The Best Tinted Moisturizers

By Tara Thompson Rasmus

I know, I know… it’s fall. So, you might expect me to be advising you to switch out the light tinted moisturizer that you wore all summer with a heavier, more opaque foundation in honor of the changing season…right? Well, if you’d like to get your foundation recommendations, you can head right over here. But I have some good news to share: you can stick to tinted moisturizer year-round, and the beauty police won’t ticket you (promise). In fact, skin tints have become so advanced in the past couple of years that the list of reasons to use them over foundation is mile-long: you get a natural finish, SPF protection (usually), a hit of moisture, plus extra benefits such as mattifying, brightening, or smoothing properties. So, if you think of tinted moisturizers as simply being watered-down versions of serious foundations, think again—these creams of the crop will have your complexion glowing this season.


Sheer Color Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 by Stila

If you’re into the classic tinted moisturizer with sheer coverage and SPF protection, this straightforward formula is for you. As a bonus, this lightweight pick boasts light-diffusing pigments and ginseng and gingko for antioxidant protection.

Matifying Tinted Moisturizer by BlackUp

Wait a second, you might be thinking—isn’t a matifying tinted moisturizer an oxymoron? Au contraire, my friend: this ingenious formula (developed specifically for women of color) acts as sort of a moisturizing primer, softening and smoothing the skin while leaving behind a shine-free finish.

Color Control Cushion Compact from Amore Pacific

SPF die-hards, this one’s for you: this nifty cushion compact (simply press the cushion with the included puff applicator to dispense just the right amount of product) contains an impossibly lightweight formula that boasts protection from both the sun and environmental stressors.

Physicians Formula Organic Wear Moisturizer

If you prefer a more natural formula, I can’t recommend this super-affordable pick more: it’s soothing, hydrating, and scented with just a hint of fresh lavender.

e.l.f. Tinted Moisturizer

Sensitive types, rejoice: this lightweight and breathable formula is packed with aloe, cucumber, and vitamins A, C, and E to soothe and protect even the fussiest of complexions.

Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream from bareMinerals

Love the idea of tinted moisturizer, but afraid that it will make your acne-prone skin freak out? Take this mineral-based, hypoallergenic gel formula for a try—it’s packed with lightweight hydrating ingredients but free of skin-irritating (and potentially pore-clogging) silicones, fragrances, and oils.

Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer from NARS

Yearning for a brighter skin tone? This translucent pick from NARS illuminates the skin on contact, while the nourishing formula works to reduce the appearance of dark spots for a clearer, more even skin tone over time.