You’ve heard of foundation, but skin tint? Maybe not. When it comes to skin makeup, it seems like there are endless products all promising different results. It can be confusing trying to tell them apart and know which is best suited to you, especially with so many opinions flying around! We are here to make it all a bit easier and break down the skin tint vs foundation debate once and for all.
Keep reading for an in-depth explanation of the two different skin makeups, what each is used best for, and some product recommendations!
What is Skin Tint?
Let’s start with the basics. While it might sound a bit unusual, skin tint is really quite simple! It is just a thinner, more liquid version of a tinted moisturizer. The purpose of this product is to hydrate and lightly cover the skin while having a serum-like weight and texture. Skin tints are very light in coverage due to the thin formula and the reduced amount of pigment.
The watery texture of a skin tint allows it to evenly spread across the skin without much manipulation. This makes it very different from some other skin makeups — like foundation — that require brushing, dabbing, and sponging. Skin tint goes on like a serum and dries down to the product-specific finish.
When Should You Use Skin Tint?
Seeing as skin tint is so light, there is only so much it can do! It is buildable, but not in the same way that more traditional skin makeups are. Skin tint is meant to lightly veil the skin. It will not change the appearance of texture or any major discoloration.
Skin tint really shines in no-makeup-makeup looks; these looks are meant to enhance one’s appearance in such a way that it doesn’t look like they’re wearing makeup at all. This product is amazing for those who don’t want a heavy makeup look and do want light coverage and some hydration.
Skin tint also rocks for daytime wear when sweat and oil are a concern! It really soaks into your skin. You won’t have to worry about pigmented sweat dripping down your face or product settling into fine lines. If sliding foundation is a concern, check out these preventative tips and consider using a skin tint.
If lightweight, minimal coverage with a subtle glow sounds like your cup of tea, skin tint is perfect for you!
Which Skin Tints are the Best?
Skin tint is one of the more recent skin makeup developments, but there are still a lot of options on the market. Here are some specific product recommendations based on you!
Best Overall Skin Tint: Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint
Glossier was one of the first brands to bring skin tint to the market, so they have had the most time to perfect the formula! It’s breathable, thin, and has a natural glow finish for that dewy skin look. We just wish there were more than 12 shades!
Best Skin Tint for Dry Skin: Kosas Tinted Face Oil Comfy Skin Tint
If your struggle with dry skin but still want some coverage, let Kosas do the work! Specifically formulated with ultra-hydrating oils, this skin tint is best for those who need extra moisture. The product comes in 16 shades and will give even the driest skin a long-lasting glow.
Best Skin Tint for Oily Skin: Fenty Beauty Eaze Drop Blurring Skin Tint
Rihanna made this skin tint with summer in mind! Eaze Drop is built to handle any sweat or oil with its flexible formula. 25 shades ensure that you will find a match.
Best Skin Tint for Sensitive Skin: Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40
This self-proclaimed “super serum” really does live up to the hype! With skin-nourishing ingredients like hyaluronic acid and niacinamide, light pigment for a dewy skin veil, and SPF 40, it is a one size fits all product. It’s especially great for sensitive skin that won’t like too many products being piled on. The 30-color shade range doesn’t hurt, either!
Best Budget Skin Tint: Milani Glow Hydrating Skin Tint
With “glow” in the name, it’s clear what this product claims it does. And, boy, does it deliver! Formulated with squalene, this skin tint hydrates all day while giving your skin a light pick-me-up. With only 6 shades, you might not find an exact match; however, skin tint is so light that you can probably go up or down a shade without it showing!
What is Foundation?
Foundation is perhaps the most common and well-known skin makeup of all. There are thousands, if not more, available. At its simplest, foundation is a base for your skin. It can be powder, liquid, or cream, but its purpose remains the same: to cover any skin differences and imperfections to create a uniform ~foundation~ for the rest of your makeup.
Unlike skin tint, foundation has been around for ages giving beauty brands decades to perfect the formulas and finishes. This is why there is so much variety now! You can get a foundation to smooth complexion, reduce oiliness, hydrate, cover differences in pigmentation, and the list goes on and on. Because of its weight, foundation can help more in achieving the unachievable perfect skin look. Foundation is such a broad category, but the main thing you should remember is that foundation is meant to cover.
When Should You Use Foundation?
Foundation is best for those who are looking for a smooth even base for the rest of their makeup! While you can choose from a variety of coverages, all foundations even skin tone and mask imperfections to a certain degree. Foundations are noticeably heavier in weight than skin tints, and, because of this, usually require a tool such as a brush or a sponge to apply.
Different skin conditions can be better concealed by foundation than skin tint. For example, there are specific foundations for red skin and even powder foundations for oily skin. A heavier coverage might help lessen the visibility of these.
If you are wanted to do any contouring or highlighting on your skin using concealers, using a foundation to create an even base ensures a more uniform finish. Similarly, heavier makeup looks like cat eyeliner or a bold matte lipstick tend to look best when paired with a visible base such as foundation.
Which Foundations are the Best?
As with skin tints, there are some foundations that fit certain skin types better than others. Check for what’s best below!
Best Overall Foundation: Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Perfect Glow Flawless Oil-Free Foundation
Makeup buyers unanimously agree that Armani Beauty’s contribution to foundation is top-of-the-line! Because it’s oil-free, it works with all skin types and is buildable without being cakey. 40 shades of silky skin finish are definitely something to brag about, so Armani takes the cake!
Best Foundation for Dry Skin: Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Longwear Foundation
It’s all in the name! “Flawless” skin is all you could possibly ask for from a foundation. Charlotte Tilbury uses its own patented ingredients to hydrate and nourish the skin while offering medium, buildable coverage. With 44 shades, this is also one of the most diverse foundations on the market! It is a widely loved product, but it was made for those of us with a bit drier skin.
Best Foundation for Oily Skin: Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Liquid Foundation
Fenty Beauty is surely making a name for itself within the skin tint vs foundation debate! With oily skin, a mattifying foundation is best for controlling shine. When talking about mattifying, the Pro Filt’r Foundation is the best on the market. Fenty Beauty offers a record-breaking 50 shades including the elusive olive skin tones that are often forgotten! The long-wear aspect of the foundation is also great for oily skin as the product won’t move around and the skin becomes oilier throughout the day.
Best Foundation for Sensitive Skin: Nars Sheer Glow Foundation
Sensitive skin doesn’t like a ton of product, and it likes to breathe. Nars Sheer Glow allows for it all! It is light in weight and consists of a breathable formula that allows you to build coverage without smothering your skin. It comes in 40 shades which accommodate most everyone!
Within these 40 shades, Nars has a really good range of light shades making this an amazing foundation for fair skin.
Best Budget Foundation: Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation
Maybelline’s cult-favorite foundation has many great qualities: it’s oil-free and won’t clog pores; it has a seamlessly natural, matte finish; it comes in 40 diverse shades; and, on top of all that, it usually retails for less than $10!
For more low-priced foundations, check out our list of the best drugstore foundations!
Skin Tint vs Foundation: Final Thought
Skin tint and foundation are in the same genre, but that is about where their similarities end. In general, if you are going for an I-woke-up-like-this glow that showcases your natural skin, skin tint is the way to go. It’s easy to apply and doesn’t require any tools.
Foundation will give you a more done-up appearance and serves as a great base for more drastic makeup. If you are willing to do some extra blending work, foundation will provide you with a smooth start for any makeup look. If you have a skin type or condition that you want to cover, foundation works best; for example, you can use a matte foundation on oily skin to help lessen the appearance of shine throughout the day.
Skin tint vs foundation really isn’t much of a debate at all! With both products serving completely different end goals, it is hard to find a certain answer as to which one is “better”. Personal preference plays a HUGE part in selecting which of these two lines of products will suit your needs best. If you’re still unsure, give them both a try and see where you stand on skin tint vs foundation!
Simone is a graduate of Georgetown University and a skincare enthusiast. Her favorite skincare product is currently COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence. In addition to her passion for cosmetics, Simone loves to spend time outdoors.