I have a confession to make: up until several years ago, I was a full coverage foundation addict. Not that there’s anything wrong with this (there are some great options around), but my skin soon gave up after years of reaching for these formulas.
The antidote? A beautiful tinted moisturiser, and one that not only made my skin feel like it could breathe again, but that offered something in terms of coverage. You see, as much as I have worked hard to get my skin to a good place, I still need a medium level rather than something super sheer.
These days, I rarely wear foundation (apart from this lightweight option), instead opting for a tinted moisturiser or another foundation alternative like a BB or CC cream. And truthfully, with the following six products available to me, I’ve never looked back.
If you’re after more coverage, read our guide to how to find the best foundation for your skin type next. Or if you already know what you’re looking for, try our guide to the best foundations ever, hall of fame style, the best lightweight foundations, best for oily skin and best BB creams.
What is tinted moisturiser?
Tinted moisturiser is a lightweight base product that is a great alternative for foundation. When compared to BB creams and CC creams, tinted moisturisers typically have the least coverage, but in recent years, they have really evolved to offer varying levels to suit all needs.
The formula of a tinted moisturiser is key; the product is essentially what it sounds like, with benefits of a moisturiser, and the finish of a subtle tint. The best tinted moisturisers have a plethora of skincare ingredients, making them a sort of skin-makeup hybrid. These can range from vitamin C to hyaluronic acid, as well as more nourishing, hydrating ingredients that keep skin moisturised.
Who should use tinted moisturiser?
As mentioned, tinted moisturisers are extra-hydrating and moisturising when compared to other base options. This means they work especially well on dry skin types, but really, they suit most people.
You should reach for a tinted moisturiser if you want something lighter than a foundation (and prefer the no-makeup makeup look), but still need a touch of coverage. The best tinted moisturisers are buildable, meaning you can expect anything from sheer to medium coverage.
What are the best tinted moisturisers?
There are so many tinted moisturisers on the market, it’s hard to know where to start. I’ve tried many in my time, six of which I would 100% recommend. Keep reading to discover my hall of fame products.
BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Moisturiser, £30
If I had to pick a favourite overall, I’d likely go with this beauty. It has a unique way of promoting a super healthy, dewy glow that makes skin look happy and fresh like no other. That said, it also provides good coverage (sheer to medium) and can be built up if needed. It’s a water-based, oil-free formula so works for those with excess oil, and keeps skin feeling hydrated, as well as protected (there’s a mineral-based Broad Spectrum SPF 30).
Beauty Pie Super Healthy Skin Sheer Tint, £9.50
Despite the brand saying this offers ‘sheer’ coverage, I would argue this can be built up to work as an almost-sheer-medium foundation. It’s not the easiest formula to buff in, but works better with a makeup sponge rather than a brush, and does well over a hydrating or glow-enhancing primer. It has an SPF 20 and contains skin-friendly squalane, meaning all-day hydration. My only qualm is the shade range, which could benefit from expansion. Not sure what to buy from Beauty Pie? Start with this – you won’t be sorry.
NYX Bare With Me Tinted Skin Veil, £10
Technically this is a BB Cream, but I would argue it sort of brings the best of both. It comes in 12 shades, and is a much-loved formula that consistently receives rave reviews both for its weightless feel and lovely finish. Ideal for those who prefer a glowy, natural finish (no super matte complexions here), the product’s appeal also stems from its purse-friendly affordability, meaning you can continue to re-buy sans guilt.
Typology Tinted Serum, £28.90
I would call this option a ‘good skin day buddy,’ meaning it’s the perfect product for adding that little something extra to already-happy complexions. It offers a sheer level of coverage with a gorgeous dewy finish, and glides on beautifully atop SPF and primer. The handy pipette applicator means no product waste and easy use, and the inclusion of Vitamin C, Squalane & Aloe Vera make it a skincare-makeup superstar hybrid.
Saie Slip Tint Dewy Tinted Moisturiser, £27
While the gorgeous radiant, natural finish of this product is a big pull, the most attractive feature has to be the long list of skin-boosting ingredients included. We’re talking vitamins A and C, hyaluronic acid, argan oil, and liquorice. It feels like a natural last step in your skincare routine (after SPF, of course) rather than the first one in your makeup line-up. That said, pair it with concealer and a dash of liquid blush, and you’ll be ready to face the day with off-duty flair.
The Ordinary Serum Foundation, £6.40
I know this product by affordable trailblazer The Ordinary is classed as a foundation, but many (myself included) consider this to sit both in the foundation and tinted moisturiser category, thanks to its serum-like formulation. This is perfect for anybody who may struggle to find a solid tinted moisturiser in their skin tone, as the product comes in a wide range of shades and also caters to different undertones. And at under a tenner, you literally can’t go wrong.