Tinted sunscreens are excellent two-in-one products that offer sun protection while providing a hint of color. The best tinted sunscreens provide a sun protection factor of at least 30 (as advised by the American Academy of Dermatology), an easy-to-apply goof-proof formulation, and either offer a broad range of shades that suit most skin tones or a very versatile, barely-there universal tint that works for everyone. Added bonus: ingredient lists with good-for-your-skin additions (like niancinade, green tea or hyaluronic acid), with nothing that could clog pores or irritate sensitive skin.
Plus, while you might not think about sunscreens beyond the summer (when layering makeup feels too heavy), tinted sunscreens are also nice as a wintertime, haven’t-seen-the-sun-in-days boost.
Different Types of Tinted Sunscreens
The “tinted sunscreen” term itself is fairly broad, so depending on whether you prefer a richer cream, lighter serum or sunscreen stick to add definition and contouring, there’s a product for you out there.
Tinted sunscreens, like all sunscreens, come in either mineral formulations (meaning they’re made with zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide) or chemical formulations (you’ll see ingredients like avobenzone, oxybenzone and octocrylene). There are pros and cons to both. Mineral (aka physical) sunscreens tend to be gentler for people with sensitive skin, and the FDA has said that titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are ingredients they consider safe and effective, while they don’t have enough data on chemical sunscreen ingredients to weigh in yet. However, chemical sunscreens tend to blend into the skin better and don’t leave behind the white cast that physical sunscreen ingredients often do, and some mineral sunscreens can pill when worn underneath makeup (though that’s not the case with the mineral options listed below).
Ultimately the most important thing about a sun protection product is that you use it daily, whether it’s cloudy, sunny or even rainy (yes, even then), and that you reapply sunscreen every two hours, or more often if you’ve been sweating heavily or in the water.
As someone with tricky skin — dry in spots, breakout-prone in others – with some fine lines that can make certain foundations look uneven, and hyperpigmentation that benefits from some coverage, I have a tough time finding tinted sunscreens. For this story, I tested a bunch and ruled out a ton. Some were too cakey, others said they had a tint but there wasn’t a hint to be found and a few felt sticky on the skin even after waiting a few minutes for them to settle. Then, I narrowed it down to the best of the best.
The five products below have a smooth feel, sink into the skin and blend easily, contain SPF 30 or higher and give you a natural flush. Read on to see them all.
The 5 Best Tinted Face Sunscreens We Tested and Loved
The Overall Best Tinted Face Sunscreen: MDSolarSciences Mineral Tinted Crème SPF 30
Why it made the list: This lovely, whipped-feel sunscreen goes on as light as can be and dries to a matte finish with a natural hint of color, making it great on its own or layered under other makeup. The mineral ingredients titanium dioxide and zinc oxide provide the sun protection, while antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, green tea and cranberry and pomegranate extracts offer your skin all sorts of nourishment and repair. MDSolarSciences was founded by a dermatologist, and they take their sun protection and ingredient list seriously and scientifically.
- Extremely lightweight.
- Oil-free, non-greasy formulation.
- Mineral sunscreen ingredients are less irritating for sensitive skin
- Matte finish.
- The brand’s products are vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free and fragrance-free
- Not water resistant.
- Requires a bit of blending to be thoroughly absorbed into skin.
- Only available in one universal shade.
Price: $26 at Amazon.com
The Best Tinted Sunscreen Serum: ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40
This delightful serum is the perfect skincare product, offering nourishing hyaluronic acid, shea butter, niacinamide, aloe and squalance to hydrate without any heaviness. The formula is vegan, fragrance-free and gluten-free, and it contains SPF 40 thanks to the mineral ingredient zinc oxide. There are an impressive 30 shades offered, and each offers users a glowy, dewy finish.
- Mineral formulation.
- Oil- and fragrance-free suitable for sensitive skin.
- 30 colors to suit a range of skin tones.
- Shade matching quiz available on ILIA or you can even send the brand a selfie and have them find your perfect shade.
- It’s on the pricey side.
- Not meant to wear as a layer underneath other makeup, so if you prefer more coverage, this may not be the best pick for you.
Price: $48 at ILIABeauty.com
The Best Barely-There Tinted Face Sunscreen: Bliss Block Star Daily Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30
Bliss’ best-selling tinted sunscreen (the brand says they sell one every three minutes) has a very light universal tint, mineral sun protection ingredients titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, a host of antioxidants to protect and heal skin (think evening primrose, blueberry extract, lavender oil, and acai) and pore-minimizing rosa canina fruit oil. The brand is vegan and cruelty-free.
- Blends easily into skin.
- Universal, barely-there tint.
- Reviewers say it blends well even with beards and facial hair.
- Lavender scented, which is not preferred by people with skin sensitivities or allergies.
- Contains oils, which should be avoided if you have very oily or breakout-prone skin.
- Only comes in one shade.
The Best Tinted CC Cream: IT Cosmetics CC + Nude Glow Lightweight Foundation + Glow Serum with SPF 40
This CC (color correcting) sunscreen/makeup/moisturizer is an ideal all-in-one product to toss into your bag and go. Yes, it hydrates and softens skin, thanks to niacinamide, hyaluronic acid and green tea extract, it offers SPF 40 and the buildable color offers a super-lightweight foundation that won’t feel heavy against the skin. Use it on its own for all of the above, or under other makeup if you prefer a more “done” look. Offered in 22 shades.
- Excellent shade range of 22 colors.
- All-in-one product excellent for travel or overnights.
- Good coverage if you have uneven skin tone or hyperpigmentation.
- Buildable color offers flexibility.
- Though the hydration boost lasts all day, this, like any other sunscreen product, needs to be reapplied every two hours for adequate sun protection.
- Can be hard to get the perfect color match, though the brand does offer a shade matching tool online.
The Best Tinted Face Sunscreen Stick: Attitude Tinted Mineral Sunscreen Stick SPF 30
Made with a rich blend of coconut oil, sunflower seed oil, castor seed oil and shea butter, this new zinc oxide mineral sunscreen stick from Canadian beauty brand Attitude works for an all-over flush or if you just prefer to add some color to your cheeks. Either way, it leaves behind a bit of a shimmery, glowy hue. It glides on easily and blends well, and feels nourishing and creamy.
- Packaged in a biodegradable, eco-friendly cardboard tube.
- Vegan and cruelty-free indie beauty brand.
- Hard to get all-over sun protection solely from a stick sunscreen, best used as an additional layer of protection and for touch-ups.
- Made with a blend of moisturizing oils, which may not be preferred by people with oily and acne-prone skin.
- Quite sheer so won’t be adequate if you’re looking to cover a blemish or hyperpigmentation.
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