A dermatologist shares what you need to know about a tinted moisturizer with SPF for effective sun protection, plus seven picks for all skin tones.
Over the past couple of years, many consumers have turned away from heavy foundations—especially in the daytime—in search of products that offer the look of “your skin but better.” Instead, opt for skincare-infused tinted moisturizers that provide some coverage and skin-smoothing effects that don’t give a gorgeous, full-on face. These formulas are especially useful when complete with built-in sun protection for warmer weather when you don’t feel like wearing a million layers on your sweaty skin.
When using a tinted moisturizer with an SPF pathway, it’s important to choose a moisturizer that protects against both UVA and UVB rays, says dermatologist Renée Beech of Derm Atelier on Avenue.. that it also Important to ensure that you get enough of the product (which is where a lot of users fall into business!)
The general rule of thumb for sunscreen is to apply 1/4 teaspoon to the face or 1/2 teaspoon to the face and neck. “Something called sunscreen tends to have more chemical filters like octinoxate or physical filters like zinc oxide and in higher concentrations than a tinted moisturizer with an SPF,” she explains. For this reason, beechwood prefers sunscreen with a tint over a tinted moisturizer with an SPF.
If you prefer the latter, you may want to wear regular sunscreen underneath for backup protection. For me personally – as a verified ghostly white ghost who is prone to burn – if I’m planning on staying in the sun all day, I’ll do both. (An important tip, too: Don’t miss your eyelids! If it feels awkward to apply sunscreen or a face moisturizer around your eyes, try using one specifically formulated for the delicate eye area like Suupergoop!.)
Beech says that you should apply tinted moisturizers with SPF with clean hands as the last step in your skincare routine (ie, after serums and creams) but under any other makeup like blush and concealer.
“It should blend well with your skin tone—it should disappear into the skin without a ghostly gray or silvery finish,” she says. This has been a sticking point in the past for people with darker skin, who often find that any sunscreen that has zinc oxide in it leaves them looking strangely gray. Fortunately, the Fenty foundation shade revolution has also come for tinted moisturizers, so many brands have a good selection.
But, Beech says the most important factor to consider when choosing an SPF is its suitability – it should be a combination – liquid/lotion, cream or stick – that you like because it can’t provide sun protection if you’re too uncomfortable to use it!
Beech’s favorite sunscreens include those from Elta MD and Colorescience, but these brands can be a little tricky to find outside of dermatologists’ offices or specialty stores. So, here are some tinted moisturizers that contain an SPF, as well as a few tinted sunscreens that are widely available.
Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 Foundation
I always get compliments when I wear this medium coverage serum foundation. It’s a sunscreen made with zinc oxide for UVA and UVB protection, is non-comedogenic (ie doesn’t clog 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 pricier picks, the smallest amount of this liquid formula provides fairly full coverage so it will last. It comes in 26 degrees.
Clinique Moisture Surge Sheertint Hydrator Broad Spectrum SPF25 Tinted Moisturizer
This hydrating color gives ultra-sheer coverage and contains gentle skincare ingredients like hyaluronic acid and aloe vera water to keep skin looking youthful for up to 12 hours. Plus, it’s sweat and moisture resistant and comes in 7 shades.
IT Cosmetics CC + Nude Glow SPF 40
This baby is so new that I haven’t even gotten my hands on it yet so I can give you a hot personal touch, but if it’s anywhere as good as your skin but the best CC + Color Correcting Full Coverage Cream with SPF 50 then I’m stan upfront. With a 90 percent skincare base, this formula—with niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and green tea extract—helps brighten your complexion while protecting it, and comes in 22 shades.
Smashbox Hello 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 glamorous pick on this list, and I’m here for all 12 of its shades. Rose extract, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, goji berry, and peptides all come wrapped in a bow in this much-try-to pick. .
BareMinerals Skin Rescue Tinted Moisturizing Gel Cream SPF 30
This popular cream delivers dewy sheer to medium coverage. Formulated with mineral electrolytes infused with marine plants to help replenish dry skin, it contains Heart Leaf Daisy, an antioxidant, that protects against environmental stressors to improve skin’s appearance while keeping it hydrated. Comes in 16 degrees.
Skinceuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense Sunscreen Tinted Fluid SPF 50
This dermatologist-loved brand doesn’t have a full range of shades, but Beech says the universal tint tends to work with most skin tones. Although it is more of a sunscreen than a make-up product, it is ideal for giving post-procedure sensitive or extremely dry skin a healthy color.
Drunk Elephant Umbra Tint Daily Defense SPF 30
This all-encompassing color melts into the skin and allows its skincare ingredients – such as antioxidant algae extract, sunflower seed extract and raspberry seed oil – to fight environmental aggressors.
Next: 8 simple tricks to better protect yourself from the sun