The 7 Best Tinted Moisturizers with SPF That Protect and Even Out Skin
A dermatologist shares what you need to know about tinted moisturizer with SPF for effective sun protection, plus seven picks for all skin tones.
Over the last couple of years, many people have moved away from heavy foundations—especially for daytime—seeking products that offer a “your skin but better” look. Instead, they’ve opted for skin care-infused tinted moisturizers that provide some coverage and skin-smoothing effects that don’t give a super done, full-beat face. These formulations are especially handy when they come complete with built-in sun protection for the warmer weather when you don’t feel like wearing a million layers on your sweaty skin.
Dermatologist Renée Beach of Derm Atelier on Avenue says when going the tinted moisturizer with SPF route, it’s important to choose one that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. It’s also important to ensure you put on enough of the product (which is where a lot of users fall down on the job!)
The general rule for sunscreen is to apply 1/4 teaspoon for the face or 1/2 teaspoon for the face and neck. “Something that’s labelled as a sunscreen tends to contain more of either chemical filters like octinoxate or physical filters like zinc oxide and in greater concentrations than a tinted moisturizer with SPF,” she explains. For this reason, Beach prefers a sunscreen with a tint over a tinted moisturizer with SPF.
If you prefer the latter, you may want to wear a regular sunscreen underneath for backup protection. For me personally—a verified Ghostly White Human who’s prone to burning—if I’m planning to be in the sun all day, I’ll do both. (Also, hot tip: Don’t miss your eyelids! If it seems weird to apply sunscreen or facial moisturizer around your eyes try one that’s specially formulated for the sensitive eye area like Suupergoop!’s Bright-Eyed Mineral Eye Cream SPF 40).
Beach says you should apply tinted moisturizers with SPF with clean hands as the last step in your skin care routine (i.e. after serums and creams) but under any other makeup like blush and concealer.
“It’s got to blend in well with your skin tone—it should disappear into the skin without a ghostly grey caste or silvery finish,” she says. This has been a sticking point in the past for people with darker skin, who often found that any sunscreen with zinc oxide in it left them looking weirdly grey. Fortunately, the Fenty revolution in foundation shades has also come for tinted moisturizers, so many brands have a good range.
But, Beach says the most important factor to consider when choosing an SPF is its convenience—it has to be a formulation—liquid/lotion, cream or stick—that you like because it can’t offer sun protection if you’re too annoyed to use it!
Beach’s favourite tinted SPFs include ones from Elta MD and Colorescience, but those brands can be a little tricky to find outside of dermatologist offices or specialty boutiques. So, here are some tinted moisturizers with SPF, plus a few tinted SPFs, that are more widely available.
Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 Foundation
I always get compliments whenever I wear this medium-coverage serum foundation. It’s a physical sunscreen made with zinc oxide for protection from UVA and UVB rays, is non-comedogenic (ie won’t clog your pores) and is safe for sensitive skin. The dewy look is thanks to hydrating plant-based squalene, smoothing niacinamide and plumping hyaluronic acids. While it’s one of my slightly more expensive picks, the tiniest amount of this liquid formulation provides pretty full coverage so it will last. Comes in 26 shades.
Clinique Moisture Surge Sheertint Hydrator Broad Spectrum SPF25 Tinted Moisturizer
This hydrating tint gives super sheer coverage and has those sweet skin care ingredients like hyaluronic acid and aloe water to keep skin plump for up to 12 hours. Plus, it’s sweat- and humidity-resistant and comes in 7 shades.
IT Cosmetics CC+ Nude Glow SPF 40
This baby is so new I haven’t even gotten my hands on it yet to be able to give you my personal hot take, but if it’s anywhere as good as their Your Skin But Better CC+ Color Correcting Full Coverage Cream with SPF 50 then I’m a stan in advance. With a 90 percent skin care base, this formulation—with niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and green tea extract—helps brighten your skin while protecting it, and comes in 22 shades.
Smashbox Halo Healthy Glow All-in-One Tinted Moisturizer, Broad Spectrum SPF 25
Smashbox isn’t kidding when they put the word “halo” in this product name—it’s the most glimmer-y pick on this list, and I’m here for all 12 shades of it. Rose extract, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, goji berries and peptides come all wrapped up with a bow in this much-try pick.
BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream SPF30
This popular cream gives you dewy, sheer-to-medium coverage. It’s formulated with mineral electrolytes infused with marine botanicals to help replenish dry skin, and it contains heart-leaf globe daisy, an antioxidant, protecting against environmental stressors to improve the appearance of skin while keeping it hydrated. Comes in 16 shades.
Skinceuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense Sunscreen Tinted Fluid SPF 50
This dermatologist-beloved brand doesn’t have a whole range of shades, but Beach says the universal tint tends to work for most lighter skin tones. While it’s definitely more of a sunscreen than a makeup product, it’s perfect for giving post-procedure, sensitive or super dry skin a bit of a healthy flush of colour.
Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte Daily Defense SPF 30
This universal tint melts into skin and lets its skin care ingredients—like antioxidant algae extract, sunflower shoot extract and raspberry seed oil—fight environmental aggressors.