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While foundations are certainly a staple in most of our beauty routines, sometimes they can be a bit too thick for everyday wear, especially during hotter weather when you'd rather be wearing less. Instead, consider trying a tinted moisturizer for a lightweight and subtle look that will allow you to embrace your natural beauty.
To help you achieve the "no-makeup" makeup look this summer, Shop TODAY spoke with a handful of makeup artists to get the scoop on the best tinted moisturizers on the market.
To shop this article by category, simply click on each link below:
- Full-coverage tinted moisturizers
- Light-coverage tinted moisturizers
- Tinted moisturizers with SPF
- Drugstore tinted moisturizers
- Tinted moisturizers for oily skin
- Tinted moisturizer for dry skin
- Tinted moisturizers for mature skin
Full-coverage tinted moisturizers
This CC cream has become a cult favorite over the years. It's made such an impression on professionals that over half of the makeup artists we chatted with recommended it! It's designed for use on all skin types, contains SPF 50 mineral sunscreen and comes in 12 different shades.
Makeup artist Tobi Henney, who has been using this CC cream since it was released in 2013, can't say enough good things about this product.
"It covers my hormonal acne, breakouts and any redness with minimal use of the product," Henney said. "I always get compliments when I wear this because it looks like (my natural) skin but better. I highly recommend it to anyone with problematic skin looking for the best tinted moisturizer."
Los Angeles-based makeup artist Kelsey Deenihan called this CC cream "a dream."
"I was so shocked when I first tried it because of how much coverage it had," Deenihan said. "This is ideal for anyone who wants the added moisture and benefits of a tinted moisturizer but may need more coverage to even their skin tone or cover blemishes."
Makeup professional Charlotte Hayward also recommends the It Cosmetics CC Cream for Zoom meetings or photos.
The Nars Cosmetics Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer is another product that has been around for years and was mentioned by many makeup artists.
"It gives natural-to-buildable coverage," said New York-based makeup artist Jennifer Nam. "This tint has the ability to soften and even dark spots and pigmentation. It gives your skin an overall polished look that is radiant and comes in many shades."
This Nars product includes ingredients like Kopara from French Polynesia and mineral-rich seawater which helps to revive and remineralize skin for a softer, smoother and brighter natural glow.
Henney, who is also a fan, said "it feels beautiful on the skin and will have your complexion looking much brighter."
Light-coverage tinted moisturizers
"The Ilia Serum Skin Tint has answered all my summer skin dreams," said makeup artist Megan Lanoux. "It’s so lightweight, making your skin look like actual skin and it simply enhances your natural complexion."
Not only does Lanoux love this skin tint for those looking for light coverage, but she also recommends it to people who have dry skin. "It’s extremely hydrating. Throughout the day, my skin maintains its glow and radiance," she said.
Lanoux also talked highly about this product for its natural ingredients. It contains plant-based squalane to improve elasticity, non-nano zinc oxide (a clean mineral sunscreen) and hyaluronic acid, which Nam raved about for its hydrating properties.
"It’s a true all-in-one product that will give your skin plumpness and hydration with the hottest ingredient in the beauty industry, hyaluronic acid," Nam said.
For those who want to cover blemishes but don't want to feel cakey, consider the Kevyn Aucoin Stripped Nude Skin Tint.
"This lightweight tint blurs any imperfections and creates an even skin tone without much coverage for a natural-looking finish," said Deenihan.
It's available in 10 different colors and is free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates and mineral oil. This Kevyn Aucoin product is also vegan and cruelty-free.
If you're in the market for a high-end, low-coverage tinted moisturizer, the Giorgio Armani Beauty Prima Color Control Glow Moisturizer might be the perfect choice.
"This is an ultra-sheer tinted moisturizer and it is brilliant," Hayward told us. "I have been wearing this a lot recently and just add concealer when needed. It’s a lovely product when you don’t need a full face of makeup."
Despite the one-ounce tube it comes in, Hayward says it should last you quite a while. "It goes a long way. Even though the tube isn’t huge, mine is still going strong."
The Giorgio Armani Beauty Prima Color Control Glow Moisturizer includes key ingredients like moringa oleifera extract, which energizes and revives the skin and provides long-lasting hydration, plus vitamin E and SPF 35 help to invigorate and protect your complexion against external factors.
The Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint is a great option for those looking to achieve a "no-makeup" look.
"This melts into your skin," Nam said. "It delivers the sheerest tint that will give your skin the right amount of hydration with a touch of color. It's a no-fuss product that comes in 12 shades with minimal blending."
Hayward is also a huge fan of the Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint and said it's "a brilliant daytime look for your skin."
"It comes in lots of shades and has a great selection of tones. It’s really sheer in the perfect way where it evens out your skin tone, doesn't crease and makes you look healthy," Hayward said. "It isn’t drying, doesn’t make you oily and you can conceal where you need to after, so it's a great all-rounder."
This tint has almost 1,900 reviews on the Glossier website and has earned a 4.2-star rating. Reviewers rave about this product for many reasons, but the general consensus is that it gives a radiant glow and works well for all skin types.
Tinted moisturizers with SPF
For those who always forget to apply sunscreen before leaving the house, make your life a little easier by incorporating a tinted moisturizer with SPF into your routine.
The Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer features a lightweight formula with SPF 47 for sun protection. Some key ingredients include vitamin E, argan oil and green tea, which provide soothing nourishment, while natural SPF delivers powerful UVA/UVB protection and anti-aging benefits.
"This is one of my favorites," Lanoux said. "I like it because it forces me to put SPF on even if I don’t feel like wearing makeup. It provides a healthy glow and can be worn alone or under makeup."
"It's the perfect product for a day outside in the sun to really ensure that your skin is protected," added Henney.
If you're looking for a heavy-duty face sunscreen that will give you a glow, look no further! The SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 50 not only provides broad-spectrum protection from aging sun rays, but it also offers a tint that enhances your skin tone and boosts radiance.
Deenihan recommends this SkinCeuticals tinted sunscreen for those who have sensitive skin. It's a mineral sunscreen that is free of paraben and fragrance, and is non-comedogenic and water-resistant for up to 40 minutes.
"The water-resistance makes it a great product to wear for outdoor activities or everyday wear without worrying if sweat will break it out," Deenihan said. "The subtle tint evens tones while offering sun protection."
Drugstore tinted moisturizers
Contrary to popular belief, you don't always have to spend a lot of money to find the perfect face makeup. This L'Oréal Paris Visible Lift Serum Tint comes highly rated by Lanoux, who says it "improves the tone and texture of your skin and gives a nice healthy glow."
"This won’t give much coverage, but it will provide hydration with a hint of color," she said. "I like this for casual beach days or hanging by the pool. It can also be worn alone or under your everyday foundation."
The Neutrogena moisturizer is another budget-friendly option. It's sheer, so it's great for the summer months and is formulated with vitamins A, C and E, plus SPF 30 to prevent sunburn.
"I love the weightless feel of this tinted moisturizer as well as the sheer coverage that noticeably evens skin tones without heavy coverage," said Deenihan.
It comes in five different shades and is less than $10 — what's not to love?
If you don't have the patience to do a full face of makeup, you'll love this Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream.
"It's a beauty balm that is skin care and makeup in one simple step," Nam said. "It's easy to use with your fingers or a sponge and has sheer-to-natural coverage."
This Maybelline product is also jam-packed with skin care benefits. It hydrates, protects your skin from the sun (thanks to the SPF 30 formula), brightens, blurs imperfections, smoothes, enhances and is oil-free.
Tinted moisturizers for oily skin
Laura Mercier Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer [new version of same product]
Oily skin can make finding the best face makeup quite the challenge, but multiple artists say this Laura Mercier Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer is one of the best options on the market.
"I like this tinted moisturizer the most because it delivers great lightweight coverage, has SPF and is oil-free," Lanoux said. "A lot of people think that because they have oily skin they should use powder products or nothing at all. The truth is, the less you apply to your skin, the more oil your skin will produce. If you have oily skin, hydration is key, but using something that is oil-free is also key."
Deenihan often recommends this product to anyone with oily skin, as well.
"The oil-free formula assures you that you are not adding additional unwanted oils to your face," Deenihan said.
It's available in 20 different shades and has over 6,300 reviews on Sephora's website, so it seems like plenty more people are fans too!
The It Cosmetics Oil-Free Matte CC Cream is another great option for people with oily skin.
"I love using this tinted moisturizer in the summer because it reduces the shine from humidity and is great for anyone with oily skin," Henney said. "It still requires a touch of powder in the T-zone, however, the coverage along with shade range is next to none."
This tinted moisturizer also features a lot of beneficial ingredients. The collagen supports visible elasticity for a youthful, smooth complexion, while peptides help reduce the appearance of wrinkles. It also includes charcoal, which minimizes the look of pores and cleans your skin by absorbing excess oils and surface impurities.
This BareMinerals Tinted Moisturizer is a clean, multitasking product that combines skin care benefits with buildable coverage.
"BareMinerals' Complexion Rescue is great for oily skin because it gives a flawless, light coverage but has oil-controlling ingredients which help to keep the shine at bay," said makeup artist Ashunta Sheriff-Kendricks.
Henney also likes this tinted moisturizer for all of the added benefits. "It's a brilliant tinted moisturizer as it packs in skin care, makeup and mineral SPF all into one product."
Tinted moisturizer for dry skin
If you love to experiment with skin care, then you'll probably want to buy this Kosas tinted face oil — and maybe a backup, too!
"The tinted face oil from Kosas is a hybrid of skin care and makeup. It’s for the babe who loves to use facial oils and is obsessed with skin care," Nam said. "It gives your skin a fresh and breathable coverage that feels like second skin."
"This is a tinted oil, which is essentially a different texture of a tinted moisturizer," explained Deenihan. "The pigment mixed with the face oil leaves the skin feeling radiant and fresh."
Some key ingredients include avocado oil and meadowfoam oil, which moisturize and plump the skin, as well as red raspberry oil and jojoba oil, which soothe irritation. The camellia seed oil and rosehip seed oil will also help balance and brighten your complexion.
Tinted moisturizers for mature skin
This Tom Ford Soleil Glow Tinted Moisturizer is packed with anti-aging ingredients.
"This product evens out your skin tone and any signs of aging as its super hydrating and contains jojoba oils for nourishing hydration," Henney told us.
In addition to jojoba oils, this luxurious product is infused with hyaluronic acid to help hydrate the face and reduce the appearance of fine lines.
For a more budget-friendly option, consider this well-loved tinted moisturizer by Garnier.
"Along with the incredible price, this tinted moisturizer will have your friends asking you what you are wearing because your skin will look so fresh and youthful-looking," Henney said. "It has great skin care packed in, including SPF, and over time it is claimed to reduce the appearance of wrinkles."
The multitasking formula provides light coverage for an even skin tone while acting as a moisturizer with SPF.
For more stories like this, check out:
- 15 mascaras under $15 that are worth the hype, according to reviewers
- A makeup artist shares how to remove waterproof mascara, lipstick and more
- These derm-approved sunscreens are perfect for darker skin tones
This article was originally published on July 17, 2020.