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Best tinted non-comedogenic moisturizer

Tinted moisturizers are the key to a no-makeup makeup look.

Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Feb 29, 2024 • 8 min read
Medically reviewed by Elise Griffin, PA-C
Swatches of different tones of concealer on someone's inner arm. The swatches are organized from lightest to darkest.
Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Feb 29, 2024 • 8 min read
Medically reviewed by Elise Griffin, PA-C
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.

In this article



  • Tinted non-comedogenic moisturizers can hydrate your skin and may offer sun protection when they are made with SPF.

  • SPF protection can help lower your risk of skin cancer and minimize sun damage.

  • These moisturizers should not take the place of your regular skincare routine.

  • While foundations must be applied with sponges and brushes, tinted moisturizers can be applied with your fingers and blend well over a large area.

  • Take care to review your products for pore-clogging ingredients and choose fragrance and dye-free products.

  • Tinted non-comedogenic moisturizers provide similar coverage to sheer-to-medium foundations.

There’s no one-size-fits-all in skincare. What works for one person may not necessarily have the same results for someone else. But it’s only natural to want the best! Luckily our team of licensed dermatology providers are regularly reviewing and assessing products on the market and are happy to offer a few recommendations! So here, you’ll find the products that hold up to our standards.

You may not always be in the mood for a full face of foundation—but you still want more than sheer coverage. And you want a product that doesn’t clog your pores and trigger acne-prone skin. The solution: Use a non-comedogenic tinted moisturizer!

Tinted moisturizers are skincare/beauty hybrid products that can be the key to both helping prevent sun damage (if made with SPF) and the perfect no-makeup makeup look. Here’s what you need to know about choosing the right one for your skin (and some of our recs!).

What is tinted moisturizer and what does it do?

Tinted non-comedogenic moisturizers are typically lightweight lotions that hydrate and smooth the appearance of your skin and leave a sheer finish with a touch of color. The light color helps visibly smooth uneven skin tone while doing double duty and infusing your dry skin with hydration. Think of these non-comedogenic moisturizers as an extension of your skincare routine that you can wear outside the house.

While these moisturizers help hydrate your skin, they shouldn’t take the place of your regular moisturizer. Your everyday moisturizer should be lightweight and can be used as much and as often as you’d like without worrying that you may overdo it. Tinted moisturizers can be easily applied with your fingertips for natural coverage, and don’t need brushes or sponges to get a smooth application with buildable color coverage.

Depending on your skin type and activities, you may want to apply it every four to six hours. This can also help hydrate dry skin throughout the day. There are also products that help address specific skin concerns, such as dry, oily, combination, acne-prone, or sensitive skin. Determining your skin type can help you identify the right products to use. However, it’s important to know that your skin type can change seasonally or as you age.

Tinted moisturizer with SPF protection

Non-comedogenic tinted moisturizers are cosmetic products that offer light to medium coverage and some have SPF sunscreen protection. SPF is an important part of your skincare routine to help lower your risk of skin cancer and to minimize the appearance of short- and long-term sun damage, which has anti-aging benefits.¹ Sun damage can increase your risk of skin darkening, also called hyperpigmentation, photoaging, and DNA damage.²

Sunscreen isn’t just for the summer or outdoors.³ The sun’s rays can affect your skin no matter what time of the year, and ultraviolet (UV) radiation can travel through windows. This is why you want to wear products with sunscreen indoors or during the winter months when you work near windows or are traveling in your car. Tinted moisturizers can also help hydrate dry skin or mature skin during the winter months.

We recommend a tinted moisturizer with broad-spectrum SPF so you get triple benefits: makeup, moisturizer, and sunscreen. Tinted moisturizers are easy to reapply throughout the day, keeping your face looking fresh and staying sun-protected without the typical white cast. We recommend your morning routine always include an SPF skin product of at least 30. For more about best sun-protection practices, check out our Guide on Sunscreen.

Know these things about tinted moisturizer

There are several things to consider when you’re choosing the right non-comedogenic tinted moisturizer for your skincare routine or to add to your makeup products. Several factors can make the difference between liking a product and pitching it after one use. These factors include ingredients you should avoid, identifying the difference between BB cream and tinted moisturizer, and when to choose tinted moisturizer or foundation.

Tinted moisturizer vs. foundation

Foundation comes in liquid, cream, or powder formulas and is typically applied with a makeup sponge or brush. They can be difficult to apply or blend over large areas of skin. They may cover moderate flaws and may offer buildable coverage.

Tinted moisturizers are liquid and can be applied with your fingers for natural-looking coverage, and blend easily over large areas. This means it’s easy to reapply during the day as needed and often provides similar coverage as a sheer-to-medium foundation. Non-comedogenic foundation and oil-free formula moisturizers can be used every day, but it is crucial to check the ingredients so the product doesn’t clog your pores and trigger acne breakouts

What is the difference between BB cream and tinted moisturizer?

BB cream stands for beauty balm. There isn’t much difference between BB cream and tinted moisturizers. For more information about BB and CC creams and non-comedogenic foundations, check out our past posts on no-breakout foundations and BB/CC creams and discover more about the different kinds of makeup coverage for your face.

Ingredients to avoid in tinted moisturizers

There are just a couple of steps you can take to avoid skincare ingredients that may cause acne breakouts, including finding an oil-free formula. To keep your skin clear, look for products that are fragrance-free and non-comedogenic. Here’s our guide on how to review your skin care products for pore-clogging skincare ingredients

The best tinted moisturizers for acne-prone skin

Tinted moisturizers are popular products, so you are likely to find plenty of options on the market. However, it is important to make the right choice for your skin. For example, a moisturizer for someone with acne-prone or oily skin may not be best for someone with sensitive skin. Everyone, though, should avoid pore-clogging ingredients.

To help save you some time, we reviewed a few tinted moisturizers and checked their ingredients.

Tinted moisturizer with sunscreen

TIZO3 Facial Primer Sunscreen

  • Physical, broad-spectrum SPF sunscreen protection, preservative-free and reef-friendly

  • Gentle on all skin types, photo-stable, and dye, oil, and fragrance-free

  • Reapply every two hours for sun protection

CoTZ Face Prime & Protect SPF 40 Tinted Sunscreen

  • Sheer mineral broad-spectrum SPF UVA and UVB sunscreen protection

  • Layers under makeup or used alone for a matte finish

  • TSA-approved, reef-friendly, and water-resistant for 80 minutes

Tinted BB and CC creams

Maybelline Dream Pure BB Cream

  • Light coverage and matte finish

  • Contains 2% salicylic acid for acne protection and treatment

  • Minimizes the appearance of pores, reduces the appearance of redness, hydrates and smoothes skin

Supergoop! CC Screen 100% Mineral CC Cream SPF 50

  • Broad-spectrum, colored sunscreen that color corrects and evens a range of skin tones

  • 100% mineral sunscreen, good for all skin types

  • CC Screen can be applied with your fingers, foundation brush, or sponge

  • Allow it to set for 60 seconds and add a second layer for buildable coverage

Curology has you covered

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

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Whether your no-makeup makeup look includes a tinted moisturizer or not, 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 we always keep it simple and based on the ingredients we know are generally better for your skin. If you’re not a member, we encourage you to try a 30-day trial* and see why Curology is the easiest skin hack ever.**


Are tinted moisturizers bad for acne-prone skin?

Tinted moisturizers aren’t bad for acne-prone skin but some of the ingredients might be. It’s important to review your product for pore-clogging ingredients and choose a tinted moisturizer without pore-clogging ingredients to protect your complexion.

Does tinted moisturizer cover up acne?

Tinted moisturizers offer coverage similar to sheer-to-medium foundations. They don’t provide complete coverage, but they can reduce the appearance of acne without contributing to breakouts when they don’t contain pore-clogging ingredients.

Can you wear tinted moisturizer under makeup?

You can wear tinted moisturizer under makeup, but it’s not necessary.

Is tinted moisturizer good for oily skin?

It’s important to choose non-comedogenic products if you have oily skin.⁴ You should still moisturize if you have oily skin, and a tinted moisturizer should not take the place of your regular moisturizer.

What is the best tinted moisturizer for acne-prone skin?

The best tinted moisturizer for acne-prone skin has non-comedogenic ingredients and does not react with your skin. You may need to test several products before you find the right one that meets your needs.

Will tinted moisturizer help acne scars?

Tinted moisturizers do not eliminate acne scars, but they may help hide post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (dark spots) or erythema (redness).

• • •

P.S. We did the homework so you don’t have to:

  1. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Sunscreen FAQs.(2023, October 19).

  2. Guan, L. et al. Sunscreens and Photoaging: A Review of Current Literature. American Journal of Clinical Dermatology. (2021, August 13).

  3. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Sunscreen FAQs. Ibid.

  4. American Academy of Dermatology Association. How to control oily skin. (n.d.)

Elise Griffin is a certified physician assistant at Curology. She received her Master of Medical Science in physician assistant studies from Nova Southeastern University in Jacksonville, FL.

*Cancel anytime. Subject to consultation. Results may vary.

**Restrictions apply. See website for full details and important safety information.

• • •
Our medical review process:We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
Our policy on product links:Empowering you with knowledge is our top priority. Our reviews of other brands’ products in this post are not paid endorsements—but they do meet our medically fact-checked standards for ingredients (at the time of publication).
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Curology Team

Elise Griffin, Physician Assistant Curology

Elise Griffin, PA-C

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