Beauty | Makeup

How to Apply Tinted Moisturizer

Tinted moisturizer can be a huge game-changer for many. And you don’t need to be a professional makeup artist to figure out how to apply tinted moisturizer perfectly. In this blog post, I will share my best tips and tricks on how to apply tinted moisturizer, what it actually is, and what it’s used for, too. 

When it comes to foundation, I am a sheer-coverage girly. I don’t really like the look of full-coverage foundation. I prefer to use a light foundation and then use a concealer on top to cover up any pimples or spots. It should be no surprise, then, that I oftentimes reach for a tinted moisturizer to get a light wash of coverage while reaping those hydrating ingredients, too. 

Most of the time, I will reach for my Alima Pure Foundation to act as my base foundation. But if I’m in a big rush, and just want to throw on a bit of color before heading out to errands, I will reach for a tinted moisturizer. 

There are so many tinted moisturizers on the market. They are only growing in popularity as the “clean girl aesthetic” has us all in a chokehold, and the “less is more” approach in beauty takes flight. Below, I’ll be sharing a guide on how to apply tinted moisturizer to get a fresh, skin-like finish.

How To Apply Tinted Moisturizer

Applying a tinted moisturizer the right way can help you achieve a natural-looking makeup base. It also keeps your skin hydrated and dewy, too. What’s so great about tinted moisturizer is that it’s really versatile. You can layer it a few times to get a medium coverage. Or, you can just use one layer and get a sheer to light coverage. 

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It’s also fantastic for folks who have really dry skin. You can layer your moisturizer underneath, and then add a tinted moisturizer on top to get extra hydration. A tinted moisturizer is great for both hot and cold climates, too. I like that you can wear it over your moisturizer in the winter if your skin is really dry and flakey. Or, you can use it as just your moisturizer and foundation in the summer. This method allows you to wear less layers on your skin when you’re sweaty, hot, and uncomfortable.  

How to Apply Tinted Moisturizer

What Is A Tinted Moisturizer

A tinted moisturizer is exactly what it sounds like—it’s a moisturizer that has tinted pigments in it to help cover up any blemishes, hyperpigmentation, redness, or anything else you’d typically use a foundation to cover up. Tinted moisturizers typically offer lighter coverage than a foundation. They are great for folks who like to wear sheer to light coverage.  

What’s so great about tinted moisturizers is that you are getting a ton of benefits in one formulation. Many tinted moisturizers have ingredients you would typically find in moisturizers, like hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, or SPF. It also just makes the whole process of makeup application a lot easier and faster. It allows you to skip moisturizer, so that you don’t have to have an added step.   

Tinted moisturizers are buildable. If you prefer a medium to full-coverage look, you can add multiple layers of the tinted moisturizer to get more coverage. However, they are typically used for more sheer to light coverage. 

What Is Tinted Moisturizer Used For

Tinted moisturizer is used for a bunch of different things, including hydration and evening out your complexion. You can use tinted moisturizer on days when you want to look natural, but also don’t want to go completely bare-faced. 

One of the reasons I love tinted moisturizers is that they are really hydrating. This makes them ideal for folks with dry, acne-prone skin. Because you get the hydrating benefits of the moisturizer part, as well as the light coverage from the tint. 

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One of the downsides of tinted moisturizer is that, oftentimes, it doesn’t come in a ton of shades. And even if it does come in multiple shades, those shades are usually lighter, and don’t offer a ton of variety for BIPOC or folks who have darker skin tones. That being said, there are a decent amount of brands, such as Saie, Rare Beauty, and ILIA offering tinted moisturizers in darker shades. But there could always be more!  

How To Apply A Tinted Moisturizer

Step 1

First, you need to cleanse your skin. I love to use the Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser

Step 2

Next, you should apply your toner and serum(s) to your clean, dry skin. Wait for each to dry before applying your next step.  Apply your sunscreen after your toner and serums. If your tinted moisturizer already has SPF over 30 in it, then you probably don’t need to apply sunscreen–but that’s up to your personal preference!

Step 3

This next step will really depend on your preference. Some folks like to apply their regular moisturizer underneath their tinted moisturizer, while others like to use their tinted moisturizer without a layer of lotion underneath. Personally, I like to apply a moisturizer, like the Shani Darden Weightless Oil-Free Moisturizer, underneath my tinted moisturizer. You can either use your fingers to apply the tinted moisturizer, or use a beauty blender or makeup brush if you prefer.

Step 4

Once you’ve applied your tinted moisturizer, you can go back in and conceal any blemishes, under-eye circles, discoloration, or redness on your face that might be poking out from underneath the sheer tinted moisturizer. I like to use the MERIT concealer stick for this step.

Step 5

After that, you can apply the rest of your makeup as usual. I like to finish off my look with the Ogee Crystal Contour Collection, mascara, brow gel, and a tinted lip balm. 

The Best Tinted Moisturizer for Acne-Prone Skin

These are just a few of my favorite tinted moisturizers I’ve reached for over the years. They don’t break me out and they offer a nice amount of coverage without looking too heavy. 

NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 

I just recently discovered this tinted moisturizer and I’m obsessed. I wrote about it in my NARS Foundation Review. It leaves such a nice wash of color without feeling or looking heavy. The shade I have (Finland Light 1) matches my skin tone pretty perfectly, and I just love how this blends into my skin. It’s hard to even tell that I’m wearing any sort of tinted moisturizer/foundation when I wear this. 

Like most tinted moisturizers, the formula is a little bit thick. So don’t expect a thin, watery-feeling foundation. I also really love that it doesn’t break me out at all or irritate my skin, which is oftentimes hard for me to find. It’s my new go-to and I definitely recommend it. I’m kinda sad I didn’t discover it sooner, to be honest!

GEE Beauty Prime Skin

I discovered this product through my work as a beauty journalist and I am SHOOK by how much I love this stuff. It’s extremely lightweight, offers a gorgeous glow on ths skin, and best of all, doesn’t irritate my skin at all. I never break out from this stuff. It offers very light coverage, so don’t expect this to do a ton of work in terms of covering up a lot of acne, discoloration, or dark circles. I like to use this as a base and then use my MERIT Concealer to go over any pimples or redness I want to conceal further. 

The most annoying part about this pick is that I am in between two shades—I mix together Prime 2 and Prime 3 to get my shade. I really wish they had a wider shade range, and hopefully one day they will. But for now, I have to mix the two together. Also, the product is pretty pricey at $58 per bottle, but you get a lot of product for the price.  

The Lip Bar Just a Tint

I learned about this product from the acne-guru herself, esthetician Sofie Pavitt. To be honest, I don’t reach for this one as often as the two above, but I do like the formula and I also appreciate that it doesn’t make me break out. The shade I have, which is “My Fair Lady,” doesn’t match my skin perfectly, but it does the job. Another thing to note is that this formula provides a bit more coverage than the two tinted moisturizers I listed above. So if you like a tinted moisturizer that offers medium to full coverage, I would try this one out. 

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  1. Did you forget sunscreen? Maybe apply after first moisturizer but before tinted moisturizer? I also love Nars! Sometimes I just use tinted sunscreen like Elta MD. Nice to have choices.

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