Tinted moisturizers have grown in popularity in the last few years because they are very versatile and serve a lot of purposes. The main goal is moisturizing your complexion, but they also bring tint, evening skin tone, and some extra sun protection.
If you are looking for the right tinted moisturizer for your skin, I’ve got a complete guide to finding the perfect product for your specific needs. Please keep reading to get precious information that will help you make the best decision.
For more reviews on tinted moisturizers and a tutorial on how to apply them, watch this video:
What Is a Tinted Moisturizer?
A tinted moisturizer is a hybrid beauty product that is meant to serve more than one purpose. The base of this product is a hydrating cream with an added tint to even out the skin tone or redness you may experience.
Some tinted moisturizers also include UV-rays filters, so you may see SPF 20 or 30 on the packaging. This is great extra sun protection, but I still recommend using your regular sunscreen in sufficient amounts underneath any makeup product.
So a tinted moisturizer is a skincare and makeup product rolled into one. It generally offers light coverage that lets your skin come through, but some have a higher coverage. The application is easier, and they blend seamlessly with your fingers (more information on this is below).
Tinted Moisturizers Vs Foundations: What Are The Differences?
A foundation is created as a makeup product, so its main goal is to cover imperfections and give a higher coverage. Foundations are often a water and silicone-based combination, and they look like makeup on top of the skin, no matter how blendable and lightweight they are.
A tinted moisturizer’s main purpose is to hydrate and protect the skin and give the skin some uniformization. Colored creams often include beneficial skincare ingredients, such as humectants (hyaluronic acid or aloe vera extract), oils (kukui, avocado, macadamia nut), and brightening agents (vitamin C, niacinamide). The coverage of tinted moisturizers is often light, but you can build it up without it looking cakey or overdone.
Another difference between foundations and tinted moisturizers is the application method. You can blend foundations with a special makeup brush or a beauty blender that will offer a buffing effect to make it look more natural. Instead, you can apply a tinted moisturizer with your fingers, and it will blend seamlessly because of its light texture and creamy base.
Please read this article for a complete guide to the best foundations for dry and mature skin.
The Best Tinted Moisturizer With SPF
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer in Sand (Medium Neutral)
Tinted moisturizers were initially made to be an all-in-one product that hydrates, protects with an SPF, and gives a bit of coverage. Not all colored creams have a built-in sunscreen nowadays, but it’s always nice to have some extra UV-rays protection.
Remember that you still need to apply your regular sunscreen in generous amounts and let it properly absorb for 10-15 minutes before your makeup.
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer is a cult classic, a very popular product that has been around for years. Now in new packaging, the product includes a high protection solar factor of 30. It’s a very hydrating formula, and the ingredient list includes macadamia and kukui seed oils.
The tinted moisturizer from Laura Mercier has a light coverage that evens out the skin tone, and gives it a nice glow. The finish is dewy but not oily, so I think it is suitable for all skin types. It compliments mature skin very well because it doesn’t cling to dry patches or settle into wrinkles.
This product is paraben-free, and it’s a great tinted moisturizer if you want a natural, skin-like feel. It’s also available in mini size, a fantastic bonus if you want to make sure you color-match correctly or see how it feels before buying the full-size packaging.
The Best Tinted Drugstore Moisturizer
The best drugstore tinted moisturizer needs to be accessible at your local stores and in a lower price range. But this doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice quality! The drugstore has reality upped its game in the last few years, so you can find amazing products there.
The best drugstore tinted moisturizer comes from Maybelline New York, and it’s called Fit Me Tinted Moisturizer. The product comes in 14 shades, so a pretty generous color range that compares to that of foundations, and it’s very affordable.
Fit Me Tinted Moisturizer is a lightweight product with 76% naturally-derived ingredients, including soothing aloe vera extract. It claims to have a natural, semi-mat finish that keeps shine away for 12 hours.
I found that Maybelline Fit Me has a light coverage that can be built to a medium one. You can apply it with your fingers, and it blends very easily or with a foundation brush. The finish dries to a satin finish, not a true matte finish. If you have a combination to oily skin, you should set that with face powder; otherwise, you can leave the tinted moisturizer as is.
Overall, Maybelline Fit Me Tinted Moisturizer is a fantastic product with great value for money. It’s perfect on the go if you want a blurring effect of your imperfections while still keeping a natural and glowing look.
The Best Tinted Moisturizer for Mature Skin
NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 in Shade M 1.2
Even though we each have a specific skin type, this will change throughout the years. The skin becomes drier, flakier, and sometimes dull during menopause because of hormonal changes.
Good skincare is vital, but choosing the right makeup is also very important for your overall appearance. Go for hydrating products that give life back to your complexion, and have a dewy finish rather than matte.
Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer comes in 16 shades and includes an SPF 30, so a good addition to your regular sunscreen. The formula also has Vitamin C, and it’s free of parabens, sulfates, formaldehyde, and mineral oil.
This tinted moisturizer is easy to blend with your fingers as it feels like a normal cream, but you can also use a foundation brush. It feels like you don’t have anything on the skin because it is so light, yet your skin is perfected and evened out.
The coverage is very light, and you can see the skin showing through the tinted moisturizer. But it is buildable to a light-medium coverage without looking cakey or creating streaks. The end result gives you a satin finish and a beautiful glow without being oily or greasy.
The best part about Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer is that it doesn’t emphasize any dry patches, scales, or pores. It doesn’t sit on the skin but rather seems to melt perfectly into it. This is a great purchase for mature skin that needs light and glowing coverage.
The Best Tinted Moisturizer for Dry Skin
Milani Get Up And Glow! Glow Hydrating Skin Tint (In Shades 210 And 310)
Dry skin generally feels tight, sometimes even itchy, and with scales. This skin type suffers from a lack of oil, and the result is a dull-looking and lifeless complexion. It’s very important to choose hydrating makeup that doesn’t cling to dry patches or emphasizes lines and wrinkles.
Milani is a well-accomplished drugstore brand that never disappoints in the foundations’ department. This time the brand comes with a tinted moisturizer called Get Up and Glow! Glow Hydrating Skin Tint.
The ingredient list includes 29% squalane – a skin-identical oil that helps to moisturize and make dry patches less visible. The product also includes a blend of coconut water and glycerin, which is a powerful humectant (it binds to water and helps the skin retain moisture).
This tinted moisturizer is perfect for dry skin because it is a very hydrating formula. The finish is very dewy and glowing, and the product doesn’t cling to any dry patches. I wouldn’t recommend this product to those with combination to oily skin because the shine is too strong for their skin type.
Milani Skin Tint comes in six shades, but you can combine two colors if you can’t find one that matches you perfectly. It has good medium coverage but a very blendable formula that sits nicely on the skin. This product is really affordable and also cruelty-free, paraben-free, and sulfate-free, which is always a win in my book.
The Best Tinted Moisturizer for Oily Skin
Sephora Matte Perfection Tinted Moisturizer (In Shade 08 Canvas)
If you have oily to combination skin, then maybe tinted moisturizers wouldn’t be your first choice. Generally, this type of product is very dewy or even on the oily side, and it doesn’t offer much coverage or staying power.
But tinted moisturizers have become more diverse and versatile in the last few years, as far as coverage and finish. You can find great matte or semi-matte options that work fantastic for oily skin.
Sephora Matte Perfection Tinted Moisturizer is a very lightweight cream that comes in 16 shade options. It blurs redness, and it evens out the skin tone with a liquid, almost weightless consistency.
This colored cream has sheer coverage, but you can build it to medium coverage. It gives the illusion of melting into skin, as it blends seamlessly and looks like a second skin. I find this very interesting for a matte product because they are usually higher coverage and more heavy on the skin. Having a natural finish option for those with oily skin is quite refreshing.
As mentioned above, the finish on this tinted moisturizer is matte but never dull or lifeless. As it is so sheer and blendable, the product doesn’t settle into wrinkles or cling to dry patches. Overall this is a great find in the colored creams department and a must-try if you need a mattifying foundation base.
The Best Full-Coverage Tinted Moisturizer
Tinted moisturizers were initially created as slightly colored day creams with very light coverage. So you wouldn’t necessarily think to associate high coverage with this type of product. But makeup has evolved so much over the past years, and tinted moisturizers have become more versatile. Some offer good coverage while still giving you blendable and easy-to-use products.
The best full coverage tinted moisturizer is a very popular product – Smashbox Halo Healthy Glow. It is a hydrating formula that includes hyaluronic acid, a potent humectant that increases skin hydration, peptides, rose extract, and fruit extracts.
The Smashbox tinted moisturizer includes SPF 25, so it’s a good addition to your regular sunscreen (that you still have to apply liberally beforehand). This has very good coverage and a thicker consistency than your average moisturizer. Still, this blends nicely, and it doesn’t settle into pores or wrinkles.
The sunscreen in this Smashbox Tinted moisturizer doesn’t influence the color or create that grayish tint. The overall finish is dewy but not too oily; I recommend setting it with a brush to control the shine. This product has the added benefit of being free of parabens, sulfates, and formaldehyde, and it’s vegan and cruelty-free.
The Best Tinted Sheer Moisturizer
Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 30 (in Shade 7.5 Dune)
Sometimes you don’t want your makeup to look like actual makeup, but rather just look a little put together without all the fuss. This is where a natural-looking tinted moisturizer can be exactly what you need.
Bare Minerals brings us the perfect sheer tinted moisturizer for everyday wear. It has an SPF 30 to add to your regular sunscreen that you apply beforehand. The ingredient list includes hyaluronic acid, a powerful humectant that adds hydration, and plant-derived squalane, for extra emolliating properties.
The product gives a very sheer coverage to even out your skin tone. The skin still shows through, but it’s blurred and perfected at the same time. It gives a beautiful glow and a satin finish; if you have oily skin, you can set this with a finishing powder; otherwise, I would leave it or put some powder over the T-zone.
If you feel you need more coverage, you can layer this tinted moisturizer, and it still looks flawless and lightweight. It comes in 20 shades that adapt to your skin tone, so it’s easy to find something suitable for you. The Bare Minerals Tinted Hydrating Cream wears beautifully throughout the day, and it’s a great addition to your makeup kit.
The Best Tinted Moisturizer For Sensitive Skin
Fenty Beauty Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint (In Shade 13)
Sensitive skin is not a specific skin type but rather a condition. It can affect any type of skin, but dry skin is generally more prone to it. If you have sensitive skin, you may experience tingling or itching, and the skin is very reactive, meaning it becomes red and inflamed easily.
When you have this sensitivity, you still want some coverage, but without putting on a lot of makeup that may contain irritants (like alcohol or fragrance). So a light tinted moisturizer with mild ingredients will be perfect for you.
Fenty Beauty Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint is a very lightweight product that comes in a generous shade range of 25 options. Just like the name says, the product has a great blurring effect that makes pores and lines less visible.
The tinted moisturizer is easy to apply with your fingers, and it blends with the skin effortlessly. It has light coverage but is buildable to a medium. It dries to a semi-matte finish but with a glowing, light-reflecting quality.
Overall this is an amazing find for a natural, no-makeup makeup look or if you want some coverage on the go. It wears beautifully throughout the day, but you can set it with a bit of face powder if you have oily skin.
How to Apply Tinted Moisturizers for a Flawless Base
When it comes to applying makeup, your base is crucial for smooth-looking skin and for a long-lasting effect. Preparing your skin for makeup always starts with general care and a great skincare routine that includes hydration, exfoliating acids such as AHAs, and a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher.
Following a solid skincare routine will ensure your complexion is smooth and with less texture and dry patches that may interfere with the makeup application. Foundation-type products or powders often cling to those dry patches and settle into pores or wrinkles, so making sure you prep your skin before applying them is best.
The general rule of thumb is to cleanse your skin, put on your regular moisturizer, then your sunscreen in sufficient amounts (if it’s daytime), followed by a primer. Leave each one of these layers properly absorbed before adding the next one because otherwise, your makeup base won’t adhere to the skin. This will result in makeup that looks cakey, and it will slide around and fade after only a few hours.
Tinted moisturizers are constructed as an all-in-one product that includes moisturizing properties and an SPF factor, and many have a built-in primer, so a blurring effect. For these reasons, you can skip a few steps from your normal makeup routine.
My advice is to skip the application of hydrating cream if you have a normal, combination, or oily skin because the tinted cream is moisturizing enough. This may not be enough if you have very dry skin, so go ahead and put on hydrating cream as you normally would.
The next step would be applying your sunscreen if doing your makeup during the day. This is a tricky subject because many tinted creams already include UV-rays filters, resulting in an SPF of 20 or 30. But to get a compact layer of sunscreen that gives the listed UVB protection listed on the packaging, you have to apply .04 oz of product or ¼ teaspoon.
In terms of a makeup product, that is a lot, and it would look very cakey; plus, it’s difficult to know if the layer is compact enough or too sheer in some areas because of blending. Your best bet is to always apply your broad-spectrum sunscreen during the day in sufficient amounts, then let it absorb for around 15 minutes.
You don’t need a primer because most tinted moisturizers have a blurring effect, so you don’t need one. Now you can put on the tinted cream, and the application method varies a bit. These types of products are more lightweight than a foundation, so they blend easier; you can do that by using your fingers in circular motions until you see the product” melting” into the skin.
You can also use a foundation brush or a buffing brush to put on the tinted moisturizer. On the other hand, a damp beauty blender is not the best idea for applying this product. This tool absorbs a lot of the makeup product, and it sheers it out as it blends. But many tinted moisturizers are already pretty sheer, so you would get almost no coverage by using a sponge.
Try Tinted Moisturizers for a Natural Look!
This article encompasses the best things that tinted moisturizers have to offer. They are amazing products that give you hydration, a blurring effect, and enough coverage for a glowing and natural look.
This is the perfect product for an everyday look or if your motto is” Less is more.” It gives the best of both worlds in terms of skincare and makeup, and it’s a must-have for any makeup kit.
For more inspiration on a natural, no-makeup makeup look, please check out this video tutorial: