I Tried 8 Best-Selling Skin Tints on My Dry Skin—These Are My Thoughts

Byrdie writer Sumiko Wilson applying skin tints to her face
Sumiko Wilson | Design by Zackary Angeline .

We put eight best-selling skin tints to the test after receiving complimentary samples from select brands. Keep reading for a thorough comparison.

There's a time and place for all makeup coverage levels from sheer to full, and the humid, sunny days of spring and summer are dewy skin's moment to shine. Lightweight, multipurpose products can make all the difference in helping your complexion to thrive, so it makes sense that skin tints are so popular these days. While they're not new, these foundation alternatives have exploded as we collectively navigate a hybrid lifestyle and embrace enhanced versions of our natural skin. As someone who prefers "no-makeup makeup" and a skincare-first approach, I was drawn to find out once and for all which skin tints work best in my lazy girl routine— and I'm sharing all my findings with you, so we all can embrace a balance between coverage and skin-friendly formulas. Read on for my full review of eight of the best skin tints on the market.

About My Skin: Dry and prone to hyperpigmentation

From head to toe, my biggest pain point with my skin is dryness. I’ve tried to remedy this by drinking more water and reaching for more hydrating products, but no matter how many liters I chug or oils I integrate into my skincare routine, this is still a day-to-day struggle. My skin is so dry, in fact, that as a child I recall drawing tic-tac-toe boards on my thighs with my nails.

My other big struggle is hyperpigmentation: Most of my blemishes pop up around my jawline (thank you so much, hormones), so that’s where I tend to see the most scarring. My ideal skin tint would blur the appearance of acne scars and hydrate my dry skin, leaving me with an even, glowing finish. 

To keep my face quenched, I’ve swapped my intense cleanser for a gentle cleansing balm and follow that up with Fenty Skin's Fat Water Toner. To moisturize, I keep things simple with Weleda Skin Food and top it off with an SPF. I’ve found that this lineup leaves my skin feeling plump, prepped, and hydrated—but not greasy. It’s also a super minimal base, which is ideal for when I top things off with a tint.

Skin Tint vs. Foundation

The biggest difference between skin tints and foundation—or any other complexion makeup product—is the level of coverage. Skin tints are usually more lightweight and provide a sheer finish that allows some of your natural complexion to show through, while foundations are thicker and offer more complete coverage for any areas of concern, as well as varying finishes from dewy to matte. Skin tints, being designed for a more minimalist, skincare-focused makeup routine, also are more likely to include skin-friendly ingredients like hyaluronic acid, rosehip oil, and niacinamide.

When it comes to SPF, all kinds of complexion products have options with protection, so you'll want to check the label to see if this is the case. When it comes to choosing a foundation with SPF, look for one that's SPF 30 or above, and be sure to look into how much application is necessary for effective protection.

My Results with Each Skin Tint

As skin tints are foundation alternatives, I tried eight different options as the base of my makeup routine. It's worth noting that some of these contain various skincare ingredients, so depending on your needs, the tint may be able to replace some steps in your routine—though when it comes to SPF, you'll probably still want to use a separate sunscreen, as the amount of product needed for adequate protection might require you to lay it on pretty thick. That being said, here's my breakdown of the best skin tints, from value to shade range to the all-important results.

01 of 08

Ami Colé Skin-Enhancing Tint

Byrdie writer Sumiko Wilson holding and wearing the Ami Cole skin tint

Sumiko Wilson / Design by Cristina Cianci

Shade Range: 6 | Size: 1.0 fl. oz.

When I first applied Ami Colé’s Skin-Enhancing Tint ($32), my sister commented that “it just looks like skin.” The barely there formula has a buttery-smooth application that made my skin glow—but wasn't shiny or greasy. I was most excited to give it a try because it was formulated with deeper skin tones in mind, which can be all too rare in this industry.

Before starting her own brand, Ami Colé’s founder Diarrha N'Diaye-Mbaye worked in Glossier product development, so she’s no stranger to no-makeup makeup. All it took was a few drops to get a natural-looking, but noticeably dewier, finish. Though I’d usually reach for my Beautyblender, I applied this with my fingers and found this to be a blendable, buildable base that’s light on its feet and just pigmented enough.

Ami Cole Skin-Enhancing Tint in Deep 2
Ami Colé Skin-Enhancing Tint $32.00
02 of 08

Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint

Byrdie writer Sumiko Wilson wearing and holding Glossier's Perfecting Skin Tint

Sumiko Wilson / Design by Cristina Cianci

Shade Range: 12 | Size: 1 fl. oz.

Glossier is an OG in the minimalist makeup category, so I had high hopes for the brand's Perfecting Skin Tint ($26). My only gripe was that it was too lightweight for me in the coverage category, which is to be expected since it’s a sheer tint. When I put it to the test, my hyperpigmentation scars were still visible, but it left behind a slight tint and dewy cast.

I applied two lines of product across my cheeks and one across my forehead and blended it in with my fingers, as all #GlossierGirls do. I expected to build on it, but just one layer left me with a subtle, selfie-friendly blur. I didn’t feel that my pores were immediately minimized as promised, but the tint subtly evened out my complexion.

Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint
Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint $26.00
03 of 08

Huda Beauty GloWish Multidew Skin Tint

Byrdie writer Sumiko Wilson holding and wearing Huda Beauty's GloWish Multidew Skin Tint

Sumiko Wilson / Design by Cristina Cianci

Shade Range: 13 | Size: 1.35 fl. oz.

The brand's first foray into minimal makeup, Huda Beauty's GloWish Multidew Skin Tint ($37) lives up to its luminous name—and has a more impactful payoff than some of its competitors. This is no surprise, as the brand’s founder and namesake is the self-proclaimed queen of caked-on beauty, but the lightweight finish marks a clear departure from Huda Kattan’s signature look. This tint offers a blemish-blurring finish and skin-friendly ingredients, but the ultra-glowy finish gives it extra oomph.

The formula is packed with red pepper extract as well as Damascus rose oil, which promises to ease the appearance of dark spots. I didn’t notice this after a couple of uses, but I’d imagine this is a gradual win. In a YouTube tutorial, Kattan described the product as in between full glam and a bare face, and I think that description is right on the nose. Instead of smoothing it in with my fingers, I used the Airbrush Finish Skin Tint Brush ($31), and the result looked like I had a sun-kissed glow and had been very vigilant with my nightly skincare routine. But be forewarned: It’s buildable, so a little goes a very long way. 

Huda Beauty Glowish Multidew Skin Tint
Huda Beauty GloWish Multidew Skin Tint $37.00
04 of 08

Saie Slip Tint

Byrdie writer Sumiko Wilson holding and wearing Saie's Slip skin tint

Sumiko Wilson / Design by Cristina Cianci

Shade Range: 10 | Size: 1 fl. oz.

If the intersection of makeup and skincare had an address, it would be wherever you find Saie's Slip Tint ($36). It has an understated pigment plus all of the ingredients you’d see in a skincare enthusiast’s daily lineup, such as hyaluronic acid, argan oil, licorice, and SPF 35. The result is a little bit of coverage, a dose of UV protection, and enough lasting hydration to allow you to skip your serum for the day.

Though it’s ultra-hydrating, this skin tint feels more oil-leaning than moisture-rich. This wasn't a concern for me as my dry skin drank it right up, but if you have oily skin, I can imagine that this might be a drawback. Also, I can’t quite trace which ingredient causes the product’s noticeable scent, but once it’s on, it’s difficult to ignore. Nonetheless, this formula's multitasking DNA gives it more pros than cons—in fact, this do-it-all tint would be an ideal desert island product.

Saie Slip Tint Broad Spectrum Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 35
Saie Slip Tint Broad Spectrum Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 35 $36.00
05 of 08

Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer

Byrdie writer Sumiko Wilson holding and wearing the Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer

Sumiko Wilson / Design by Cristina Cianci

Shade Range: 10 | Size: 1.9 fl. oz.

There’s a reason why the Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer ($46) was ranked best in show in our roundup last year. The tried-and-true oil-free formula packs a pigmented punch without weighing you down with a greasy cast. It’s the perfect balance between full-on foundation and a bare face, except the bare face is impressively clear and even. As I blended it in with my fingers, I was most impressed with how effortlessly it mixed with my undertones.

My skin had a dewy finish, but it wasn’t a flat shine: There was dimension to the glow, and that’s what made it look so natural—a five-star take on the "your skin but better" philosophy. The tint doubles as a sunscreen, which is both efficient and impressive, but at 30, the SPF is a little lower on the scale if you prefer to opt for stronger sun protection.  That being said, complexion products shouldn't be the only line of defense against UV rays anyway, so this isn't a make-or-break detail.

Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer
Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer $46.00
06 of 08

Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint with SPF 40

Byrdie writer Sumiko Wilson holding and wearing Ilia's Super Serum Skin Tint

Sumiko Wilson / Design by Cristina Cianci

Shade Range: 30 | Size: 1 fl. oz.

Ilia's Super Serum Skin Tint ($48) is a serum and skin tint that moonlights as a high-powered SPF (at 40, it’s the strongest SPF on this list): It literally contains multitudes. Based on effectiveness alone, this product ranks high. As a skincare fanatic, I was sold when I saw the ingredient list: Each drop is packed with hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and plant-based squalene. Since it has such a hydrating formula, the serum needs a bit of time to dry down, especially if you're building on it. But once it settles, it leaves an all-over glow.

There’s a long list of pros, but there are still a couple of cons. For one, the applicator can get drippy. Though the dropper turns up the volume on the skincare feel, for a pigmented product this might create some unwelcome messes. Also, though it’s fragrance-free, the serum definitely leaves behind a scent. It doesn’t linger, but if you’re easily put off by smells, this might not be a great first impression.

The most fun part of the process was selecting a shade, as the brand has significantly experienced its shade range in recent years. Now, there are a whopping 30 hues to pick from—more than any other offering on this list.

Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40
Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint with SPF 40 $48.00
07 of 08

Fenty Beauty Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint

Byrdie writer Sumiko Wilson holding and wearing Fenty Beauty's Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint

Sumiko Wilson / Design by Cristina Cianci

Shade Range: 25 | Size: 1.08 fl. oz.

As a card-carrying member of the Navy, I would trust Rihanna with my life. So naturally, I had high hopes for Fenty Beauty's Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint ($35). Though it checked all my boxes in the blemish-blurring and buildability departments, it didn't provide the hydration boost I was hoping for. I don't fault the product for that, though: Unlike some of its competitors, it's made to layer with your skincare routine—not enhance it. This is more makeup-makeup, so I wore it on top of my moisturizer and sunscreen.

To keep things as natural as possible, I applied one even layer. On problem areas, like around my jawline and under my nose, I built it up as needed and blended it all in with my fingers. The formula includes glycerin, but the tint alone didn't necessarily leave me with an instant glow. However, it did gently blur my pores and camouflage the whitehead that had popped up under my nose.

Fenty Beauty Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint
Fenty Beauty Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint $35.00
08 of 08

Kosas Tinted Face Oil

Byrdie writer Sumiko Wilson holding and wearing the Kosas Tinted Face Oil Foundation

Sumiko Wilson / Design by Cristina Cianci

Shade Range: 16 | Size: 1 fl. oz.

Kosas calls its Tinted Face Oil ($42) the "sweatpants of foundation," and TBH, the brand is totally right: It's comfortable to wear and easy to put on. But if this is the tint equivalent of sweats, it would be the most luxe pair in your dresser. The product's high-end ingredient list makes it a clear cut above other tints. Red raspberry oil tackles blemishes, rosehip seed oil boosts radiance, and meadowfoam oil leaves you feeling supple and smooth.

The serum-like consistency leaves a finish that's dewy, but not greasy; hydrating, but not wet-looking. Since it's a step below foundation on the coverage scale, you shouldn't expect it to totally blur blemishes or transform your complexion. The formula is a lightweight, skin-enhancing tint for those who want to correct instead of just cover.

Kosas Tinted Face Oil skin tint foundation
Kosas Tinted Face Oil Foundation $42.00

The Best Skin Tints

  • Master Multitasker: In one fell swoop, Ilia's Super Serum Skin Tint can knock out at least three steps in your skincare routine while also providing a lightweight, dewy base. If you want to shave off some time in your morning routine without slacking on skincare, SPF, or general dew, you'll get a kick out of this. It's the priciest on this list, but you get the most bang for your buck.
  • Best Boost: While it's not heavy on the skincare solutions and the SPF isn't the most protective, the Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer is the total package. I couldn't get over how effortlessly this enhanced my complexion without overdoing it. The dewy finish was natural-looking, and it brought out my skin's undertones while smoothing out areas of concern. Cheers to you, Nars.
  • Brightest Glow: If you're on the market for a glow, there's no better choice than Huda Beauty's GloWish Multidew Tinted Moisturizer. When sampling this product, almost everyone I saw on Zoom and IRL had something to say about my glow, and for good reason. If luminous skin is your thing (i.e. if the Fenty Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter is a frequent flyer in your rotation), this adds an element of radiant glamour to off-duty looks.

The Final Takeaway

A large (and growing) amount of skin tints are on the market today, and they all have different strengths depending on your goals. You'd be best off to think about your skin's needs as well as the finish you want from a skin tint, then choose the product that closest aligns with that. Once you find the right product for you, achieving a dewy glow couldn't be easier, and the result is impressive—it definitely seems that skin tints are here to stay.

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