These sunscreens give you a subtle hint of colour and skincare benefits too. Find your match with our edit.
Experts are in agreement that we should all be wearing spf every day. And while many foundations contain SPF, remember you'd need to top up with a teaspoonful on the face and neck every two hours to keep up the level of protection it says on the bottle. That's a whole lot of pigment! This is where tinted SPF comes into its own; it's sun protection first and foremost, but one you can top up throughout the day with that extra bit of colour or coverage.
These magical bases come in different formulas (liquid and cream) as well as finishes (dewy, matte, satin) and feature super sheer, medium, and full-coverage options. Some simply blur to unify your complexion rather than add a foundation-like shade.
In the past, tinted SPFs have been fairly limited when it comes to the shades they offer. And whilst there is still a lot more work to do, thanks to modern formulations a lot more 'one shade suits all' products really do work for every skin tone. Whilst other brands are approaching their tinted SPFs like a foundation range (we're looking at you wonderful people at Ultra Violette). So if that has put you off in the past it is definitely time to rethink and give tinted SPFs another chance.
Whether you're looking for a subtle blurring of imperfections or a high-coverage tint, we've got all bases covered with our tried and tested round-up of the best tinted SPFs.
Best BB tinted SPF: Dr Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm SPF50, £35
Containing 2 per cent niacinamide to strengthen the skin barrier, glycerin for extra moisture and a brilliant mineral and chemical sunscreen to provide excellent coverage. Unlike many other BB creams the tint is actually quite heavy so if you like coverage then this will deliver, but if you prefer a sheerer effect a little will go a long way. As a true BB cream should do, this also colour corrects at the same time taking redness and sallowness in the skin tone. It only comes in four shades but they really do stretch across a lot of skin tones.
Best for bronzing: Lancaster Infinite Bronze SPF15, £18
For days when you’ll be in the shade or inside (yes, you still need SPF if you’re sitting by a window) or in the evenings, this bronze-tinted SPF15 is a winner. Sadly it doesn't have high enough SPF to be used midday in the bright, glorious sun, but it still has a worthy place in your skincare arsenal. Not only does it smell of holidays but it has a lovely gorgeous creamy consistency and feels really hydrating. If you’re having a good skin day then this really is all you need on your skin in terms of makeup, but otherwise, you could team with a bit of concealer too.
Best for hydration: Dr Sam’s Flawless Gossamer Tint SPF50, £35
You know you’re going to get amazing SPF protection when you’re buying from dermatologist, Dr Sam Bunting and this contains titanium oxide to offer safe and effective sun protection. This has a slightly thicker consistency than other tinted SPFs but drier skins will lap it up. It contains hydrating squalane, shea butter and sodium hyaluronate a bi-product of hyaluronic acid. It comes in two shades but there is also a completely clear shade as well.
Best for glow: Ultra Violette Daydream Screen Tinted Veil SPF50, £38
Available in 14 shades this has to be the truest representation of what a modern day tinted SPF should be. It has amazing SPF protection and the fact that it comes in specific shades means you are going to treat it just like a tinted moisturiser and get a truly customised finish that works for your skin tone.
Best for a sunkissed look: Institut Esthederm Bronz Repair Sunkissed, £57
Unlike any other brand, Institut Esthederm doesn’t follow the standard SPF categories as it doesn’t believe that the numbers go far enough to protect against all the damage the sun can do, so using their products does require a bit of research and re-education. What you will notice are the words ‘moderate sun’ on the packaging which means this is designed for days where the skin is exposed to…you guessed it, moderate sun. It comes in one universal shade that really does work on all skin tones and it leaves a gorgeous bronzed effect to the skin whilst delivering skin caring ingredients and sun protection. And just like other SPFs they recommend reapplying every two hours.
Best for a collagen boost: Naked Sundays SPF50+ Collagen 100% Mineral Sunscreen, £34
We’re including this because even though it’s not tinted in the traditional sense, it does come out tinted and then blends into an invisible veil across the skin that seems to blur imperfections, magically even out skin tone, reduce the appearance of pores etc. You may want to add a little concealer on top but this may just be all that you need and it’s all kinds of wonderful so we didn’t want to not include it.
Best mineral facial SPF: Esse Sunscreen SPF30, £33.75
Mineral sunscreens have had a bit of a bad rep in the past. This is because they physically block the sun’s rays from your skin and the ingredients that were used to do this were quite heavy and chalky which meant they weren’t always the easiest to use. However those days are long gone and this product stands as testament to that. It sinks in immediately and even though it comes in one shade it doesn’t leave any white residue so does work for everyone.
Best for touch-ups on the go: Shiseido Sports BB Compact SPF50+, £34
While this has been designed with sporty people in mind (it’s sweat-proof, water-proof and activity-proof), it’s also a great tinted SPF for those less sports inclined as well as for keeping on you for last minute applications or touch-ups - plus it has a handy mirror in the lid so you can see what you’re doing as you’re doing it. It has a lovely cream-to-powder consistency that you apply with the puff that comes in the compact and comes in five shades.
Best for a subtle tint: Elizabeth Arden Prevage City Smart Hydrating Protection Shield SPF 50, £57 for 40ml
Another firm favourite at GTG, this very lightly tinted lightweight shield is your year-round sun and pollution protection. Its superfine hydrating texture means it sits perfectly under foundation, or indeed over it if you need a top-up. Prevage's signature antioxidants add extra environmental protection powers too. This mixed mineral and chemical sunscreen is one we have in our makeup bag all year.
Best all-rounder: Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense SPF30, £30 for 60ml
If you want a definite hint of colour, Drunk Elephant's Umbra Tinte sunscreen is a perfect choice. The mineral formula is enriched with antioxidants drawn from sunflower shoot extract and grape juice which both work together to reduce photo ageing and encourage a younger-looking complexion. It doesn't contain any silicones or fragrance, a great option for those with dry, combination or sensitive skin.
Best for a matte finish: SkinCeuticals Mineral Matte UV Defense 30, £36.99 for 30ml
For a mineral sunscreen, this universal tinted SPF from SkinCeuticals has an oilier, more hydrating feel, and is incredibly sheer. It makes a great option for those who want a weightless SPF that sits nicely under makeup. It gives both UVA and UVB protection, while its formula is infused with translucent colour spheres that blend easily on the skin, delivering an even skin tone, although we found it looked a little grey on dark skin.
It's great for when you want to skip the foundation and is also suitable for use after a chemical peel to reduce redness and protect it from harmful rays.
Best for fighting rosacea: Rosalique 3-in-1 Miracle anti-redness formula SPF 50, £28.49 for 30ml
If you suffer from sensitivity, rosacea or redness – and even if you don't – this is one of our top choices for a tinted mineral-based, broad-spectrum SPF. It manages to give pretty much all the coverage of a foundation without looking like you have anything on making it the perfect lightweight coverage for summer. The secret is in its adaptive tint. It goes on green to neutralise redness and then blends away to somehow seamlessly look like your skin tone. Rosalique says that this universal cream works on skins that are light to olive "and even a little darker as long as there is a bit of a yellow undertone when you do have slightly darker skin." Our tester who has mixed white and black Caribbean skin says it made her face look a little ashy. It also highly moisturising and contains skin-calming active ingredients including bisabolol, derived from chamomile. It has many five-star reviews and constantly sells out.
Best for ultra-high protection: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Hydrating SPF50+ Tinted BB Sun Cream, £15.20 for 50ml
A favourite of our commercial partnerships manager Catherine, this is one of the thicker options on our edit, meaning it really feels like it's protecting the skin. She doesn't add foundation on top, just a powder to set it and she's good to go.
Best for a sheer finish: Neostrata Sheer Physical Protection SPF 50, £30 for 50ml
This oil-free translucent mineral sunscreen gives the subtlest sheer tint to nix the dreaded white cast you often get with a mineral SPF. A favourite of aesthetic doctor Dr Amiee Vyas, who showcased it on our Get The Gloss skin brightening masterclass , and recommended it for her clients of every skin tone. It has antioxidant ingredients including green tea and vitamin E keep skin moisturised and healthy and it's ultra-light on the skin (shake well first). Best of all? It undoes already existing DNA sun damage for a unified skin tone.
Best for a post-holiday glow: Sisley Paris Tinted Sunscreen Cream SPF30, £130 for 40ml
If you want an even tan after your holiday to St Tropez then Sisley's offering should be a no-brainer. Not only does it offer both UVA/UVB protection, but its non-greasy formula melts into the skin and helps to smooth fine lines and minimise dark spots without clogging the pores. Scented with sage and marjoram essential oils and enriched with camellia and shea butter oils, this SPF will hydrate, moisturise and protect. Available in Natural, Golden and Deep Amber.
Best fragrance-free tinted SPF: Ultrasun Sun Protection Tinted Face Fluid SPF50+, £20.80 for 40ml
This tinted sunscreen shields your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays, while giving your complexion that St Tropez glow. It is a universal tint that suits all skin shades and doesn't leave a white film upon application. The formula contains ectoin, a naturally-occurring enzyme that works to minimise photo ageing. It's also suitable for all skin types (including you sensitive lot) as it contains no perfumes or essential oils and is rich enough to take the place of a moisturiser.
Best for a lightweight feel: Heliocare Colour Gelcream Brown, £26.99 for 50ml
Not only does this sunscreen have amazing reviews online, with users branding the product as a 'miracle worker' but it's also widely recommended by dermatologists and aestheticians. It's a great option if you hate going completely makeup-free at the beach and want more than a little bit of a tint in your skin but don't want to compromise on sun protection. Heliocare's sunscreen is lightweight, non-greasy and comes in two skin-enhancing shades that are designed to blend into every skin tone. The brand's 'Fernblock' technology provides antioxidant protection to prevent DNA damage within the cells. There are a few formula options including oil-free. This can easily take the place of a medium-coverage foundation.
Best for a subtle glow: Dr Dennis Gross Skincare Instant Radiance SPF40, £51.95 for 50ml
This tinted SPF is a powerhouse of a product, waking up the complexion, reducing redness and protecting against UVA and UVB rays. It’s available in two shades, medium-deep and light medium and gives a subtle glow to the skin. Two shades doesn’t sound like a lot, but it has a correcting complex in the formula which adapts itself to most skin tones.
Best for fast-absorption: Supergoop! Glowscreen SPF 30, £15 for 15ml
This is a lightweight, pearlescent formula that creates a pretty, glowy finish, all the while protecting from broad-spectrum UV rays and blue light. It’s a chemical sunscreen and also includes hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5 for moisture. It absorbs ultra-quickly and makeup applies perfectly on top with no slipping and sliding. Our tester says she never needs makeup on top, it has the same coverage as a tinted moisturiser gives such a healthy glow. It's one universal shade, which is more suited to lighter skin tones.
Best on a budget: Bliss Block Star SPF 30, £13.33 for 40ml
New York spa Bliss has relaunched in the UK after a five-year absence and is back with a bang, with a product range including this mineral, broad-spectrum SPF. It gives a pretty, blurring, air-brushed look with just enough tint to cancel out any whiteness and has a subtle lavender scent, a nod to the brand’s spa background. It feels silky on application and isn’t at all greasy and leaves zero white cast. We think this one's great value.
Best for a velvety texture: SVR Sun Secure Blur SPF 50, £18 for 50ml
SVR's mineral SPF has a mousse texture with a subtle tint that blurs imperfections and makes your complexion look more even. It has niacinamide to boost your skin barrier while protecting against UVA, UVB and infrared.
Best for high coverage: Avène Very High Protection Tinted Sun Cream SPF50+ for Dry Sensitive Skin, £18 for 50ml
French pharmacy brand Avène does some of the best high-protection SPFs around, they are deeply hydrating yet non-sticky and suitable for dry and sensitive skin types. Its latest launch, a tinted version of its Very High Protection SPF50+ offers more coverage than most and is a personal favourite of GTG's editorial director Victoria Woodhall.