The Best Tinted Moisturisers For A Compromise Between Coverage And Care

We at Syrup are extremely partial to a bare skin finish; however, with sleep deprivation, increased sugar intake and additional stress all toying with our complexion health during social distancing, zero base isn’t always an option if you want to put your best face forward.

But while we remain indoors and even as we slowly adjust to The Outside, applying a full face of foundation does seem excessive. Tinted moisturisers present the ultimate complexion compromise, offering a lightweight wash of welcome colour while also delivering a dose of dew-boosting skin benefits.

Here, we break down how these formulas fit into your beauty routine, plus the top tints to shop.


While tinted moisturisers and BB creams do reside within the same ‘second skin’ style category of complexion perfectors, there are still some notable differences between the two.

BB creams, otherwise known as ‘beauty balms’ offer light to medium coverage; a BB formula will be lighter than a foundation, but thicker than a tinted moisturiser. The primary purpose of a beauty balm is to save time, condensing primer, illuminator, skin benefits, sun protection and foundation into one streamline step.

Tinted moisturisers, however, take the level of ‘natural’ up a notch. Their name offers an accurate depiction of what they are and what they do; they are formulated to hydrate and brighten skin in the same manner a moisturiser would, with a light level of pigment mixed in to offer just a touch of tint.

Think of these formulas as ones that aim to impart colour rather than coverage—they’re ideal for evening out tone and enhancing the appearance of skin, however, they won’t conceal blemishes in the same way thicker formulas would.

To put it simply, redness and uneven tone will vanish, but freckles and skin’s natural texture will remain beautifully visible, ensuring the finish remains undone and undetectable.


If constant use of foundation falls on the detrimental side and skincare applied solo benefits skin through allowing it to breathe, tinted moisturiser sits somewhere between the two, as it serves as a skincare-makeup hybrid.

However, though tinted moisturisers are the lightest possible base choice, and do boast a bevy of moisturising benefits the same way your daily hydrator does, they are still classified as a kind of cosmetic, and so must be effectively cleansed away in the same way you would wash your face after applying heavier makeup.

While a tinted moisturiser’s general aim, as the name would suggest, is to boost moisture, it’s also important to ensure your formula of choice is suited to your skin type. For example, while an oily or blemish-prone complexion is of course still in need of hydration to maintain its skin health, an oil-free variant that controls shine while also optimising moisture levels would still be the optimal choice.

Les Beiges Sheer Healthy Glow Tinted Moisturiser SPF30 by Chanel, $78 at Myer.

A luxuriously lightweight tint that imparts subtle luminosity, it harnesses the powers of hyaluronic acid and mineral pigments to become one with skin.

Touche Éclat Easy Glow by Yves Saint Laurent, $81 at Sephora.

Fans of the cult-status Touche Éclat concealer-highlighter hybrid will be thrilled to discover its same luminous finish in tinted hydrator form.

Phyto Hydra Tint Beautifying Tinted Moisturiser SPF15 by Sisley Paris, $145 at David Jones.

A veil of colour cloaked in a wash of hydration, this formula melts into skin to provide a radiant feather-light finish.

Off Duty Tinted Moisturiser, $49 by Napoleon Perdis.

Formulated with a moisturising mix of glacier water and glycerin, this complexion-calming tint offers a deliciously dewy wash of colour.

Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser by NARS, $72 at MECCA.

Loaded with light-diffusing pigments and mineral-rich sea water, it blurs, softens and smooths skin for an oil-free off-duty aesthetic.

Tinted Moisturizer Natural Skin Perfector by Laura Mercier, $75 at MECCA.

A hydrating hybrid of macadamia seed oil, shea butter and glycerin that works to wash skin with moisture and luminosity.

Nude Finish Tinted Moisturiser SPF15 by Bobbi Brown, $75 at David Jones.

Designed for irritation-prone skin types, this beautifying base leaves skin looking like skin, sans the unsightly redness that sensitivity tends to invite.