We Tested the 17 Best Tinted Moisturizers and Fell In Love With These 8

Our best overall pick is bareMinerals Complexion Rescue

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tinted moisturizer hero

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

We love going full glam once in a while, but there's something to be said about the everyday effortlessness of a no-makeup makeup look. If you want an even-toned complexion and skin that looks like, well, skin, tinted moisturizer is where it's at.

Byrdie Tested & Approved

Our best overall pick is bareMinerals Complexion Rescue, which our tester noted goes on silky smooth and doesn't have that tight feeling of full-coverage foundation. We also love its 30 SPF. For a more affordable option, consider L'Oréal's Skin Paradise Tinted Moisturizer, which our tester noted melted into her complexion with skin-mimicking pigments to blur imperfections.

"You can melt it into your skin with your fingers for hassle-free application," says celebrity makeup artist Tobi Henney. And if you're looking to streamline your getting-ready routine, she recommends a hydrating formula that replaces your regular moisturizer—extra points if it contains SPF.

In the age of hybrid beauty products and multiuse makeup, there's no shortage of tinted moisturizers on the market. To help you narrow it down, we tried nearly 20 options in The Lab.

Ahead, the best tinted moisturizers tested by Byrdie.

Best Overall: bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream SPF 30

4.9
bare minerals complexion rescue

Nordstrom

Our Ratings
  • Feel
    5/5
  • Coverage
    4.5/5
  • Moisturizing
    5/5
What We Like
  • Lightweight and silky

  • Buildable coverage

  • Hydrating

  • Diverse shade range

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

Who else recommends it? Allure and NBC News also picked bareMinerals Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream.

What do buyers say? 92% of 6,300+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

BareMinerals Complexion Rescue was an all-around hit in The Lab. Our tester loved the lightweight, silky consistency and appreciated that a little goes a long way. Not only does it blend effortlessly, but it's also buildable, so you can bump up your all-over coverage or dab on a little extra to conceal blemishes. The slightly radiant, natural finish looks and feels like skin. It doesn't have that tight feeling of full-coverage foundation and leaves you with a soft, supple complexion.

What's more, this tinted moisturizer is actually hydrating—sounds like a given, but many formulas lean more toward makeup than skincare. As icing on the cake, our tester said the SPF 30 sun protection would make combining steps in your morning routine even easier. The price is a little steep, but the tube should last you a while, and we think you'll be glad to have it on hand.

Shades: 20 | Finish: Natural/radiant | Amount: 1.2 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Price at time of publish: $30

What Our Testers Say

 "It feels hydrating, and I love the added bonus of SPF 30. It would make skipping a step in the morning a lot easier."—Ruby Grais, Product Tester

Best Overall, Runner-Up: NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30

4.8
Best Tinted Moisturizer
Our Ratings
  • Feel
    5/5
  • Coverage
    5/5
  • Moisturizing
    4/5
What We Like
  • Spreadable texture

  • Deeply hydrating

  • Evens skin tone

What We Don't Llike
  • Expensive

  • Contains BHT and PEGs


Nars Pure Radiant was a close runner-up. Our tester found the lightweight texture very spreadable and easy to buff into the skin. She said it's deeply hydrating and doesn't leave you with a dry, tight feeling.

This tinted moisturizer resists creasing and won't settle into your fine lines. Our tester said it offers the perfect amount of coverage. She loved how it evened out her skin tone and delivered a natural-looking finish with a hint of radiance. The color match was on point too. In the end, we just wish the price weren't so steep.

Shades: 16 | Finish: Radiant | Amount: 1.9 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Price at time of publish: $47

Key Features

"I think this is the perfect amount of coverage. It definitely evened out my skin tone and gave a nice finish."—Gibreel Martinez, Product Tester

Best Budget: L'Oréal Skin Paradise Water-Infused Tinted Moisturizer

4.3
L'Oréal Skin Paradise Water-Infused Tinted Moisturizer

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Feel
    5/5
  • Coverage
    5/5
  • Moisturizing
    3/5
What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Melts into skin

  • Blurs imperfections

What We Don't Like
  • Not the most moisturizing

  • Low SPF

  • Contains PEGs and fragrance


L'Oréal makes a solid budget option. The brand's Skin Paradise Tinted Moisturizer is delightfully lightweight and melts right into the skin. Our tester said it didn't feel like she was wearing any makeup at all.

The skin-mimicking pigments blurred her imperfections without concealing her freckles and left her with a slightly dewy complexion. However, due to the lightweight, somewhat thin consistency, it wasn't very hydrating. So while it might replace your foundation, you may not want to skip your regular moisturizer. Other than that, we just wish the SPF were a little higher.

Shades: 12 | Finish: Natural/dewy | Amount: 1 ounce | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Price at time of publish: $14

What Our Testers Say

"This tinted moisturizer completely blurred my skin while still showing my freckles."—Eden Lichterman, Product Tester

Best Matte Finish: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Oil Free Natural Skin Perfector SPF 20

4.3
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Oil Free

Byrdie/Laura Mercier

Our Ratings
  • Feel
    4/5
  • Coverage
    4/5
  • Moisturizing
    5/5
What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Non-greasy formula

  • Neutralizes redness

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Slightly tacky

  • Contains PEGs

Prefer a shine-free finish? Laura Mercier is your best bet. Our tester said the super-lightweight, oil-free formula blends in easily. While it was a little tacky at first, her skin felt instantly moisturized and silky-smooth.

Our tester appreciated how the non-greasy formula offers light, natural-looking coverage while neutralizing redness. Having launched in 1996, this is one of the first tinted moisturizers to hit the market. While it's expensive, there's a reason it continues to be a fan favorite.

Shades: 20 | Finish: Matte | Amount: 1.7 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No

Price at time of publish: $49

laura mercier tinted moisturizer oil free

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

What Our Testers Say

"My skin instantly felt moisturized and silky smooth. It gives me a dewy look without crossing into greasy territory."—Eden Lichterman, Product Tester

Best Radiant Finish: Huda Beauty GloWish MultiDew Vegan Skin Tint

5
Huda Beauty GloWish MultiDew Vegan Tint

Sephora

What We Like
  • Lightweight and breathable

  • Hydrating

  • Diverse shade range

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

  • Contains PEGs

If you're partial to a radiant finish, GloWish MultiDew has your name on it. This tinted moisturizer calls on squalane and plant oils to deliver a heaping dose of hydration without clogging your pores or feeling greasy.

Our tester said it has a super lightweight and breathable consistency that blends effortlessly into the skin and builds to your desired level of coverage. She was left with a dewy complexion and a healthy, natural-looking glow.

Shades: 13 | Finish: Radiant/dewy | Amount: 1.4 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Price at time of publish: $37

huda glo wish skin tint

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

Best with SPF: Smashbox Halo Healthy Glow Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 25

4.6
Smashbox Halo Healthy Glow Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 25

Courtesy of Macy's

Our Ratings
  • Feel
    5/5
  • Coverage
    5/5
  • Moisturizing
    3/5
What We Like
  • Not heavy or tacky

  • Mineral/chemical hybrid

  • Diverse shade range

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

  • Not very hydrating

  • Contains PEGs and BHT

Smashbox Halo offers SPF 25 protection from the sun's damaging rays. The hybrid formula contains both chemical and physical (mineral) blockers, so you'll get instant protection without a white cast.

Our tester said this tinted moisturizer has a lightweight, lotion-like consistency. Though you won't get very deep hydration, we like that it doesn't feel heavy or tacky. Not only that, but the complexion-mimicking shades can be built up to your desired level of coverage, and even with multiple layers, you won't feel like you're wearing a ton of makeup.

Shades: 20 | Finish: Natural/dewy | Amount: 1.4 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Price at time of publish: $41

Best Oil: Kosas Cosmetics Tinted Face Oil

4
Kosas Tinted Face Oil Foundation

 Courtesy of Kosas

Our Ratings
  • Feel
    5/5
  • Coverage
    5/5
  • Moisturizing
    2/5
What We Like
  • Absorbs quickly

  • Blends seamlessly

  • Diverse shade range

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

  • Not the most moisturizing

Kosas Tinted Face Oil also fared well in The Lab. Though it contains a blend of plant oils, it's surprisingly not the most hydrating option we tried. Our tester said you'll probably want to apply it over a moisturizer, especially if you have drier skin. Still, the lightweight formula absorbs really quickly and doesn't leave you feeling greasy.

Available in a diverse range of 16 shades, our tester appreciated the "strong lineup of colors." This product is easy to blend and conveniently buildable. You can expect even coverage and a natural-looking, satiny finish.

Shades: 16 | Finish: Natural/satin | Amount: 1.1 ounces | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Price at time of publish: $42

kosas tinted face oil

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

Best Drugstore: ColourPop Pretty Fresh Hyaluronic Tinted Moisturizer

4.1
ColourPop Pretty Fresh Hyaluronic Acid Tinted Moisturizer

 Courtesy of Ulta

Our Ratings
  • Feel
    5/5
  • Coverage
    3.5/5
  • Moisturizing
    3.8/5
What We Like
  • Lightweight yet buildable

  • Hydrating

  • Diverse shade range

What We Don't Like
  • Contains PEGs

  • No SPF

ColourPop makes our favorite drugstore formula. Thanks to hyaluronic acid and coconut water, Pretty Fresh helps your skin retain moisture without feeling greasy or heavy.

Our tester found the lotion-like consistency absorbent and easy to blend. The coverage is somewhat light, which makes it comfortably breathable, though you can also build it if you want a little more coverage. We wish this tinted moisturizer offered SPF protection, but the affordable price makes it a worthwhile purchase.

Shades: 20 | Finish: Dewy/natural | Amount: 1.5 ounces | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Price at time of publish: $14

colourpop pretty fresh tinted moisturizer

Byrdie / Tamara Staples

Final Verdict

Our best overall pick is bareMinerals Complexion Rescue, which our tester noted goes on silky smooth and doesn't have that tight feeling of full-coverage foundation. We also love its 30 SPF. For a more affordable option, consider L'Oréal's Skin Paradise Tinted Moisturizer, which our tester noted melted into her complexion with skin-mimicking pigments to blur imperfections.

How We Tested

Byrdie editors searched high and low to track down the best tinted moisturizers before selecting 17 to try out in The Lab, our Manhattan product-testing facility. Each formula was put to the test to see if it actually fit the bill of a moisturizer-makeup hybrid.

After applying, blending, and wearing them for hours, the products were awarded a score from one to five for moisturization, coverage, and feel (including texture, consistency, and wear). With price and shade range in mind, the tinted moisturizers with the highest scores in all categories were chosen for this roundup.

Other Options We Tested

ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40

Our tester said ILIA's lightweight, easy-to-spread Super Serum offers a convincingly skin-like finish. We can appreciate this product's dedicated following, but it wasn't our favorite for this roundup mostly because it's just not moisturizing enough to be billed as a moisturizer. And while it might be a decent foundation alternative, the price is a little high for this category.


Shiseido Synchro Skin Self-Refreshing Tint SPF 20

We loved the lightweight texture and skin-like finish of Shiseido's Synchro Skin. Our tester said it blurred her imperfections without feeling too heavy and offered a subtle mattifying effect. Although it wasn't exceptionally moisturizing, it didn't dry out her skin either. We don't have many complaints beyond the steep price, but it just wasn't our top choice in the end.

Clinique Moisture Surge SheerTint Hydrator SPF 25

Our tester said this product is lightweight and moisturizing. It offers sheer, buildable coverage and a subtle glow. While we wouldn't necessarily recommend skipping your regular moisturizer, we appreciate the extra dose of hydration. It blurred our tester's imperfections, but since it's so sheer, it didn't make a huge difference in the appearance of her skin.

Meet the Expert

  • Tobi Henney is a bi-coastal makeup artist known for creating flawless, glowing skin. Her celebrity clientele includes the likes of Megan Fox and Ashley Graham and her work can be seen across the ad campaigns of major brands and in the editorials of the top fashion magazines. She originally hails from Sydney, where she was previously the L’Oréal Paris Makeup Director for Australia.

What to Look For in a Tinted Moisturizer

Coverage level

When it comes to tinted moisturizers, it’s important to remember that they won’t provide the same amount of coverage as your foundation and are less likely to mask any prominent blemishes or imperfections. How much coverage they do offer will vary from product to product, though it generally ranges from sheer to medium. That said, keep your own needs in mind when shopping around—someone looking to address uneven tone will have better luck with medium coverage, while someone looking to simply enhance their natural complexion may prefer sheer. 

SPF protection

We all know the importance of applying (and reapplying) your SPF every single day. That said, Henney recommends looking for tinted moisturizers that have built-in SPF. The more the merrier, but look for products that contain SPF of at least 30 in order skip an extra step in your morning routine. Anything lower, and you’ll still need to apply your regular daily SPF underneath.

Creamy texture

The beauty of tinted moisturizers is that they’re super hydrating, but much like coverage, the texture of the formula will vary from product to product. Henney recommends looking for a product with a creamy formula that truly feels like a moisturizer. “This way, you can melt it into your skin with your fingers for hassle-free application,” she says. Just look for one with a semi-matte or matte finish if you’re on the oilier side.

FAQ
  • What’s the difference between tinted moisturizer and foundation?

    Henney looks at it this way: Tinted moisturizers are best for everyday wear when you want a light, effortless look with a natural, healthy glow, while foundations are great for when you need extra coverage. Tinted moisturizers are hydrating and add a tint of color, whereas foundations are usually a better option for masking blemishes, uneven tone, and other visible imperfections.

  • How do you apply tinted moisturizer?

    There are no set rules for how tinted moisturizer should be applied, but according to Henney, it's best to either use your fingers or a brush. “I personally love to apply it with my fingers, but alternatively, you can buff it on with a makeup brush,” she says.

  • Do you put tinted moisturizer on before primer?

    If you’re going to use a primer as the first step of your makeup routine, Henney suggests applying it before your tinted moisturizer. “This way it’ll do its job, whether it’s to control oil or add more of a glow,” she says.

  • How do you remove tinted moisturizer?

    You can pretty much use any makeup remover of your choice, be it an oil cleanser or micellar water, or anything in between. However, because they’re so light, you probably won’t need to use anything heavy duty in order for it to wash away.

What Is Byrdie Verified?

Did you notice the Byrdie Verified seal of approval at the top of this story? This seal means that our team has researched and tested every product on this list using a unique methodology that’s designed to focus on what our readers really want to know—and to deliver insights that you can’t find anywhere else. Occasionally, beauty brands and PR agencies will send us samples for coverage consideration, but our thoughts and opinions are fully our own. If you visit links within our content, we may receive commissions from your purchases, but we never receive any compensation or consideration for the content of our recommendations. In short, the Byrdie Verified seal stands for product recommendations you can trust.

Why Trust Byrdie

Theresa Holland is a freelance commerce writer and product tester specializing in cosmetics. For this story, she compiled notes from our lab testers, expert insights, and ingredients research to provide the most useful, accurate product recommendations to our readers. A big fan of hybrid formulas that simplify her beauty routine, she has tried several products on this list, including BareMinerals, Laura Mercier, Smashbox, Ilia, and Clinique. Theresa covers makeup and skincare at Byrdie.

According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find enough tinted moisturizers from Black-owned and/or Black-founded businesses to meet this percentage. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at contact@byrdie.com and we will evaluate the product ASAP.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. The 19 Best Tinted Moisturizers With Sunscreen That Smooth and Protect Skin. Allure. https://www.allure.com/gallery/best-tinted-moisturizers-with-spf

  2. 8 best tinted moisturizers and skin tints, according to experts. NBC News. https://www.nbcnews.com/select/shopping/best-tinted-moisturizers-ncna1295954

  3. Gupta RC, Lall R, Srivastava A, Sinha A. Hyaluronic Acid: Molecular Mechanisms and Therapeutic TrajectoryFront Vet Sci. 2019;6:192. Published 2019 Jun 25. doi:10.3389/fvets.2019.00192

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