Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photo: Retailer
On some days, wearing a full face of makeup with caked-on foundation just isn’t an option. Sometimes there’s nothing like an easy product such as a good tinted moisturizer. I’ll admit, I used to not be a fan of these because of their sheerness. But with face masks, “no makeup” makeup looks are more popular than ever, and a full face of makeup every day just may not be necessary anymore. Sheer coverage also allows unique features like freckles and birthmarks to come through.
But much like foundations, tinted moisturizers aren’t always created with deeper shades in mind. It can be difficult to find the correct shade that matches Black women’s undertones, blends seamlessly, and has a finish we desire. Here is a roundup of the best tinted moisturizers based on reviews and my personal experience. There are SPF options, melanin-rich options made just for us, others infused with skin-care ingredients, and more.
Ami Colé’s skin tint wasn’t made to cover anything; it was made to enhance melanin skin. Its lightweight texture blends into skin for a hydrating yet rich and glowy finish that lasts all day and gets better with time. Beauty-industry vet Diarrha N’Diaye-Mbaye just launched the skin tint this year, but it already has a cult following from Justine Skye to Beyoncé’s longtime makeup artist Sir John, and it is well worth the hype.
When you first apply this serum, the shade can seem way off, but once blended, it’s an almost perfect match for even the deepest skin tones. The nondrying formula leaves skin with a light, dewy finish, and it’s packed with plant-based squalane, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid, a trio made for hydrated, smooth skin. To top it off, it has a whopping SPF 40, one of the highest I’ve ever seen in a tinted moisturizer.
As with its foundation shades, Fenty just gets it when it comes to making sure all skin tones are seen and included. Its skin tint is no different. The fairly new product is a light yet buildable formula that gives you just enough coverage to smooth out the texture of your skin and cover your pores. On combination skin, it can get a little greasy in warmer temperatures, but that’s nothing the brand’s blotting papers can’t fix.
When the Lip Bar ventured into skin care after years of selling only lip products, I knew they would be made with Black women in mind, just like the brand’s original products — and I was right. This moisturizing tint not only makes my skin feel nourished, but it’s one of the easiest products to apply because of how smoothly it blends in. A few light glides across the skin and you have all the light coverage you need.
I’ll admit I was a bit hesitant when this landed on the market because luxury brands have a history of not getting shades right, but I was proved wrong when I tried this. The skin-care–makeup hybrid has a hydrating texture you can feel the second it lands on your skin, and the hydration lasts. Although it comes out a bit light, once it’s blended it instantly improves and smooths the skin for a transparent yet radiant appearance.
There’s a fine line between dewy and greasy when it comes to tinted moisturizers, but this blend of Damascus-rose oil, squalane, and more creates a great balance for a long-lasting, luminous finish. The brand describes it as “second-skin vibes,” and it lives up to that, especially in humid climates.
Tinted moisturizers are already light enough, but if you want one that lasts even under a face mask, no matter how lightweight, then this one is a go-to. The formula barely moves under a mask, and while the vitamin-C–infused cream is praised for its brightening qualities, I personally love it for the natural bronze it gives the complexion, especially darker ones.
Lots of Glossier lovers prefer this skin tint over a foundation because it provides the same even skin tone without all the work of a foundation and concealer. It’s even beloved by those with more mature skin. Reviewers praise the finish as “breathable” and have dubbed it “confidence in a bottle” for the flawless way it balances the skin’s texture while hiding wrinkles and lines.
This moisturizer is so lightweight it’s easy to forget you’re wearing anything at all. It’s great for people with oily-to-combo skin who love a mattifying finish but not being dried out. It has a consistently smooth texture that’s absorbable, and it’s a lifesaver if you have an oily T-zone.
This brand prides itself on having a silky, nonclogging formula, and fans agree. Most reviewers love this serum for its vitamin-packed list of ingredients because it treats their skin concerns while applying a smooth, lightweight, nonoxidizing tint. The brand also offers a personalized test to help you find your best shade, which is always a plus for Black girls who struggle to find the perfect fit.
Reviewers love how this blends onto dry and dehydrated skin because of its hyaluronic-acid-rich formula. It also gives the complexion a natural highlighted appearance without becoming greasy over time.