When you want less coverage than a foundation but don't want to go bare-faced, a tinted moisturizer can give you a natural yet polished look that still lets your skin breathe. The best tinted moisturizers for oily skin offer lightweight, non-pore-clogging hydration and buildable coverage.
But, in order to find the right one for you, it's important to consider a few key factors:
Tinted Moisturizers Vs. BB Creams
If you're on the fence about whether you need a tinted moisturizer or a BB cream, know that both will provide light to medium coverage and some moisturizing benefits — although you might get more hydration from a tinted moisturizer. BB creams, on the other hand, include more skin evening, smoothing, and plumping ingredients, but as a result, they tend to be thicker products.
SPF: Physical Vs. Chemical
Most good tinted moisturizers also contain a chemical or physical sun protectant, but each type of sunscreen has some pros and cons for oily skin. Chemical sunscreens won't feel as heavy on your skin and are less likely to cause flashback in photos, but they can clog pores (and are known to impact coral reefs). Physical sunscreens like zinc oxide can help soothe skin and are less likely to gunk up pores, but also can feel heavy and cause the dreaded photo flashback. Some tinted moisturizers will come with a blend of both types.
If your oily skin comes with secondary concerns like acne, a tinted moisturizer with a shot of active ingredients can help improve your overall skin condition. Salicylic acid does a lot of good for acne-prone skin, like exfoliating dead cells, unclogging pores, and helping to prevent breakouts. Retinoids, in addition to increasing collagen production, are sometimes also used to treat acne, since they prevent dead cells from clogging pores and causing acne.
With that in mind, it's time to find the right one for you. All of the tinted moisturizers below come highly rated on Amazon.
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1. This Dewy Tinted Gel Moisturizer With SPF 30
This tinted moisturizer from bareMinerals matches lasting hydration with buildable coverage. The breathable formula has skin-quenching mineral electrolytes and squalane — an oil that's actually okay for oily skin types since it's noncomedogenic and lightweight — plus coconut alkanes and mineral pigments for a flawlessly radiant finish. Its mineral-based (i.e. physical) sunscreen offers SPF 30 — the most sun protection on this list. One shopper who called it the "best on the market" declared, "This stuff is the bomb! I hate the feeling of makeup but have a nice case of adult acne. It’s lightweight, has great coverage, and leaves a slightly dewy look."
- Available shades: 10
2. An Acne-Treating BB Cream With 2% Salicylic Acid
This is the lone BB cream on this list, but it's designed for oily to normal skin types, and boasts a lightweight feeling, mattifying finish, and oil-free formula, making it a great drugstore option. It's especially great for those with acne since it contains 2% salicylic acid — the highest dose available without a prescription — to help treat and prevent breakouts. One shopper who had used this for a while reported, "Excellent coverage for being so light weight and it does not clog my pores. I bought it on Amazon because it was super easy to not have to buy it at the store." One important note: Since tinted moisturizers with salicylic can't contain SPF, you'll need to apply sunscreen as a separate step.
- Available colors: 3
3. An Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer With Retinol
A sheer tinted moisturizer, with skin-rejuvenating retinol, helps provide a lit-from-within glow. The oil-free formula is noncomedogenic and actually contains not one, but two types of retinoid: the classic retinol plus its gentler cousin retinyl palmitate. There's also skin-soothing, antioxidant-rich vitamin E, as well as olive and camellia extracts. Since retinol can enhance sun sensitivity, Neutrogena also added a dose of broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 20 from a combination of physical and chemical sunblocks. A long-term user shared that "one pump evens my skin tone but still lets my skin show through. Love that it has SPF — every little bit helps!"
- Available colors: 4
4. A Tinted Moisturizer Loaded With Nourishing Botanicals
This nutrient-rich, cruelty-free tinted moisturizer promises to be a hard-working formula offering the benefits of a primer, moisturizer, foundation, and sunscreen in one bottle. It includes soothing chamomile, and PUR's proprietary skin-renewing Ceretin Complex, plus a botanical cocktail including shea butter, ginseng, ginkgo, camellia, and aloe. The vegan formula is free of gluten and parabens, and broad spectrum SPF 20 mineral (physical) sunblock tops it all off. One recent convert declared: "This is by far the best tinted moisturizer I've used. I try others and always come back. It lasts a long time, applies and wears great. I have oily combo skin."
- Available colors: 4