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Tinted vs. Non-Tinted Sunscreen: What's the Difference? Which is Better?

Tinted vs. Non-Tinted Sunscreen: What's the Difference? Which is Better?

    • Whether you're staying in or going out, daily sun protection is essential. Applying sunscreen is the single most important thing you can do to protect yourself against skin cancer and keep your skin looking youthful. Everyone should generally look for sunscreens with broad-spectrum coverage (which protects against UVB rays that cause burning and UVA rays that cause lasting damage) and an SPF of 30 or higher. But when choosing a sunscreen, you also want to consider a tinted or non-tinted sunscreen. So what's the difference between tinted and non-tinted sunscreen? Which is better? Below, we will make a comparison to help you choose.


  • What is tinted sunscreen? 

Tinted sunscreen is essentially sunscreen that comes in various shades to match your skin tone. Most tinted sunscreens include an SPF active ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, and tinted pigments. These tinted pigments reflect visible light in ways that other sunscreens can't.

  • The difference between tinted and non-tinted sunscreen

Tinted sunscreens contain mineral filters like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide and it also contains added pigments which primary functions are first, combat that chalky appearance and second, the colored pigments reflect away visible light in ways that regular sunscreens can't.

Broad-spectrum, non-tinted sunscreens contain filters that block UVA and UVB, but these preparations are not designed to block visible light. To block visible light, a sunscreen must be visible on skin. The problem? The particles in broad-spectrum, non-tinted sunscreens are "nanosized" (made smaller) to help reduce the white appearance of sunscreen. Thus, non-tinted sunscreens are formulated to be invisible on skin, and therefore cannot block visible light.

Tinted sunscreens combine broad-spectrum mineral UV filters, like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, with added pigments — pigmentary titanium dioxides and iron oxides — that create the visible, skin-tone color that can reflect away visible light. The colored base of tinted sunscreens is created by mixing different amounts of black, red, and yellow iron oxides with pigmentary titanium dioxide, resulting in a tinted sunscreen that can be matched to any skin tone.

Recommended Tinted Sunscreens:

| EltaMD UV Elements Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 44 

($38.50, up to 8% cashback at Dermstore)


UV Elements is a 100% physical sunscreen with a moisturizing base and a universal tint that beautifully enhances most skin tones. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, the key ingredients in this moisturizing sunscreen, are natural minerals that work by reflecting and scattering UVA and UVB rays. 

The consistency is not mousse-like or creamy, unlike some other facial sunscreens. It feels liquid-like and easy to spread with minimal rubbing. The lightweight formula means it doesn't clog pores as it is non-comedogenic and can be used on acne-prone skin. This chemical-free facial sunscreen is gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin types, including post-procedure skin. It's also dye-free, fragrance-free, gluten-free, oil-free, and paraben-free. 

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| La Roche-Posay Anthelios Tinted Ultra-Light Face Sunscreen SPF 50

($34.99, up to 8% cashback at La Roche-Posay)


This lightweight 100% mineral tinted face sunscreen with titanium dioxide was developed for sensitive skin. The fast-absorbing texture leaves a tinted matte finish on skin for a healthy glow. It is formulated with Cell-Ox Shield® technology: broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection with antioxidants. You can wear this sunscreen while exercising or swimming because the formula is water-resistant for up to 40 minutes.

Most reviewers say it absorbs quickly and is gentle enough on their sensitive skin, and is lightweight enough to wear under makeup. Plus, it doesn't leave skin feeling greasy as it leaves a matte finish.

| Australian Gold Botanical Tinted Face Sunscreen SPF 50 

($13.99 at Target)


Australian Gold Botanical Mineral Lotions are more than just powerful sun protection – they are gentle care for your skin. This non-chemical sunscreen lotion delivers a refreshingly luxurious, powdery-clean feel, while the subtle tint seamlessly blends into any skin tone yet washes away with water. 

Specially designed for sensitive facial skin, this lotion wont clog pores and is fragrance free. Rich in vitamins and antioxidants from native Australian botanical ingredients, it allows you to enjoy the sun your way, protected from both UVA and UVB rays. It's water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, so, like all sunscreens, reapplication throughout the day is a must. 

| CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen Face Sheer Tint SPF 30

($16.99, up to 6% cashback at Walgreens)


CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen Face Sheer Tint SPF 30 provides UVA/UVB protection with 100%-mineral titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, forming a barrier on the surface of your skin to reflect the sun's rays. Mineral sunscreen for face with tint is non-greasy and suitable for sensitive skin.

Facial sunscreen lotion seamlessly blends into all skin tones to offset the whitening effect of mineral sunscreen. Mineral face sunscreen with a tint is formulated with soothing niacinamide and hyaluronic acid to help retain skin's natural moisture -while leaving a sheer, natural finish that blends seamlessly with your skin. 

| Paula's Choice Resist Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense SPF 30

($35, up to 7% cashback at Paula's Choice)


If you dislike the greasy, thick feeling of most sunscreens, this Daily Wrinkle Defense with SPF 30 will become your new best friend. Rich in antioxidants, it neutralizes damaging free radicals and boosts collagen production to help combat the visible signs of aging. The lightly tinted, pure mineral zinc oxide formula evens tone and creates a soft, matte finish for a naturally flawless look. 

A youth-boosting moisturiser suitable for oily, combination and blemish-prone skin, this lightweight formula is bound to become a firm favourite in your routine. Absorbing excess oil, it grants a soft matte finish with a sheer light tint – perfect for priming skin for make up.

| Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense SPF 30 

($36, up to 6% cashback at Sephora)


Drunk Elephant's Umbra Tinte is a tinted physical sunscreen with 20% zinc oxide that delivers a powerful broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection as well as helping protect skin against free radical and oxidative damage.

This tinted daily sunscreen is loaded with potent antioxidants, like astaxanthin, grape juice, and sunflower shoot extract, to minimize the appearance of photoaging for a more youthful-looking complexion. Infused with raspberry seed and marula oils, Umbra Tinte™ delivers essential moisture and helps minimize the look of fine lines and wrinkles for skin that appears healthy and preserved. This unique formulation is ideal for daily use without any residue or greasiness, and has a universally flattering tint for all skin tones. Ideal for all skin, including the most sensitive.

2022-05-06 00:397517