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Makeup

The best skin tints to suit every complexion

November 18th 2020 / Jessica Morgan / 0 comment

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Who needs full coverage when you're barely leaving the house? Instead we're reaching for lighter bases that enhance skin glow rather than masking every imperfection. Here's our edit of the best tinted creams and sheer, lightweight foundations

While we're working at home, only seeing our nearest and dearest (or in some cases, housemates), a face of makeup complete with full coverage foundation seems kind of unnecessary. Our heavier foundations are taking a temporary backseat in favour of skin tints.

These are sheer, often watery formulations that come in a small range of shades – sometimes only one shade - because they tint and enhance the skin, rather than covering it up. Glossier's Skin Tint, has led the way while Chanel's Les Beiges Hydralumnious Eau de Teint, a tinted ‘water’ had the high-end corner covered. It comes in just six shades. “Whatever your skin tone, you’ll find one to suit you,” says Chanel makeup artist Mary Greenwell.

We now don't want to knock decades off our faces and disguise every flaw, We want to look like a more rested ‘holidayed’ version ourselves

It's was clear that this is a personal favourite for Mary; at the launch, she could barely contain her excitement over the return to a more “luminous, sheer and natural” finish.

“In the 1980s, we never used concealers on the supermodels because we felt to was too mask-like," she told us. "We’re now going back to that."

We now don't want to knock decades off our faces and disguise every flaw, she said. We want to look like a more rested ‘holidayed’ version ourselves.

This is something we too have been hearing more and more of at GTG, with aesthetic practitioners too telling us that the most demanded non-surgical treatments are those that improve glow and skin texture - such as LED light therapy, Profhilo and radiofrequency. The perfect base for a skin tint, in fact.

The red carpet too has embraced the minimal base trend. Alicia Keys has chosen to remain completely barefaced in high profile editorial shoots wore next to no makeup at the Met Gala. "I don't want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul… not my emotional growth" she has said. Jennifer Garner, Amanda Seyfried, Jennifer Lawrence and Gisele Bundchen are all poster-women for the nearly-real skin look.

MORE GLOSS: What it's like going makeup-free for a month

This is a trend that translates to real life, says makeup artist Cher Webb. "It’s so refreshing to see the more stripped back, less coverage makeup looks on everyday women,” she says. "People are embracing their skin are opting for lightweight veils for bases and revealing more of an authentic and effortless feel. Some of the light coverage favourites I keep in my kit include the MAC Cosmetics Face & Body, £27, which is a classic for authentic coverage. I also love bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Gel Cream, £29, which is another classic that delivers a super sheer radiant complexion, as well as NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser, £31, for a perfect veil of flawless, translucent coverage."

Elle McNamara, the fresh-faced woman behind skincare-focused Instagram account Bambi Does Beauty, who spent her teenage years using full-coverage bases, is happy to say she no longer uses foundation. “Even on a bad skin day, I opt for a flush of an all over skin tint to even out my complexion and then go in with micro-concealing, if needed. I love for my pores to be visible and the only reason I use a base coverage is to add warmth and even out the tone - so skin tints are my match made in heaven."

For the right skin tint for you, look no further than our edit of the best products to enhance your complexion, not hide it.

MZ Skin Tint and Protect Skin Perfecting SPF 30 Tinted Moisturiser, £95

mz-skin-skin-tint-review.jpgThis is a multi-tasking, blemish busting beauty kit must-have; the lightweight formula packs some heavy beauty punches. It’s packed with a hydrating cocktail of hyaluronic acid, kahai nut oil and collagen-boosting vitamin C that leeave skin glowing and luminous. Yes it’s pricey but you only need a tiny pump every day and a little goes a long way whilst magically minimising fine lines with optical blurring and second-skin technology. it contains a lightweight SPF30 with full-spectrum UVA and UVB protection which is super handy for keeping skin protected from photo-ageing and environmental damage sitting at a laptop or dashing out for a dog walk.

Buy now

Dr. Hauschka Translucent Bronzing Tint, £29.50

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For a sun-kissed tint, you can't go wrong with this glow-giver from Dr. Hauschka. It doesn't cover the skin, instead blending with each individual skin tone to create a fresh and radiant complexion. When I first dispensed it onto the back of my hand I was worried it was too dark for me, but it quickly blended in and adapted to my skin.

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Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Skin Enhancer, £38

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For a youthful dewy glow, this waterproof face perfecter is your answer. It cover, conceals and corrects with 16 different shades, without masking your natural colouring. We like to mix it with moisturiser for to turn it into an extra lightweight skin tint.

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Lumene Invisible Illumination Instant Glow Fresh Skin Tint, £32.90

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We've long been fans of nordic brand Lumene's skincare (particularly the cleansing balm) and the skin tint doesn't disappoint either. They're masters of the no makeup makeup look, with this gel texture blending into the skin to give a flawless finish that feels supple, breathable and hydrating - probably down to the arctic spring water and nordic algae in the ingredients list, as well as the brand's hero ingredient arctic cloudberry which is packed with vitamin C. It comes in four different shades

Buy now

Lottie London Velvet Skin Tint Foundation, £9.95

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Available in eight shades this tint from cruelty free brand Lottie London has a matte finish but still feels lightweight and is easily buildable. Rather than masking your complexion it gives a velvety, second skin appearance. The formula is infused with hyaluronic acid for a hit of hydration.

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Chanel Les Beiges Eau de Teint, £48 (six shades)

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If you’re a fan of Chanel's quenching Hydra Beauty Micro Serum, then its latest innovation will excite you. The 'Water-Fresh Tint' is a hydrating serum with encapsulated pigment 'bubbles' that melt on contact with the skin. The result is an enhanced skin texture look with a dewy, healthy-looking finish. It's best worked in with the accompanying brush, so it really does meld with your skin rather than sitting on top of it, though you can layer it up for a light foundation-like coverage. Available in six shades and containing natural tamarind seed extract, this refreshing tint is perfect for anyone wanting to enhance their complexion’s natural glow.

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Decleor Green Mandarin Sun-Kissed Glow Cream, £60 (one shade)

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For beautifully glowing skin, look no further than Decleor’s latest hybrid day cream. It is a moisturising cream with beta carotene (an orange pigment found in fruits and vegetables) and ultra-light mineral pigments that melt right into the skin. It contains green mandarin essential oil from Brazil - a lesser known, but highly effective antioxidant - as well as hyaluronic acid. It was specially formulated by Decleor's resident makeup artist to be the one shade that blends into all skin tones. While the cream itself is a bright orange hue, don’t let this turn you off. When melted in the palm of your hands, the formula oxidises and glides easily across the face, melting into the skin and offering a healthy, vitamin-rich glow.

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La Mer The Reparative SkinTint SPF30, £57.60 (five shades)

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This really wouldn’t be a skin tint edit without the mention of La Mer’s environmental protection tint. Containing the brand’s legendary Miracle Broth, made from regenerative sea kelp, this tint is arguably one of the most luxurious ways to even out skin tone and gain a luminous glow. If you can stretch the purse strings that far, it’s worth the splurge. The tint contains an SPF30 which makes it slightly heavier than the other products, but it does offer anti-pollution and free-radical protection, making it the perfect companion through the seasons.

Buy now


Perricone MD Face Finishing and Firming Tinted Moisturiser Broad Spectrum SPF30, £59 (one shade fits all)

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Looking for a lightweight moisturiser that delivers a dewy complexion with zero fuss? This deserves a spot on our edit thanks to its high-tech formula made from pigment capsules that slowly release onto the skin. It does contain a broad spectrum SPF30 - while this might frighten you as a moisturiser - it’s actually grain-free, not tacky at all, and is mega-hydrating.

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Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint, £20 (12 shades)

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As part of Glossier’s skin first, makeup second mantra, the millennial-friendly brand launched a lightweight foundation in 2014 that was designed to be thrown on like moisturiser. Its formulation was revisited last year to ensure that the pigment didn’t change throughout the day and voila, the product is packed full of a new blend of oils and a more extensive shade range. At such a friendly price point and with its longlasting light as a feather formula, this is a beauty bag must-have.

Buy it now

bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream, £29 (16 shades)

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A star product in our view, bareMinerals has really hit the mark with this tinted hydrating gel cream. We’ve previously raved about this product and it deserves yet more praise for its multi-tasking properties, falling being somewhere in between a CC cream, BB cream, moisturiser and SPF. It contains plenty of natural ingredients such as marine botanicals and mineral electrolytes that hydrate the skin to give a complexion-boosting natural glow.

Buy it now

Hourglass Illusion Hyaluronic Skin Tint, £51 (12 shades)

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If you do like wearing foundation but don’t like it painted on, then this creamy tint from Hourglass might have your name on it. Blended with hyaluronic acid and pearlescent pigments that burst onto the skin on application, the luscious formula offers a lightweight, yet creamy alternative that gives light to medium coverage. It doesn’t completely cover the skin, allowing for freckles, beauty spots and pores to peep through, but gives just enough coverage to even the skin tone. It contains a broad spectrum SPF15 too.

Buy now

Dior Backstage Face and Body Foundation, £29.50 (50 shades)

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The great thing about Dior's offering is that while it is a foundation, it is completely buildable, making it the perfect addition for runway looks at fashion week. It's the perfect addition to every makeup bag and has been formulated top makeup artists. It's lightweight, buildable and delivers a healthy-looking dewy complexion. If you want a sheer makeup look, you can achieve it by gently applying with the tips of your fingers. But if you fancy a heavier makeup look for an evening, for example, apply with a wet sponge.

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