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Everything you need to know about tinted moisturisers, BB and CC creams

Everything you need to know about tinted moisturisers, BB and CC creams
Hannah Pourhady
Writer and expert7 years ago
View Hannah Pourhady's profile

Last Updated 30/5/24

When it comes to the world of face bases, there are many options to choose from. There are foundations in various coverage options and finishes, tinted moisturisers, BB, CC (and even DD!) creams, and more! It’s safe to say it’s one of the most confusing makeup categories to get your head around. With so much choice, finding the right shade and finish can be difficult, but we’ve put together an expert guide to make the process a whole lot easier. If you’re looking for something a little lighter for your complexion, read on.

What are tinted moisturisers?

A tinted moisturiser is essentially a much more lightweight formula than your regular foundation, which means that they do provide slightly less coverage. As such, if you are going through a bad skin day, a combination of a tinted moisturiser and a good concealer will ensure you still look your best, while still giving your skin a breather.

Tinted moisturisers also tend to contain a higher percentage of humectants than foundations, meaning that they work harder to keep the skin feeling super hydrated and supple. This makes them a great choice if you have dry, dehydrated or sensitive skin that needs a little more nourishment.

How to apply

When it comes to applying tinted moisturisers, there is a little more involved than massaging it into your skin. Just like foundation, there are some easy tips and tricks you can adopt to ensure you get a beautifully flawless-looking complexion.

  1. It's always a good idea to apply your normal daily moisturiser before your tinted formula. If you have oily skin, opt for oil-free and lightweight blend or primer will help to mattify your base. For dry skin, choose a nourishing product that ensures a smooth application and doesn't crack throughout the day.
  2. Doing a quick colour match to your jawline and neck is a good idea to avoid your base looking a different tone to your neck. If you feel it’s too light, you can always warm up your complexion with a bronzer.
  3. Blend up towards the forehead and out towards the ears. Remember to bring it down your neck too, but working out from the chin up will ensure you get the right product distribution.
  4. Warm up the product in your hands first. Whether you prefer using your fingers, a beauty blender or brushes, one thing is for sure; warming up your tinted moisturiser formula first will allow it to spread and cover your skin more evenly.

Tinted moisturisers vs BB and CC creams: what's the difference?

BB, CC creams and tinted moisturisers all tend to fall into the same category, yet separate themselves with their unique technologies, but is there really a difference?

Hailing from South Korea and inspired by Asian technologies, the ‘BB’ in BB cream stands for ‘blemish’ or ‘beauty balm’; meaning that it aims to perfect the skin by helping to smoothen out imperfections and give your complexion a more flawless finish. The formulas usually contain ingredients that can fight blemishes and improve the signs of imperfections on the skin. With the coverage and consistency of a sheer foundation, they're ideal to use when you are having a bad skin day and want to cover up spots without putting on a lot of products.

CC creams, however, are usually a little lighter than BB cream. Known by many names, including ‘complexion’ and ‘colour correctors’, they work to even out your skin tone more than tinted moisturisers and BB creams by correcting the colour in your tone. If you have pigmentation, scarring or any signs of redness and discolouration, a CC cream is a great choice to help to give you the appearance of a perfected and flawless complexion. They even make great primers, as they help to correct your skin tone before applying your favourite foundation on top for a polished final look.

Our top 5 recommendations

For radiance

If your skin is feeling a little dull, the NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser is the ideal base thanks to its brightening properties.

Infused with mineral-rich seawater, it hydrates and plumps the look of skin so that your complexion appears healthy with a more luminous glow. While it does contain SPF 30, always make sure you wear an added sunscreen if you are heading out on a particularly sunny day.

If you have oily skin, and still want a radiant finish, then be sure to apply a mattifying primer before this tinted moisturiser. NARS products always work better when used together, so the Soft Matte Primer works excellently with this face base.

For lightweight coverage

If you're looking for something very light on those ‘skintox’ days, the bareMinerals Complexion Rescue is an ideal makeup companion.

While free from chemical nasties such as silicones, parabens and fragrance, it also feels incredibly light on the skin and provides a sheer, light coverage. It contains a blend of marine botanicals, which keep the skin hydrated long after you first apply it.

For high coverage

If you want a lighter textured product that gives a buildable coverage similar to foundation, Chantecaille's Just Skin is a great option.

Not only does this tinted moisturiser give a flawless finish to the skin, but it also stays put all day to give you complete peace of mind. The addition of sodium hyaluronate keeps skin hydrated so that you feel comfortable with a flawless-looking makeup base. Perfect for the city girl, thanks to its anti-smog pollution technology, it shields the skin from harmful free radicals that result in damage and cell ageing.

For mattifying the skin

If you have oily skin and are looking for a tinted moisturiser that works to balance out your complexion and not enhance your shine, the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser Natural Skin Perfector SPF 20 works perfectly.

As a multitasking, oil-free formula, it gives you the lightweight feel of a tinted moisturiser, along with the light coverage of a foundation; blending out all imperfections and excess oil so your skin stays mattified throughout the day. Key ingredients include licorice root, which woks to visibly soothe the complexion and encourage a more unified and balanced look. While vitamin E and broad-spectrum SPF 20 help to protect from UV rays and environmental aggressors to promote a stronger-feeling skin barrier.

For hydration

If you’re looking for a tinted moisturiser that will nourish and condition your skin as it provides coverage, why not turn to a dermatological brand with a bank of expertise?

Sarah Chapman Skinesis Skin Insurance Tinted SPF30 is tinted cream infused with light-scattered powders to enhance your complexion’s natural radiance while adding moisture and protective SPF. Enriched with a high-performance blend of Vederine® and Celligent®, the formula delivers the brands iconic skin blurring technologies that work to unify your tone and delivery a luminous, hydrated-looking glow.

Shop our full range of tinted moisturisers, BB creams and CC creams.

Hannah Pourhady
Writer and expert
View Hannah Pourhady's profile
Coming from a large family of mainly women has made me passionate about all things beauty; from routines passed down from my grandmother, to trying the latest products and trends. Starting over 7 years ago when I was an MUA at MAC Cosmetics, my love for makeup has now evolved into making sure my skincare creates the perfect canvas for any look. I love anything that can make my skin feel fresh & bright while accentuating my features – Bobbi Brown's Face Base is my favourite at the moment! My makeup sits so beautifully on top and make my skin feel so fresh and hydrated!