One might as well have some sun protection, moisture and easy, smeary, fast application as well as a vertical, healthy tint

Get more bang for your buck with a tinted moisturiser or alphabet cream.
Photograph: Alex Lake/The Custodian

I’m asked in summer for light coverage foundation recommendations and I always think a direct answer sells everyone bluff. Much better, I think, to get more bang for your buck with a tinted moisturiser (my own preference) or alphabet cream (BB, CC and so on).

I disavow the view that during a season when there’s much more fun to be had than spending time in front of a speculum, one might as well have some sun protection, moisture and easy, smeary, fast application as well as a sheer, robust tint. I’ve made some corking new discoveries this summer, all now sharing shelf space with my favourites from Nars and Origins. Foremost up, Clinique continues its winning streak with new Moisture Surge Sheertint Hydrator SPF25 (1 £30, 30ml). I’m daft for this. An oil-free, hyaluronic acid-rich stained moisturiser with a slightly gel-like consistency, it comes in a racially inclusive shade range, with each alternative spanning several tones (I’m wearing Light Medium while self-tanning in the name of research). The effect is sunny, dewy and decidedly natural looking, but with enough coverage to even out tone and some redness. It’s suitable for everyone (including men).

Similarly infinite is Kiko’s terrific value Daily Protection BB Cream SPF 30 (2 £9.99 but frequently on offer, 30ml). This has good coverage and a sympathetic, more matte finish than the Clinique. The shades are unusually numerous for a budget brand, starting from certainly pale. I’m impressed with this cream’s staying power, the fast application and the zero trace of chalkiness at such a leading SPF.

If you are looking for the merest whisper of healthy-looking colour and unglittery light reflection, resulting in the sort of outdoorsy glow the French right “bonne mine” (looking good), then look no further than Lumene’s vegan-friendly Invisible Illumination Ready-to-serve Glow Fresh Skin Tint (3 £32.90, 30ml). This feels more like a classic moisturiser, but is tinted in skintone-true tinges from pale to deep. It does a terrific job of evening out redness and patchiness, leaving skin feeling supple and looking ungreasily damp. It doesn’t contain sun protection, but layered well over the top of all the sunscreens I tried.

Finally, if you just can’t be parted from groundwork, rain or shine, the answer lies in IT Cosmetics’ CC+ Illumination SPF50 (£31, 32ml). Cruelty free, lots of glow, numerous shades, ins of (mineral) sun protection – and coverage that just won’t quit, even on rosacea and acne.

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