Updated April 2022
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Buying guide for best tinted moisturizers

Tinted moisturizers are the perfect lightweight product for those days when you don’t feel like applying a full face of makeup. A tinted moisturizer keeps your skin hydrated, while evening out your skin tone and concealing minor blemishes and imperfections. The best tinted moisturizers also contain sunscreen for a true three-in-one product that offers moisture, sheer coverage, and UV protection.

However, there are so many tinted moisturizers on the market, it can be overwhelming trying to sift through all the options. How do you find the best tinted moisturizer for your skin type and concerns?

At BestReviews, our goal is to answer all your shopping questions. For everything you need to know about choosing and using a tinted moisturizer, just keep reading.

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Tinted moisturizers can brighten your skin and give it a healthy, natural glow.

Tinted moisturizer vs. foundation

How are tinted moisturizers different from foundations? While both are base products, there are key differences between the two.

The main difference between tinted moisturizers and foundations is the amount of pigment. In general, tinted moisturizers contain less pigment than foundations. Tinted moisturizers only offer sheer coverage, while foundations can offer sheer, light, medium, or full coverage. Therefore, tinted moisturizers can only even out the skin tone and conceal very minor blemishes and imperfections. Fuller-coverage foundations, on the other hand, can cover more serious acne and hyperpigmentation.

The other key difference between tinted moisturizers and foundations is the percentage of humectants. These ingredients bind water to your skin to keep it moisturized. Tinted moisturizers usually have a greater percentage of humectants than foundations, since they are meant to act as both your moisturizer and foundation. With a foundation, even a dewy one, it is best to use a separate moisturizer underneath.

Features to consider for tinted moisturizers

Let’s take a look at the most important features to consider to find the right tinted moisturizer for you.

Skin type

If you have dry skin, just about any tinted moisturizer will work for you. Oily skin poses more of a challenge. The moisturizing properties that work well for dry skin can just make oily skin shinier. Also, if you have acne-prone skin, you will probably want to steer clear of any oils. Those with oily or acne-prone skin should look for an oil-free tinted moisturizer.

You also have to think about the level of coverage you need. If your skin is prone to breakouts, hyperpigmentation, or redness, you might need more coverage than a tinted moisturizer can offer. Almost all tinted moisturizers offer sheer coverage. That said, tinted moisturizer is ideal for “no-makeup makeup days.”


The best tinted moisturizers come in a number of shades to suit every skin tone. However, tinted moisturizers tend to come in less shades than foundations because they are so sheer. Tinted moisturizers are less pigmented, so a single shade will work for a wider range of skin tones than one shade of a highly pigmented foundation. In fact, some tinted moisturizers come in just one universal shade, which is meant to blend seamlessly into most skin tones. With tinted moisturizers, you also don’t have to worry about matching your skin’s undertone like you do with foundations. As the name implies, tinted moisturizers only add a tint of color.


Tinted moisturizers should feel invisible on the skin. A tinted moisturizer that feels heavy might clog your pores and cause breakouts. Unlike with foundations, it’s not a good idea to build up tinted moisturizers with another layer. This could add too much of the moisturizer’s humectants to your skin, which will also clog pores. For extra coverage with a tinted moisturizer, spot conceal with a lightweight concealer to hide any blemishes or imperfections your tinted moisturizer doesn’t cover.


Because they are lighter than foundations, tinted moisturizers tend not to last as long. However, a good tinted moisturizer should get you through the day without running or fading. You can often get a sense for how long a tinted moisturizer holds up by reading online customer reviews.


Many tinted moisturizers include UV protection, usually SPF 15 to SPF 30. You should always wear sunscreen during the day, so a tinted moisturizer with built-in UV protection takes an extra step out of your morning routine.

Keep in mind, though, that the UV protection will only last as long as the tinted moisturizer stays on your face. If your tinted moisturizer is prone to running or wearing off after a few hours, you will need to reapply in order to avoid sun damage.

Supplemental ingredients

Some tinted moisturizers include vitamins C and E and other botanical extracts. These can help improve the look of your skin by giving it a boost of nutrients. You’re more likely to find these supplemental ingredients in high-end tinted moisturizers than in drugstore products, however.

While you may not need these extra ingredients if you’re already using other skin care products that have them, they’re undoubtedly a nice perk, especially on those days when it’s too hot and humid to use some of the other products in your beauty routine.

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Did you know?
Tinted moisturizers are much more forgiving when it comes to finding your shade than foundations. Because they are so sheer, they blend into the skin more than foundations.

Tinted moisturizer prices

Tinted moisturizers can cost anywhere from under $10 for a drugstore product to over $50 for high-end brands. Usually, this difference comes down to the quality of the ingredients in the tinted moisturizer.

If you spend less than $30, it’s possible that the tinted moisturizer may not stay on well or may clog your pores.

If you’re looking for a high-quality tinted moisturizer that will last you all day, we recommend spending at least $30. These products usually come in a number of shades and feel light and natural on your skin.

Tinted moisturizers over $50 usually contain the highest-quality moisturizing ingredients, so one of these may be a good fit for you if you have very dry or mature skin.


  • You don’t need to use a makeup brush or sponge to apply tinted moisturizer. Just use your fingers. Blend from the center of your face outward, just like you would apply a regular moisturizer.

  • If your tinted moisturizer makes your skin look oily, pat on some translucent powder to soak up some of the shine.

  • Don’t forget to blend the tinted moisturizer down your neck for a seamless look.

  • If you need a little something extra to cover blemishes, apply concealer after your tinted moisturizer. Use a light-coverage concealer with tinted moisturizer. A concealer that’s too heavy will look unbalanced with a tinted moisturizer’s sheer coverage.

  • Keep the rest of your makeup minimal when using a tinted moisturizer. Mascara, some brow gel, and a lip balm or lip gloss is usually all you need.

  • Finish your look with a makeup setting spray to hold the tinted moisturizer in place and give your skin a radiant glow.
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Tinted moisturizers are the perfect choice when you’re in a hurry because you can quickly blend them in with your fingers like any moisturizer.


Q. What’s the best tinted moisturizer for combination skin?

A. Tinted moisturizer should be quick and easy. If you have combination skin, purchase a tinted moisturizer for all skin types, and then use translucent powder to take down the shine on your oily areas.

Q. Will my tinted moisturizer expire?
A. Yes, like all makeup products, tinted moisturizers do expire, and liquid products expire faster than powders. Usually, after one year, it’s time to buy a new tinted moisturizer. Watch for changes in shade, smell, and consistency for an indication of when the product should be replaced.

Q. Do tinted moisturizers offer enough SPF for a full day in the sun?
A. Probably not. If you’re going to be outside all day, it’s a good idea to apply additional sunscreen and to reapply regularly to avoid getting burned.

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