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I Tried 10 Tinted Sunscreens So You Don’t Have To & There’s One Winner

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With 68 million posts on TikTok alone, it’s fair to say that tinted sunscreen is having a moment. For those who aren’t already sold on its merits, a tinted sunscreen is essentially a lightweight makeup base that boasts dedicated SPF. In other words, it can be used in place of something like foundation and provide the daily UV protection that you need. 
But here’s the rub: A tinted sunscreen that ticks every box is notoriously hard to come by. Poor shade ranges, oily textures and a low SPF (dermatologists recommend at least factor 30) have often let them down. It’s no wonder, then, that some brands have been spurred on to innovate. But which products are worth your money? Ahead, I tried 10 popular tinted sunscreens so you don’t have to, and here are my unfiltered thoughts. 
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If you’re an R29 regular, you’ll know that I’ve already reviewed this tinted sunscreen; the endless positive reactions from countless beauty editor peers convinced me. At £12.99, it’s the cheapest here, but it’s not to be underestimated. The thin nozzle makes it easy to measure out two finger lengths worth of sunscreen (akin to half a teaspoon for your face and neck, which is the dermatologist-recommended amount). It also contains vitamin C to further protect skin against environmental aggressors like UV and pollution. On me, the tint is subtle but it’s enough to blur acne scars and redness. I like that it makes my skin glow in all the right places without a hint of shimmer or greasiness. It’s only available in one shade, though it has earned the seal of approval from various TikTokers who are impressed with the “brown skin-friendly” formula and “non-ashy” finish. If you’re on a budget, this is a no brainer.  
This is a tinted moisturiser with added SPF 30, so to ensure my skin was adequately protected, I layered it on top of a dedicated sunscreen (Bondi Sands Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50+ Face, £7.99). At first pump, it looked considerably thicker than most other products on this list — almost like a foundation — so I used a brush to apply it. It glided on seamlessly and I was so impressed with the coverage that I even skipped concealer. The biggest endurance test was getting my hair done. Happily, it survived the backwash, a hot hairdryer, a sweaty tube ride home in 25 degree weather and then drinks with friends. If you’re using it alone, make sure you’re applying enough: Again, at least two finger lengths worth for your face and neck. Disappointingly, the shade range is lacking for darker skin tones. 
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I’ve waxed lyrical about Supergoop!’s original Glow Screen thanks to its ability to blur my acne scars, smooth my skin texture and impart a healthy-looking sheen. It’s perfect in the summer, when I’ve accidentally caught the sun, but I’ve spent the past six months indoors, so currently it’s a bit too dark for my liking. Now, there’s an extended shade range. It consists of Sunset (a deep bronze), Golden Hour (a shimmery honey hue) and Dawn, which is pearlescent. Makeup artist Adeola Gboyega recently shade matched me to Dawn, and it provides just the right amount of dew without making my skin look oilier. The coverage seems to be far less than the OG, though, so I touched up my under eyes and a few red marks left behind by breakouts with concealer. I’m wearing a little blush here, too, as I wanted to see how it would perform with the rest of my makeup. After an hour or so, the pearly pigment settled into my skin and it was like I was wearing a very sheer foundation. The glow is unrivalled. In my friend’s car at 10 p.m. (8 hours after I’d applied it) I noticed that my skin was gleaming in her wing mirror. This tinted sunscreen is substantially hydrating, so much so, I skip moisturiser altogether when I use it. 
e.l.f.’s Whoa Glow is widely believed to be a “dupe” for Supergoop!’s Glow Screen. It too delivers broad spectrum SPF 30 protection (so it defends against UVA and UVB rays), hydrating hyaluronic acid and pearlescent particles for a dewy sheen. I chose the shade Sunlight, which sits in between Sunbeam and Sunburst. The texture is very similar to Supergoop!’s and it takes a moment or two to absorb comfortably. Around 15 minutes after applying it, the pigment seemed to take on a more bronze hue as it settled into my skin. That’s not a bad thing at all; it looked more like a skin tint or a foundation and merged really nicely with my blush. Whoa Glow actually earned my skin the most compliments throughout the day, which affords it the winning position. I’ve found myself reaching for it the most since.
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Usually, I wouldn’t pick up a product that contains anything less than SPF 30 — the lowest sunscreen factor that most dermatologists recommend to adequately protect your skin from UV rays. Still, I wanted to see how this newbie would compare to arguably the most popular tinted colour corrector with SPF: It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream with SPF 50, £38. Plus, I like to double up my sunscreen. The Ultra Violette Fave Fluid SPF 50+ Lightweight Skinscreen, £37, is so featherlight and I often wear it underneath makeup, even if that makeup contains sunscreen, too. In other words, you can never wear enough SPF. I chose shade Fair, and the coverage — though not as substantial as It Cosmetics — was excellent. Just one squeeze tucked away every area of redness and skin staining left behind by breakouts. The finish isn’t dewy like the others on this list, nor is it too matte. It’s the most natural here and I love how my skin looks in this photo: so plump and moisturised. I’ve used it again and again since, but the low sunscreen factor means it stops short of claiming the top spot. 
I’m a big fan of Ultra Violette’s Day Dream Screen SPF 50 Tinted Veil, £38, for its high coverage; it camouflages angry red breakouts especially well. The brand’s latest product — Queen Screen — isn’t as pigmented. It’s more of an illuminator (think Charlotte Tilbury’s Hollywood Flawless Filter if it had SPF) rather than a traditional tint, and it’s available in two shades: Illuminating and Bronze. I opted for the former. The “glow” comes courtesy of shimmery particles, but they’re rather chunky and made my skin appear glittery. In order to receive adequate sun protection, you’d have to apply a good amount of this, but I found the heavy shimmer to be off-putting. Instead, I’ll stick to the brand’s Fave Fluid SPF 50, £37, and e.l.f’s Whoa Glow, £14, over the top. 
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I’m a big fan of Heliocare’s original 360 Gel Oil-Free SPF 50, £31, so I was keen to see how this version, which I believe contains more of a tint, would compare. A word of warning: It’s very runny. The texture is oilier than the OG (which sinks in fast) but once it absorbed, it dried down to a comfortable matte finish. Not only does it protect skin from UVA and infrared radiation, but it contains niacinamide to prevent pigmentation, too. I’ve been contending with a painful spot by my chin and to my surprise, this blurred the angry redness pretty well, though I did dab a little Lumene CC cream over the top to keep it hidden away throughout the day. On my light olive skin the shade was perfect but one review on Face The Future’s website points out that it leaves behind a beige cast on darker skin. A selection of deeper shades would propel this into pole position.
This is a wildcard considering it’s a blush. It has broad spectrum protection, but think of it as insurance for your cheeks: it should be used alongside a targeted sunscreen product (applied generously on your entire face and neck) rather than alone. It’s formulated without shimmer particles and the texture sits somewhere between a gel and a cream, which makes blending so quick and easy. A dab on each cheek imparted a sheer, believable wash of colour. It’s available in five shades, and Pink Sunrise is replacing my trusty Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Light Wand Liquid Blush for summer. 
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The bottle may be small but the formula inside is mighty. In fact, it earned an R29 Beauty Innovator Award last year. This is a mineral SPF that provides broad spectrum protection and medium to full coverage makeup-wise. The way that it airbrushes redness and spots is certainly impressive, but for £51, I want more in the tube. For this reason, you might be tempted to use it sparingly, but there lies the risk of under-applying and leaving skin vulnerable to UV. The shade range needs to be expanded, too. Currently, there are only three to choose from (I’m wearing Medium here.)  
There are two things I don’t like about this skin tint with SPF and two things I love. Firstly, it smells a little like plasticine. Secondly, it’s a tad too glowy (erring on sticky without translucent powder). On the positive side, it’s packed with skincare ingredients like oil-reducing niacinamide, moisturising squalane and hydrating hyaluronic acid, as well as SPF 30, and it stays put until I see fit to take it off. A pipette-full of this tint goes a long way, but that defeats the purpose of SPF, which is meant to be applied liberally. On days when my skin is dry and dull, I tend to reach for this, but always after a generous application of dedicated sunscreen first.

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