There’s no doubt about it: Tinted moisturizers with SPF in them are extremely popular these days. Part makeup, part skincare, you get the best of both worlds without cluttering up your makeup bag. But how much do we actually know about their benefits?
A tinted moisturizer with SPF offers light coverage, while providing protection against UBA/UVB rays and blue light. “They are often lightweight, so they layer easily without clogging pores. They also help seal in moisture to keep skin hydrated, while protecting your skin from the effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, such as sunburn and sun damage,” says Dr. Brendan Camp, a board-certified dermatologist in New York. While you can use a tinted moisturizer all year round, it’s especially nice during the warmer months.
Do Tinted Moisturizers Have Enough SPF in them?
Not all tinted moisturizers with SPF are created equal. The amount of protection offered in these products can range anywhere between SPF 10 to 30+. And even if a tinted moisturizer has 30+ written on the product, that doesn’t give you a pass to skip on your traditional face sunscreen. “I personally do not rely on the sunscreen in a tinted moisturizer alone because the most common mistake we make with sunscreen is that we aren’t applying enough of it,” explains Dr. Fatima Fahs, a board-certified dermatologist in Michigan.
Fahs also mentioned that just because a tinted moisturizer has SPF in it doesn’t mean it protects against everything. “Lots of products will list an SPF number, which is an indicator of UVB protection but no mention of being "broad spectrum,” which means the product has both UVA and UVB protection,” Fahs tells us.
Bottom line: If you’re spending more than two hours in the sun, you need to apply more sunscreen. Dr. Fahs recommends applying a layer before your tinted moisturizer for adequate coverage. (And yes, you should also reapply your sunscreen later in the day as well. Luckily, there are powders and sprays that you can top things off with that won’t disrupt your makeup.)
How Should You Use Tinted Moisturizer?
Since tinted moisturizers are so emollient, you can apply them using your fingertips. First, use the dot method (aka applying dots of the product all over your face) before massaging the tinted moisturizer into your skin. If you want a more airbrushed finish, you can pat it in using a sponge or a fluffy makeup brush.
What Should I Look for In a Tinted Moisturizer?
There are a ton of tinted moisturizers on the market. However, take into consideration these five features when shopping to avoid mindlessly browsing the beauty aisles.
Coverage Type: Do you want dewy or matte coverage? Some tinted moisturizers mimic a traditional foundation, while others make you look shiny and glazed like a donut. When picking out a tinted moisturizer, look for keywords like “radiant,” “dewy” and “sheer” to give you background into what you can expect.
Skin Type: Be mindful of your skin type. Camp recommends dry or sensitive skin types use dewy, oil-based tinted moisturizers. If you have oily skin, he recommends lightweight, matte or oil-free picks. And acne-prone skin can look into oil-free picks to prevent potential breakouts.
SPF Count: SPF numbers vary widely among tinted moisturizers. Dr. Fahs recommends finding ones that are 30 or higher. Also, look for the words ‘broad spectrum’ on the label, “so you’re getting coverage against both UVA and UVB rays.”
Shade Range. Yes, there are plenty of tinted moisturizers with SPF out there, but the number starts to dwindle when you check out their shade ranges. However, don't be discouraged. Brands like Ilia, Rare Beauty, Tower 28 and The Lip Bar are already changing the game and offering 15+ shades in their repertoire. There's also a neat trick of mixing shades together to get your perfect match. Consider a swatch test of the tinted moisturizer of your choice and try mixing two that are close to your skin color (adding a second for your undertone) to see if it fits your skin tone. (For example: I personally used two Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint shades to match my complexion.)
Skincare Benefits: It’s a hybrid product after all. Find a tinted moisturizer that caters to your skin woes. Some key ingredients found in tinted moisturizers are niacinamide, aloe and hyaluronic acid. “Hyaluronic acid offers significant hydration, as this molecule helps attract and retain water within the skin,” Camp explains. “Niacinamide is included in some moisturizers because of its anti-inflammatory and calming properties, which makes it a great option for rosacea or acne-prone skin.”
Now that you’re caught up on all things tinted moisturizers, here are the 20 best tinted moisturizers with SPF to show now.
The 20 Best Tinted Moisturizers with SPF At a Glance:
Best Shade Range: Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint
Best Splurge: Chantecaille Just Skin
Best Drugstore: Maybelline New York Dream BB Fresh Cream
Best for Redness: Erborian CC Red Correct
Best for Sensitive Skin: Tower 28 SunnyDays Tinted Sunscreen
Best Coverage: It Cosmetics Bye Bye Foundation Full Coverage Moisturizer
Best for Dull Skin: Tarte BB Tinted Treatment 12-Hour Primer
Best Clean Formula: Supergoop! CC Screen CC Cream
Best Newcomer: Rare Beauty Positive Light Tinted Moisturizer
Most Longwearing: Smashbox Halo Healthy Glow Tinted Moisturizer
Best Serum: Undefined RR Sun Serum
Best for Hyperpigmentation: Thrive Causemetics Buildable Blur CC Cream
Best for a Radiant Finish: Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer
Best for Dry Skin: Milk Makeup Sunshine Skin Tint Sunscreen
Best for Oily Skin: BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Gel Moisturizer
Most Hydrating: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer
Best for Acne-Prone Skin: Lancôme Skin Feels Good Hydrating Skin Tint
Best Budget: L’Oreal Paris Skin Paradise Tinted Moisturizer
Best for Combination Skin: Saie Slip Tint Dewy Tinted Moisturizer
Best for Dark Skin Tones: The Lip Bar Just A Tint 3-in-1 Tinted Skin Conditioner
Best Shade Ranges
Pros: SPF 40, 30 shades, dewy finish
Cons: Scent, not great for acne-prone skin
This tinted serum offers a dewy coverage, sun protection and a hydrating boost. The clean formula (which features hyaluronic acid, squalane and niacinamide) plumps the skin, while the broad-spectrum based SPF 40 protects against UVA/UVB rays, blue light and pollution. With over 7,000+ raving reviews (and an overwhelming approval from PureWow editors), it’s a crowd favorite for all skin tones and types.
Pros: SPF 15, vegan, sheer finish
Cons: Limited shade range, thicker consistency
This 3-in-1 tinted moisturizer evens your natural complexion, smooths fine lines and protects against harsh rays. It’s formulated with botanical extracts like edelweiss, honeysuckle and green tea, as well as sodium hyaluronate to soothe and shield your skin.
Pros: SPF 30, oil-free, sheer finish
Cons: Limited shade range
This BB cream blends like a dream and is only $9. Whether you have dull, dry or sensitive skin, the SPF 30 and oil-free formula will give you even coverage without clogging your pores.
Best for Redness
Pros: SPF 25, color-adapting coverage, radiant finish
Cons: Super light coverage, pricey
If you’re prone to redness, look no further than this CC cream. The lightweight formula evens out your complexion and protects against UV rays that cause redness, dark spots and wrinkles in the first place. Use a pea-sized amount on its own or add it to your moisturizer for a radiant glow.
Best for Sensitive Skin
Pros: SPF 30, 14 shades, natural finish
Cons: Not great for very dry skin
This 2-in-1 was created with sensitive and acne-prone skin in mind. The sunscreen-foundation hybrid offers buildable coverage without feeling cakey or heavy on the skin. Its lightweight formula features zinc oxide, prickly pear extract and white sage extract to protect against sun damage, even redness and soothe stressed skin. PureWow’s beauty director, Jenny Jin, gives this one her stamp of approval for leaving a natural finish.
Pros: SPF 50, 12 shades, satin finish
Cons: Thick consistency, too dry for some
This tinted moisturizer might make you break up with your foundation once and for all. In just one to two pumps, you’ll get the full coverage you’re looking for while still getting that “no-makeup” makeup look. Thanks to the 3D Skin Flex technology used, it allows the product to adjust to your skin tone and texture, so you’re left with a comfortable and natural finish. The key seven ingredients (including fermented sugarcane, coconut water and black tea) improve elasticity and prevent moisture loss in the skin.
Best for Dull Skin
Pros: SPF 30, vegan, matte finish
Cons: Limited shade range, some shades may oxidize
This tinted primer offers medium coverage and sun protection (which is our top priority), as well as a few other benefits. The formula contains a triple B-complex that brightens, smoothes and softens, which is a plus for dull, dry and/or combo skin. Fans also love that it goes the extra mile, lasting up to a whopping 12 hours while still feeling velvety smooth after a long day.
Best Clean Formula
Pros: SPF 50+, 13 shades, natural finish
Cons: Thick consistency, not great for acne-prone skin
This Supergoop! pick is a favorite in the clean beauty space. The oil-free formula (featuring apple, Irish moss and red seaweed extract) gives medium coverage, while protecting the skin with zinc oxide.
Pros: SPF 20, 24 shades, radiant finish
Cons: Little to no coverage for hyperpigmentation
Yes, we’re obsessed with Rare Beauty’s blushes, but the tinted moisturizer is slowly becoming another favorite from the line. The liquid formula offers light coverage, a boost of hydration and an all-around radiant finish. Its weightless consistency leaves room to blend and blur any imperfections without ever feeling oily or greasy.
Pros: SPF 25, 20 shades, dewy finish
Cons: Not great for oily skin
This tinted moisturizer promises dewy coverage for up to 24 hours and they weren’t kidding. The key ingredient—hyaluronic acid—continues to keep your skin moisturized well after you apply it. The lightweight formula also prevents creasing or caking from occurring.
Pros: SPF 50+, Black-owned, radiant finish
Cons: Strong scent, runny texture
The clean formula (it includes ingredients like tremella mushroom, jojoba oil, vitamin E and niacinamide) makes this a winner in our books. The combo absorbs quickly into the skin, leaving behind a radiant glow and the SPF 50 ensures that your face is protected against UVA/UVB, pollution and blue light. Plus, the universal shade works well on all skin tones.
Best for Hyperpigmentation
Pros: SPF 35, 18 shades, natural finish
Cons: Can be drying for some
Whether you have dark spots, rosacea or redness, this color-correcting cream will give you flawless coverage (like a photo filter). The tinted moisturizer has vitamin C to brighten discoloration and flaxseed extract to soften and smooth the overall texture of your skin. All you need is two pumps to for full coverage.
Best Radiant Finish
Pros: SPF 30, 16 shades, radiant finish
Cons: Thick consistency
With “pure radiant” in the name, you can expect the glow of your dreams. The vitamin C and French Polynesian kopara combo evens out and refines your skin for a brighter, smoother complexion.
Best for Dry Skin
Pros: SPF 30, 14 shades, sheer finish
Cons: The applicator can be tricky to apply product
When it comes to dry skin, hydrating ingredients are key. Thankfully, this skin tint is formulated with squalene and an oil blend (i.e. grapeseed, avocado, jojoba, olive and mandarin oil) to moisturize and plump the skin. Use the applicator to pinpoint the areas you want coverage and use your fingertips to blend it in.
Best for Oily Skin
Pros: SPF 30, 16 shades, natural finish, expert-approved
Cons: Not great for super dry or acne-prone skin
This gel-cream moisturizer is packed with hyaluronic acid, squalene and a mineral-based sunscreen. It hydrates and protects the skin, while evening your complexion. A dime-size amount is all you’ll need for adequate coverage—minus the shiny T-zone and excess oil. “I love that this comes in multiple shades. It has medium coverage and is good for creating that effortless, no-makeup look,” shares Fahs.
Pros: SPF 30, 20 shades, natural finish
Cons: Thin consistency, may cause pilling
This tinted moisturizer hydrates with a capital H. The formula features macadamia seed oil, kukui seed oil and tamarind seed extract to lock in moisture while reducing any signs of dry skin. And don’t forget the SPF 30 that makes sure your dewy look is protected and effortless.
Best for Acne-Prone Skin
Pros: SPF 23, 15 shades, radiant finish
Cons: Lightest shades might skew a bit orange
This hydrating tint has moringa seed and hyaluronic acid in it to ensure that it feels comfortable on your skin. Rest assured, it’s also oil-free, so it won’t clog your pores or cause breakouts. Instead, the 2-in-1 leaves a velvety finish and protects your skin for a sunny day out.
Pros: SPF 19, 12 shades, natural finish
Cons: Can be greasy to oily/combo skin
The hydrating pick has a blend of aloe vera and witch hazel to give you natural-looking coverage that lasts for up to 24 hours (though we recommend you wash your face before then). Since it’s completely oil-free, the formula won’t clog pores, which is a plus for those with acne-prone and sensitive skin.
Best for Combination Skin
Pros: SPF 35, 14 shades, sheer finish
Cons: Strong scent
This slip tint tips toes between sheer and dewy finish which is great for people with combination skin. The hydrating blend (aka hyaluronic acid, pansy flower and licorice root extract) retains moisture, boosts hydration and brightens the complexion. One PureWow editor couldn’t rave enough about the moisturizer, stating they've become "a devout convert" of the brand.
Best for Dark Skin Tones
Pros: SPF 11, Black-owned, radiant finish
Cons: Runny texture
When it comes to foundations and tinted moisturizers, some brands miss the mark on catering to darker skin tones. For The Lip Bar, they put a heavy focus on creating eight shades that are specifically for darker skin and undertones. The 3-in-1 formula also hydrates, protects against sun damage and blends seamlessly (so much so that you forget you have it on).
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