Beauty is an industry that is continually innovating. It’s one of the reasons I love it so much. But one area that hasn’t changed and, in my opinion, remains quite dated, is our approach to changing seasons.
Despite having free will, October to February are the only months of the year we’ll paint our nails burgundy. We spend the entirety of spring/summer at the hairdresser’s achieving our perfect cool blonde, only to reverse back to warm brunette once the clocks go back.
Even our makeup bags aren’t immune. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say the only action my collection of red lipsticks gets is from 1st-31st December.
Same goes for foundation. Understandably, some of this is dictated by the temperature outside, but why do we still feel the need to cake on the high coverage when we love the natural finish of that skin tint we wore all summer?
Yes, your Naxos tan might have faded, but thanks to ongoing innovations, you don’t have to smell like a biscuit anymore or experience streaks galore. Thanks to hyaluronic serums with DHA (hello, Tan-Luxe Super Glow) or bronzing face mists like Bare by Vogue’s Face Tanning Mist, you can win that glow back without even adding an extra step into your skincare routine.
Not to mention that, unlike heavy coverage foundations, most skin tints contain additional skincare ingredients you could really benefit from when your cheeks are being blasted by Baltic winds outside and roasted with central heating inside.
Thankfully, brands have noticed that the love for a lighter base is booming year-round, and have responded with an influx of skin tint formulations covering everything from affordable price points to added sun protection. Glossier’s Skin Tint (beauty writer Hannah’s ride or die) was the OG no-makeup makeup product which paved the way for the humble skin tint to become the much-loved, cross-season staple it is now.
With so many new lightweight base formulas out there, I’m simply refusing to go back to a higher coverage that I’m no longer used to.
In an effort to form my own mini rebellion (don’t worry, I won’t be heading to the M25 with this anytime soon), I wanted to share my current favourite skin tints/tinted moisturisers/sheer foundations/call them what you will so you too can join in.
Whether formulated with skin-quenching ingredients like squalane or depositing a luminous glow that your skin hasn’t seen since August, these are the bases that will encourage you to finally break free from the chains of seasonal beauty rules.
Maybelline Super Stay up to 24H Skin Tint Foundation + Vitamin C, £12.99
Granted, a bit of a mouthful, but this recent launch from Maybelline immediately won the top spot as my favourite high-street foundation and has even knocked some of my more expensive ones down the list.
With a serum texture, this formula is refreshingly lightweight on the skin (I’ve always struggled to find a truly ‘invisible’ looking foundation from high street brands). A few drops blends out for a seamless, second-skin finish that looks beautifully radiant and smoothed out, while still letting your real skin show through.
The 18-strong shade range is impressive for a skin tint, which is usually much smaller compared to classic foundations due to the flexibility of the sheer finish. While you might have to swap between two or three shades throughout the year with a medium coverage foundation, by its nature a skin tint is much more adaptable to your skin, lasting you through the seasons whether tanned or not.
High street brands are also catching up on the skincare-meets-makeup formulations, with this skin tint containing Vitamin C to gently brighten the appearance of your skin over time.
Ciaté Dewy Skin Tint, £29
If you were already a Ciaté Dewy Skin Tint convert, then you’ll be over the moon to hear that after a brief hiatus, this glass-skin base is finally back for good. If you aren’t already a member of this skin tint’s cult following, let me change that for you.
The texture of this is like nothing I’ve tried before, it’s similar to a tinted moisturiser but blends out with a gel-water-like feel to it. The formula itself is packed with hydrating and brightening ingredients including hyaluronic acid and vitamin C, as well as antioxidants from the yuzu and dragon fruit extract.
Those with dry skin will absolutely love this tint, which glides onto the skin and leaves you with a glowing, healthy, glass-like finish that smooths the appearance of your skin and doesn’t cling to dry patches. It’s also a favourite for those with more mature skin due to the hydrating and plumping effect it delivers.
ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint SPF30, £46
ILIA was a brand I had spotted on my travels to Sephora U.S. but wasn’t one I was particularly interested in until I had a Zoom call with founder Sasha Plavsic. Despite being a skin tint, its Super Serum is the best-selling foundation in Sephora U.S. and that should tell you all you need to know.
While some brands might add skincare ingredients as an afterthought, for ILIA it is most definitely a primary one. Hydrating squalane is the third ingredient, while barrier-loving niacinamide and soothing allantoin are also in there.
Additional benefits aside, I love this for the glow it gives my skin. It’s thicker than other skin tints and leaves me with this transparent mask of luminosity, which I can only compare to trying an Instagram filter and realising you wish you really did look like that.
One word of warning though: it does have a bit of a whiff to it. This is because there’s no added fragrance, so you’re sniffing all those ingredients. It’s not the best, but it disappears after application and is not enough to put me off, that’s for sure.
Summer Fridays Sheer Skin Tint, £42
Originally, I refused to part with this because it launched late in the summer, and I felt cheated that we had so little time together.
This is one of those products that as soon as you so much as test it on the back of your hand, you instantly know you’re going to love it.
First, it is completely effortless to blend, making it one of the easiest bases to apply when you’ve given yourself approximately 8 minutes to get ready to catch your train. Fingers, a brush, a sponge; it doesn’t matter, your skin just drinks it up and is instantly transformed to a dewy dream with this creamy formula.
Secondly, it just perfects without looking like you’re wearing makeup. It’s the equivalent of someone complimenting your skin, not your foundation.
Finally, the 10 shades are some of the most inclusive I have ever seen in the world of lightweight skin tints, covering light to deep skin tones.
Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Camo Drops SPF35, £36.48
It requires way less blending than the original and leaves a more luminous finish. While the original formula I found left me a bit pale, this just evened out my blotchiness and gave me the bare-faced look I wish I had naturally.
If you’re into ‘no makeup makeup,’ this is the base you have been searching for.
Just remember, it’s a product designed to cover redness, so if that isn’t an issue for you, walk on by.
Ultra Violette Daydream Screen SPF50, £38
As a huge fan of the brand’s SPF, I was excited for Ultra Violette to launch its tinted version – and knowing that makeup artist Adeola Gboyega worked with UV to extend its shade range calmed my worries about a lack of inclusivity after its U.S. launch earlier in the year.
Out of all four products in this article, I would say this has the lightest coverage and is the one that is most like a ‘summer’ skin tint.
But this means you can apply enough to get the full benefit of the SPF50 and not have to wear a separate SPF underneath, which is great in winter when I’m constantly asked, “do we still have to wear suncream?”
Yes, you do.
Application wise, I like this best when I blend it in with my fingers. With a bit of concealer added on any spots/redness, this gives me such a glowing, natural base that it feels like I’m not wearing anything – and most importantly, doesn’t cake or crease.