If you’re anything like me, you’ll know what it’s like to absolutely loathe everything about facial SPF. Not only does it feel uncomfortable, sticky and often greasy on the skin, but it also, more often than not, leaves behind a ghostly white cast and makes your complexion look impossibly oily. And don’t get me wrong—I know that facial SPF formulas have come a long way, but let’s face it. We’re not quite there yet, are we?
And it seems everyone struggles with facial SPFs for different reasons. Some find that the ingredients irritate their dry and sensitive skin, while others struggle with the way that the oily formulas sit on their already oily skin. Personally, I’m in the latter category. I like a glow, but I find that so many SPFs make my pores look triple their size, and applying any sort of makeup over the top in an attempt to rectify the situation is out of the question (unless I actually want to chase it around my face all day).
No, facial SPF is not the one, but we have to wear it. And I have definitely settled on my favourite formulas that I know not to stray from. However, this year there’s a new type of facial SPF on the scene and I am all in. For days like these when applying a full face of makeup seems counterintuitive but I still want to feel like myself, I’ve been opting for tinted SPFs instead.
Before this year, I must admit that the idea of pore-clogging, breakout-inducing tinted SPF would send shivers down my spine, but the new formulas are different. Sitting much closer on the spectrum toward high-protection skincare as opposed to makeup, they keep skin looking and feeling like yours and sometimes even offer up a bit more of a bronzed glow. Like what you read? Keep scrolling for the tinted SPF formulas that I’m wearing day in, day out.
1. MZ Skin Tint & Protect Skin Perfecting SPF30 Tinted Moisturizer
This stuff has frankly blown me away. Blurring, hydrating (thanks to hyaluronic acid) and seriously glow-giving (it's formulated with vitamin C), it's an absolute winner. It's perfect for everyday wear, but if I was going out to sunbathe in the park I'd probably pack a broad spectrum SPF 50 just to be safe.
2. Bioderma Photoderm AR Tinted Cream SPF50
Great for those with sensitive skin that usually plays up with SPF application, this SPF from Bioderma is wonderfully soothing (and smoothing).
3. Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense SPF30
Designed to work with all skin tones (as the majority on this list are), the thing that's most notable about this is how intensely hydrating it is. My skin loves it.
4. Skinceuticals Mineral Radiance UV Defense SPF 50
More obviously than some others, this stuff is an SPF first, so it's great if you're serious about your sun protection. However, the universal tint is just a fabulous touch to a really great, comfortable formula.
5. Dr Dennis Gross Instant Radiance Sun Defense Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF40
With vitamin C and melatonin this broad-spectrum SPF creates an even, perfected base in a matter of seconds.
6. Institut Esthederm Bronz Repair Sunkissed
Unlike other brands, Institut Esthederm (which, by the way, is widely regarded as just about the best suncare brand in the game among editors) doesn't use an SPF rating, as it doesn't believe it goes far enough to ensure skin is protected against all of the sun's damaging rays. This tinted formula is best suited to skin tones and types that don't burn easy as it also contains tan-enhancers. It's protected tanning at its finest.
7. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Shaka Ultra Light Fluid Tinted SPF50
I have been a huge fan of La Roche-Posay's Anthelios face SPF for ages, and this tinted version is perfection. It's lightweight, dries instantly and, besides the natural-looking sheer tint, is invisible on the skin.
8. Supergoop! Glowscreen SPF 30
Admittedly, this is more of a radiance booster than a tint but I'm including it nonetheless. It's effectively the brand's editor-adored Unseen Sunscreen but with an extra-dewy, radiant finish rather than a matte one. It's intensely hydrating and looks beautifully bright on all skin types whether worn alone or layered beneath makeup.
9. Shiseido Sports BB Compact SPF 50+
This is the perfect compact to keep in your handbag on hot, sunny days. Apply the solid BB formula over the face for skin-perfecting sun protection.
10. Tropic Skin Shade Tinted Facial Sun Cream
I loved this way more than I thought I would. Not only does it smell divine (like summer fruits), but the dewy coverage that it gives isn't too dissimilar from my go-to tinted moisturiser, except it's an SPF 50 sun cream. Oh, and as a big bonus, it's reef-safe.
11. Institut Esthederm Face Brightening Tinted SPF50+ Sun Protection Cream
Whereas the previous Institut Esthederm product on the list was formulated for those with more sun-tolerant skin types, this is great for paler tones that worry about sun spots and pigmentation.
12. Dr David Jack All Day Long
This is without a doubt my favourite facial SPF ever created. It's a broad-spectrum SPF50, and although it doesn't contain obvious pigment, it does have a brightening tint. Whenever I wear this stuff, people always compliment my glow. My only gripe is that because it's in a glass container, it's virtually impossible to get out the last of the product, which is a crime considering it's £90.
13. Ultrasun Face Fluid SPF50+ Tinted
Ultrasun is responsible for some of the best SPF products in the game, and this tinted fluid is no exception. I really rate this stuff for its fast-absorbing and glow-giving qualities.
14. BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream SPF 30
Definitely more of a classic tinted moisturiser than the other formulations in this list, the BareMinerals Complexion Rescue is one of those does-it-all products: it moisturises, protects skin from the sun and provides a very decent amount of buildable coverage. Available in 20 shades, it could easily replace my usual base products during the summer months.