My first trip to the dermatologist since the start of the pandemic resulted in my derm not being happy with me—just as I predicted. In short, he said that in the last two-ish years, I’d spent far too much time in the sun and far too little time applying and reapplying sunscreen. And he was right. When the weather permitted, I spent hours lying in the sun on my rooftop. When I wasn’t doing that, I was hanging out in a park (socially distanced, of course) or running outside—all either sans sunscreen or with very little sunscreen on.
Suffice it to say I left that appointment on a mission to finally take care of my skin, starting with my SPF routine. As someone who spends a lot of time scrolling on TikTok, my mind went straight to sunscreen of the tinted variety. Thus, I set out to find a tinted sunscreen that gave me a no-makeup look while protecting my skin from damage.
First, I called on Debra Jaliman, an NYC-based board-certified dermatologist, to give me the low-down on sunscreen in general. “Sun damage is cumulative,” Jaliman tells me. “Even on a rainy day, you will get ultraviolet damage because the UV light goes through the clouds. That’s why it’s important to wear sunscreen every single day, rain or shine.” According to her, there are three rules of thumb for purchasing and using sunscreen: 1) Stick to an SPF of 29/30 or higher, 2) use about a half teaspoon of product, and 3) reapply every two hours (more if you sweat or go swimming). Tinted sunscreen, tinted moisturizer with SPF, or sunscreen that’s not tinted—none of that really matters. Instead, it’s all about the three things mentioned above. Well, that and the concentration of zinc oxide, which Jaliman says should be above 9%, especially if you have sensitive skin.
With a wealth of knowledge behind me, I test-drove eight tinted sunscreens, many of which are in heavy rotation on my For You page. There’s EltaMD’s UV Daily Sunscreen, which Hailey Bieber has shared on her TikTok page (check out this Vitamin C she also uses). And, of course, there’s Supergoop! Glowscreen, which has a cult-like following of its own. But despite what Beauty TikTok might have you believe, those aren’t the only two tinted sunscreens on the market. In fact, neither received my number-one ranking.
See which one did and read all about my tinted-sunscreen journey below.