Beauty Skincare These 12 Tinted Mineral Sunscreens Offer Goof-Proof Protection Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 has great coverage and an impressive shade range. By Daley Quinn Updated on July 6, 2022 @ 01:49PM Pin Share Tweet Email We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission. Amazon/InStyle There's a time and place for full-coverage liquid foundation, and a sweltering day on the beach just ain't one of them. Having been a long-time acne-sufferer, I panic at the thought of going foundation-free at the beach or by the pool. Thankfully, the invention of tinted mineral sunscreens has allowed gals like myself to get that non-negotiable sun protection along with a hint of coverage on a hot day. That being said, not all tinted mineral sunscreens are made equal, and the dreaded white cast is always a concern for those with medium to deep skin tones. After testing many tinted sunscreens (with a lot of safe time under the sun), we've deemed the Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 as the best overall tinted mineral sunscreen—we love the coverage it gives as well as the impressive shade range. We've rounded up the best tinted mineral sunscreens in various categories, so you can find your favorite and get adequate protection under the sun. Our Picks Best Overall: Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 Best Value: Babo Botanicals Daily Sheer Fluid Tinted Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 Best Splurge: Lancer Mineral Sun Shield Universal Tint Best Drugstore: Sun Bum Mineral SPF 30 Tinted Sunscreen Face Lotion Best for Fair Skin: Saie Slip Tint Best for Medium Skin: Avène Solaire UV Mineral Multi-Defense Tinted Sunscreen Fluid SPF 50+ Best for Dark Skin: Absolute Joi Daily Hydrating Moisturizing Cream w/ SPF 40 Mineral Sunscreen Best for Acne-Prone Skin: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Tinted Sunscreen SPF 50 Best Sunscreen/Primer Hybrid: Live Tinted Huegard 3-in-1 Broad Spectrum Mineral SPF 30 Primer Best Powder: Brush On Block Mineral Sunscreen Powder Best Overall: Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 Foundation Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Sephora Buy on Iliabeauty.com What We Love: It offers a nice amount of coverage. What We Don't Love: The formula can cling to dry patches. The multi-award-winning pick from Ilia is a fan favorite for a reason—it offers great coverage, has an impressive ingredient list, and comes in a whopping 30 shades (this is huge for a tinted product). The Skin Tint incorporates ingredients you'd find in your favorite serum, like hydrating hyaluronic acid, moisturizing, plant-based squalane, and soothing niacinamide for a makeup product with benefits. This pick uses non-nano zinc oxide to protect against the sun and blue light, and is free of silicones, fragrance, and oils. The Skin Tint won best overall because it offers the best coverage of the bunch—it's a medium coverage formula that can be built up to full coverage. Although this pick does a great job of covering up imperfections, it might not be ideal for those with super dry skin, as the formula tends to cling onto dry patches. If you do skew more towards a dry dermis, consider applying a thick moisturizer or hydrating primer pre-application for a finish that won't look (or feel) drying. Active Ingredient: 12% Zinc Oxide | SPF: 40 | Size: 1 fl oz Best Value: Babo Botanicals Daily Sheer Fluid Tinted Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Goop.com Buy on IHerb What We Love: It's super lightweight. What We Don't Love: It does leave a hint of a white cast. Originally developed as skincare for babies, Babo Botanicals is a company that uses clean ingredients for sensitive skin. Using pure, high-quality natural ingredients comes at a cost, but for just $20 per bottle, this pick is a steal. The Babo Botanicals Daily Sheer Fluid Tinted Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 is a very thin, lightweight fluid that blends beautifully into the skin. It's so weightless, in fact, that it doesn't really feel like you have any sunscreen on while wearing it. Because it's formulated for sensitive skin, it's a good option for those with acne or eczema. With a high SPF and blue light protection, this pick will definitely help defend against sun damage and photoaging. This formula features the brand's Organic Nutri-Soothe Herbal Blend, which is a blend of four, secret botanical extracts to help soothe, soften, and protect sensitive skin. You'll also find organic raspberry oil and passion fruit seed oil for extra moisturization and hydration. The Sheer Fluid has a tinted hue that's not light, nor dark—it's ideal for those with medium skin tones. Unfortunately, the formula can leave a bit of a white cast, so make sure you rub it in thoroughly. Active Ingredient: 20.6% Non-nano Zinc Oxide | SPF: 50 | Size: 1.7 fl oz Best Splurge: Lancer Mineral Sun Shield Universal Tint Neiman Marcus Buy on Nordstrom Buy on Neiman Marcus Buy on QVC What We Love: It's ingredient blend has lots of good-for-your skin benefits, along with sun protection. What We Don't Love: This hydrating formula might be too much for oily skin. There's no better product to splurge on than one of the most important steps in your skincare routine: your sunscreen. The Lancer Mineral Sun Shield Universal Tint is a gorgeous formula that uses zinc oxide to physically defend against UVA and UVB rays. Not only does this sunscreen build a barrier against sun damage, but it will also protect your skin against blue light damage, thanks to the rice and soy complex. Pink rock rose works to calm stressed skin, while the ginger root extract will decrease redness, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. While yes, this product is definitely a splurge at $60 a pop, it's also a beautiful formula that blends seamlessly into the skin and won't leave a white cast. The Lancer Mineral Sun Shield Universal Tint provides a beaming glow to your skin, and is super hydrating, too. That being said, because it's such a moisturizing formula, it's probably not ideal for those with oily skin types, as this pick might make your skin even more oily. Another important thing to note is that, because this product blends so well, it's truly great for all skin tones. However, it won't provide a ton of coverage in terms of hiding pimples or sun spots—it adds a very, very light layer of color to the skin and looks more like a primer. Active Ingredient: 16% Zinc Oxide | SPF: 30 | Size: 2 fl oz Best Drugstore: Sun Bum Mineral SPF 30 Tinted Sunscreen Face Lotion Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Target Buy on Ulta What We Love: It's great for those with oilier skin types. What We Don't Love: It can be a bit drying. Known for their high-performance, all-natural sunscreen, this pick from Sun Bum is a great snag from the drugstore aisle. It's zinc-based, tinted, blends beautifully, and can be used as a primer before makeup or as a sheer layer of coverage over any imperfections. If you're someone with oily skin, this tinted sunscreen face lotion is a great addition to your daily skincare routine. With its lightweight, mousse-like texture, this product will blend like butter and provide a matte, poreless finish to the skin. That being said, it's probably not the best option for those with drier skin, as this formula might accentuate dry patches. We love the pore-blurring formula and how it allows makeup to last all day, sans touch-ups. Although this product does have a tint to it, it's probably not recommended to use it on darker skin tones, as this pick will probably leave a bit of a white cast. Active Ingredient: 5.8% Titanium Dioxide and 2.4% Zinc Oxide | SPF: 30 | Size: 1.7 fl oz Best for Fair Skin: Saie Slip Tint Sephora Buy on Sephora Buy on Cultbeauty.com Buy on Goop.com What We Love: The super clean ingredients. What We Don't Love: The coverage is very sheer. A best-selling tinted moisturizer, the Saie Slip Tint will get you glowing instantly. This hydrating tinted sunscreen has a plethora of shade options for fair skin (and an okay range for medium, dark, and deep skin tones, too). Not only does the Slip Tint offer a seriously glowy effect once applied, but it also features very moisturizing ingredients, too. With hydrating hyaluronic acid, brightening licorice root, and free-radical-fighting pansy flower, the Saie Slip Tint basically acts as a serum, tinted moisturizer, and sunscreen all in one. This brand prides itself on its clean, gluten-free, and paraben-free ingredients and is a great option for those who are concerned about the products they apply to their bodies. While we love how dewy and hydrating this product is, it also has a very, very sheer tint, and won't do much in terms of acne or hyperpigmentation coverage. If you prefer a tinted mineral sunscreen that offers a very sheer wash of color, the Saie Slip Tint is calling your name. Active Ingredient: 15% Zinc Oxide | SPF: 35 | Size: 1.35 fl oz Best for Medium Skin: Avène Solaire UV Mineral Multi-Defense Tinted Sunscreen Fluid SPF 50+ Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Ulta Buy on Walgreens What We Love: The shade is ideal for medium skin tones. What We Don't Love: The shade probably won't match light or dark skin tones on its own. Avène is one of my favorite skincare brands because the formulas are beautiful, the price points are reasonable, and all of their formulations are ideal for sensitive skin, like mine. What was once only available in Europe, has made its way stateside, like the 100% mineral tinted sunscreen. The Avène tinted SPF not only boasts sun protection, thanks to zinc oxide, but it also helps to calm and soothe inflamed, sensitive skin, too. Formulated with niacinamide (helps calm redness), allantoin (soothing), and the brand's proprietary thermal spring water (helps soften skin), this pick is approved by the National Eczema Association and won't irritate hypersensitive skin. This product comes in two shades—tinted and non-tinted. The tinted version is ideal for those with medium skin tones, as the color isn't light enough for fair skin, and isn't dark enough for darker skin tones. The formula is pretty concentrated, and does a great job at covering any imperfections on the skin (an added bonus). Active Ingredient: Zinc Oxide | SPF: 50+ | Size: 1.7 fl oz Best for Dark Skin: Absolute Joi Daily Hydrating Moisturizing Cream w/ SPF 40 Mineral Sunscreen Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Absolutejoi.com Buy on Thirteenlune.com What We Love: It leaves no white cast on dark skin tones. What We Don't Love: It has a watery consistency. Finding a tinted mineral sunscreen that doesn't leave a white cast on dark skin tones seemed impossible, until the Absolute Joi Daily Hydrating Moisturizing Cream w/ SPF 40 Mineral Sunscreen came onto the scene. Founded by a Black female doctor, Dr. Anne Beal, this brand knows a thing or two about formulating products specifically for darker skin tones. This sunscreen comes in two shades (Café Au Lait and Mocha), is very lightweight, and is made with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. The sustainably-produced squalane and hyaluronic acid in this formula make it extra-moisturizing, while vitamin C, green tea, and chamomile help to fight against free radical damage. This product was developed for dark skin tones, but we'd be remiss to note that it's probably not ideal for very dark skin tones, as the darker shade (Mocha) is lighter than a typical deep shade. For very deep skin tones, be sure to check out the ILIA Skin Tint or Tower 28 SunnyDays. Additionally, the consistency is a bit watery with this pick, so if you have dry skin, we recommend adding a moisturizer underneath this product beforehand. Active Ingredient: Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide | SPF: 40 | Size: 1.7 fl oz Best for Acne-Prone Skin: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Tinted Sunscreen SPF 50 Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Target Buy on Ulta What We Love: This won't break you out. What We Don't Love: It only comes in one shade. To all my fellow acne folks out there, the hunt for a sunscreen that doesn't cause breakouts often feels like a deep dig that never ends. That is, until I tried the La Roche-Posay Anthelios Tinted Sunscreen SPF 50. This pick was specifically formulated for those with sensitive skin, and features a fast-absorbing texture that'll leave a tinted, matte finish. The 100% mineral tinted SPF is formulated with La Roche Posay's Cell-Ox Shield technology, which contains 5.5% titanium dioxide, 10% zinc oxide, and senna alata (a powerful antioxidant) for both sun and free-radical protection. Emily Cieslak, assistant commerce editor at InStyle, has been using this tinted sunscreen for years and loves it. "I have acne-prone, combination skin, and this sunscreen never breaks me out or leaves me oily," she explains. "The consistency is in fact a liquid — it's very thin and blendable, which I like because I can apply it every two hours without feeling heavy. Plus, it gives decent coverage, so recently I've been wearing it alone without foundation." Unfortunately, the shade options for this pick are nonexistent. "The only con is that it comes in only one shade, which matches my light skin, but probably wouldn't work so well for darker skin tones." Active Ingredient: 11% Titanium Dioxide | SPF: 50 | Size: 1.7 fl oz Best Sunscreen/Primer Hybrid: Live Tinted Huegard 3-in-1 Broad Spectrum Mineral SPF 30 Primer Ulta Buy on Ulta Buy on Credo Beauty Buy on Sokoglam.com What We Love: This acts as an SPF, moisturizer, and primer before makeup. What We Don't Love: It isn't as tinted as other picks. If you're a no-nonsense beauty consumer who isn't into a 12-step skincare routine, this sunscreen from Live Tinted is for you. Formulated with 18% zinc oxide, this mineral sunscreen acts as a 3-in-1—it's an SPF 30, moisturizer, and makeup primer in one bright tube. The non-nano zinc is lightweight, won't leave a white cast, and has an ever-so-slight tint to it. That being said, this product won't be a substitute for a foundation, and probably won't offer much coverage in terms of a tinted base. InStyle senior beauty editor, Pia Velasco, loves this sunscreen. "Apart from being an SPF, it's also a moisturizer and a really great makeup primer—the slightly yellow tint brightens my complexion, and it smells nice, too," she explains. "Plus, I love supporting small, BIPOC-owned businesses, so this sunscreen really checks off all the boxes." Active Ingredient: 18 % Zinc Oxide | SPF: 30 | Size: 1.7 fl oz Best Powder: Brush On Block Mineral Sunscreen Powder Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Brushonblock.com What We Love: This can be applied over makeup. What We Don't Love: It might not give enough coverage as other SPFs. Not all sunscreens come in a squeezable tube—this pick from Brush on Block, as the title suggests, is a brush-on mineral SPF powder. With an SPF 30, this tinted powder can be brushed on your face and neck for added sun protection. The best part about sunscreen powders is that they can be reapplied throughout the day, without disturbing your makeup. In fact, they actually can act as a great oil control face powder, whenever your skin may need a refresh towards late afternoon. You can also opt to apply this sunscreen powder under your foundation, right after your moisturizer. While we love this powder for added sun protection, it's hard to know if you're applying enough product to fully cover your skin. When using Brush On Block, make sure to tap the brush on the back of your hand a few times before applying to your face—this will ensure that the powder gets into the brush head and fully onto your face. If you're concerned about SPF coverage, you can use this product as an added bonus to your daily liquid sunscreen. Additionally, don't expect this tinted mineral powder to provide enough coverage to hide imperfections on the skin—you'll probably want to reach for your foundation or concealer, and apply Brush on Block on top. Active Ingredient: 8% Titanium Dioxide and 14% Zinc Oxide | SPF: 30 | Size: .12 oz Best for Eczema-Prone Skin: Tower 28 SunnyDays SPF 30 Tinted Sunscreen Sephora Buy on Sephora Buy on Credo Beauty Buy on Revolve What We Love: It's ideal for sensitive skin. What We Don't Love: It can get a bit greasy-looking. For all the eczema-prone folks out there, the Tower 28 SunnyDays SPF 30 Tinted Sunscreen was made with you in mind. With broad-spectrum UVA/UVB SPF 30 protection and light to medium coverage, this pick features ingredients that won't irritate the skin. We love that SunnyDays has the National Eczema Association's Seal of Acceptance and is fragrance-free, alcohol-free, gluten-free, coconut oil-free, and mineral oil-free. Although SunnyDays only has 14 shades, the shade range for deeper skin tones is very impressive—the shade Venice is a great option for anyone with very deep skin tones. This product from Tower 28 was specifically designed for sensitive and problematic skin, and won't further irritate any eczema patches or cause breakouts. Because SunnyDays is so hydrating, it won't exacerbate any dry patches from eczema breakouts on the face, and also won't make your skin feel itchy, either. We love the dew this formula gives off, but our one complaint is that it can start to look a bit greasy towards the end of the day, after many hours of wear. To combat the shine, we suggest adding a bit of translucent powder right after application, as well as topping off with an SPF powder throughout the day. Active Ingredient: 12.6% Non-nano Zinc Oxide| SPF: 30 | Size: 1 fl oz Best Glow: Nudestix Nudescreen Daily Mineral Veil SPF 30 Sephora Buy on Sephora Buy on Ulta Buy on Revolve What We Love: It offers a gorgeous, soft sheen. What We Don't Love: The tints are not ideal for fair skin. Known for their multi-tasking, creamy color sticks, Nudestix has developed a tinted mineral sunscreen that doesn't disappoint. This pick comes in two tinted shades, as well as one colorless option, and provides a soft radiance to the skin once blended. Because Nudescreen is so hydrating, it can act in place of your moisturizer and primer underneath your makeup. It's formulated with antioxidant-rich extracts like green algae, purple tea, and passion flower to help fight against premature aging and blue light. We love that it's 100% reef-safe and oil-free, but wish there was a tinted option for fair skin. Nudescreen comes in three shades—a sheer colorless shade called "Cool," a natural tan tint called "Warm," and a natural-deep tan tint called "Hot." Those with medium to deep skin tones love this product because it doesn't leave a white cast and also offers a beautiful glow once set. Of course, the "Cool" shade was designed for those with fair skin, it's just that it isn't tinted and won't provide any sort of coverage over redness, acne, or sun spots. Active Ingredient: 15% Zinc Oxide | SPF: 30 | Size: 1.69 fl oz What to Keep in Mind Formula If searching for a more natural formula, you want to look for naturally stable oils like jojoba and meadowfoam seed oil that can also help boost the stability of other oils. "Unfortunately, both the iron oxide pigments used to match various skin tones and mineral sunscreen actives can increase the rate at which some natural oils break down, leading to bigger formula stability issues in sunscreens," explains cosmetic chemist Kelly Dobos. "Modified natural and synthetic emollients have significant advantages in stability for tinted sunscreens." Liquid vs. Powder While a powder sunscreen certainly does offer protection against harmful sun rays, Dobos doesn't recommend using powder sunscreen as your sole method of protection. "Tinted powder sunscreens are a good supplement or touch-up," explains Dobos. "But, they shouldn't be used as a primary sunscreen because you're likely applying a light dusting, which will not even be close to the amount of product applied for sunscreen testing." Instead, opt for a liquid sunscreen and then use the powder for SPF touch ups throughout the day. Watch your application amount for fuller coverage products too. Two finger lengths, or ½ teaspoon, is the correct amount for face and neck. Shades Just like foundation, it may take some experimentation to find a shade that works for you in a formulation that you like using. "Look for free samples to swatch or stores where you can trial products," suggests Dobos. The best sunscreen is one with SPF 30 or higher and broad-spectrum protection, of course—but also, one that you will use over and over again. Your Questions, Answered What's the difference between chemical and mineral sunscreen? There is a big difference between chemical and mineral sunscreen, and it's important to know which does what. "Chemical sunscreens are molecules that absorb energy and dissipate it harmlessly as heat, while mineral sunscreens (often referred to as physical sunscreens) reflect and scatter some of the incident UV rays, but their efficacy can be largely attributed to absorption too," explains Dobos. The particles in mineral sunscreens can be made smaller and smaller to increase transparency on the skin, but it's a trade-off, as you can lose the efficacy of sun protection by decreasing that particle size. "Chemical sunscreens typically require a combination of multiple actives to achieve broad-spectrum coverage, but are essentially colorless when applied to the skin," explains Dobos. "These ingredients may be oily in nature, so they can feel greasy and leave the skin looking shiny." Is tinted sunscreen like foundation? Unlike foundation, tinted sunscreen has an SPF factor, so you know how much UVB protection you are getting from the sun. "It also is sheerer than foundation, so it evens the skin a bit but does not provide full coverage like a foundation," explains Debra Jaliman, M.D., a board-certified NYC cosmetic dermatologist and author of Skin Rules. "If you need a slight bit of light coverage, choose a tinted sunscreen, but if you need full coverage, a foundation is better." When formulating foundation, cosmetic chemists primarily use titanium dioxide for opacity, because of the pigments that are permitted—color additives in cosmetics are regulated in the US and every region of the globe, according to Dobos. "There's little focus on properties like blemish coverage for tinted sunscreens, but adding just enough iron oxide pigments to match skin tone and reduce the whitening effects when zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are used as sunscreen active ingredients. There may also be more oil-absorbing ingredients used in a foundation to help control excess sebum on the face."