It's no secret that I'm not a big fan of a full face of makeup. It's not because I don't think it looks amazing. It really does, but my reasoning comes out of pure laziness. I've said it before, but I'll say it again: My normal routine is very minimal, even before these quarantine times. It really makes getting ready for the day a lot easier and allows me more time to sleep in. And nowadays, I barely wear makeup since I've been lucky enough to work from home. Aside from an occasional important Zoom meeting where I've had to look extra presentable, I probably can estimate that I've touched my makeup products less than 100 times in the past year.
My usual lineup for a no-makeup makeup look consists of a little bit of concealer, mascara (after curling my eyelashes), maybe a dab of blush or light dusting of bronzer, and a fun lip color. But the product that really sets me up for success is a tinted sunscreen. It's my secret weapon when it comes to a minimal face.
A tinted sunscreen does two things for me. One: It gives me minimal coverage and improves my complexion, leaving my skin a little bit more glowy and radiant. And two: It gives me that much needed SPF protection, even when I'm inside the whole day (because you still need it!). Even though I don't wear makeup most days right now, I always make sure to put on my regular skincare products and my favorite tinted sunscreen. That little bit makes me feel like, at least, I've tried for the day.
There are some great tinted sunscreens (and moisturizers with SPF) out there for pretty much any budget or price point. If you want to get started on the tinted-sunscreen game or are looking for a new one, here are some options below.
1. Supergoop! Glowscreen Sunscreen SPF 40
Supergoop!'s Glowscreen is my everyday tinted sunscreen. It is just so good. As the name suggests, it gives my skin a nice, healthy glow, even when my face is tired and a little lifeless. The formula is lightweight and slightly liquid-y, which means it's easy to apply and melts into the skin quickly. It also acts as a makeup primer and has blue-light protection.
2. CeraVe Tinted Sunscreen With SPF 30
CeraVe is a brand dermatologists always recommend, which makes sense because its lineup is affordable, contains nourishing ingredients without fragrances or parabens, and is good for sensitive skin. The tinted version of its daily hydrating sunscreen goes on sheer and works well with a variety of skin tones. It's mineral based with moisturizing ingredients such as ceramides and niacinamide.
3. Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20
Okay yes, this is technically classified as a tinted moisturizer, but it's got SPF protection, too. And you could call it a cult favorite. The thing that makes it a noteworthy inclusion is that a lot of traditional sunscreens don't have a wide color range—this product has some good options. It also leaves a semi-matte finish while hydrating and protecting against free radicals.
4. EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46, Tinted
EltaMD is another dermatologist favorite. This tinted moisturizer has SPF 46 and zinc oxide protection. It also contains nourishing and hydrating ingredients like niacinamide, antioxidants, and sodium hyaluronate.
5. Sun Bum Mineral SPF 30 Tinted Sunscreen Face Lotion
Sun Bum's mineral sunscreen is easy to apply and also works well as a primer. The lightweight formula doesn't leave a greasy finish and is water-resistant for up to 40 minutes, which is perfect if you plan on sweating or swimming.
6. Australian Gold Botanical Sunscreen Tinted Face Mineral Lotion SPF 50
Here's another non-chemical sunscreen option. The 100% mineral sunscreen also contains protective antioxidant botanicals like kakadu plum, eucalyptus, and red algae.
7. Neutrogena Radiant Tinted Face Moisturizer
Since this has SPF 30, I'm going to call it a mix between a tinted moisturizer and a tinted sunscreen. The sheer tint leaves a nice glow with just a subtle amount of shimmer. As for the moisturizing part, it's formulated with vitamins A, C, and E.
8. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Tinted Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50
This sunscreen is super lightweight and gives your skin that warm glow and a matte finish. The water-resistant formula will last for 80 minutes.
9. Kiehl's Dermatologist Solutions Super Fluid UV Mineral Defense Sunscreen SPF 50+
Sensitive and acne-prone skin types can use this sunscreen without any irritation. The 100% mineral-based sunscreen contains titanium dioxide, vitamin E, and a very sheer tint.
10. First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30
Another tinted moisturizer that might as well be a tinted sunscreen, this one from First Aid Beauty has a range of colors to choose from. It provides up to 12 hours of hydration and SPF protection. Ingredients include colloidal oatmeal, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin E.
11. Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense SPF 30
Drunk Elephant's lightweight cream formula protects against free radicals and environmental stressors while providing broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection. The tint is on the sheer side and doesn't leave a greasy feeling.
12. PCA Skin Sheer Tint Broad Spectrum SPF 45
If you're looking for a physical-sunscreen option, PCA Skin's tinted sunscreen has titanium dioxide and zinc oxide protection. The water-resistant formula also contains coenzyme Q10 to fight free radicals.
13. Sisley Paris Tinted Sunscreen Cream SPF 30
At $170, Sisley Paris's tinted sunscreen is a total splurge. The nongreasy and water-resistant cream is especially good for people who have sensitive or fair skin who might need more SPF protection. It's also scented with sage and marjoram essential oils.
14. Ilia Beauty Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 Foundation
A lot of Who What Wear editors are obsessed with Ilia's tinted serum. The clean formula contains squalane to improve elasticity, niacinamide to smooth texture, and hyaluronic acid to lock in moisture. Another bonus? There are 18 shades.
15. SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50
Here's another physical sunscreen with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide protection. The lightweight formula is easily to apply, doesn't feel oily, and leaves your skin with a radiant glow. It's also water-resistant for up to 40 minutes.
Other Products to Complete My No-Makeup Makeup Look
I always curl my eyelashes, which really makes my eyes pop. I don't have thick lashes, and they tend to be stick-straight, so curling them gives them a little bit more volume.
After curling my lashes, I have to put on some mascara. I love Ilia's because it leaves my lashes looking extra long (even though they're not at all), and the formula is natural.
Benefit's Gimme Brow is probably my top brow product. It just does a good job of filling in and controlling my sometimes unruly brows. Plus, it's so easy to apply.
While I do like to keep my makeup minimal, I like to take it up a notch with my lip product. I'm drawn to bold lip colors to complete my look.
Normally, I just do tinted moisturizer, mascara, brow gel, and a lip product, but sometimes when I want an even glowier look, I'll go with a blush or bronzer. This blush from Merit is one of my current faves. It goes on so lightly (but you can build on it if you want). You can use it on your lids, too.
When I want even more of a sun-kissed glow, I'll apply some bronzer. Charlotte Tilbury's leaves a matte finish and is infused with hyaluronic acid.
Next up, You're Sabotaging Your Skin If This Ingredient Is Missing From Your Routine
Sarah is lifestyle writer and editor with over 10 years of experience covering health and wellness, interior design, food, beauty, and tech. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she attended New York University and lived in New York for 12 years before returning to L.A. in 2019.
In addition to her work on THE/THIRTY and Who What Wear, she held editor roles at Apartment Therapy, Real Simple, House Beautiful, Elle Decor, and The Bump (sister site of The Knot).
She has a passion for health and wellness, but she especially loves writing about mental health. Her self-care routine consists of five things: a good workout, “me” time on the regular, an intriguing book/podcast/playlist to unwind after a long day, naps, and decorating her home.