Just as you’d swap out your warmest puffer coat for a light denim jacket once the weather gets warm, the same theory applies to your foundation. In the winter, our skin is more prone to dryness and therefore needs thicker, more moisturizing products, while in the summer, we want makeup that’s not going to make our skin feel suffocated, or exacerbate the shine that goes along with getting sweaty. The best foundations for summer are lightweight and breathable, and provide light-to-medium coverage that’s typically on the sheerer side. CC creams, BB creams, and tinted moisturizers all make excellent alternatives to foundation for the summer, as they tend to feel less heavy and have a more natural-looking finish.
Along with switching up your foundation when the weather changes, you’ll want to switch up your moisturizer and sunscreen, too. Swap out your rich face cream for a lighter-weight lotion, and opt for a refreshing gel sunscreen instead of a thicker, creamier formula. If you have oily skin, you may even be able to forego moisturizer altogether by swiping on a light moisturizing essence or serum, followed by a hydrating sunscreen.
To give your makeup routine a refresh for summer, keep scrolling to shop TK foundations, BB creams, and tinted moisturizers that are perfect for warm weather — and consider picking up a lighter-weight concealer, too.
1. Editor’s Pick: A Super-Light Foundation For People Who Hate Foundation
I’m a notorious foundation-hater, but I recently discovered this tinted serum from L’Oreal Paris and it’s completely changed the game for me. It feels just like a true serum — it has a fluid, water-like texture — and you only need a few drops to cover your entire face. Once on, it’s airy and breathable, and best of all, your skin actually looks like skin — just a lot more even. I’ve been playing around with wearing this under sunscreen, over sunscreen, and even mixed in with sunscreen, and I’m happy to report that in all instances, it worked out great; there was no pilling, and even when I put this on under my SPF, the foundation stayed in tact.
While the hyaluronic acid in the formula makes this a great choice for dry skin, I think it would work just as nicely for people with oily skin, as the foundation is completely non-greasy and doesn’t leave behind a trace of shine. All in all, it’s an excellent choice for summer.
- Available shades: 14
2. A Hydrating Foundation That Makes Your Skin Look Luminous
If you definitely want a traditional foundation — not a tinted serum or BB cream — you’ll likely find Maybelline’s Dream Radiant Liquid Hydrating Foundation a nice choice for summer. It’s silky and creamy, makes your face look glowy and luminous, and is enriched with hydrating hyaluronic acid and plumping collagen to make your skin look and feel its best.
On extra-hot days, use a bit less product than you normally would or mix this in with your favorite moisturizer, and keep blotting papers on hand to soak up any shine that appears throughout the day.
- Available shades: 20
3. A Lightweight Foundation & Mineral Sunscreen In One
If you love a good multitasking product and like to keep your morning routine as streamlined as possible, consider Tint du Soleil from Colorescience’s Sunforgettable line. It’s a sheer foundation with SPF 30 (courtesy of mineral sun blockers zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) and up to 40 minutes of water resistance, so it’s a great choice for active days outside. The whipped, oil-free foundation is easy to build up for more coverage, and it’s formulated with nutrients like ceramides and peptides to nourish and strengthen your skin while it protects from the sun. The only downside? It only comes in four shades.
- Available shades: 4
4. A Cream-To-Powder Foundation For Oily Skin
Falling somewhere between traditional and innovative, Flori Roberts Cream To Powder Foundation is a particularly good choice for people with oily skin. Made with shine-stopping kaolin, it offers the highest level of coverage out of all the foundations on this list, with a unique, creamy texture that dries down to a matte powder once it’s set.
If you like the idea of a thicker foundation that color corrects and conceals, but don’t love a full-coverage option for summer, don’t fret: just apply this using a dense, fluffy brush (instead of the included sponge) and blend it out well.
- Available shades: 14
5. A Tinted “Skin Veil” For Less Than $5
Wet n Wild’s Bare Focus Tinted Hydrator has a lot of things going for it — most notably, its $5 price tag. It’s an amazing alternative to foundation for summer because it tints and evens out your skin, just like a foundation would, and its sheer coverage makes it ideal for beachy, natural-looking makeup looks. Both dry and oily skin types will likely enjoy this product equally, because while it’s super hydrating — that’s thanks to ingredients like hyaluronic acid and squalane inside — the oil-free formula isn’t at all greasy.
- Available shades: 11
6. A BB Cream With SPF 30
In case you’re not familiar, BB creams perform similarly to foundations, but usually offer more skin care benefits, including sun protection. This one, from purlisse, is a longtime fan favorite: It combines a glowy (but not shiny) finish with SPF 30 and plenty of antioxidants. Made with gentle botanicals like chamomile and sugar maple, it blurs, tints, and evens out your skin while offering both environmental and UV protection.
- Available shades: 11
7. A BB Cream With SPF 50
Similar to the purlisse BB cream above, this best-selling tinted sunscreen from Australian Gold is a must for summer days spent at the pool or beach. Not only does it have a nice, high SPF of 50, but it’s also rich in antioxidants — specifically of the Australian variety — that bolster its skin-protecting abilities. This is an all-mineral sunscreen, so it’s safe for sensitive and acne-prone skin, while its oil-free formula and matte finish make it a good pick for oily skin, too. A water-resistant rating of up to 80 minutes rounds out its long list of highlights. Told you it’s a must-have for summer.
- Available shades: 3
8. A Tinted Moisturizer With Glow-Boosting Vitamin C
Get your daily dose of vitamin C with this tinted moisturizer from Honest Beauty. It covers all your skin care bases at once, making it an ideal, one-and-done product for rushed mornings. The vitamin C in here offers antioxidant benefits and helps promote a more even skin tone; SPF 30 protects your skin from the sun; allantoin soothes and hydrates; and a sheer, breathable tint offers natural-looking coverage. What more could you want for $20?
- Available shades: 8
9. A Tinted Moisturizer That’s Great For Dry Skin
Made with rich shea butter, hydrating aloe, soothing chamomile, and skin-plumping sodium hyaluronate (aka hyaluronic acid), PÜR’s 4-in-1 Tinted Moisturizer makes the perfect base for dry skin. It has a nice, creamy consistency, yet it’s still lightweight and airy enough for hot weather, and offers SPF 20 protection (not quite the derm-recommended daily amount, however, so be sure to wear a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher underneath).
Need more convincing? Check out this one rave review from an Amazon shopper: “If you’re debating on buying this..DO IT!! It’s everything I’ve been looking for in a tinted moisturizer - lightweight, has just the right amount of coverage, not heavy at all, and gives the face a beautiful glow! Perfect for these hot summer days when you don’t feel like wearing heavy makeup foundation!”
- Available shades: 15
10. This New Launch That Combines The Benefits Of A BB & CC Cream
This tinted moisturizer from Black Radiance is a new launch from the brand, and an exciting one at that. Offered in eight shades, the majority of which are thoughtfully designed to cater to Black skin, it’s a color-correcting beauty balm made with hyaluronic acid to hydrate and plump up your skin. Like the PÜR tinted moisturizer above, this one doesn’t have enough SPF in it to act as your daily sun protectant, to don’t forget to apply your sunscreen of choice first.
- Available shades: 8