This article was medically reviewed by Mona Gohara, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and member of the Prevention Medical Review Board.
Even though you know you should never skip sunscreen, layering on your moisturizer, SPF, and foundation or BB cream can feel like a lot. Most of us don’t want to forgo hydration or coverage, so sun protection often gets left behind in the morning rush.
But with so many options, how do you choose? “The most effective SPF is one that fits into your lifestyle, because it’s the best way to ensure it will make its way into your routine,” says board-certified dermatologist Mona Gohara, M.D., associate clinical professor of dermatology at the Yale School of Medicine and member of Prevention’s Medical Review Board.
This is where tinted sunscreens come in handy, since they offer some coverage while providing SPF protection—cutting out the need for additional products. While makeup with SPF might help shield your skin from the sun, that’s only the case if you apply enough (at least half a teaspoon), and “there are not consistent regulations when it comes to foundations with SPF,” says Dr. Gohara.
Tinted sunscreens allow you to layer on additional products if you want to, but they don’t look or feel cakey—a total win during the humid summer months. If you prefer more coverage, consider the tinted sunscreen your makeup primer.
How to choose (and use) the best tinted sunscreen
Go for SPF 30 or higher: Dermatologists recommend choosing a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher. This ensures your product will guard against both UVA and UVB rays. Even though your formula is tinted, you still want it to act as a strong sun protector.
Know your skin type: Like any other skin care product, the formulation of your tinted sunscreen matters. If you’re on the dry side, stick to lotions and creams with hydrating ingredients like shea butter or hyaluronic acid. If you’re oily or acne-prone, lightweight sunscreens (think: liquids or gels) that are noncomedogenic will be your best bet.
Don’t forget to reapply: Like any other sunscreen, “tinted formulas should be reapplied every two hours, or after swimming or sweating,” advises Dr. Gohara. This should be easy if you use it as the last step in your skincare routine.
Now that you have the basics down, you can get to the fun part: shopping! Below, the best tinted sunscreens to keep your skin glowing year-round.
The non-tinted version of this mineral SPF was named on our list of the top sunscreens for your face by board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, M.D. But in addition to protective antioxidants, a lightweight feel, and matte finish, the tinted version offers additional coverage when your complexion needs a little boost. While some heavy, greasy sunscreens can cause breakouts, this fast-absorbing, noncomedogenic formula won’t clog your pores and will keep you looking fresh-faced.
CeraVe’s tinted sunscreen packs ceramides for hydration and niacinamide to reduce redness, as well as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide for top-notch mineral sun protection. The formula leaves behind a healthy glow and blends in beautifully—sans white cast. Plus, it’s made to work with sensitive skin, so you don’t need to worry about irritation with this one.
This vegan tinted sunscreen acts as moisturizer and a skin tint all in one. Made with hyaluronic acid, it helps smooth out the complexion while pumping hydration for a dewy result. This “Amazon's Choice” tinted sunscreen has nearly 2,000 five star ratings from customers who say it's the “best product” for sensitive, fair skin.
If you dislike the greasy, thick feeling of most sunscreens, this Daily Defense Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 30 will become your new best friend. Its unique formula contains lightly tinted moisturizer, sunscreen, and nourishing antioxidants to protect your skin while adding hydration to your complexion. Amazon shoppers, who gave this tinted sunscreen rave reviews, said it's a great option for everyday use.
This mineral sunscreen contains titanium dioxide and zinc oxide for broad-spectrum protection from the sun, without clogging your pores. While keeping your skin safe, this chemical-free sunscreen also brightens your skin and reduces the appearance of fine lines with vitamin C, eucalyptus, and red algae. The mattifying sunscreen doubles as a foundation, so feel free to wear it during your next night out.
Comparable to their original formula, EltaMD’s oil- and fragrance-free tinted sunscreen is a triple threat: It offers broad spectrum, chemical-free protection, antioxidants to further shield against sun damage, and a dose of hyaluronic acid to draw moisture to the skin. Dr. Gohara loves this option because it’s easy to layer and blends well on top of other skin careproducts like serums. Bonus: It’s water resistant for up to 40 minutes and noncomedogenic, so you don’t have to worry about this one clogging your pores.
If you hate the feeling of foundation, but still want a bit of coverage without looking cakey—this one is for you. ILIA’s serum-foundation-sunscreen hybrid feels feather-light on the skin, is available in 18 inclusive shades, packs all-star hydrators like hyaluronic acid, and protects with SPF 40. A true a multi-tasking product!
This creamy tinted SPF from MDSolarSciences is a total dream if you struggle with dry skin. The brand’s original and tinted formulas have been recommended by dermatologists in our lists of the best natural sunscreens and top reef-safe SPFs, as well as our favorite sunscreens for 2021. The hype is worth it: Recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation, the noncomedogenic formula contains mineral UVA/UVB filters, skin-brightening vitamin C, and nourishing vitamin E. The best part? It blends in seamlessly for natural coverage.
Drunk Elephant’s tinted sunscreen is packed with chemical-free protection. Zinc oxide and algae extract defend against harmful UV rays, while sunflower sprout extract neutralizes skin-damaging free radicals and environmental aggressors. Designed for all skin types, the silicone-free cream moisturizes with marula and raspberry seed oil—without leaving a chalky white cast behind.
On-the-go touch ups just got easier, thanks to Avène’s portable tinted sunscreen. Ideal for sensitive or redness-prone complexions, this cream-to-powder formula is supercharged with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to protect against UVA and UVB rays, along with vitamin E and squalane to give skin a dewy sheen. The best part? It won’t take up too much room in your bag—so you have no excuse to not reapply.
The best thing you can do to slow down the signs of aging? Slather on the SPF. This tinted sunscreen from SkinMedica is a safe bet, because it prevents sun damage while repairing any damage that’s already been done. Ingredients like niacinamide (a form of vitamin B3 that targets discoloration), hydrating shea butter, and vitamins C and E work together to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while nourishing the skin.
This fragrance-free sunscreen contains a universal correcting tint that totally disappears into the skin sans white cast. Enhanced with vitamin A, vitamin C, and diamond powder, it leaves behind a gorgeous lit-from-within glow that brightens dark spots and evens skin tone without ever looking or feeling too slick.
This game-changing powder sunscreen easily adds another tinted layer of coverage without clogging pores. A favorite of board-certified dermatologist Debra Jaliman, M.D., the unique brush-on formula is available in a range of shades from fair to deep, helps soak up excess shine, and is easily reapplied every two hours for all-day, on-the-go protection.
For a tinted formula that helps reverse the signs of aging (while preventing future damage!), check out this lightweight sunscreen, which leaves skin looking more even. “ISDIN Eryfotona Ageless is a tinted version of the classic Eryfotona Actinica and is a full mineral sunscreen for the face with peptides, DNA repairsomes, and vitamin E,” says Shari Marchbein, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at Downtown Dermatology in New York City. “These are perfect for day-to-day and the tinted sunscreen can be used instead of makeup.”
Protect your skin with this lightweight tinted sunscreen that goes on silky smooth. “Sheer Tint SPF 45 from PCA SKIN is a great option because it has a universal tint that blurs imperfections and gives the skin a great glow,” says board-certified dermatologist Rebecca Kazin, M.D., associate director at the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery. “Plus, it provides water-resistant SPF protection,” she adds, so it’s ideal if you have an active lifestyle.
This velvety SPF from SkinCeuticals protects your skin without suffocating it. Along with its featherlight feeling, the fragrance-free, noncomedogenic formula blends seamlessly into skin for a radiant finish. Water resistant for up to 40 minutes, this tinted sunscreen is available in one shade that adapts to most skin tones but works best on light to medium complexions.
A safe bet if you want a bit more coverage, Suntegrity’s multi-action SPF helps even out your skin tone in seconds. Available in a range of shades, the vegan tint is chock-full of ingredients your skin will love: peptides to reduce signs of aging, hyaluronic acid to hydrate, aloe vera to soothe, and vitamins C and E to brighten and nourish your complexion. Broad spectrum mineral filters guard against sun damage, all while maintaining a lightweight feel.