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Your Guide to the Best Tinted Moisturizers

Let’s face it: summertime makeup is a drag. No one wants to navigate heat and humidity with a face smothered in foundation and heavy creams. While the solution may seem obvious (eh, don’t wear makeup?), some of us appreciate a little bit of coverage year-round. This is where tinted moisturizers prove to be incredibly useful.

The Cut tested a host of tinted moisturizers. We checked for hydration efficacy, coverage levels, and shade offerings. We took notes on the finish and smell of each formula. From there, we found six great tinted moisturizers that are sure to please everyone.

The All-Around Good One

Laura Mericer Tinted Moisturizer
Photo: Courtesy of the Vendors
Laura Mericer Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20
$45 at Sephora

Laura Mercier is a tinted moisturizer pioneer. She launched her original in 1996 with one thought in mind: would French women wear this? It was so light and unobtrusive that it turned out they would. The cream is moisturizing, but it’s not thick. I think anyone in the market for a lightweight tinted moisturizer will be happy with this formula, and with 15 shades to choose from, no one is getting left out.

If You Have Dry Skin

Hourglass Illusion Hyaluronic Skin Tint
Photo: Courtesy of the Vendors
Hourglass Illusion Hyaluronic Skin Tint
$56 at Sephora

If you’re more of a “dewy, glow-y” person, allow me to introduce you to Hourglass. Its tinted moisturizer was the most moisturizing of this group, and it executes a perfect “lit-from-within” glow. I had no trouble applying the other moisturizers with my hand, but I found that Hourglass’s ultra-creamy texture spread a lot more easily with a foundation brush. It provides coverage similar to a regular foundation, and though the hyaluronic acid-packed formula is a must-have for dry skin, my naturally oily face was a bit too shiny for my liking.

If Your Face Tends to be Oily

Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar Skin Tint
Photo: Courtesy of the Vendors
Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar Skin Tint
$39 at Sephora

Lightweight, mildly exfoliating, and radiance-inducing — there’s a reason Philosophy’s Renewed Hope in a Jar cemented it’s cult status shortly after launching. The brand only recently extended its hallmark “Hope in a Jar” line to tinted moisturizers and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Their “skin tint” is a whipped blend that glides across my face. It doesn’t provide a considerable amount of coverage, but it does a fine job of delivering a “blurred, glass-like” skin effect. If your skin leans dry, this super light moisturizer might not be for you, but my oily skin sure loves it. One day while wearing the moisturizer, I ran into a famous makeup artist at lunch. She instantly inquired about my foundation situation. “I’m not wearing any,” I admitted. “It’s just a really good tinted cream.”

The One That Smooths Your Skin

BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Moisturizer
Photo: Courtesy of the Vendors
BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Moisturizer
$30 at Sephora

BareMineral’s Complexion Rescue is very similar to Philosophy’s skin tint, but I found its tube to be more travel-friendly, and its 16-shade range beats Philosophy’s 8-shade range by a mile. I like that the “bouncy” gel-cream doesn’t feel heavy on my face, and with an SPF of 30, it also provides a decent layer of sun protection. And you know what else this “bouncy” texture achieves? It smooths over rough spots and pimples to cast the illusion of really great skin.

The Best Option for Dark Complexions

Black Up Matifying Tinted Moisturizer
Photo: Courtesy of the Vendors
Black Up Matifying Tinted Moisturizer
$40 at Sephora

I found that Black Up’s “Mattifying Tinted Moisturizer” dried closer to a “natural,” and not “matte” finish. I liked the color payoff; it provided the right amount of tint to even out my skin, but not so much that I looked like I was wearing makeup. And of course Black Up supplied the best shade range for women of color. I actually wore the lightest shade, called “light,” which made me laugh a little.

The $8 One

CoverGirl Clean Matte BB Cream
Photo: Courtesy of the Vendors
CoverGirl Clean Matte BB Cream
$8 at Ulta

Only a few drugstore makeup companies bother to sell tinted moisturizer, and an even smaller amount offer more than three shades. That’s why I was drawn to CoverGirl’s six-shade range of bb creams, which technically aren’t tinted moisturizers, but close enough. Get past the formula’s glue-like scent and you find a really good mattifying cream. Just don’t apply any around your under-eyes — it dries very matte.

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Your Guide to the Best Tinted Moisturizers