The perfect tinted moisturiser should hide blemishes, pigmentation, and acne scars, as well as provide hydration and SPF. But with so many to choose from — including CC and BB creams, which are part of the same beauty family — and a wide range of price points, finding the right product can be a challenge.
Use a tinted moisturiser if you’re looking for lighter coverage than a foundation and extra hydration, although most also contain ingredients to tackle other skin concerns such as wrinkles and fine lines. BB (beauty balm) creams are for those who suffer from blemishes and spots, as they aim to reduce and hide redness, and offer more coverage than a tinted moisturiser. CC (colour-correcting) creams are for anyone with hyperpigmentation or dark spots, as they work to even out your skin tone.
To help, we spoke to seven experts, ranging from makeup artists to dermatologists, to get their tinted moisturiser recommendations. Here are their top picks, including the best vegan offering and the best one for sensitive skin.
Best overall tinted moisturiser
Four of our expert panel recommend Laura Mercier as their go-to brand for tinted moisturisers. The Laura Mercier oil-free tinted moisturiser has been a kit staple for years for international makeup artist duo Pamela and Andrea. “If you’re looking for a lightweight, hydrating tinted moisturiser that looks like real skin, then this is the one. It blurs imperfections and doesn’t sit in lines or attach itself onto dry skin.” Consultant dermatologist and author of The Skincare Bible Dr Anjali Mahto agrees and also recommends this one for its SPF 20 sun protection. “Finding the perfect tinted moisturiser depends on your skin type because not one size fits all,” she explains. “Dry, sensitive and oily skin types all need different skin care.” It comes in 15 shades too, making it easy to find one to match your skin tone.
Meanwhile, New York–based makeup artist and beauty influencer Jezz Hill likes the Laura Mercier natural skin perfector with SPF 30. She’s a fan “for its wide range of shades and skin-care properties” and says that “it’s great for dry skin, although it works wonderfully on all skin types, and leaves a natural dewy finish.” Emily Wood, a London-based makeup artist and influencer, also says it gives “a healthy glow with a perfect amount of sheer coverage.” This one comes in 20 shades, from Petal to Cacao.
Best tinted moisturiser for pigmentation and dark spots
London fashion and lifestyle blogger Kristabel Plummer discovered NARS when she couldn’t find a BB cream to match her skin tone. “I had to find cleverly worded alternatives,” she explains. The NARS pure radiant tinted moisturiser “feels like you’re barely wearing anything. I love this for lazy makeup days, infrequent British heatwaves and quickly evening out my skin tone.” Mahto, who has used NARS products for years, adds that it “provides a great level of coverage for acne and pigmentation.” She also emphasises why it’s important to have SPF in your moisturiser: “We know that sun exposure is responsible for around 80 per cent of the factors we associate with premature skin ageing —think fine lines, wrinkles and pigmentation.” The oil-free formula gives a dewy finish, while also including hydrating botanical ingredients to give your skin a well-deserved boost.
Kristabel also recommends the NARS velvet matte skin tint, as it helps to “reduce shine, especially on sunny days, without making you look like you’re caked in product.” She adds: “I’ve received so many compliments on Instagram stories when wearing this, plus it contains a much-needed SPF of 30. I wear the shade Polynesia and, although it appears darker at first glance, somehow it blends seamlessly into my skin tone.”
Best luxury tinted moisturiser
If you can afford to spend (a lot) more, celebrity facialist and skin-care expert Michaella Bolder (whose clients include Nick Grimshaw, Dame Helen Mirren, and Frankie Bridge, to name a few) recommends luxury beauty brand La Mer’s tinted moisturiser. This lightweight formula gives a long-lasting luminous finish and helps protect skin against pollution and sun damage. She notes that “oily and combination skin should opt for an oil-free solution, while dry skin would benefit from a richer consistency. Mature skin needs a mineral base or powder form.” She singles out the ingredients of algae and seaweed, as well as the brand’s “miracle” broth, which means it’s packed with skin-care benefits and essential vitamins that “hydrate and balance the skin while giving it even coverage.” The shade range is disappointing (only five) but it is suitable for all skin types. [Editor’s note: This product is currently sold out.]
Best tinted moisturiser for under £10
Michaella also offers a budget-friendly alternative from The Ordinary. This serum foundation “is a fantastic and super-affordable liquid that, when chosen in the light form, acts as a matte, tinted moisturiser, which is great for all skin types,” explains Bolder. “There are no particular skin-care benefits but there are a large selection of colours to suit most, if not all, skin tones.” There are 21 shades available and the serum formula also means it doesn’t sit in fine lines or look cakey.
Best cruelty-free tinted moisturiser
“We love Glossier for all of the amazing skin-care benefits packed into each product. This one is hypoallergenic, non-settling, nonirritating, paraben-free, fragrance-free and cruelty-free”, say Pamela and Andrea. “It gives you that no-makeup makeup look and you’re left with a youthful, dewy finish that will enhance your natural colouring.” The shade range is inclusive too, add the makeup artists — there are 12 shades to pick from.
Best drugstore tinted moisturiser
This budget-friendly buy also comes recommended by Pamela and Andrea. “It’s a great product if you’re wanting to achieve a natural dewy complexion —your skin will still be glowing by the end of day. The coverage is light, so ideal for on holiday or when you’re wanting something to just even out your skin tone.” They suggest adding concealer on top for longer wear. “It also has an SPF of 15 and is packed full of vitamin C (which helps repair damaged skin cells).”
Best tinted moisturiser for buildable coverage
Both makeup artists Gina Blondell and Emily Wood agree that NYX’s skin veil gives a beautiful satin finish, while also keeping skin hydrated for up to eight hours. “If you’re after affordable medium-coverage tinted moisturiser, this one is for you,” explains Gina. “The vegan formula is buildable and effective at evening out skin tone and hiding blemishes.” She recommends it to anyone who usually prefers full coverage but is looking for a slightly more natural-looking option. “The breathable formula works on all complexions and is also well-suited to anyone with sensitive or problematic skin, as it is noncomedogenic.” Ingredients include soothing cucumber extract and aloe vera, while applying with a brush or blending with a sponge gives best results. Wood also champions the “12 forgiving shades that have been formulated to accommodate a wide range of skin tones.”
Best retinol tinted moisturiser
Blondel says Pür’s tinted moisturiser “offers a light coverage and leaves the skin feeling soft and supple, thanks to the ingredients of aloe vera and chamomile.” It’s not just a tinted moisturiser though, as it works as a primer and contains SPF, which makes it ideal for holidays and weekends away when you don’t want to weigh down your suitcase with multiple products. Vitamin E and retinol also help tackle fine lines and wrinkles. Gina recommends it for dry skin but the sheer finish means any skin type will look radiant using it.
Best tinted moisturiser for sensitive skin
This one’s pricey but Hill recommends it for anyone with sensitive skin, as it’s free from parabens, fragrances, and other chemicals while also containing SPF. It’s excellent at smoothing the appearance of lines and wrinkles with its sheer coverage, too. Blondell also recommends it for sensitive skin and says, “Its smooth, velvet-like finish is infused with lots of dreamy natural ingredients like honeysuckle, thyme and butterfly bush extract to give anti-pollution benefits.” The makeup artist adds: “This is a great product for anyone living in the city and I always recommend it to clients, particularly those with normal to oily complexions. It leaves the skin without any residue and evens out the tone of skin whilst covering any light blemishes.”
Best vegan tinted moisturiser
Tropic’s ethos is to create sustainably sourced and cruelty-free products that are made from natural ingredients where possible. And Hill recommends its sheer foundation for adding “a hint of glowy goodness to your skin.” She adds: “Tropic is continually exploring ways to become more sustainable, from the ingredients that go into its products to the packaging that houses them. All products are 100 per cent vegan, too.”
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