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Are you wearing the right skin tint shade? Experts share their shopping tips

These expert tips and recommendations will have you glowing in no time.
Ilia

What to look for | How to find your undertone | Expert picks | How we chose | Meet the experts

Ever have those days where you don't want to wear heavy foundation (or a full face of makeup feels out of reach)? A tinted moisturizer is the solution you've been looking for. And it's exactly what it sounds like — a moisturizing powerhouse that also adds some tint to your skin. They’re lightweight, buildable and can seriously make your skin radiate. 

In theory, you can just pop in to your local Sephora or Ulta to grab any tinted moisturizer off the shelf, but those of us with darker skin tones know it's not that easy. Sure, there are some options out there that will adapt to your skin color and add a tint once you apply it, but for the most part you’ll find that brands provide a variety of shades and it's up to you to find the one that matches best. 

Shop TODAY consulted the experts to provide you with the best tips to find the right shade and even shared a few recommendations to start your search.

Shop TODAY Snapshot

Best skin tints for darker skin tones

What to look for in tinted moisturizers for darker skin tones

Everyone has a different skin tone, and when searching for a tinted moisturizer, cosmetic surgeon Dr. Parvaneh Rafaeloff says “it’s crucial to consider your specific complexion needs [think: hyperpigmentation].”

Rafaeloff recommends looking for “products that offer a wide range of shades to ensure you find a match that compliments your undertone and skin tone. She calls out glycerin and hyaluronic acid as ingredients to look out for.

“You want to find a light formulation that is not thick and cakey,” board-certified dermatologist Dr. Nazanin Saedi says, echoing Rafaeloff's ingredient callouts.

How do you find your undertone? 

“Determining the right undertone for moisturizers is crucial for a harmonious look,” says Liana Sahakyan, co-founder of Laureate Aesthetics.

“Undertones can be warm, cool or neutral. To identify your undertone, examine the veins on your wrist. If they appear greenish, you likely have warm undertones; bluish veins indicate cool undertones, while a mix suggests neutral undertones.”

Once you've determined your undertone, Sahakyan offers the following guide for choosing the right shade:

  • Warm undertones pair well with golden or yellow-based shades
  • Cool undertones suit pink or reddish tones
  • Neutral undertones can generally pull off a wider range of shades; it'll be trial by error

The wrong shade can result in an ashy, gray or unnatural appearance, something that Saedi has personally experienced. “Some formulations might not cater to the unique needs of darker skin, such as providing adequate coverage for hyperpigmentation, “ Sahakyan explains. 

When searching for the right skin tint, Saedi suggests assessing any shade you try outside in natural lighting and with a mirror to get the best results.

Best skin tints for darker skin tones, according to experts

Milani Glow Hydrating Skin Tint

What we like
  • Provides a dewy look
Something to note
  • Color varies from bottle
  • Some say it can be heavy

Shades: Seven | Key ingredients: Squalane, glycerin, coconut water, jojoba esters, hyaluronic acid, bisabolol (chamomile)

Finding a good tinted moisturizer that doesn’t break the bank can be tricky, but makeup artist Diva Borrelli recommends starting with this hydrating skin tint from Milani. It promises visibly glowing and ultra-dewy skin.

L’Oréal Paris True Match Nude Hyaluronic Tinted Serum

What we like
  • Safe on sensitive skin/rosacea
  • Natural finish
Something to note
  • Users don't like applicator

Shades: 14 | Key ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, glycerin

Saedi loves that this tinted serum is formulated with hyaluronic acid to help your skin feel hydrated and look brighter. It’s the ideal two-in-one product that works as makeup while simultaneously keeping your skin healthy.

Tower28 SunnyDays SPF 30 Tinted Sunscreen

What we like
  • 2-in-1 sunscreen and skin tint
Something to note
  • Some say formula is thick

Shades: 17 | Key ingredients: Prickly pear extract, white sage extract, jojoba esters, aloe leaf water, sage extract

Not only does this tinted moisturizer provide your skin protection from the sun, it’s formulated with ingredients that won’t clog your pores, which is why Borrelli suggests it for those with oily and acne-prone skin. The brand says this tint is buildable which allows you to create customize your coverage.

Fenty Beauty Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint

What we like
  • Buildable coverage
  • Good for oily skin
Something to note
  • Not the best for dry skin

Shades: 25 | Key ingredients: Glycerin, hyaluronic acid

Borrelli says this skin tint from Fenty Beauty is a great option for those who have oily skin because of its lightweight formula. With buildable light-to-medium coverage, you can easily achieve an even complexion with a blurring effect and natural finish.

Shiseido Synchro Skin Self-Refreshing Tint

What we like
  • Long-lasting coverage
  • Natural finish
Something to note
  • Some say it's not moisturizing

Shades: Eight | Key ingredients: Glycerin, squalane, synthetic fluorphlogopite (mineral that absorbs excess oil), hyaluronic acid

For those with combination skin, Borrelli recommends using this tinted moisturizer. It’s made with SPF 20 and the brand's patented ActiveForce Technology which is formulated to protect your skin from heat, humidity and oil. The best part about this tinted moisturizer is it’s formulated with 70% skin care ingredients — providing your skin with all-day hydration and glow.  

Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer

What we like
  • Lightweight coverage
  • Radiant finish
  • Contains SPF
Something to note
  • May be drying

Shades: 16 | Key ingredients: Glycerin, turmeric root extract

Borrelli says this should be your go-to when looking for a tinted moisturizer with customizable coverage. The finish is sheer and works especially well with medium-to-deep undertones.

Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40

What we like
  • Lightweight coverage
  • Lots of shade options
Something to note
  • Users complain about the smell

Shades: 30 | Key ingredients: Squalane, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid

This tinted serum is formulated to provide light coverage with a dewy finish. “I love the Ilia products because they have every tint and leave your skin looking dewy,” Saedi shares. 

“The shade can look too light or dark [in the bottle], but they blend nicely in the skin,” she says. Key ingredients such as squalene, niacinamide and hyaluronic acid are all excellent for hydrating your skin.

Laura Mercier Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer

What we like
  • Blends out easily
Something to note
  • May oxidize quickly

Shades: 20 | Key ingredients: Glycerin, jojoba esters, squalane

Sahakyan recommends this product because of its natural finish and range of shades. The brand says it provides a blurred matte finish to cover up any imperfections. With a light coverage and oil-free formula, your skin will stay shine-free all day long.

How we chose

Each of the skin tints featured in this story came recommended by the experts we spoke to.

Meet the experts

  • Dr. Parvaneh Rafaeloff, MD, is a cosmetic surgeon. She is also the owner and medical director of Le Jolie Spa in Los Angeles, California.
  • Dr. Nazanin Saedi, MD, FAAD, is a board-certified and fellowship-trained dermatologist based in Philadelphia. She also serves as a clinical associate professor at Thomas Jefferson University.
  • Liana Sahakyan, RN, MSN, NP, is the co-founder of Laureate Aesthetics, a medical spa in Sherman Oaks, California.
  • Diva Borrelli is a Los Angeles-based makeup artist.