If you’re anything like me, you know what it’s like to absolutely loathe everything about facial SPF products. Not only do they feel uncomfortable, sticky and often greasy on the skin, but they also, more often than not, leave behind a ghostly white cast and make your complexion look impossibly oily. 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 SPF 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. I’m in the latter category. I like a glow, but I find that so many SPF products 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 SPF products 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 to 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. Does that sound good to you? Keep scrolling for the tinted SPF formulas that I’m wearing day in, day out.
1. MZ Skin Tint & Protect Skin Perfecting SPF 30 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 were 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 SPF 50
3. Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense SPF 30
4. SkinCeuticals Mineral Radiance UV Defense SPF 50
5. Dr Dennis Gross Instant Radiance Sun Defense Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 40
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 the scale 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 easily, as it also contains tan enhancers. It's protected tanning at its finest.
7. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Shaka Ultra Light Fluid Tinted SPF 50
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+
10. Tropic Skin Shade Tinted Facial Sun Cream
11. Institut Esthederm Face Brightening Tinted SPF 50+ 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. Bliss Block Star Invisible Daily Sunscreen
This has quickly become one of my favourite SPF formulas ever. It has SPF 30, and although it doesn't contain obvious pigment, it has a truly amazing blurring tint. Whenever I wear this stuff, people always compliment my skin. For £20, it's a feat.
13. Ultrasun Face Fluid SPF 50+ Tinted
14. BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream SPF 30
Definitely more of a classic tinted moisturiser than the other formulations on 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.
15. Naked Sundays SPF 50+ Collagen Glow 100% Mineral Perfecting Priming Lotion
If you aren't already aware, among beauty editors, Australia is considered SPF holy land. Naked Sundays is a new brand from Australia, and this particular formula is exceptional. Like most of the SPFs on this list, it looks tinted (and has all of the blurring benefits) but blends out into a sheer, weightless veil.
16. Summer Fridays ShadeDrops Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Mineral Milk Sunscreen
I've never met a Summer Fridays product that I don't like, and the brand's latest launch is no exception. The mineral nature of this milky sunscreen means it has a totally natural, tinted hue that (again) blends out entirely sheer but does give a lovely blurring, glowing result.