Different looks call for different cosmetic products. Two of the most popular products for improving complexion are tinted moisturizers and foundations. While both help in presenting a flawless complexion, their differences make them ideal for different skin types and occasions. Choosing the product best suitable for your skin and activities will help give you that radiant complexion for which you're aiming.


According to Valerie Monroe, beauty director of "O, The Oprah Magazine," both tinted moisturizers and foundations contain zinc oxide, which is responsible for depositing pigment into the skin. Tinted moisturizers contain up to 3 percent zinc oxide, while foundations contain up to 15 percent zinc oxide. This makes tinted moisturizers sheerer than foundations when it comes to pigment and coverage.


Since foundations offer more coverage than tinted moisturizers, they're used for occasions that call for a more polished look. Tinted moisturizers are more well-suited for a more natural look, which makes it an ideal choice for casual occasions such as going to the grocery. As the name also implies, tinted moisturizers are upgraded forms of moisturizers. These products let your skin breathe more than foundations like moisturizers do while still giving some color to your skin, thus making them more ideal for when you will be doing a lot of activities throughout the day.

Skin Types

Tinted moisturizers are ideal for teenagers who are just starting out with makeup. It provides a more natural look that suits younger individuals. Tinted moisturizers are also a good choice for those with dry skin, since it will add another layer of moisture to skin. Foundations are a better choice for those with oilier skin because they have fewer humectants or moisturizing ingredients than tinted moisturizers. Foundations are also suitable for acne-prone users because they offer more coverage for any blemishes.


Tinted moisturizers combine the functions of moisturizer, light foundation and sun care in one step. This is especially useful for those who apply their makeup in a hurry. However, it does not provide much coverage, so a concealer may still be needed as an added step to a makeup routine. Foundations, on the other hand, may provide a flawless finish even without concealer due to the heavier coverage it offers. Some foundations also contain an SPF for sun care and may cut down on steps in a makeup routine.

Sun Care

Most tinted moisturizers and foundations in the market now contain ingredients such as avobenzone, titanium oxide and zinc oxide. These ingredients are responsible for the SPF in these cosmetic products. However, the higher the concentration of these ingredients, especially in foundations, the more it gives a whitish cast to the skin. This may be a disadvantage, especially in photos.

About the Author

Alexandria Sese

Alexandria Sese began to pursue writing in 2003. Sese's articles have appeared in "College Magazine" and "The Theresian" magazine. Sese is working toward a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago.