It’s official: 2021 is the year that
skin reigns supreme. With many of us having dialed up our skincare routines during the lockdown, we’re emerging from restrictions ready to ditch our full-coverage foundations and show off our skin in all its natural glory. Of course, that doesn’t mean we’re waving goodbye to makeup entirely. This summer is all about embracing color—from pastel eye shadows to bright lipsticks, expect to see people taking to the streets in a riot of kaleidoscopic pigment. But as for our complexions? There’s a new product in town encouraging us to embrace a more pared-back approach to coverage: skin tints. And I’m into them.
Way more lightweight than your classic foundation, a skin tint is exactly what you’d expect—a low-maintenance, barely-there hint of color and coverage that evens out skin tone but lets your natural complexion shine through. If, like me, you’re used to applying base products as a way of covering up breakouts or redness, then here’s a word of warning: Skin tints do no such thing. However, there’s been something thrilling about embracing skin tints as a way to show off the bits of my skin that I do like rather than thinking of makeup as a means to camouflage. And make no mistake—the best skin tints really do leave your complexion looking great, spots and all. It’s not just me who’s experiencing this change in mindset, either. Research conducted by Ciaté London shows that makeup consumers are actively seeking out more lightweight options when it comes to complexion products, with a 180% increase in internet searches for “natural everyday makeup” in the past year. In fact, four in 10 consumers confirmed that they’ll be ditching full-coverage foundation for good, with over half of people surveyed saying that they felt more confident in their own skin having experimented with more natural-looking makeup recently.
When it comes to shade range, it’s worth noting that you’re unlikely to find 50 shades of skin tint to choose from when you’re shopping. In fact, I think Fenty Beauty has the biggest offering with 25 shades, which is half the number of shades as its usual foundation. This is mostly down to the fact that these products aren’t about coverage. In fact, many skin tints blend away to basically nothing more than a dewy, fresh-faced finish, meaning that the available shades are a lot more versatile and suit a larger breadth of skin tones. That’s not to say that there isn’t more work that could and should be done in this arena, though, specifically when we’re talking about more pigmented skin-tint options where shade range really does count. So with such an abundance of new launches hitting the market right now, which ones are actually worth your cash? Keep scrolling for the 11 best skin tints to try now.
Undoubtedly the biggest skin-tint launch of the year so far, this skin-smoothing tint from Rihanna is makeup magic. The formula is described as blurring, and I’d be inclined to agree. It definitely minimizes 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, which is vast in the skin-tint arena.
After the brand’s research showed that consumers are actively seeking out more hybrid skincare-makeup products, Ciaté London launched Dewy Skin. The result is a seriously glowy base product that delivers on dewiness and luminosity with lightweight coverage. Even better, it’s infused with hyaluronic acid to hydrate skin and brightening vitamin C so you’re getting a healthy dose of skincare benefits at the same time.
BB creams were basically the original skin tints—moisturizer-makeup hybrids that offer hydration with a hint of coverage. While they seem to have fallen a little off the radar in recent years, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a resurgence with high-street brands like Nyx serving up new-gen versions like this tinted skin veil. Available in 12 shades, it has a beautiful satin finish that lasts really well on the skin. And it’s noncomedogenic, so it won’t clog pores either.
I’ve genuinely lost count of the number of beauty editors who rave about this skin tint, but along with being the priciest product on the list, it’s also the lightest in coverage. Composed of 75% water, this is a tint in its truest form. It melts into skin, delivering glow and creating a more uniform complexion, but there is basically no coverage at all with this one. However, if you’re looking for a product that’s quick to apply and will give your skin an instant boost of radiance, then it’s well worth it.
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 the 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.
I discovered this innovative face oil a couple of years back and have recommended it so many times since. I’ll say straight off the bat that although my skin is naturally oily, I still love a dewy product, and this is definitely dewy. Almost serum-like in texture, the formula is infused with botanical oils and a fairly impressive amount of pigment that seems impossible with its lightweight finish. It’s hydrating, glowy, and always makes my skin look better than before I applied it.
I think that the formula of this skin tint really belies its $18 price tag. It has a lovely, light formulation that glides on to smooth and hydrate skin, but you can layer it up to give you more of a medium coverage too. While the finish is definitely radiant, it isn’t as shiny as some of the other skin tints, so I feel like this offers a good middle ground between tint and foundation if you’re new to the category. Oh, and there are 20 shades to choose from.
Unsurprisingly, 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.
When it comes to affordable skin tints, Nyx is clearly the brand to go to, as this is its second product on the list. This one is way more luminous than the Skin Veil and much more sheer in the finish. In fact, there are only five shades in the range to choose from, which, while a bit of a let-down, does show just how little coverage this product actually offers. But that’s not a bad thing. While spots and pigmentation will still show through this product, the overall complexion is left so damn glowy that I didn’t care anyway.
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. However, it also contains meadowfoam and jojoba seed oils to impart a little glow.
Brimming with skincare ingredients like hyaluronic acid and butterfly bush flower extract (which protects against blue-light pollution, FYI), this is a moisturizer-makeup hybrid that I really rate. It actually does have a pretty good amount of coverage and definitely minimizes 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. Up next: I’m Predicting Sephora’s Next 21 Cult-Favorite Haircare Products. This post originally appeared on Who What Wear UK.