How To Apply Tinted Moisturizer Like a Pro (2024)

If you’re trying to achieve a natural, dewy complexion, tinted moisturizer should be your go-to product. While full-coverage foundations can give you a flawless complexion, it often takes a range of other products to mimic the lit-from-within glow you can get from a good skincare routine.

“I love tinted moisturizers because they’re the perfect combination of skincare and makeup.”

  • Shani Darden, esthetician

Tinted moisturizer can offer you a light but flawless finish that will last all day while at the same time providing skincare benefits like SPF and hydration. So let’s talk about tinted moisturizer, what it is, how to find the right one for you, and how you can achieve a flawless, natural-looking finish in no time.

What Is a Tinted Moisturizer?

Makeup has almost as many variations as skincare, and it can be equally difficult to figure out what products will be best for you and your skin.

For instance, there’s liquid foundation, which tends to be full coverage. You’ve probably also heard of BB and CC creams, which are staples that provide light coverage and sun protection in addition to color correction or serum-like benefits. There’s also powder and stick foundation — but what about tinted moisturizers?

I love tinted moisturizers because they’re the perfect combination of skincare and makeup. Rather than covering up your skincare concerns or trying to pave over fine lines, wrinkles, or other imperfections, tinted moisturizers can offer you a flawless finish and some light coverage.

These moisturizers can help provide hydration and other nutrients to back up your skincare regimen, and some can even help address your skincare concerns rather than hide them.

Tinted moisturizers are exactly what they sound like — moisturizers that offer a hint of color or tint. Whether you have dry skin, you only need light coverage, or you’re looking for an effective way to save yourself some steps in the morning, tinted moisturizers may be for you. They’re effortless, low maintenance, and suitable for any skin type.

They can also be used on their own or as a base layer for fuller coverage. All in all, they’re a versatile option that can give you a touch of color and a fresh-faced appearance that emphasizes the natural beauty and glow of your skin without covering it.

How Do You Apply Tinted Moisturizer?

Tinted moisturizer might be a great option, but how do you apply it? After all, every skincare product requires slightly different application steps. Here’s my guide on how to use and apply tinted moisturizer.

1. Prep With Skincare

The first step in applying your makeup actually has nothing to do with makeup. Especially when you’re using something light and sheer, like a tinted moisturizer, you first want to be sure that your skin is even and glowing on its own. Start by cleansing your skin thoroughly. You can then follow that with a toner and then a serum.

When it comes to a naturally radiant complexion, vitamin C is your new best friend. I love iS Clinical’s Pro-Heal Serum Advance+ serum, which can help deliver a highly stable yet super gentle vitamin C to brighten and even your skin tone while also minimizing visible signs of aging.

Vitamin C is also a potent antioxidant, which, when used in combination with a traditional SPF or sunscreen, can help bolster your skin’s protection against the sun’s potentially harmful rays. This makes vitamin C a powerhouse companion to a tinted moisturizer.

2. Dispense Your Moisturizer

After you’ve cleansed, toned, and applied your serum, it’s time to moisturize. You can use a traditional moisturizer underneath your tinted moisturizer if you have dry skin, but if you’re looking for the most minimalist routine possible, you can jump straight from serum to tinted moisturizer.

I recommend starting with Colorscience’s Sunforgettable® Total Protection™ Face Shield Flex SPF 50, which is a fantastic sheer tinted SPF.

You can also combine this with the Sunforgettable® Total Protection™ Brush-On Shield SPF 50 to add some additional sun protection, finishing coverage, and moisture, which comes from hyaluronic acid.

Dispense your Face Shield Flex onto your fingers and gently rub them together. This will allow the encapsulated iron oxide pigments to release and bloom in your fingertips, preparing it for application.

3. Apply the Product

As you gently rub the product between your fingers, you may notice that it’s quite a bit whiter than your skin. As you rub it, that oxidation should take place, turning it from white to the appropriate tint. Once that happens, you can apply it evenly on your face.

You can apply one layer if you only need light coverage, but if you’re looking for something a little more full-coverage, you can layer it until you have the finish you were hoping for.

4. Perfect Your Look

Next, you’ll add Sunforgettable® Total Protection™ Brush-On Shield SPF 50. This radiance-boosting brush-on sunscreen is made for all skin types.

It’s an award-winning, all-mineral powder sunscreen that protects and nourishes your skin while delivering a gorgeous, golden-champagne glow. It goes beyond SPF protection and offers defense against many environmental aggressors, such as UVA and UVB pollution, blue light, and even infrared radiation.

Zinc oxide helps to provide broad spectrum SPF 50 protection against UVA rays, which can cause premature aging, and UVB rays, which can cause sunburn. A mix of pearlescent pigments and hyaluronic acid will leave you with a flawless, glowing finish without any of the fussy blending and buffing required from other foundations.

5. Re-Apply Often

While combining steps in your skincare routine can be great for saving time in the morning, it’s important to remember that products like tinted moisturizer serve a dual purpose. They’re not just moisturizers, and they’re not just makeup — they often also provide SPF protection.

It’s easy to apply your makeup in the morning and write off your skincare routine as done for the day. However, you might find yourself with a terrible sunburn because you forgot to reapply your tinted sunscreen throughout the day.

Just like a traditional sunscreen, your tinted moisturizer (or in this case, your Sunforgettable® Total Protection™ Brush-On Shield SPF 50) should be reapplied every two to three hours.

6. Remove Your Makeup

I get it — life can be hectic. The temptation to sink into your bed at the end of the day and go right to sleep can be overwhelming at times, especially if you’re just wearing a lightweight tinted moisturizer that doesn’t feel like makeup.

Unfortunately, this isn’t true. Tinted moisturizer may be skincare, but it’s also still makeup, and that means you need to wash it off at the end of the night. If you don’t, the impurities left on your face from the day may get into your pores, leading to breakouts. Actually, neglecting to wash your face twice a day can actually make breakouts worse, so it’s important not to skip out on this crucial final step.

If you do nothing else in your evening routine, be sure to wash your face. My Cleansing Serum is a concentrated yet gentle cleanser that transforms into a luxurious lather in your hands. It seamlessly melts away makeup and pore-clogging impurities without stripping your natural oils, so you’ll be left feeling ultra-clean and silky-soft.

This moisturizer is also packed with hyaluronic acid to hydrate your skin, restorative oat bran to help re-balance moisture levels, and calming olive extract to help soothe irritation or redness. It’s a great way to both remove your tinted moisturizer at the end of the day and cleanse your skin in the morning.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, learning how to apply tinted moisturizer like a pro can elevate your makeup routine and help your complexion look smooth and even while still retaining a natural, low-maintenance glow. With the right techniques, achieving a flawless complexion using tinted moisturizer is so simple that it can even eliminate multiple steps from your skincare routine.

However, it’s important to remember that the secret to looking flawless in tinted moisturizer is having a thorough skincare routine. Whether you’re just getting started or you’re simply looking for some high-quality skincare products, check out my online selection today.


The Hype on Hyaluronic Acid | Harvard Health Publishing

10 Skin Care Habits That Can Worsen Acne | American Academy of Dermatology

When Should Sunscreen Be Reapplied? | National Library of Medicine

Effectiveness of Antioxidants (Vitamin C and E) With and Without Sunscreens as Topical Photoprotectants | National Library of Medicine

How To Apply Tinted Moisturizer Like a Pro (2024)
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