Winter is a cruel mistress. She hits you with icy temperatures, blistering winds, and maybe even a blizzard or two. If the conditions outside weren’t punishment enough, the indoors bless you with piping radiator temps and drier than dry air. With all those extremes, it’s no wonder our skin does not get along with winter. Your face can be dramatic and revolt accordingly: flaking, redness, irritation, and dullness. (Insult to injury!)
Putting foundation on your winter-abused face is also like rolling the dice. Certain formulas can flake and pill, while others seem to disappear entirely by midday. May I present to you the solution to winter skin and foundation woes: the tinted face oil. The richer, more hydrating sister to the beloved tinted face lotion, this creation is like a marriage between a face oil and foundation. The relatively new invention is a stroke of genius for most skin, but especially those in need of moisture with their coverage. Gone are the days of dry patches and dull makeup, as this tinted face oil is made to make you glow. Below, we pick a handful of our favorites in time for a bitter winter.
Described as the “foundation of the future,” this oil means business. The active botanical oil blend is comprised of six oils: avocado (hydrating), meadowfoam (plumping), green tea seed oil (pollution-fighting), red raspberry (reparative), jojoba (soothing), and rosehip seed (brightening and clarifying). The whole gang could be a modern-day crime-fighting Power Rangers–esque crew, but in place of crime, they’d fight dull and dry skin.
Even the application of the product is insanely cool: Treat this oil like it’s a face serum or moisturizer—aka no blending required. The medium-coverage foundation is quickly absorbed through the skin. Just massage two to four (or up to six for full coverage) drops using your fingertips (no foundation brush needed).
The foundation range is important too. Nude is not beige, and in this day in age, a foundation must be able to match every skin tone. Somehow Kosas has even made the 10 tones optically skin tone–matched, so it’s wearable for over 30 different skin tones.
Launched a few years ago but reformulated in summer 2018, this beloved tint is a worthy winter contender. Coming in five, super-sheer shades, the tint allows skin to breathe but also adds a major hydration boost. It couldn’t quite replace your daily moisturizer, but it’s great as a quick coverage, out-the-door addition to skin. It’s famous for its dewy application, which is a savior for mid-winter dull skin blues. It’s all thanks to a blend of diamond powder (brightening and blurring effect), glycerin (moisture retention), and a secret ingredient called “polymer x” (gives a lifted look). And while it’s not necessarily an oil, it does apply like one, so we’d argue it’s worth slathering on this season. Simply apply it with fingers and massage on.
First Aid Beauty also makes a very similar skin tint called Hello Fab Triple Protection ($34), which is similar to Glossier’s cult product, but this has an SPF component. If you don’t already incorporate SPF into your daily routine (which you should not skip in winter!), this might be a better option for you.
If you’ve already found your love for argan oil, the hydrating, nourishing and antioxidant-rich ingredient, then this is your magic bottle of foundation. The oil, blueberry argan extract, and a few additional ingredients (white bird of paradise extract, anyone?) are cold-pressed to preserve their effectiveness. That all sounds nice in theory, but when winter comes around, it’ll be great in practice, too.
Beyond just moisturizing, the fluid is focused on radiance and a variety of medium-coverage shades (14 to be exact, with each labeled with undertone notes too—R for rosy, G for golden, and RG for neutral). In a clinical trial, 100 percent of users saw a significant increase in skin moisture and also that their past feelings about foundation improved after using the fluid.
If we’re going to have to live through winter, at least we could do so with happy, even-toned, hydrated, and never cakey-looking skin. Where have you been all our lives, tinted face oils?