For the days when you don’t have the time or energy to apply foundation but your standard moisturiser or BB cream isn’t cutting it, we swear by a tinted moisturiser.
It’s perfect for the no-makeup, makeup look, wearing to the gym or taking on holiday and many of the best tinted moisturisers contain a host of great ingredients to deliver just the right amount of hydration.
As with the best foundations, BB creams or other skincare products, always opt for a tinted moisturiser that’s labelled as non-comedogenic – a fancy word that means it’s unlikely to block your pores because the official name for pore blockages is “comedones”.
WANT TO KNOW MORE? Check out our science of moisturiser explainer
Like a standard moisturiser, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all tinted moisturiser and it’s worth taking your time to get one best suited to your skin type and budget. To help you make an informed choice, we’ve picked our favourites below.
Why we love it: Offering almost the most shades of any tinted moisturiser in this list at 16 (Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturiser is the only one to offer more at 20), we’re obsessed with bareMinerals’ Complexion Rescue tinted moisturiser.
This product is called ‘complexion rescue’ for a reason – without feeling or looking too heavy, it suitably covers the face leaving an all-over matte finish and helping you to feel shine-free.
It’s full of good stuff, as you’d expect from bareMinerals, including antioxidants that help restore damaged skin, and skin-replenishing calcium.
On top of all of this, bareMinerals has made this product perfect for those of us with dry or dehydrated skin.
Why we love it: Technically a BB cream, this tinted moisturiser from one of our favourite cheap makeup brands is an absolute must-buy, coming in at a tenner for 27ml.
This does err on the more expensive side, particularly for a mamabella Budget Buy, but we feel it’s worth it for its versatility and its skin-boosting properties.
This could easily replace your foundation, moisturiser and BB cream in a single product.
Its high coverage leaves it looking similar to a light foundation but doesn’t leave the face feeling cakey or sticky.
The cream isn’t too runny, but equally isn’t too thick and can be applied with both fingers or a brush.
It lasts for hours and is the perfect base for a natural ‘no make-up, make-up’ look, available in 11 shades from Vanilla Nude to Deep Espresso. You can read more about why we love NYX products so much on our best makeup brands page.
£58 | Buy now from Cult Beauty
Why we love it: It might seem obscene to spend almost £60 on a tinted moisturiser but By Terry’s Cellularose Moisturising CC Cream not only uses glycerin to control oil, it acts as a primer to help blur imperfections and its botanical extracts leave your skin feeling super smooth and supple, regardless of what skin type you have.
A true wonder product that could replace many of your multiple other lotions and potions.
There are only four shades to choose from – ‘CC Nude’ (for fair skin), ‘CC Natural’ (for fair-to-medium skin tones), ‘CC Beige’ (for medium skin tones) and ‘CC Tan’ (for olive-toned skin) – but the brand claims these adapt to your skin tone.
We’re not entirely convinced by these types of claims – and we explain why in our article on foundation matching – but there should be a shade to suit most skin tones.
The CC in this tinted moisturiser’s name stands for colour-correcting and the pigments in its formulation help neutralise redness and disguise sunspots or age spots making it perfect for everyday use.
£24 | Buy now from Tropic
Why we love it: As the weather gets warmer, and we’re spending more time outside, wearing SPF is absolutely vital.
You can read more about why it’s so important – from protecting your skin from cancer to helping to prevent wrinkles and getting rid of dark spots – in our What is SPF? guide.
The problem with this, however, is that many facial sun creams can leave your skin feeling greasy, which is why were very pleasantly surprised with the Tinted Facial Sun Cream from Tropic.
Not only does it come with SPF 50, which is impressive at this price, but it’s thicker than most facial sun creams and this helps you control its coverage.
It’s tinted and comes in two shades – Light/Medium and Medium/Dark – which give you a bronze glow before you’ve even stepped out into the sun.
Elsewhere, it’s absolutely packed with antioxidants and natural ingredients, including coconut, which gives it a lovely holiday smell, Rapeseed and Castor Oil, Golden Jojoba Oil, Aniseed Myrtle Extract, Wild Hibiscus Flower Extract, Passion Flower Oil and Vitamin E. This makes it perfect for all skin types.
£31 | Buy now from Cult Beauty
Why we love it: NARS’ tinted moisturiser comes in 12 different shades ensuring it covers a comprehensive range of skin tones, albeit not as many as NYX’s version which also happens to be a third of the price.
The brand prides itself on this product ‘immediately helping thirsty skin feel hydrated’ through the use of a lightweight oil-free formula which provides a translucent veil of colour and gives a radiant finish (hence the name) in 13 shades.
It not only offers sun protection and hydration as you use it, if you apply it regularly for at least four weeks you should see fewer dark spots and any areas of hyperpigmentation should be reduced.
This is thanks to its mix of naturally derived botanicals including kopara from French Polynesia and mineral-rich seawater to revive and ‘remineralise’ skin.
NARS’s Pure Radiant Tinter Moisturiser is dermatologically tested, non-comedogenic and synthetic fragrance-free.
FURTHER READING: What is SPF?
£35 | Buy now from Cult Beauty
Why we love it: With a light-as-air finish, this tinted moisturiser can be used on pretty much any skin type.
Unlike some cheap tinted moisturisers, you’re paying a premium for the wide choice of 20 tones.
Choose either a moisturiser for cool (C) or warm (W) undertones – sadly there isn’t a neutral option – and then select how dark you want the shade, with 1 being the lightest and 6 being the darkest.
If you’re unsure whether you need a cool or warm version, we explain how to determine your skin tone in our foundation match explainer.
As you’ll read in our Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser review, it’s not perfect. When used on its own, it doesn’t quite leave the glowing finish we’d expect.
However, if you pair this tinted moisturiser with a primer it performs as well as a foundation with the added skincare benefits thrown in.
It’s easy to apply without overdoing it and we love the fact it controls oil and shine and provides a demi-matte finish without overly drying the skin thanks to the addition of Vitamin E.
FURTHER READING: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser review
£29.50 | Buy now from Dr Hauschka
Why we love it: This part-cream, part-tinted moisturiser, part-toner from Dr Hauschka is 100% natural and organic, making it ideal and safe for all skin types.
Dr Hauschka combines avocado with almond oils and rose wax to help prevent dryness, while the use of quince and St. John’s Wort help tone the skin and support elasticity making this particular tinted moisturiser perfect for mature skin.
Finally, extracts of kidney vetch help to balance the skin, removing excess oil and providing hydration where it’s needed.
It is only available in one colour, which may be a little dark if you’re particularly fair-skinned – and this seems like an oversight for such a relatively expensive brand.
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Libby graduated from Bournemouth University with a degree in Multimedia Journalism. She’s worked as a researcher and writer for Heart Radio as well as a features writer for a Somerset newspaper. She’s since taken time out to travel, manage a hotel restaurant, do a lot of dog walking, and now works in London’s West End