On a daily basis, more and more of us are leaning towards a paired-down, natural look over layering up the best foundation for a flawless finish. Enter the best tinted moisturisers to add a little bit of sparkle to your complexion.
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Wondering what the difference between a foundation and a tinted moisturiser is? We’ve spoken to Bobbi Brown’s Editorial Pro Artist, Amalie Russell, to find out everything you need to know. Just keep on scrolling…
What’s the difference between a tinted moisturiser and a foundation?
“The difference between tinted moisturisers and foundations boils down to skin care benefits, density and coverage,” explains Russell. “Tinted moisturisers are almost transparent and feel like second skin due to their hybrid skincare formulas that have SPF to protect. Foundations on the other hand come in various levels of coverage and different textures such as creams, sticks, powders or liquids that can accommodate all skin types.”
You won’t get a whole lot of coverage with a tinted moisturiser. Instead, think of it as your skin, but just that little bit better than usual.
Are tinted moisturisers suitable for all skin types?
“Tinted moisturisers are best suited for normal to dry, dehydrated or more sensitive skin types,” says Russell. “They are also great for anyone looking for that ‘barely there’ look.”
How do you apply a tinted moisturiser?
Russell recommends applying the product with your fingers for the most natural look. However, if you want a more ‘airbrushed’ finish, use a foundation blending brush instead.
Intrigued? Read on for the formulas that pass the Marie Claire UK test in the best tinted moisturiser department. If you want to know how we test the products that make it into our articles, check out our in-depth guide.
For more inspiration, don’t forget to check out our guides to the best foundation for oily skin, the best foundation for dry skin, the best foundation for acne-prone skin and even the best drugstore foundation.
The best tinted moisturisers to buy now
1. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+ Unifiant Moisturiser
For acne and blemish-prone skin, there’s a tinted version of the famous Effaclar Duo+. It has all of the original’s skincare benefits – salicylic acid to break down blockages, niacinamide to calm blemishes – plus a slight tint to help reduce the visibility of breakouts. A great buy for excessively oily skin.
2. Clarins HydraQuench Tinted Moisturiser
Dry skin needs something that’s going to keep it soft and smooth for the long run. Crammed with hyaluronic acid, this tinted moisturiser packs a punch. Continuously moisturising your skin while you wear it and providing three layers of UV protection, this beautifying cream will do your complexion the world of good.
3. bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Moisturiser Hydrating Gel Cream
Complexion Rescue is one of our all time favourite things to put on our face. It’s more than a tinted moisturiser but it doesn’t fall within the realm of a BB or a CC cream either. With squalane, marine botanicals and humectants, it massively boosts hydration. It’s available in an amazing 16 shades too so absolutely everybody can get in on the action.
4. Kosas Tinted Face Oil
If you want a soft veil of colour that blurs pores, smooths fine lines, hydrates parched skin and, importantly, lasts all day (a rarity amongst lightweight formulas) may we suggest this skin-loving tinted oil from Kosas. Featuring 16 shades, you can customise the coverage by using a couple of drops for a sheer and natural look, or 4-6 drops for a more ‘I’m going out tonight’ look.
5. NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser
Good coverage, long lasting and not too expensive, this really is the one for everyday wear. Team with a little bit of cream blush for the ultimate healthy look. It’s available in 12 shades, so you’re sure to find a match.
6. Bobbi Brown Nude Finish Tinted Moisturiser
Bobbi Brown base products are some of our favourite base products of all time, and this tinted moisturiser is no exception. It’s perfect for giving that natural glow as not only does it work to minimise redness and unevenness, but it also infuses skin with hydration. Although it’s not the best option for oily skin, normal to dry complexions will love this.
7. La Mer The Radiant Skintint
La Mer have classed this as sheer, but we definitely think that it gives good enough coverage to cover up blemishes and dark spots. It isn’t the most moisturising, so if you have dry skin then we would recommend pairing with a hydrating moisturiser first. Oilier skin types will love it though.
8. Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser Natural Skin Perfector
It doesn’t get much better than a Laura Mercier tinted moisturiser, which you’d expect considering she invented the stuff. With an SPF of 30 and coming in 20 shades to suit a broad range of skin tones, this formula is well worth a look.
9. Estée Lauder DayWear Sheer Tint Release Advanced Multi-Protection Anti-Oxidant Moisturiser
This is tinted, but only ever so slightly so perfect if you prefer lighter coverage. It has some UVA protection, but it’s pretty low so you’ll probably want to wear a higher one underneath. It does, however have free-radical damage protection.
10. Origins GinZing™ Energy-Boosting Tinted Moisturiser
The Origins GinZing range adds energy to lacklustre skin (the eye cream does wonders at camouflaging and dispelling dark circles.) This tinted moisturiser does just that – it gives your complexion a boost of moisture and energy – thanks to the caffeine and Panax ginseng inside that does the hard work – and leaves you with a perfect finish.
11. Dr. Hauschka Tinted Day Cream
Oh my goodness, do we LOVE this cream. If you want to look hydrated, plump and really, really healthy then this is the cream for you. Annoyingly it doesn’t have any sun protection, but you’ll forgive it when you see how gloriously well you look. It comes out quite thick (making it really hydrating), but if you warm it in your hands first it makes it easier to work it into your skin.
12. Authored Tinted Moisturiser
We recently gave Tanya Burr’s make-up line, Authored, a go, and this tinted moisturiser definitely came out on top. Although it’s lightweight on the skin, it offers a great amount of coverage, blurring pores and imperfections. It has a soft matte finish but still leaves you with a subtle glow, and you only need to use a small amount. A word of warning, it does come out of the tube fast, so be ready to blend.
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