10 Best Tinted Sunscreens

November 5, 2018

Wearing sunscreen is a must, but if the kind of sunscreen you’re wearing washes you out or leaves an annoying white cast behind, it’s easy to skip that step in your morning routine. Enter. Tinted sunscreen, which offers the same protection, but blends in more naturally.

Tinted sunscreen is just as safe and effective as other types of SPF, says Rachel Nazarian, MD, FAAD, a dermatologist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.” Tinted is often added to mineral sunscreens because the ingredients in mineral sunscreens, zinc and titanium, have a tendency to cast a white or ghostly look on the skin,” she explains.

It works similarly to cosmetics with built-in SPF. However, if you tend to stick with a light layer of makeup, you may be better served by a tinted sunscreen.” The main difference between tinted makeup and sunscreen is consistency and the application process – most people don’t apply makeup thick enough to achieve SPF levels,” notes Dr. Nazarian.

On that note, it’s important to make sure that if you do use a tinted sunscreen, you put enough of it on.” It may look like makeup, but it’s sunscreen and should be applied like regular sunscreen,” says Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in the Department of Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. He recommends using a quarter-sized dollop to cover your face and reapplying every two hours like you would with a normal sunscreen.

Another benefit: If you have sensitive skin, tinted sunscreen won’t bother you, Dr. Nazarian notes.” Tinted sunscreens are often even safer for people with sensitive skin because the added tint is usually meant to counteract zinc and titanium; zinc and titanium are ideal ingredients for sunscreens for people with sensitive skin because they’re less irritating than traditional chemical sunscreens,” she explains.” If you have sensitive skin, stick to tinted mineral formulas rather than those with chemical sunscreens,” adds Dr. Zeichner. That said, the only real danger associated with tinted sunscreens is an allergy to the tint itself, which Dr. Nazarian says is “highly unlikely.”

If you find yourself stuck in the sunscreen aisle trying to pick the best tinted option, Dr. Nazarian suggests looking for a sunscreen that will moisturize.” I find that tinted sunscreens are more visually appealing when the sunscreen itself has a moisturizing base with moisturizing ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid or ceramides,” she says. These allow the products to blend smoothly into the skin, and they will improve your skin with continued use, Dr. Nazarian adds. Other things to look for are how much zinc oxide is in the formula you’re considering.” My biggest recommendation is to look for the highest concentration of zinc oxide in the product, as this will give you the best protection,” advises Dr. Debra Jaliman, a New York dermatologist.

Ready to change your chalky white sunscreen for something a little more natural looking? Ahead, 10 popular tinted sunscreen options – and why dermatologists and users are obsessed with them.

EltaMD Sun Protection Daytime Sunscreen SPF 40

This tinted sunscreen is fragrance and paraben free, and also contains two active ingredients – zinc oxide and hyaluronic acid – to protect and moisturize the skin. But the main selling point is that it’s super lightweight, says Dr. Nazarian.” It doesn’t feel greasy or overly occlusive,” she adds. The formula is best for people with lighter skin tones and those prone to rosacea and other sensitive skin conditions, she adds.

To buy: EltaMD UV Daily Tinted Face Moisturizer SPF 40 ($32; amazon.com)

Australia Gold Botanical Sunscreen Tinted Face Mineral Lotion SPF50

Dr. Nazarian says this water-resistant mineral sunscreen is hypoallergenic, free of oxybenzone, which is harmful to coral reefs, protects against UVA and UVB rays, and contains vitamins and antioxidants to calm sensitive skin. Plus, it feels good: “With an SPF of 50, you’ll feel like it’s heavy, but it’s matte rather than shimmery or greasy,” she says.

To buy. Australian Gold Botanical Sunscreen Tinted Face Mineral Lotion SPF 50 ($14; amazon.com).

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra Bright Skin Tinted Sunscreen SPF 50.

Derms like this option, which combines titanium dioxide and antioxidants to prevent sunburn and premature skin aging.Dr. Zeichner is a fan of the unique fluid formula and super light consistency, while Dr. Nazarian likes it for its quick absorption (it also dries matte and doesn’t leave you shimmering). Plus, it works on many different skin tones, notes Dr. Nazarian.

To buy: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Tinted Ultra-Light Face Sunscreen, SPF 50 ($34; dermstore.com)

CeraVe Tinted Sunscreen SPF 30.

This tinted sunscreen is a favorite of Dr. Nazarian’s. She often recommends it to her patients, in part because it “improves skin hydration with each use,” thanks to nourishing ingredients like ceramides and hyaluronic acid, which help restore the skin barrier and lock in moisture. This option is great for people with sensitive, dry or acne-prone skin, she adds.

To buy: CeraVe Tinted Sunscreen SPF 30 ($16; cvs.)

Neutrogena Healthy Radiance Sunscreen SPF 30

Dr. Zeichner recommends this because it has so many adaptable tones. Other benefits include its light consistency and broad spectrum protection, he adds. Plus, the non-greasy formula is packed with anti-aging vitamins C and E to block skin from free radical damage.

To buy: Neutrogena Healthy Skin Glow Sheers SPF 30 ($17; target.com)

Sun Bum Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 Tinted Sunscreen Lotion

“This all-mineral sunscreen is super gentle on the skin,” says Dr. Zeichner. The lightweight formula is Health’s Senior Editor Susan Brickell’s top choice because it’s free of harsh chemicals (read: no coral reef-destroying oxybenzone), has a decadent, whip-like texture that doesn’t feel like your average oil-based sunscreen, and offers a natural matte finish.

Buy Sun Bum Mineral SPF 30 Tinted Sunscreen Face Lotion ($18; amazon.com)

Drunk Elephant Umbro Daytime Sunscreen SPF30

This antioxidant-rich tinted sunscreen moisturizes and provides broad-spectrum protection, making it perfect for all outdoor activities. It also contains 20% zinc oxide. Remember. The more zinc oxide sunscreen is included, the better protection you’ll have.) One reviewer commented that it does a great job of evenly distributing the skin without making her look like a ghost.” It does a great job of removing skin discoloration and provides great sun protection. Would definitely recommend to someone trying to avoid the white shade left by some sunscreens.”

To buy: Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense SPF 30 ($36; amazon.com)

CoTz Face Natural Skin Tone SPF 40

One Amazon shopper called buying this sunscreen their “best decision ever,” adding that it didn’t leave a white residue or make her face shiny or greasy. It’s also a smart choice for those with sensitive skin – as it has no chemical sunscreen – and the waterproof formula offers extensive protection, which is ideal for sweaty days outdoors or afternoons by the pool.

Buy: CoTz Face Natural Skin Tone SPF 40 ($27; amazon.com)

SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion Sunscreen SPF50

While it may be a splurge ($66 for a large bottle), this tinted option comes from dermatologist-favorite brand SkinCeuticals – so you know it has to be good. It contains zinc oxide, which provides extensive protection, but goes for a purely natural-looking coverage. Even better, you can swim for up to 40 minutes. You can swim for up to 40 minutes without having to reapply this waterproof sunscreen.

How to Buy SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50 (from $34; dermstore.com)

Clarins UV Plus Anti-Pollution Sunscreen SPF 50 Multi-Protection Color.

Several Sephora reviewers claim that this tinted sunscreen makes their skin glow. Additionally, they praise its fragrance, non-greasy finish, and, most importantly, because it doesn’t make their faces look chalky. For city dwellers, it does double duty by protecting your face from harmful pollutants and the sun’s harmful rays, and evens out your skin tone to help prevent dark spots.

Purchase. Clarins UV Plus Anti-Pollution Sunscreen Multi-Protection Tint SPF 50 ($45; sephora.com)