Even though you know you should never skip sunscreen, layering on your moisturizer, sunscreen, and foundation or BB cream can be time consuming. Most of us don’t want to forgo hydration or coverage, so SPF often gets left behind in the morning rush.
But that’s a mistake: Applying (and reapplying!) sunscreen is the single most important thing you can do to protect yourself against skin cancer and keep your skin looking youthful.
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, MD, 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 skin care routine.
Now that you have the basics down, you can get to the fun part: shopping! Below, the best tinted sunscreens to keep our skin glowing all summer.
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La Roche-Posay Anthelios Tinted Mineral Sunscreen Ultra-Light SPF 50
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, MD. 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.
PCA SKIN Sheer Tint Broad Spectrum SPF 45
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, MD, 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.
Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30
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.
EltaMD UV Elements Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 44
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 care products 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.
Avène High Protection Tinted Compact SPF 50
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.
SkinMedica Total Defense + Repair SPF 34 Tinted Sunscreen
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.
SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50
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.
MDSolarSciences Mineral Tinted Crème Broad Spectrum SPF 30
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 2019. 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.
Suntegrity 5-in-1 Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen SPF 30
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.
Elizabeth Arden Prevage City Smart Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Hydrating Shield
Just a few pumps of Elizabeth Arden’s multitasking products serves as your antioxidant serum, 100-percent mineral SPF 50 sunscreen, and tinted moisturizer. On top of that, it helps block pollutants—which also contribute to wrinkles and spots—from entering skin. The noncomedogenic formula blends in effortlessly, smooths out any texture, and leaves behind a fresh-faced glow.