Posted on: January 27, 2024 Posted by: Comments: 0

Welcome to Deep Reviews—your one-stop destination to discover the absolute best products and brands the beauty industry has to offer. Every month, our beauty crew and editors will research, test and review the market’s most sought-after and buzzed-about products to see which are truly worth your hard-earned money and attention. You can expect honest, completely uncensored feedback and no-BS recommendations our hard-to-please testers endorse without reservations. To put it simply, stick with us, and buyer’s remorse will be a thing of the past.

While foundations do have their time and place, I’m all about skin tints these days. The truth is, wearing a full-coverage foundation day to day can feel heavy and high-maintenance. Skin tints, on the other hand, offer just enough coverage to disguise redness or areas of pigmentation without having to mask your skin in lots of makeup. Skin tints allow a sheer coverage that allows your complexion to shine through—think your skin, but better. What’s more, the best skin tints are maintenance; they can be applied in mere seconds, melting into the skin without the need for makeup artistry-level blending and buffing. They’re the makeup equivalent of a trusted outfit you can throw on and you know will always look good.

Luckily for me, entire Who What Wear UK team are passionate about skin tints, so were more than willing to be my skin tint beauty guinea pigs. In fact, when I suggested we put some of the best to the test, it drummed up some heated discussion before we even got down to testing. Our managing editor Poppy Nash, who adores her YSL Nu Skin Tint, declared that she wants to be buried with it. “I’m shade 08 in case you guys need to know for my funeral,” she said. Copy editor Georgia Seago agreed; “Can confirm—I asked Pop what she had on the other week bc her skin looked so good.”

In short, we’ve tried a lot of skin tints amongst us. Thankfully, our editors lent their expertise to this story, and we’ve shared our results with you below. Scroll ahead for the best skin tints that you’ll want to try next.

Beauty editor Eleanor Vousden tested the Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint in shade Bom Bom ST5.

I have to preface this review by saying that I’m now on my third bottle of this skin tint, so you won’t be surprised that I’m about to sing its praises. Despite not being a foundation, this has impressive yet natural-looking coverage. Its lightweight serum consistency is sheer enough that it lets my freckles shine through, but it still works great at disguising redness and pigmentation. I can understand why everyone adores it, and everyone I know with glowing skin happens to use it too—it’s got quite the fan base.

It has a dewy finish that leaves skin looking like the very healthiest, glowiest version it can be. I have combination skin that is prone to acne and eczema, and I’ve had zero issues wearing this. If you have very oily skin or prefer a matte or natural finish, I would try another skin tint on this list. I find it makes my skin look plump and hydrated, while smoothing over pores—and it stays looking great throughout the day.

What I love about it is that the formula contains hydrating hyaluronic acid, brightening niacinamide and nourishing squalene, and I really do see my skin improve when I wear this consistently. The addition of SPF 30 is nice to have, although I layer this over an SPF to ensure I’m thoroughly protecting my skin.

At £48, this is on the investment end of the spectrum. However, a little goes a long way so I find that a bottle lasts me around four months. The shade range is extensive, too—Ilia has not rested on creating a small shade range that ‘stretches’ to a wide range of skin tones. It has accommodated a broad range of skin tones and undertones so you can find a precise match. For reference, I wear the shade Bom Bom ST5. 

If I had to nitpick, I find the dropper bottle can gather product around the neck of the bottle if I throw this in my makeup bag, which can become messy. For that reason, I recommend storing it upright.

Pros: Lightweight on the skin, light yet buildable coverage, hydrating, dewy finish, contains niacinamide and hyaluronic acid, good shade range, a little goes a long way

Cons: Expensive, bottle can be prone to leaking

Rating: 9/10

Managing editor Poppy Nash tested the YSL Nu Bare Look Skin Tint in shade NU 8.

When we first discussed testing skin tints for our Deep Reviews, I knew I had to be involved. Not because I love to take part in any sort of testing content for our site (although, that too) but because I couldn’t miss the opportunity to rave about my absolutely favourite product to come out of last year: YSL’s Nu Bare Look Tint. I am really not exaggerating when I say this has changed my life, and out of 100s of tints, foundations and various other tubes and tubs, it is by far the best product I’ve ever used as my base. It offers light-to-medium coverage, which is perfect for me, and lasts all day without any cracking, creasing, dryness or need to reapply. 

Because of the water-gel texture, it leaves me with a dewy, bright, hydrated and natural-looking finish that feels glowly and even, nailing that no-makeup makeup look that lots of us strive for. It blends seamlessly into my skin (I just apply it with my fingers as it’s so thin-no need for a brush or sponge) and I have had multiple compliments on my skin since I worked this into my daily routine. Sounds pretty good so far, right?

Ingredients wise, YSL states this product has a a 90% skincare base formula infused with hyaluronic acid to help with hydration, meaning this really is a skincare-makeup hybrid that works hard to keep skin feeling moisturised as well as offering that little bit of coverage for blemishes and dullness. I do always apply concealer after, but just on any deeper blemishes and under my eyes to help with dark circles. No product—or skin— is ever perfect but I feel like this product helps me to embrace that my-skin-but-better feeling, without covering up too much. I still want to let my skin breathe and feel like; there’s nothing wrong with texture or an uneven complexion, that’s just life! 

When it comes to the cons of this product, I really feel like there are none. However, if you’re looking for more coverage for spots or redness, this probably isn’t the product for you. There are 20 shades in total to choose from, which I think is pretty good, but we would always like to see more! Finally, the price. This comes in at around £28 which I think is totally worth it and actually very reasonable for a product I use daily and lasts a long time (my first bottle lasted 6 months). For some, this may be a little too expensive, but if you’re happy to pay nearly £30 for a skin tint, I’d recommend you give this a go! 

Pros: Light-to-medium coverage, hydrating, infused with hyaluronic acid, 20 shades, lasts a long time

Cons: More expensive than other skin tints

Rating: 10/10

Affiliates manager Jerryln Saguiped tested the Hourglass Veil Hydrating Skin Tint in shade 7.

I’ll preface this review by saying I don’t usually wear skin tints (or foundation) very regularly. I have fairly dry skin, so I’m always conscious that my pores are noticeable or that I have flaking at the end of the day. That aside, I couldn’t wait to try the Hourglass Veil Hydrating Skin Tint ever since it-girl Sofia Richie sang its praises!

There are a range of shades available to choose from, with different undertones taken into account— great for all complexions. The formula itself feels silky and lightweight and it blended right into my skin without issue; I opted to use a brush for a seamless finish and my skin was left dewy and fresh on first application. 

Hourglass promises all-day hydration, so the real test for me was how my skin looked after a full day of wear. I’m pleased to say that this product definitely came through for me, which is no surprise as it’s full of nourishing ingredients like hyaluronic acid and plant-based squalane. I still felt glowy and moisturised at the end of the day, with no clogged pores, patchiness or flaking in sight.

I’d have to say that this product has made me feel differently about skin tints *in the best way possible*, and truly helps you achieve that ‘your skin but better’ look. The only point I would raise is that it comes at a premium price point (£49), but in turn you would be paying for a stand out product. 

Pros: Great shade range to cater to all complexions, squalane and hyaluronic acid, great for dry skin types, easily blendable

Cons: Not super affordable, may not be the best product for someone who prefers more coverage

Rating: 9/10

Video Editor Remi Afolabi tested the Summer Fridays Skin Tint in shade 7.

The Summer Fridays Sheer Skin Tint seamlessly blended into my skin, creating a natural finish. It left me with a radiant, sun-kissed glow and did pretty well providing coverage for my dark marks and evening my overall skin tone. A small amount also goes a long way with this product. I’ll admit that I was little confused at first as to what shade I could go for as there is quite a big jump between shades I was contemplating on, but I went with 7 in the end and it matched perfectly.

The consistency of this skin tint is runny and lightweight. It effortlessly glides on and provides a smooth and even application. I appreciate that it doesn’t feel heavy or mask-like, allowing my skin to breathe. One of my pet peeves with some base products is the dry and cakey feeling they can leave behind. The Summer Fridays Sheer Skin Tint, however, proved to be a game-changer. It provided a subtle dewy finish that keeps my skin hydrated throughout the day. The formula is so comfortable; I forget that I’m wearing anything at all.

A true test for any makeup product is its longevity, and this skin tint stood up to the challenge. It stayed put from morning to night without any significant fading. Even through a busy day, the skin tint maintained its fresh appearance, which was a pleasant surprise.

In summary, the Summer Fridays Sheer Skin Tint is a winner in my book. From the colour match and lightweight texture, to its hydrating properties, coverage and impressive longevity, it ticks all the boxes. If you’re looking for a product that effortlessly enhances your natural beauty without the fuss, this skin tint is a must-try. Summer Fridays has truly crafted a skin tint that embodies the ‘no-make up-make up’ look effortlessly.

Pros: Natural radiant finish, good coverage, lasts long on skin, hydrating and lightweight, a small amount goes a long way

Cons: More expensive than most

Rating: 9/10

Deputy editor Maxine Eggenberger tested the Chanel Les Beiges Water-Fresh Complexion Touch in shade BR12.

Nowadays I only really wear a glowy SPF and concealer as my base but, with a year full of weddings coming up, I knew I could use something with a little more coverage. After reading reviews on all the tints on the market, I opted for Chanel’s latest Les Beiges formulation—Water-Fresh Complexion Touch. I had tried the OG Les Beiges tint before and loved it, so I was ready to give this one a whirl. Granted, the shade is probably a littler paler than I need, but it’ll do the job in winter. 

First impressions? That dew! I like my base makeup dewy and this product is certainly that. It gives my skin a luminosity without any sparkle—the base tint Holy Grail. While it might look like a gimmick, the thing that sets Water-Fresh Complexion Touch apart is, go figure, its water content. It is made up of 60% water which gives it an ultra-lightweight finish (just what you want from a tint). As you can see, the formula is made up of micro droplets which are discernible in the clear solution and, let me tell you, they may be small, but their radiance is unrivalled. My skin looks flooded with moisture from the second I apply and requires very little blending. 

In terms of dosage, you only need a tiny amount—less than a full pump I’d say—to cover your entire face. I usually dot it in place on my forehead, cheeks and chin and buff outwards—with the mere sweep of the brush, a radiant glow is bestowed. In fact, It’s so easy to apply, I could genuinely do it without a mirror. As you can see, the coverage is good but far from masking—you can still see the albeit softened redness on my cheeks, which I always disguise with blush anyway. In terms of shade range, there is good diversity there, too. There may only be 16 colours but their sheer nature means they work in tandem with your skin tone underneath. And the range itself does feel even kilter—the BR172 Deep Dark with Red Undertones shade is especially impressive (I’m wearing BR12 Light with Rosy Undertones). 

At £52, this tint is definitely an investment and the 20 millilitres you get for your money is less than many other brands. The fact that you need so little product counters this somewhat but the pump does make it difficult to limit how much comes out. Really, there’s no two ways about it, it is expensive—even the cute little Chanel brush that comes with doesn’t soften the blow. But, if you want a lightweight product that feels as if you’re wearing nothing and you can justify it, this could be the tint for you.

Pros: Hydrating, sheer coverage, comes with brush, easy to apply, adaptable shades to suit different undertones

Cons: More expensive than most, less product than other skin tints

Rating: 9/10

Copy editor Georgia Seago tested the E.l.f. Halo Glow Liquid Filter in shade 2 Fair/Neutral Warm.

The first thing I’ll say about Halo Glow Liquid Filter is that I wouldn’t rely on the shade swatches online to find your match. I did my best to figure out what I thought would be the best for my skin tone, but despite the brand breaking the selection down into undertones, I ended up with something a touch too dark. It’s not massively off but it is pretty different to what I expected to receive.

That being said, overall I really like this product. It isn’t a tinted moisturiser in the traditional sense—it comes in a glass bottle with a doe-foot wand applicator, so feels more akin to applying foundation—but it’s nicely hydrating, feels lightweight on the skin and gives a gorgeous sheer, glowy coverage.

It’s perfect for me because I’m not a fan of heavy foundation, and I’ve been wearing it on its own for a few days now, just with groomed brows and mascara. I just swipe it on using the applicator and blend with a foundation-buffing brush. I love how it makes my skin look, but if i had one complaint in this area it would be that it leaves me fairly shiny by the end of the day. I do have combination skin though, with a particularly oily forehead, so that’s probably more of a “me” problem.

Pros: Affordable, lightweight, sheer and radiant finish, can be worn as highlighter or mixed in with foundation too

Cons: Shades are difficult to shop online, may not be suitable for those with combination or oily skin

Rating: 8/10

This skin-smoothing tint from Rihanna’s beauty brand is makeup magic. The formula is described as blurring, and I’d be inclined to agree. It definitely minimises the appearance of pores and evens out texture, and it has more coverage than some of the other skin tints I’ve tried and liked. Verging more on the matte side than other skin tints, it’s a great place to start if you have oilier skin. Plus, it has 25 shades to choose from.

Ask any beauty editor about this product and they’ll sing its praises. If you’re looking for more of a glow than coverage, this is brilliant for adding a luminous lit-from-within glow to your complexion.

What would a list of the best skin tints be without Glossier’s cult offering? When Glossier launched in 2014, its Perfecting Skin Tint was the only makeup product in its four-product offering. And if I’m honest, I’m not sure any of us had ever heard of a skin tint before this. Honouring the brand’s makeup-first, skincare-second ethos, this is described by Glossier as an “imperceptible wash of colour” that lies between bare skin and makeup. It has a very fluid texture and is super lightweight in finish. While I wouldn’t personally recommend it for the coverage, it is brilliant at providing that bright, healthy-skin look, and I find that it really comes into its own during the summer months when I don’t want to wear anything heavy or cloying on the skin. There are 12 shades available, but they’re so sheer that I’m pretty confident everyone will be able to find a colour that works for them.

If you love Milk Makeup’s cult sunshine oil, this is basically a tinted version of that much raved-about skincare product. Unsurprisingly then, given the number of oils in the formula, it is quite oily in texture so I’d say it’s ideal for drier skin types. However, the coverage and finish are beautiful, and I still like wearing it despite the intense dewiness. You can always apply a little powder on top to dial down the shine. 

Brimming with skincare ingredients like hyaluronic acid and butterfly bush flower extract (which protects against blue-light pollution, FYI), this is a moisturiser-makeup hybrid that I really rate. It actually does have a pretty good amount of coverage and definitely minimises redness and blemishes, but the best thing about it is how fresh and glowy skin looks after application. It’s the same kind of rested-skin look that you get post-facial, and I’m very much here for it.

Shiseido is renowned for its high-tech formulas that look and feel amazing on the skin. This skin tint has technology that adapts to your environment, so whether you’re in a humid environment or need something to stay put during a busy day without topping up, this is a great bet. 

Rare Beauty’s Positive Light Tinted Moisturiser Foundation gives a soft-focus, blurred look to the skin while still allowing your complexion to shine through. However, it can be layered to a medium finish if you require more coverage. It’s also infused with vitamin E, making it very nourishing for dry skin.

This is akin to wearing a silk dress—it’s lightweight, has a radiant finish and feels amazing to wear too. It has a buildable coverage with a dewy finish that makes your skin look glowing and healthy.

The brainchild of Millie Bobby Brown, Florence by Mills is a Gen Z–friendly skincare range that embraces that natural-skin way of life. While reviews of this are a little mixed, I think it’s clearly been formulated with teenage skin in mind, as the non-greasy, slightly thicker texture is perfect if you’re going through an oily skin phase. It also contains meadowfoam and jojoba seed oils to impart a little glow.

This piece was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.

Next Up: Hate Foundation? These Are the 18 Best Tinted Moisturisers for a Natural Finish

Promo image: @claire_most

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