We’re tapping our experts for all the best sunscreen knowledge, and breaking down the difference between tinted vs untinted sunscreen once and for all!
By now I’m sure we all know the importance of sunscreen for our skin. So we won’t preach that message, but we do want to help you figure out what the perfect sunscreen for your face is because that alone can seem daunting.
The market is saturated with products that claim to protect and provide a flawless look under your makeup but we know that when things seem too good to be true, they likely are. Not to mention there are so many different kinds of sunscreens, mineral, tinted, untinted, chemical, etc.
But we also know that choosing sunscreen really does come down to personal preference. We want to make the decision as simple as possible, so we’re rounding up and reviewing the best-tinted sunscreens on the market.
Tinted Sunscreen generally provides all the benefits of regular un-tinted sunscreen, while adding in additional benefits like fighting fine lines and wrinkles, dark spots, skin cancer, moisture, and cosmetic benefits like a smooth and healthy complexion. We know that wearing an SPF daily is something we should do (we said we wouldn’t preach) but we also know that many of our readers don’t use one on the regular.
Using one product with multiple benefits, including SPF, is clearly the way to have a safe and beautiful summer (and all year long) at the cottage.
Protection and perfection, yes, please!
Keep reading to find out what the difference between tinted vs untinted sunscreen is and how to choose the best product for your skin.
Sunscreen 101 – Tinted vs Untinted Sunscreen
The best-tinted sunscreens or facial sunscreens, in our opinion, are the ones that tailor to your specific skin conditions and beauty goals.
However, one of the most debated choices when it comes to sunscreen is between tinted and untinted.
So keep reading as we explore the differences, considerations, and benefits of each type, so we can help you make an informed decision.
What’s the Deal with Visible Light and Harmful UV Rays
Whenever we think of sunscreen, we often focus on its protection against UVB and UVA rays. However, there’s another component to consider: visible light.
While it doesn’t cause sunburn, visible light is associated with pigmentation disorders and photoaging. Which is why untinted sunscreens often provide broad-spectrum protection against both UV and visible light, helping to prevent the appearance of fine lines, pigmentation, and other signs of sun damage.
Active Ingredients in Untinted Sunscreen
Untinted formulas usually incorporate mineral UV filters like zinc oxide and pigmentary titanium dioxide. These particles work by sitting on the skin’s surface and reflecting UV light away from it. This makes them a great choice for those with sensitive skin, as they are less likely to cause irritation.
The Benefits of Untinted Sunscreen
Some untinted sunscreens have skin-nourishing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, and vitamin B. Which we love, because hyaluronic acid is great to help your skin maintain hydration, while vitamins E and B will help the overall appearance of healthy-looking skin. These sunscreens go way beyond UV protection, providing additional benefits for your skin.
How to Choose Between Tinted or Untinted Sunscreen
Skin Type and Concerns
When comes to choosing between tinted and untinted sunscreens, consider your skin type and specific concerns. If you’re prone to sensitivity, untinted formulas with mineral UV filters could be your best bet.
On the other hand, if you want light coverage and additional benefits, a tinted version might be more suitable.
Your Sunscreen Routine
Sunscreen is an essential part of our daily routines, rain or shine, summer or winter, we all need to wear sunscreen throughout the year, not just in the summer. So choose a product that seamlessly fits into your routine. Both tinted and untinted sunscreens can be used daily and as a part of your skincare regimen.
A tip I was recently told about was to focus more on reapplying throughout the day. So I started carrying around a mini SPF spray. It won’t affect your makeup and will only aid in protecting your skin.
Extra Sun Protection
Regardless of whether you choose tinted or untinted sunscreen, remember that no sunscreen can offer complete protection. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends a combination of protective clothing, seeking shade, and limiting sun exposure during peak hours.
Sunscreen According to Your Skin Type or Need
Dry skin needs special attention year-round, even during the hot and humid seasons. The Biossance Squalene +Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen contains extra-hydrating ingredients to hydrate while it protects. Formulated specifically for those with dry summer skin, this sunscreen will also help reduce redness. Because of the heaviness of this product when you apply it, it may not be the best option for those with dark skin tones.
Biossance Sheer Mineral Sunscreen
This incredible sunscreen is great for dry skin, it has active ingredients that hydrate and protect your skin while reducing redness.
Dark Spots/Age Spots
You know how much we love Dr. Dennis Gross. It’s no surprise that there is a special formulated tinted sunscreen just for dark spots! This board spectrum SPF 50 is great for reversing the signs of aging, sun damage, uneven skin tone, and dark spots.
Dr. Dennis Gross’s SPF 50
The ultimate dark spot defense, which helps with uneven skin tone, dark spots, and sun damage. All while protecting your skin from the sun with SPF 50.
SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50 is a dream product for those with acne-prone skin. Specifically formulated for post-procedure and acne-prone skin, this UVA/UVB cream provides optimal protection, flawless coverage, and all-day hydration.
Skinceuticals Physical uv dEFENSE
This sunscreen has a SPF of 50, and UVA/UVB defense that also includes an all-day hydration but is light enough to feel like you’re wearing nothing.
Sensitive Skin Types
As dedicated readers, you know how much we love CeraVe products! The CeraVe Tinted Sunscreen with SPF 30 is a dream for people with sensitive skin. Available in 3 shades, this mineral-based sunscreen protects against UVA/UVB rays with extra ceramides packed in to help retail moisture. The non-pilling formula is fantastic, and in our opinion, outperforms some of its higher-priced competitors.
CeraVe Sunscreen SPF 30
A moisturizer and sunscreen in one, and also contains 3 essential ceramides, which are found naturally in the skin and help restore and maintain the skin’s natural barrier.
Coola products have a huge cult following and for good reason. Since becoming available in Canada, the Mineral Face Organic Sunscreen Lotion Sheer Matte SPF 30- Tinted settles over the skin like a cool morning breeze. This broad spectrum 30SPF formula quickly disappears into your skin for a flawless look, every time. Did we mention it’s also water resistant for up to 80 minutes, contains certified organic ingredients, and comes in a TSA carry-on approved size?
Coola Organic Face Sunscreen
Coola sunscreen has an SPF of 50. It contains 70%% certified organic ingredients, water-resistant and lightweight.
Subtle Tint or Sheer Coverage
Probably one of my personal favorites, I love a sunscreen with a bit of sheer coverage foundation or sheer tint to the formula. Which is why I turn to Ilia’s Super Serum Skin Tint. With SPF 40, and a wide range of skin tones from light to dark, this is a great option. It has a dewy finish that looks natural, while is clinically proven to help with the look of dryness, blemishes, uneven skin tone, and wrinkles. Another key factor is the formula is vegan, formulated without gluten, fragrance, or even silicone!
Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40
We love the wide range of colors this tint comes in, from light to dark. It’s got a dewy finish that looks natural and active ingredients help your skin look its best.
La Roche-Posay is a great melt-in-milk body and faces sunscreen with an SPF of 60. It’s oil-free and great for sensitive skin. We love this one because it is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, and recommended to be reapplied at least every 2 hours.
LA ROCHE-POSAY ANTHELIOS MELT
This melt-in milk formula is an SPF 60, oil free sunscreen for sensitive skin. It’s water resistant for over an hour and fast absorbing.
Oily Skin Types
Paula’s Choice Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense is formulated with antioxidants and resveratrol in this super lightweight, lightly tinted sunscreen that is meant to deliver firming, protecting, and hydrating benefits all at once. We love this sunscreen for combination and oily skin because it goes on smooth and doesn’t leave your skin looking or feeling greasy. This sunscreen only comes in one tint, so beware that it provides a very sheer wash of color.
Paula’s CHOICE RESIST SPF 30
This matte tinted face moisturizer has UVA and UVB protection. It’s fragrance-free and paraben free.
Darker Skin Tones
Anyone with a darker skin tone knows the struggle with sunscreen showing, but we wanted to help with a great sunscreen that is also highly rated. Elta MD has an SPF of 46, is acne-friendly, and won’t clog your pores. Its active ingredients include lactic acid, which is helpful for exfoliating and hydrating the skin.
EltaMD SPF 46
This facial sunscreen has an SPF of 46, and is oil-free, with zinc oxide that will aid in protecting and calming sensitive skin. Acne-prone skin will also enjoy this product.
The La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral Tinted Ultra-Fluid Lotion SFP 50 will provide your skin with an instant, natural glow, and SPF protection. The broad spectrum UVA/UVB high protection formula will absorb quickly, is fragrance-free, water resistant, and works for all skin tones and types. This product unlike others dries to a matte finish for a healthy glow without the shine (and makes a great option for those with oily or combination skin).
La Roche-Posay Anthelios SPF 50
This is a favorite for a reason, it’s fragrance-free, water-resistant, and works for every sink type. Plus you can get it at most drugstores (or Amazon)
Cult favorite Supergoop Glowscreen Sunscreen with SPF 40 won our hearts for the best brightening sunscreen, This product provides high UVB rays protection. leaves zero white casts and gives skin the perfect no-makeup glow for busy days and beach vacations. While we love this product, it’s not the best option for those with oily skin.
Supergoop Glowscreen SPF 40
A cult favorite, Supergoop Glowscreen is great for not only brightening but also providing high UVB protection.
For those looking for makeup coverage as much as sun protection, the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Natural Skin Perfector should be your go-to product. We use this product year-round for light to medium coverage with sun protection., This product comes in 20 shades for a wide variety of skin tones and the velvety formula feels luxurious on the skin while being super easy to apply (we use our fingers, blender of this magic brush). If you can get SPF 30 and look flawless, theirs no excuse not to protect your skin. Fun fact about this product- Megan Markle is a fan!
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer
This sunscreen has an SPF of 30, comes in 20 shades, and has a luxurious formula that you’ll love.
Like we said, the debate between tinted and untinted sunscreens ultimately boils down to your personal preferences and skincare needs. Both types offer their own set of benefits, from protection against harmful UV rays to enhancing your skin’s appearance. Whether you opt for an untinted sunscreen rich in skin-nourishing ingredients or a tinted version that provides sheer coverage, the key is to make daily sun protection an integral part of your skincare routine. After all, a healthy and radiant complexion begins with effective sun care.