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Makeup minimalists rejoice: skin tints are having a moment. The face product that gives you that covetable no-makeup-makeup look has been rising in popularity lately, giving your skin a breather from the heavy-duty full coverage foundations that can oftentimes wreak havoc on skin. We can easily see why people are gravitating towards skin tints, after all, who wouldn’t want to rock flawless skin while wearing as little as possible to let skin breathe?
What is a skin tint?
But here’s where the confusion starts — many don’t know, exactly, what a skin tint is and what makes it different from the other lightweight creams. Cosmetic chemist and founder of FanLoveBeauty, Ginger King, says to think of skin tints as the sister product of a tinted moisturizer that provides you super light sheer coverage. “It is the most natural-looking way to even out skin tone without perceivable product on face,” King says.
What’s the difference between a tinted moisturizer and a skin tint?
It can easily be mixed up with other types of lightweight face products, but there are two main characteristics that make skin tints differ from tinted moisturizers, BB creams, CC creams, and traditional foundations: coverage and texture. As cosmetic chemist Ni’Kita Wilson describes it, skin tints are super lightweight in their formula, more fluid in texture, and provide a “barely there” feel while blurring skin concerns you want to hide. Makeup artist and Hourglass global director of artistry, education, and events, Marc Reagan, adds that because skin tints tend to be weightless and hydrating, you most likely won’t get a cakey look that foundation and heavier BB or CC creams tend to give you.
What to consider when looking for the best skin tint for your skin type
Because of their weightless feel and seamless application, skin tints are ideal for most skin types. Wilson agrees and says to look at formulas to see whether it would cause irritation or not. For example, oily-prone skin will want to avoid something with too much oil and opt for something labeled noncomedogenic. King says that if you’re looking to completely hide skin concerns, such as acne and dark circles, you’re better off with going with a BB or CC cream or even a foundation to get more coverage. But if you’re looking for a more natural everyday look, she says skin tints are the way to go. In the end, it comes down to personal preference.
How to apply a skin tint
Application is fairly easy. Reagan says you can just use your fingers to spread and blend in a skin tint all over your face. For buildable coverage, use a brush. Either way, Reagan recommends using light, feathery strokes in an upward and outward motion. He shares this pro-tip for seamless blending, “after you’re done with the initial application, warm up your hands and gently press the skin tint in with your palms to melt the product.”
We’ve rounded up the best skin tints out there to fit every skin type and concern. Scroll down to find the right one for you.
Top Skin Tints of 2022
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Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40
One of Wilson’s faves is Ilia’s Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40, which she describes as a triple threat. “It’s an SPF 40, applies evenly, and leaves my skin feeling smoother,” she says. “What more can you ask for?” Available in 30 shades, meaning there’s truly an option for everyone. It is also packed with hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and squalane to keep skin moisturized. What more can you ask for, indeed!
Nyx Professional Bare With Me Luminous Tinted Skin Serum
The secret to the Nyx Professional Bare With Me Luminous Tinted Skin Serum is its use of one ingredient: mushroom. This skin tint has a vegan formula that is infused with tremella mushroom to deliver a glow that will last all day long. You’ll also find that it will smooth out any uneven skin texture and offer sheer coverage that adaps to a variety of skin tones.
Kevyn Aucoin Stripped Nude Skin Tint
The Kevyn Aucoin Stripped Nude Skin Tint gives one of the most natural-looking finishes to master the no-makeup-makeup look. It comes in 10 shades and has a silky formula for breathable wear. Ingredients like hyaluronic acid and butterfly bush flower extract allow for the hydrating formula, light coverage and protection from environmental aggressors.
Ciaté London Dewy Skin Glass Glow Tint
Ciaté London’s Dewy Skin Glass Glow Tint is a semi-sheer tint that will get you a natural-looking glow. It comes in 10 shades and according to its many favorable reviews, users are huge fans of its light to medium coverage. But one of the best benefits has to be the skin-nourishing ingredients. You’ll find hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, and yuzu and dragon fruit extracts to keep your skin hydrated and radiance bright.
Chanel Les Beiges Water-Fresh Tint
Formulated with 75 percent water, Chanel’s Les Beige Water-Fresh Tint provides a heavy dose of hydration for up to eight hours, along with a nice dewy finish that one reviewer described as “absolutely stunning.” The gel-like texture contains pigmented micro-droplets that blend into the skin to match your skin tone, giving you light to medium coverage. You’ll also find ingredients like tamarind seed extract for a boost of moisture, making it a great option for those with dry skin.
Kosas Tinted Face Oil
Though it goes on lightweight, the Kosas Tinted Face Oil provides pretty solid medium-level coverage to blur out any skin challenges you want to cover up. For those with oily and acne-prone skin, don’t be afraid of the oily texture. While it is made with six botanical oils — jojoba, avocado, and raspberry seed oil to name just a few — it won’t clog up pores, but it will provide a healthy hydration without the shine. A win-win for everyone.
Hourglass Illusion Hyaluronic Skin Tint
Reagan likes the Hourglass’ Illusion Hyaluronic Skin Tint for its layered coverage and many skin care benefits. “The texture is buildable so you can still get medium-to-full coverage if desired,” he says. “The nourishing formula also hydrates, softens the look of imperfections, and gives the complexion a gorgeous glow.” The tint has a creamy consistency that blends into the skin with ease and contains an advanced form of hyaluronic acid, the Hyaluronan Complex, that strengthens skin, fills in fine lines, and leaves you with a radiant finish. As an added bonus, you get sun protection with its SPF 15.
La Mer The Radiant Skin Tint SPF 30
$100 for a skin tint may be a steep price to pay for barely-there makeup, but the La Mer The Radiant SkinTint SPF 30 makes a compelling case for it — especially if you’re looking to plump up any fine lines. It provides intense hydration to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles while offering sheer coverage and a really nice glow. You’ll also find the brand’s proprietary antioxidants and “Miracle Broth” that will protect the skin from environmental aggressors and calm any redness and irritation. It’s like magic in a bottle.
Yves Saint Laurent Nu Bare Look Tint Skin Tint
With one of the more extensive shade ranges (there are 20 to pick from), you’re bound to find a near-perfect match with the new Nu Bare Look Tint Skin Tint from Yves Saint Laurent. It goes on sheer, yet with a few layers, it can also provide light to medium coverage. The formulation contains moisturizing ingredients, like hyaluronic acid and glycerin, to give you a fresh-looking complexion.
Huda Beauty GlowWish Multidew Vegan Skin Tint
If you’ve found that some skin tints are too warm or too cool for your specific skin tone, Huda Beauty’s GlowWish Multidew Vegan Skin Tint is for you. Aimed for those with more neutral undertones and who love a glossy finish, this tint comes in 12 shades and has naturally-derived ingredients like squalane and rose oil to lock in moisture and soothe the skin from any irritation. It’s vegan, fragrance-free, and you’ll get a radiant finish (although if dewy isn’t your thing, maybe give this one a pass).
Beauty Blender Bounce Always Radiant Skin Tint
Beauty fans know to trust Beauty Blender’s Bounce line — the shades are inclusive and each formula simply works extremely well. And the new Bounce Always Radiant Skin Tint is no exception. It comes in 20 shades and provides light to medium buildable coverage, though reviewers say that it provides more coverage than a normal skin tint. Nourishing ingredients include moisturizing hyaluronic acid and niacinamide to smooth and treat irritation.
Espressoh OhMyGlow Skin Tint
While the Espressoh OhMyGlow Skin Tint only comes in four shades, its sheer coverage and adaptable tints can cover multiple skin tones. It contains antioxidants, like caffeine, to help improve the skin’s elasticity as well as vitamin C to brighten a dull complexion. It’s also vegan, cruelty-free, and reviewers love that it doesn’t leave the skin looking overly greasy, making it ideal for those with oily skin.
Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint
No makeup-makeup and Glossier have become synonymous, thanks to its Perfecting Skin Tint. Arguably the most breathable formula on this list, this skin tint is ultra-thin and smooths out skin texture while enhancing your natural glow — but without making it obvious that you’re wearing any makeup. It’s available in a range of 12 inclusive shades and it is packed with ingredients like glycerin and diamond powder to hydrate and minimize the appearance of pores.
Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint
In true Fenty form, their new Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint comes in a whopping 25 shades for ultimate inclusivity. Thanks to a special complex, its formula presents a diffused effect to smooth out uneven texture, which is just one of the reasons Wilson recommends it. “It blurs my flaws really well and isn’t super heavy on my skin,” she says. “It also holds back oil well.”
Milk Makeup Sunshine Skin Tint Clean SPF 30
If you’re looking for a clean formula to give you light coverage, Milk Makeup’s Sunshine Skin Tint is your best bet. It is silicone-free and contains a cocktail of skin-loving oils — grapeseed, avocado, mandarin, jojoba, and olive — to give your skin a natural-looking warmth. It also contains squalane, an ingredient known for its moisturizing properties, and a reef-safe broad-spectrum SPF 30 to keep you protected and safe from the sun.
Morphe Morphe 2 Hint Hint Skin Tint
Morphe’s Morphe 2 Hint Hint Skin Tint ticks off the usual boxes for everything you’d want in a great skin tint — sheer but buildable coverage, and an extensive shade range — but what really differentiates Morphe from the rest is its longevity. It is water, sweat, and transfer-resistant, plus it can last for up to 16 hours. Even better, it’s noncomedogenic, so you won’t have to worry about clogged pores or breakouts, even if you do choose to wear it for a full 16 hours.
Meet the Experts
Ni’Kita Wilson is every editor’s go-to cosmetic chemist when they need the run-down on all of the makeup and skin care ingredients and formulations. Her nearly encyclopedic knowledge of the wide world of beauty and wellness helps writers and researchers distinguish fact from fiction when it comes to our favorite beauty products.
Marc Reagan is one of our favorite kinds of multi-hypenates: professional makeup artist with more than 18 years of experience painting the world’s most beautiful faces, and the global director of artistry, education and events at Hourglass Cosmetics to mentor and teach young artists the tricks of the trade.
Ginger King is a cosmetic chemist and the founder of FanLoveBeauty, a 100% natural and vegan beauty brand with a mission to inspire confidence through natural and clean beauty.