on your face to achieve great results. One thing to note though is that tinted moisturizers are pretty flexible—meaning you can apply them using different techniques and still end up looking amazing.
However, if you’re totally clueless about how tinted moisturizers work, you may use the following steps as a general guide.
Yes. Don’t confuse tinted moisturizer with your average skincare moisturizer. It’s a skincare-slash-makeup product, so it has to be washed off at the end of the day.
Just because it’s a moisturizer that may or may not offer additional skincare benefits does not give you the license to leave it on your skin all night long. As with any other makeup product, failing to remove tinted moisturizer before you go to bed puts you at risk of clogged pores and breakouts.