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 bases
As we head into summer, our foundations are taking a temporary backseat in favour of skin tints. These are sheer, often watery formulations that come in a smaller range of shades because they tint and enhance the skin, rather than covering it up.
Glossier's Skin Tint, £20 has led the way at the high street end with 12 shades, while Chanel's Les Beiges Hydralumnious Eau de Teint , a tinted ‘water’ has luxe covered. Although it comes in just six shades, Chanel makeup artist Mary Greenwell says, “Whatever your skin tone, you’ll find one to suit you.”
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 of ourselves
Skin tints chime with the zeitgeist too, not just the season. Mary told us she couldn't be happier with the recent 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 said. "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.
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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, £32 , 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."
For the right skin tint for you, look no further than our edit of the best products to enhance your complexion, not hide it.
Best for mature or blemish-prone skin
MZ Skin Tint and Protect Skin Perfecting SPF 30 Tinted Moisturiser , £95
This 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 leaves 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.
Best for organic and natural fans
Dr. Hauschka Translucent Bronzing Tint , £29.50 (universal)
For a sun-kissed tint, you can't go wrong with this organic glow-giver from Dr. Hauschka. It doesn't blur the skin, instead it blends with each individual skin tone to create a fresh and radiant complexion. When we first dispensed it on the back of our hands, we were worried, it was too dark, but it quickly blended in and adapted to our skin.
Best for concealing and layering
Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Skin Enhancer , £19.50 (16 shades)
For a youthful dewy glow, this waterproof face perfecter is your answer. It covers, conceals and corrects with 16 different shades, without masking your natural colouring. This is a long-wear concealer that you can blend with moisturiser in your hand to turn it into a lightweight skin tint. Two for the price of one!
Best for vitamin C
Lumene Invisible Illumination Instant Glow Fresh Skin Tint , £32.90 (3 shades)
We've long been fans of Nordic brand Lumene's skincare (particularly the cleansing balm ) and the skin tint doesn't disappoint. The brand is a master 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 and contains well as the brand's hero ingredient arctic cloudberry, which is packed with vitamin C. This one's for you if you like a glowy moisturiser with a hint of a tint. It comes in three shades.
Best budget skin tint
Lottie London Velvet Skin Tint Foundation , £9.95 (8 shades)
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.
Best for medium coverage
Sculpted by Aimee Connolly Tint & Glow Skin Enhancer SPF 30, £23 (10 shades)
If you love Charlotte Tilbury, then Irish MUA Aimee Connolly's range Sculpted should be on your radar for warm neutrals and glow. Her mission is to make skin-enhancing easy and accessible for all women. We love everything we've tried in the range. When choosing from this 10-shade range of medium-coverage tints, which go from Porcelain to Deep Ebony, there's a helpful description of which undertone it suits and which of her best-selling Second Skin foundations it corresponds to. With hydrating hyaluronic acid and calming niacinamide, this really does deliver on the lit-from-within promise at a really reasonable price.
The makeup artist's favourite
If you’re a fan of Chanel's quenching Hydra Beauty Micro Serum, with its bubbles of moisture, then this foundation version 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. No wonder legendary makeup artist Mary Greenwell uses it on repeat.
Best for looking sun-kissed
Decleor Green Mandarin Sun-Kissed Glow Cream, £60 (one shade)
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. If it's a bit of coverage you're after, this one won't blur, but it will make you look sun-kissed.
Best for pollution protection
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.
Best SPF moisturiser with a subtle tint
Perricone MD Face Finishing and Firming Tinted Moisturiser Broad Spectrum SPF30, £40.05 (one shade fits all)
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, it’s not tacky at all, and is mega-hydrating. It's great for mature skin looking for help with firming and the added subtle tint takes away any whiteness from the mineral (titanium dioxide) SPF.
Best for a skin-like finish
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 subsequently revisited 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 long-lasting light as a feather formula, this is a beauty bag must-have.
Best for blur and glow
Bareminerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream, £30 (16 shades)
A star product in our view, Bareminerals has really hit the mark with this tinted hydrating gel cream. MUA Cher Webb loves it, we’ve previously raved about it 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's the current favourite also of our editorial director Victoria, who says, "The glow is insane, it's a natural look with a decent amount of blur natural enough to wear every day and you can easily reapply throughout the day to make sure you are getting enough sun protection. I never wear anything else now, just the odd dollop of concealer if I need more." It contains plenty of natural ingredients such as hydrating squalane, which absorbs so well, to give a complexion-boosting natural glow.
Best for hyaluronic hydration
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.
Best for face and body
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 has been formulated by top makeup artists for face and body and while it's more of a traditional foundation, you can use it really sparingly as a tint without it looking patchy. It delivers a healthy-looking dewy complexion that you can take down to your neck and chest and even over your arms and legs. If you want a sheer makeup look, you can achieve it by gently applying it with the tips of your fingers. But if you fancy a heavier makeup look for an evening, for example, apply with a wet sponge.