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A close up shot of four female models wearing tinted moisturiser on their face in a studio setting in front of a white background.

Are you in your no-make up make up era? Or simply looking for light coverage on a summer’s day? No worries, we have your complexion covered. 

Cue: tinted moisturisers 

The ultimate triple threat, these multitasking must-haves are infused with good-for-skin ingredients, deliver your daily dose of dew *and* serve up a sheer finish. With that in mind, here at Cult Beauty we’re paying homage to the fan-favourite formulas and rounding up the best tinted moisturisers that will ensure you ace your base – in a subtle way.   


Think of a tinted moisturiser as a hybrid between your foundation and (you guessed it) daily moisturiser, doing the work of both, in one simple step. Dreamt up to feel and look like second skin, the water-based formula provides less coverage and colour than foundation and typically boasts broad-spectrum  SPF protection too. Hydrating your complexion for a dewy finish, it nourishes skin while providing subtle, sheer pigment.  


Step one: With your cleanser wash your face thoroughly to make sure your skin is free from excess oil or residue.  

Step two: Next, apply your daily moisturiser. To do this use your fingertips and massage the formula onto your face in light circular motions.  

Step three: Follow with sunscreen – even if your tinted moisturiser already has it… After all there’s no harm in some extra protection. Allow the sunscreen to fully absorb before the next step.  

Step four: Apply your tinted moisturiser by placing a pea sized amount around the key areas of your face (we’re talking forehead, cheeks, nose and chin) and then with your fingers or foundation brush blend in the formula until it’s evenly distributed. For those who desire more coverage, build up the colour by adding another layer.  

Step five: To ensure your base is fully covered, blend out the product using a buffer brush. This will smooth out the tinted moisturiser to ensure a natural, second-skin finish.  


Delivering a sheer dew while shielding your complexion from the sun, Chantecaille’s Just Skin Tinted Moisturiser Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 15 is a 3-in-1 formula that blurs, balances and protects. Mixing antioxidant-rich green tea and honeysuckle extract with glycerine, the hybrid hero defends against free radicals and soothes skin alike. Now who said one formula couldn’t do it all?  


Available in 16 various shades, NARS' Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30/PA +++ adds a touch of coverage to all skin types and tones. Bursting with a cocktail of skin-loving blends, the featherweight formula hydrates, smooths, brightens and protects (thanks to its SPF30 factor). Plus, infused with vitamin C it brightens complexions for an all-over glow too.  


171 reviews


Serving up just enough coverage to enhance your barely-there finish, Saie’s Slip Tint Dewy Tinted Moisturizer enhances your complexion – without covering it. While the famed formula’s addition of liquorice root extract brightens and refines skin after sun exposure, its combination of hyaluronic acid and pansy flower drenches your skin in dew. Your signature SaieGlow awaits… 


Receiving Allure’s Best of Beauty award – not once, but four times –  bareMinerals’ Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream SPF 30 is the brand’s bestseller for good reason. Instantly revitalising parched complexions by boosting 24-hour hydration, the vegan formula not only evens out skin tones but builds a sheer base to create a healthy-looking glow.  


Laura Mercier’s not so secret, secret to a radiant complexion? The brand’s iconic Tinted Moisturizer Light Revealer. Supercharged with shade-specific luminescent pearls made for your own skin tone, the innovative formula provides customisable coverage and exudes radiant results. Complete with French Algae for some added hydration, it optimises your skin’s ability to look luminous wherever you’re at home or on the go.   


Built on the brand’s Beauty Booster complex, SISLEY-PARIS' Phyto-Hydra Teint melds plant-based extracts such as white lily and buckwheat seed with buckwheat seed for mineral screen protection. Gliding effortlessly onto the skin, it’s easy to apply and is ideal for evening out your complexion’s overall tone and texture.  



What's better: BB cream or tinted moisturiser? 

One isn’t better than the other. Why? Because they both have different purposes. BB creams aim to prime and moisturise. They’re packed with blemishing-fighting ingredients and help to improve and even out the appearance of skin texture. Whereas tinted moisturisers provide subtle coverage and work hard to hydrate.  

Is tinted moisturizer better than foundation?  

As above, the two can’t really be compared, as tinted moisturisers and foundations also have different purposes. Firstly, foundations provide a more opaque layer of pigment on top of your skin while tinted moisturisers offer sheerer coverage. What’s more, tinted moisturisers contain a higher percentage of humectants than foundations, meaning that they work harder to keep the skin feeling hydrated and supple – making them ideal for those with dry or sensitive skin. 

How do I find the right shade of tinted moisturiser?

When selecting your shade, we suggest using an online foundation finder to match your skin tone to tinted moisturiser – the same way you would your foundation and other complexion products.  

Can you wear tinted moisturiser by itself? 

In short, yes (aside from applying it with SPF). There are many ways you can wear a tinted moisturiser. You can either apply on its own for a barley-there finish, use it as a sunscreen to help shield against UV rays (if it has SPF protection) or it can be used as a substitute for foundation, allowing it to be paired with other cosmetics also. 

Trifonia Asmar
Trifonia Asmar Writer and expert
Cult Beauty’s Senior SEO Copywriter, Trifonia started out in the industry when bold brows were just becoming a ‘thing’, and shares a passion for all things fashion and beauty. Currently embracing her curly girl journey (after endless years of straightening her strands), she is finally reverting to her natural ways! When Triffy isn’t busy testing out the latest curl-saving solutions, you’ll find her binging the latest reality TV show or on a long walk listening to her ever-evolving country music playlist.

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