No-breakout makeup: tinted moisturizers

How to nail your summer’s no-makeup makeup.

Stephanie Papanikolas Avatar

Stephanie Papanikolas
Jul 11, 2019 · 6 min read

We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

It’s finally summer: season of love, fun, and wearing absolutely as little as possible. But with the arrival of longer days and shorter nights, more time outdoors means more time in harmful UV rays. And when the sun is high, so is the heat, leaving our skin sweaty. It’s even harder to figure out how to protect your skin and bring out your inner glow, especially since caking on products is the last thing anyone wants to do!

That’s why we’re absolutely stoked on tinted moisturizer, a skincare/beauty hybrid product. Tinted moisturizers can be the key to both preventing sun damage AND the perfect no-makeup makeup look.

If you struggle with acne, simplicity is key. That’s why we’ve analyzed the ingredients of these products to find the best tinted moisturizers for acne-prone skin.

What’s a tinted moisturizer?

What’s the difference between a tinted moisturizer, tinted sunscreen, a BB/CC cream, and a face tint? Perhaps not much, especially since different products take creative liberties with defining themselves. When we say tinted moisturizer, we’re talking about skincare products that offer light coverage when it comes to their intensity as a makeup product. And, we’re talking in particular about tinted moisturizers labeled with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) number. Check out our past posts on No-Breakout Foundations and BB/CC Creams to learn more about different kinds of makeup coverage for your face.

Tinted moisturizers vs. foundation

A tinted moisturizer is a cosmetic product that performs like a moisturizing foundation, providing the same coverage as a sheer-to-medium foundation, without needing to be applied with a brush or a sponge. Rather than caking on foundation in order to hide blemishes, the tint improves your overall glow while feeling so light, it hardly feels like you’re wearing anything.

But the main reason tinted moisturizers with SPF are so popular is because of their potential benefits against UV rays and aging. We recommend a tinted moisturizer with SPF as a triple benefit: makeup, moisturizer, and sunscreen. So not only are they a perfect follow-up for your AM cleanse, but it’s easy to reapply throughout the day, keeping your face looking fresh and staying sun-protected. Tinted moisturizers are the easiest way to achieve a no-makeup makeup look for the sweatiest months of the year!

A note on SPF

We recommend your AM routine always include applying an SPF of at least 30. For more about best sun-protection practices, check out our Guide on Sunscreen.

No-breakout? No sweat: the best tinted moisturizers for acne-prone skin

Tinted moisturizers are gaining in popularity, so there are plenty of drugstore and luxury options, each with their own unique formula, so it can be difficult to figure out which one is best for your skin. If you’re acne-prone or have sensitive skin, it’s important to avoid pore-clogging (or comedogenic) formulas.

But not to worry. Here at Curology, we’ve done our research: to keep your skin clear, always seek out products that are non-comedogenic — meaning they won’t tend to clog your pores! Here’s how to review your skin products if you want to learn more about this.

To save you some time, we reviewed the latest greatest products and analyzed their ingredients to find the best tinted moisturizer for the perfect no-breakout no-makeup look. So before you go Google sleuthing on your own, save a little time by reading this handy dandy list of the best tinted moisturizers for your face.

Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer SPF 30 ($18.99, 2.5 oz)

  • Comes in a universal transparent tone to even skin texture and discoloration

  • Great protection against UVA and UVB rays

  • Non-comedogenic and fragrance-free formula won’t cause breakouts

jane iredale Dream Tint Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15 ($44.00, 1.7 fl oz)

  • Contains astringent and antioxidant ingredients that repair skin while minimizing sun damage

  • Buildable formula provides sheer to medium coverage (similar to jane iredale foundations)

  • Comes in 7 shades, with an emphasis on deep tones

  • Only SPF 15, though — we recommend at least 30

NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 ($45.00, 1.9 oz)

  • The NARS tinted moisturizer has the best shade range, spanning a whopping 11 shades from Finland to Cuzco

  • Non-comedogenic formula that won’t break you out

  • Protects against UVA/UVB rays with physical and chemical sunscreens, for maximum protection and blendability

  • Contains added fragrance — use with caution if you have sensitive skin

COOLA Organic Face SPF 30 Rossiliance BB+ Skin Tint ($52.00, 1.5 oz)

  • Gentle, non-comedogenic formula with natural fragrances works well with most skin types

  • Comes in 3 shades, ranging from Light/Medium to Medium/Deep

  • COOLA sunscreen protects against UVA/UVB rays with titanium dioxide, a good alternative to those who react unpredictably to chemical sunscreen

It COSMETICS Anti-Aging Armour SPF 50+ ($38.00, 1.0 oz)

  • Non-comedogenic

  • In terms of the best moisturizer for mature skin, this one has hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid and retinyl palmitate, which may reduce the appearance of fine lines

  • Universal tone improves the appearance of skin texture (but doesn’t provide the same coverage as other It Cosmetics foundations)

  • Uses physical sunscreens for maximum protection — but may leave a white cast

Tarte Amazonian Clay BB Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20 ($36.00, 1.7 oz)

  • Similar to It Cosmetics’ formula, but slightly less expensive

  • Non-comedogenic formula with some added natural fragrance

  • Contains retinyl palmitate and sodium hyaluronate to revive dull skin

  • Light coverage in 4 shades, ranging from Light-Medium to Medium-Tan

  • With SPF 20, it’s a little better than the jane iredale foundation, but we still think you should aim for at least SPF 30!

Neutrogena Tinted Moisturizers

If you’re looking for the best drugstore tinted moisturizer, Neutrogena offers a prolific range of tinted moisturizers geared toward acne-prone skin. If you’re just starting your free Curology trial, we recommend avoiding any makeup products that contain salicylic acid while your skin is adjusting (although feel free to reach for products with salicylic acid if that’s what’s right for your skin!). When it comes to Neutrogena’s tinted moisturizers, here are two of our favorites:

Neutrogena Healthy Glow Sheers SPF 30 ($12.99, 1.1 fl oz)

  • Non-comedogenic formula with retinyl palmitate to fight signs of aging

  • Contains a mix of physical and chemical sunscreens to offer the best UVA/UVB protection

  • More complex formula may irritate sensitive skin

  • Sheer coverage product geared toward sun protection

Neutrogena Protect + Tint SPF 30 ($9.97, 1.1 fl oz)

  • Formula is similar to Healthy Glow Sheers, but is better for sensitive skin.

  • Non-comedogenic and age-defying with retinyl palmitate

  • Provides natural-looking coverage to improve skin’s overall appearance

  • Available in 5 shades, ranging from Ivory/Fair to Medium/Deep

Curology’s got you

When you’re uncomfortable in your skin, your skin is uncomfortable too. But confidence doesn’t have to be complicated. Whether your no-makeup makeup look includes a tinted moisturizer or is 100% au natural, remember that Curology’s got your back. We know that shopping for products can be overwhelming, especially with so many different options available. That’s why here at Curology, we always keep it simple — based on the ingredients we know are safest for your skin. Get your first kit free and see why Curology is the easiest beauty hack ever.

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Stephanie Papanikolas

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