For Dummies, The Series: Skin Tint

Skin tint, it’s all in the name: a tint, for the skin. That.IS.It. Simple and straightforward, which is why I love them.

I should not be as excited to write this blog post as I am, but alas, here we are.
I said it. I love them.

For lazy people who want an easy, light wash of color, skin tints are the answer. Skin tints are essentially colored water. I would compare most skin tints to that old school “makeup” you used to find in drug stores. Like, you weren’t totally sure what it was – a base, a foundation, a coverup – but it gave you some sort of coverage. Skin tints an even lighter version of that. No more. No less. Skin tints just add that touch of something to enhance your skin so you aren’t completely naked. The complexion answer to “your skin but better.”

Skin Tints Defined
To be more specific, skin tints, as according to Cosmo (the experts in everything, obviously), “are bases that even out your skin while still showing your unique features, such as freckles.” Different from a BB/CC cream or tinted moisturizer, “Skin tints have a lightweight consistency and just give your complexion a light and healthy wash of color, BB and CC creams are often thicker + mousse-like and contain a mix of sunscreen, moisturizer, color-corrector, and a foundation. Tinted moisturizers, on the other hand, provide maximum hydration to the skin with minimal, yet buildable, coverage.”

While skin tints have come far from the days of drug store shelves and the originally Glossier formula, I would still argue most skin tints do not have many, if any, true significant skincare benefits. Some now include skin-boosting ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and niacinamide which even out and hydrate skin, or antioxidants to give skin extra glow, BUT you wouldn’t necessarily buy a skin tint if you’re looking for enhanced skincare. I personally haven’t found skin tints to provide lasting moisture, they certainly aren’t anti-aging, maybe they have some sunscreen, but that’s about it.

Of note, after you’ve applied you moisturizer and other skincare, I’m not sure how much this very very light skin tint is going to seep into the skin and penetrate through your skincare routine products. So I can’t attest to the active ingredients’ efficacy in skin tints. Rather, use a serum that adds hydration or illuminates. Also, sunscreen in makeup, including skin tints, is not enough to give you adequate protection. As a rule of thumb, apply sunscreen before makeup if you will have sun exposure of any sort, even just walking out your door.

Why I Am A Skin Tint Advocate
Back to skin tints. Some people hate them. And they’re rated completely differently across every list. So if skin tints are really glorified colored, watery milk (which sounds weird but that’s close to the general consistency) WHY do I love them so much?

They’re just so simple. I am not a full face of makeup everyday kindof girl. I usually skip base entirely. But if we are on vacation and I am going to be taking a ton of pictures during the day, skin tint is perfect. It will give me that healthy flush of color I want without feeling heavy or trying too hard. And I am NOT a big BB/CC cream or tinted moisturizer fan as I find them to be too heavy. I don’t have a ton of texture to my skin (except for my wrinkles) so there aren’t pores I am trying to hide. Even my hyperpigmentation is helped with just a quick wash of color.

Skin Tints 101
– Who should wear skin tints: women AND men who have pretty good skin and do not need a lot of coverage (and by a lot I mean, like, none).
– Skin tints are for someone low maintenance who wants to make their skin look a smidgen smoother. That is all.
– In my experience, skin tints do not wear for more than a few hours as they slip a bit, especially without setting powder.
– Most skin tint options have an accompanying concealer to match.
– Dewy = luminous and shiny; Satin = still glowing but more matte.
– I repeat, I wouldn’t look to skin tints to solve your skincare needs, that’s a BB/CC or tinted moisturizer’s job.
– Skin tint is all in the name, a tint, for the skin. No brushes. No primer. Really freaking simple makeup you can smear on your face with your hands and go.

My Top Skin Tint Picks

The Basic One | Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint
My go-to as I love the light consistency and G8 is a solid match for me

What it is In the land between bare skin and makeup makeup exists the imperceptible wash of color that is Perfecting Skin Tint
Why it’s special:
– Breathable, ultra-thin formula evens out skin’s appearance for a smooth, dewy finish
– Diamond Powder gives a brightening, soft-focus effect and minimizes the appearance of pores, while Glycerin moisturizes skin
– Comes in 12 super sheer, adaptable shades that won’t hide your freckles, cake your pores, or cover you up”
Cost: $26
Coverage: Light
Finish: Dewy

The Clean One | Kosas Tinted Face Oil

Description: “The sweatpants of foundation — comfy makeup, active skincare. TFO is a clean, weightless foundation made with 6 nourishing botanical oils to moisturize and even tone. Goes on super easy like a serum, giving you a natural velvety finish that still looks like your skin. Available in 16 sheer-coverage shades.”
Cost: $42
Coverage: Medium (for a skin tint)
Finish: Satin

The SPF One | Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40

What it is A clean, light-coverage, tinted mineral SPF 40 serum that boosts skincare benefits.
How it works Your tinted SPF will never be the same. This first-of-its-kind formula fuses skincare, makeup, and sun protection into one easy step: a weightless serum that leaves your skin looking like skin. Boasts SPF 40 coverage with non-nano zinc oxide, safely shielding skin from UVA, UVB, UVC, blue light and infrared rays.
Created with a blend of Hyaluronic Acids, plant-based Squalane, and Niacinamide, ILIA’s Skin Tint evens tone, softens fine lines and imperfections, and dries down to a natural, dewy finish. And this super serum doesn’t stop there: it also creates a natural barrier for your skincare—sealing in hydration, plumping skin, and boosting any antioxidant effectiveness by 200%. Plus, it’s silicone-free, fragrance-free, chemical screen-free, oil-free, non-comedogenic, and safe for sensitive skin. This is SPF, made super.”
Cost: $46
Coverage: Medium (for a skin tint)
Finish: Dewy

The Designer One | Chanel LES BEIGES Water-Fresh Tint
The most different option on this list but I love this tint as my ‘foundation’ and feels amazing and refreshing when applied to the skin; I mix medium-light and medium-plus

Product The first CHANEL complexion tint featuring pigment micro-droplets that deliver a water-fresh sensation and a radiant, healthy-looking glow.
Composition Created with patented MicroFluidic technology, the lightweight gel texture bursts with ultra-pure ingredients for a bare-skin effect with eight hours of hydration and comfort. Skin feels refreshed and energized.
How to Apply Dispense formula on back of hand. Use the included brush to burst micro-droplets, then dab onto face.
Cost: $65
Coverage: Medium/Light (more than Glossier, less than Kosas)
Finish: Dewy/Satin (middle of the road)

The Luxe One | La Mer The Reparative SkinTint Broad Spectrum SPF 30

Description: “This sheer, lightweight tint instantly perfects with a healthy touch of color, revealing a luminous glow. The look of fine dry lines is diminished, promoting a smooth, plump and hydrated appearance. SPF 30 and antioxidants help guard against environmental stressors. In 4 adaptable shades.” Includes La Mer’s signature Miracle Broth ingredient.
Cost: $95
Coverage: Light
Finish: Dewy

How to pick which one is right for you? Find the brand with the perfect finish, coverage, and color match. And if you’re in-between shades, buy two and mix ’em. Otherwise, it’s skin tint. Don’t over complicate it and go with whichever you think fits your easy, breasy, natural makeup-loving heart.

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