We put eight best-selling skin tints to the test after receiving complimentary samples from select brands. Keep reading for a thorough comparison.
If you didn’t get the memo, dewy skin is in. Full coverage makeup shouldn’t be frowned upon, but with scorching temps and sweaty foreheads, swapping out your foundation with a lightweight alternative can make all the difference. That’s where skin tints come in—lighter, multipurpose base layers to blur blemishes without clogging your pores. They’re by no means a new innovation, but they are in the midst of a serious moment, and after almost a year and a half spent shuffling between the couch, the desk, and the bedroom, it’s no surprise that our appetite for full-on foundation has tapered.
I was drawn to this skin tint battle royale for more personal reasons. Though I’ve always been enamored with all things beauty, when it comes to my own routine I prefer to opt for no-makeup makeup and put the bulk of my time getting ready towards skincare. What can I say? The lazy girl look has always resonated with me.
Whether you’re in the same boat as me or you’re a foundation lover looking to lighten things up, a tint gives the best of both worlds—just enough coverage and sometimes, a step into skincare. We tried seven of the buzziest skin tints to narrow down which are the best of the best. Read on to learn which skin tint you should be tagging in for your summer beauty lineup.
About My Skin
From head to toe, my biggest pain point with my skin is dryness. I’ve tried to remedy this by drinking more water and reaching for more hydrating products, but no matter how many liters I chug or oils I integrate into my skincare routine, this is still a day-to-day struggle. My skin is so dry, in fact, that as a child I recall drawing tic-tac-toe boards on my thighs with my nails. My other big struggle is hyperpigmentation: Most of my blemishes pop up around my jawline (thank you soooo much, hormones), so that’s where I tend to see the most scarring. My ideal tint would blur the appearance of acne scars and leave my dry skin looking glowy.
To keep my face quenched, I’ve swapped out my intense cleanser with a gentle cleansing balm and follow that up with Fenty’s Fat Water Toner. To moisturize, I keep things simple with Weleda Skin Food and top it off with an SPF. I’ve found that this lineup leaves my skin feeling plump, prepped, and hydrated—but not greasy. It’s also a super minimal base, which is ideal for when I top things off with a tint.
Ami Colé Skin-Enhancing Tint
Shade Range: 6 | Size: 1.0 fl. oz.
When I first applied Ami Colé’s new Skin-Enhancing Tint ($32), my sister commented that “it just looks like skin.” The barely-there formula has a buttery-smooth application that’s glowy, but not shiny. I was most excited to give it a try because it was formulated with deeper skin tones in mind and to be honest, that’s an oddity in this industry (if you know, you know).
Before starting her own brand, Ami Colé’s founder Diarrha N’Diaye-Mbaye worked in product development with Glossier, so she’s no stranger to the no-makeup makeup movement. All it took was a few drops to get a finish that’s natural-looking, but noticeably dewier. Though I’d usually reach for my Beauty Blender, I chose to apply this with my fingers instead. The results? A blendable, buildable base that’s light on its feet and just pigmented enough.
Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint
Shade Range: 12 | Size: 1 fl. oz.
Glossier is an OG in the minimalist makeup category, so I had high hopes for their Perfecting Skin Tint ($32). The only gripe I’ve been privy to was that it was too lightweight and left much to be desired in the coverage category, which is to be expected since it’s a sheer tint. When I put it to the test, the coverage was light (my hyperpigmentation scars were still visible) but it left behind a dewy cast.
I applied two lines across my cheeks and one across my forehead and blended it in with my fingers, as all #GlossierGirls do. I expected to want to build on it, but just one layer left me with a subtle, selfie-friendly blur. I didn’t immediately notice that my pores appeared minimized, as promised, but it subtly evened out my complexion after just one layer.
Huda Beauty GloWish Multidew Skin Tint
Shade Range: 13 | Size: 1.35 fl. oz.
For the brand’s first foray into minimal makeup, Huda Beauty’s GloWish Multidew Skin Tint ($37) lives up to its luminous name—and it has a more impactful payoff than some of its competitors. This comes as no surprise, considering that the brand’s founder and namesake is the self-proclaimed queen of caked-on beauty. But this is a clear departure from Huda’s signature look—the tint is lightweight and light-coverage. The newcomer stacks up next to other elite skin tints with a blemish-blurring finish and good-for-you ingredients, but the ultra-glowy finish gives it a little extra oomph.
The formula is packed with red pepper extract and Damascus rose oil, which promises to ease the appearance of dark spots. I didn’t personally see this after a couple of uses, but I’d imagine this is a gradual win. In a YouTube video tutorial, Huda described the product as an in-between for full glam and a bare face, and to be honest this is right on the nose. Instead of smoothing it in with my fingers, I blended it in with the Airbrush Finish Complexion Brush ($31). The result was a complexion that looked like I a) had a sun-kissed glow and b) had been very vigilant with my nightly skincare routine. But be forewarned: It’s very buildable so a little goes a very long way.
Saie Slip Tint
Shade Range: 10 | Size: 1 fl. oz.
If the intersection of makeup and skincare had an exact address, it would be wherever Saie’s Slip Tint ($32) is made. It has the understated pigment of a skin tint with all of the ingredients you’d see in a skincare enthusiast’s starting lineup, like hyaluronic acid, argan oil, and licorice. On top of all that, it contains SPF. It does all of these things as promised—a little bit of coverage, a dose of UV protection, and lasting hydration that will allow you to skip your serum for the day.
Here’s the thing: Though it’s ultra-hydrating, the formula feels more oil-leaning than moisture-rich. This wasn’t a concern for me, since my dry skin drank it right up, but if you have oily skin I can imagine that this would be a pain point. Also, I can’t quite trace which ingredient is leaving behind the product’s noticeable scent but once it’s on, it’s quite difficult to ignore. Nonetheless, its multitasking DNA gives it more pros than cons—in fact, this do-it-all tint would be the ideal desert island product.
Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer
Shade Range: 10 | Size: 1.9 fl. oz.
There’s a reason why the Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer ($45) by Nars was ranked best in show in our roundup last year. The tried-and-true oil-free formula packs a pigmented punch without weighing you down with a greasy cast. It’s the perfect balance between full-on foundation and a bare face, except the bare face is perfectly clear and even. As I blended it in with my fingers, I was most impressed with how effortlessly it mixed with my undertones.
My skin was left looking dewy, but it wasn’t a flat shine. There was dimension to the glow, and that’s what made it look so natural—a five-star take on the ‘your skin but better’ philosophy. The tint doubles as a sunscreen, which is both efficient and impressive, but at 30, the SPF is a little lower on the scale if you prefer to opt for stronger sun protection. That being said, complexion products shouldn’t be the only line of defense against UV rays anyway so this isn’t a make-or-break detail.
Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint with SPF 40
Shade Range: 30 | Size: 1 fl. oz.
Ilia’s Super Serum Skin Tint ($47) is a serum that’s also a skin tint that moonlights as a high-powered SPF (at 40, it’s the strongest SPF on this list). It literally contains multitudes. Based on effectiveness alone, this ranks very high. As a skincare fanatic, I was sold when I saw the ingredient list: Each drop is packed with hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and plant-based squalene. Since it has such a hydrating formula, it’s no surprise that the serum needs a bit of time to dry down, especially if you’re building on it. But once it settles, it leaves an all-over glow.
There’s a long list of pros, but there are still a couple of cons. For one, the applicator can get drippy. Though the dropper turns up the volume on the product’s skincare feel, for a pigmented product this might create some unwelcome messes. Also, though it’s fragrance-free, the serum definitely leaves behind a scent. It doesn’t linger, but if you’re easily put off by smells, this might not be a great first impression. Speaking of first impressions, Ilia packs bottles with a sample of their True Skin Radiant Priming Serum, an aloe-infused base layer to help your tint put its best foot forward.
The most fun part of the process was selecting a shade. Last year the brand responded to the global racism protests by expanding its shade range. Now, there are a whopping 30 hues to pick from—more than any other offering on this list.
Fenty Beauty Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint
Shade Range: 25 | Size: 1.08 fl. oz.
As a card-carrying member of the Navy, I would trust Rihanna with my life. So naturally, I had very high hopes for Fenty Beauty’s Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint ($29.50). Though it checked all of my boxes in the blemish-blurring and buildability departments, it didn’t give me the hydration boost I was hoping for. I don’t fault the product for that, though. Unlike some of its competitors, it’s made to layer with your skincare routine—not enhance it. This is more makeup-makeup, not makeup-that-doubles-as-skincare, so this went on top of my moisturizer and sunscreen.
I wanted to keep things as natural as possible, so I applied one even layer. On problem areas, like around my jawline and under my nose, I built up as needed and blended it all in with my fingers. There is glycerin in the formula, but the tint alone didn’t necessarily leave me with an instant OMG glow. However, it did gently blur my pores and camouflage the whitehead that popped up under my nose. It’s also worth noting that this is the most affordable tint on our list, at the price of just under $30.
Kosas Tinted Face Oil Foundation
Shade Range: 16 | Size: 1 fl. oz.
Kosas calls their Tinted Face Oil Foundation the “sweatpants of foundation” and TBH they’re totally right: It’s comfortable to wear and easy to put on. But it can’t be compared to a worn, torn pair — if this is the tint equivalent of sweats, it would be the most luxe pair in your dresser. The Tinted Face Oil Foundation’s high-end ingredient list make it a clear cut above other tints. Red raspberry oil tackles blemishes, rosehip seed oil helps to brighten, and meadowfoam oil leaves you feeling supple and smooth.
The serum-like consistency leaves a finish that’s dewy, but not greasy; hydrating, but not wet-looking. Since it’s a step below foundation on the coverage scale, you shouldn’t expect it to totally blur blemishes or transform the appearance of your complexion. The formula is a lightweight, skin-enhancing tint for those who want to correct instead of just cover.
- Master Multitasker: Ilia’s Super Serum Skin Tint literally does it all. In one fell swoop, it can knock out at least three steps in your skincare routine. If want to shave off some time in your morning routine without slacking on skincare, SPF, or general dew, you’ll get a kick out of this. It’s the priciest on this list, but you’re getting the most bang for your buck. On top of all that, it’s also completely clean.
- Best Boost: No, it’s not heavy on the skincare solutions and yes, the SPF isn’t the most protective, but the Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer by Nars is the total package. I couldn’t get over how effortlessly this enhanced my complexion without overdoing it. The dewy finish was natural-looking and it brought out my skin’s undertones while smoothing out imperfections. Cheers to you, Nars.
- Brightest Glow: If you’re on the market for a glowy complexion, there’s no better choice than Huda Beauty’s GloWish Multidew Tinted Moisturizer. When sampling this product, almost everyone I saw on Zoom and IRL had something to say about my glow, and for good reason. If luminous skin is your thing (i.e. if the Fenty Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter is a frequent flyer in your rotation), this adds an element of glowy glamour to off-duty looks.