A version of this story originally appeared on the Strategist U.S.
I’m not going to pretend to know anything about makeup. My experimentation only recently began with concealer, but I’ve recently dived headfirst into the world of tinted moisturiser, which has all of the properties of a classic moisturiser (hydration, sun protection, sometimes anti-aging effects) with a smidgen of colour. I use it to cover up redness (my biggest problem), mask blemishes, and even make it look like I just got back from Holbox.
Experts and makeup purists are particular about the difference between tinted moisturisers, BB creams, and CC creams, but for the sake of simplicity, I’m going to include them all here because there’s not a huge amount of difference (BB creams are like foundation, sunscreen, and moisturiser all in one, while CC creams have additional colour-correcting properties). What I look for is something that evens my skin tone effectively, doesn’t cause me to break out, and feels like nothing. I’ve tried literally dozens of tinted moisturisers and these are the best ones for men that I’ve found.
My all-around favorite tinted moisturiser
Erborian CC Creme was once described to me as the perfect hybrid between Korean technology and French luxury — I don’t know how true that is, but I can say it’s my favorite tinted moisturiser, for being lightweight while still providing great coverage. Of all the tinted moisturisers I tried, it blended most effortlessly and quickly into my skin. The colour is encapsulated, which means it comes out of the tube white and turns into a nice skin tone once it’s rubbed in, like magic. A little goes a long way, which is good, because each tube is fairly small.
Best tinted moisturiser for beginners
The colour in this one is also encapsulated and the tube is larger, which makes it feel more like a moisturiser than a colour cosmetic. It’s like training-wheels tinted moisturiser: There is only a subtle amount of tint — just enough to even out your skin tone, but not so much that you wouldn’t want to put on a regular moisturiser after applying it. It sinks into the skin easily and the finish is powdery and matte, which is great for men. It doesn’t have SPF, though, so it’s better as a layer on top of sunscreen.
Best anti-aging tinted moisturiser
This is a one-and-done: a tinted moisturiser with vitamin C (skin-brightening), alpha-lipoic acid (anti-aging), and a mineral-based SPF 30. You can slap some on and just walk out the door. It kept my skin moisturised and smooth all day without being sticky (though I honestly am not sure I noticed much of a firming effect). It’s also not makeup-y — the tint is sheer enough that if you put a little too much on, it’s not the end of the world.
Best tinted moisturiser for a subtle tan effect
Unisex Glow is a little bit moisturiser and a little bit bronzer. It’s not great at covering up blemishes, but it does give a bit of a sun-kissed look — not quite as much as a self-tanner, but something a bit more “healthy” than “tan.” It’s especially effective when mixed with another moisturiser, since the formula is a little bit thicker.
Best tinted moisturiser for blemish coverage
I’ve found that some tinted moisturisers can be a little drying, which is why I love this face oil. It’s incredibly moisturizing and there is something about the oil formula that makes the color blend in with your skin quicker and more easily than it would with a cream (as long as you shake the bottle first). And once it was on my skin, it was so subtle that I barely remembered it was tinted at all — it’s more like a skin perfecter than something you’d use to darken your color. I was worried it would leave me shiny, but it was surprisingly matte, which could be why Rami Malek has been wearing it on the red carpet lately.
Best tinted moisturiser for spot treatment
It’s called Le Tint, but it’s the most like a foundation out of all the products I tried for this list. It’s a heavier, thicker formula, which is not necessarily a bad thing, since it also provides some of the silkiest, most complete coverage. It’s opaque enough to almost act like a concealer under your eyes or on blemishes if you use a little more in places. (I like to spot-treat with it first, than apply a layer over that to even everything out.) I like it when I need a little extra camouflage, and I’ll mix it with a regular moisturiser for a more sheer effect. It has SPF 25, too, and is easy enough to apply with your hands (if, like me, you have no idea how to use a sponge).
Best tinted moisturiser for acne-prone skin
If you suffer from breakouts, bringing another skin-care product into your life may be something you want to avoid, but that sucks, because acne is what tinted moisturisers cover up really well. This one is super lightweight and you can barely feel it on your face even with the SPF in there. It’s also non-comedogenic (won’t get in your pores) and contains moisturising hyaluronic acid and anti-inflammatory colloidal oatmeal.
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