If you’re anything like me, you know what it’s like to absolutely loathe everything about facial SPF products. Not only do they feel uncomfortable, sticky and often greasy on the skin, but they also, more often than not, leave your complexion look impossibly oily. Don’t get me wrong—I know that facial SPF formulas have come a long way, but let’s face it. We’re not quite there yet, are we?
And it seems everyone struggles with facial SPF for different reasons. Some find that the ingredients irritate their dry and sensitive skin, while others struggle with the way that the oily formulas sit on their already-oily skin. I’m in the latter category. I like a glow, but I find that so many SPF products make my pores look triple their size, and applying any sort of makeup over the top in an attempt to rectify the situation is out of the question (unless I actually want to chase it around my face all day).
No, facial SPF is not the one, but we have to wear it. And I have definitely settled on my favourite formulas that I know not to stray from. However, this year, there’s a new type of facial SPF on the scene, and I am all in. For days like these when applying a full face of makeup seems counterintuitive but I still want to feel like myself, I’ve been opting for tinted SPF products instead.
Before this year, I must admit that the idea of pore-clogging, breakout-inducing tinted SPF would send shivers down my spine, but the new formulas are different. Sitting much closer on the spectrum to high-protection skincare as opposed to makeup, they keep skin looking and feeling like yours and sometimes even offer up a bit more of a bronzed glow. Does that sound good to you? Keep scrolling for my ultimate list of the best tinted SPFs.
1. Dermalogica Skinperfect primer SPF 30
Dermalogica have pioneered so many great products, but this one is an unsung hero (just check out the several 5-star reviews). It's technically a primer, but looks great worn alone if you want to even your skin tone a little while giving a soft-focus glow. When worn underneath makeup, it makes your base last all day long. As it is a primer, we'd recommend using it on top of an SPF, or to tip-up during the day, to ensure your skin is protected from UV rays.
2. Beauty Pie Super Healthy Skin Sheer Tinted Oil-Free SPF 20
Price shown is member price
For a veil of colour without any hint of heaviness, Beauty Pie's formula is a must-try. It's lightweight, oil and fragrance-free and gives the complexion a 'your skin, but better' glow. Perfect for throwing on to run errands or when you don't want to wear anything too heavy in the heat.
3. MZ Skin Tint & Protect Skin Perfecting SPF 30 Tinted Moisturizer
This stuff has frankly blown me away. Blurring, hydrating (thanks to hyaluronic acid) and seriously glow-giving (it's formulated with vitamin C), it's an absolute winner. It's perfect for everyday wear, but if I were going out to sunbathe in the park, I'd probably pack a broad-spectrum SPF 50 just to be safe.
4. Bioderma Photoderm AR Tinted Cream SPF 50
Great for those with sensitive skin that usually plays up with SPF application, this SPF from Bioderma is wonderfully soothing (and smoothing).
5. Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense SPF 30
Designed to work with all skin tones (as the majority on this list are), this SPF is intensely hydrating. My skin loves it.
6. SkinCeuticals Mineral Radiance UV Defense SPF 50
More obviously than some others, this stuff is an SPF first, so it's great if you're serious about your sun protection. However, the universal tint is just a fabulous touch to a really great, comfortable formula.
7. Ultra Violette Daydream Screen SPF 50 Tinted Veil
Ultra Violette knows a thing or two about SPF––the brand is dedicated to combining skincare and sun protection. Not only does this tint protect from the suns rays, it gives the skin a natural, radiant and glowy finish.
8. Institut Esthederm Bronz Repair Sunkissed
Unlike other brands, Institut Esthederm (which, by the way, is widely regarded as just about the best suncare brand in the game among editors) doesn't use an SPF rating, as it doesn't believe the scale goes far enough to ensure skin is protected against all of the sun's damaging rays. This tinted formula is best suited to skin tones and types that don't burn easily, as it also contains tan enhancers. It's protected tanning at its finest.
9. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Shaka Ultra Light Fluid Tinted SPF 50
I have been a huge fan of La Roche-Posay's Anthelios face SPF for ages, and this tinted version is perfection. It's lightweight, dries instantly and, besides the natural-looking sheer tint, is invisible on the skin.
10. Supergoop! Glowscreen SPF 30
Admittedly, this is more of a radiance booster than a tint, but I'm including it nonetheless. It's effectively the brand's editor-adored Unseen Sunscreen but with an extra-dewy, radiant finish rather than a matte one. It's intensely hydrating and looks beautifully bright on all skin types whether worn alone or layered beneath makeup.
11. Shiseido Sports BB Compact SPF 50+
This is the perfect compact to keep in your handbag on hot, sunny days. Apply the solid BB formula over the face for skin-perfecting sun protection.
12. Tropic Skin Shade Tinted Facial Sun Cream
I loved this way more than I thought I would. Not only does it smell divine (like summer fruits), but the dewy coverage that it gives isn't too dissimilar from my go-to tinted moisturiser, except it's an SPF 50 sun cream.
13. Institut Esthederm Face Brightening Tinted SPF 50+ Sun Protection Cream
Whereas the previous Institut Esthederm product on the list was formulated for those with more sun-tolerant skin types, this is great for paler tones that worry about sun spots and pigmentation.
14. Ultrasun Face Fluid SPF 50+ Tinted
Ultrasun is responsible for some of the best SPF products in the game, and this tinted fluid is no exception. I really rate this stuff for its fast-absorbing and glow-giving qualities.
15. BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream SPF 30
Definitely more of a classic tinted moisturiser than the other formulations on this list, the BareMinerals Complexion Rescue is one of those does-it-all products: It moisturises, protects skin from the sun and provides a very decent amount of buildable coverage. Available in 20 shades, it could easily replace my usual base products during the summer months.
16. Summer Fridays ShadeDrops Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Mineral Milk Sunscreen
I've never met a Summer Fridays product that I don't like, and the brand's latest launch is no exception. The mineral nature of this milky sunscreen means it has a totally natural, tinted hue that (again) blends out entirely sheer but does give a lovely blurring, glowing result.
17. Ultra Violette Lean Screen SPF50
Perfect for oily or breakout-prone skin types, this has a very subtle tint which helps to blur over enlarged pores and reduce redness. It's by no means full coverage, but perfect for no makeup-makeup days.
18. Naked Sundays SPF 50+ Collagen Glow 100% Mineral Perfecting Priming Lotion
If you aren't already aware, among beauty editors, Australia is considered SPF holy land. Naked Sundays is a new brand from Australia, and this particular formula is exceptional. Like most of the SPFs on this list, it looks tinted (and has all of the blurring benefits) but blends out into a sheer, weightless veil.
19. Bliss Block Star Invisible Daily Sunscreen
This has quickly become one of my favourite SPF formulas ever. It has SPF 30, and although it doesn't contain obvious pigment, it has a truly amazing blurring tint. Whenever I wear this stuff, people always compliment my skin. For £20, it's a feat.
This article was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.
Shannon Lawlor is a renowned beauty journalist and has contributed to Who What Wear’s beauty content since 2020. As a leading beauty editor, expert and brand consultant, she has over eight years of experience working for some of the industry’s most esteemed titles, including Who What Wear (of course), Glamour UK, Stylist, Refinery29 and Fabulous.
Having also worked behind the scenes with some of the industry’s biggest brands and retailers, Shannon has a unique insight into what people really want from their beauty routines. Understanding that beauty lovers seek honest, open and responsible advice, she has it made her mission to demystify the intimidating world of beauty, taking a no-frills approach to the most relatable topics.
While Shannon is the first to admit she doesn’t hold the answer to every beauty question out there, she is dedicated to sharing her expert insights in a bid to help. As a self-proclaimed lazy girl, Shannon has an affinity for easy-to-use, foolproof beauty products and has made it her mission to scope out the best of the best.
When she’s not working, Shannon is likely soaking in the bath or giving no-holds-barred beauty reviews on Instagram from her bathroom floor.
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