beauty writer loren savini wearing ilia skin tint
Channing Smith for Allure

This $48 Skin Tint Gave Me the Glowing Skin of a Hydrated Goddess

I literally look like I drink a gallon of water a day.

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Somewhere along the way — between bottled water commercials, perfume ads, and Hailey Bieber simply existing — we were led to believe that perfect skin was as easy as drinking eight ounces of ionized water upon waking from our perfectly restful eight hours of sleep. It’s not, of course. Not even Hailey Bieber and Jennifer Aniston live on a skin-care diet of spring water alone. But the closer we can get to a one-step, cure-all, dewy skin-maker, the closer we get to Aniston-dom. 

Ilia’s Super Serum Skin Tint promises to check those boxes — it’s part skin care, part base makeup, and part sun protection in one little magic glass bottle. So chic! So effortless! So Aniston!

Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 Foundation

If ease alone isn’t a selling point, then polished, hydrated skin had me frantically fumbling for my credit card. I wanted to see if Ilia’s Super Serum Skin Tint really was the secret to bouncy, Aniston-y skin, so I tried it for myself.

Meet the Experts:

  • Hadley King, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City.
  • Krupa Koestline, a cosmetic chemist and founder of KKT Consultants.

In this Story:

Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint: An Overview

Ilia’s Super Serum Skin Tint essentially combines three steps of your skin-care routine — hydration, coverage, and sun protection — into one product. You’ve got your skin-care ingredients like hyaluronic acid and squalane, a very sheer tint (in 30 different shades), and mineral SPF. Clean beauty fans (the product meets the Allure Clean Standard) will appreciate that it’s silicone-free, fragrance-free, chemical screen-free, oil-free, and non-comedogenic. 

The formula is super lightweight and is the same consistency as your regular skin-care serums (a little runny right out of the bottle but is easily absorbed as you pat it into your skin). It has no added fragrance, so what you’re left with is a "natural" smell — maybe a little earthy  — but the scent is only really noticeable during application and disappears quickly.

Ingredients and Formulation
Reviewed by dermatologist Hadley King, MD, and cosmetic chemist Krupa Koestline

Unsurprisingly, the ingredients in Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint are skin-care-forward — the headliners are hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and squalane — with the cherry on top being an SPF 40. "Hyaluronic acid is a powerful humectant, which makes it a great topical hydrator as long as you combine it with emollients and occlusives," says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Hadley King.

Ilia created a formula that takes care of this by adding squalane, a non-comedogenic emollient, says Dr. King. "[Squalane] is a great emollient. It helps with skin barrier function, membrane fluidity, and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties."

Niacinamide brightens tone and increases the skin’s production of ceramides, which in turn can prevent the loss of moisture. It’s also suitable for all skin types, Dr. King adds, which is a big reason why this product is good for sensitive skin. "It’s a light but moisturizing formulation that has mineral SPF from non-nano zinc oxide. And it’s great that it comes in so many shades," she says.

The consistency is likely thanks to propanediol and shea butter ethyl esters, says cosmetic chemist Krupa Koestline. "Shea butter in its raw form is thick, but the ethyl ester form is lightweight and easy to spread while retaining a lot of the same moisturizing and nourishing benefits," she says. "And when used in formulations, propanediol helps decrease viscosity — giving products a thinner texture." Koestline also notes that the formula will likely separate over time, so shaking it well before use is key.

Key Ingredients

The key ingredients in Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 are plant-based squalane (a hydrating lipid and emollient), niacinamide (a form of vitamin B3), hyaluronic acid (a humectant), non-nano zinc oxide (a physical sunscreen made of molecules that are not small enough to enter the bloodstream),  and shea butter ethyl esters (hydrating ingredients rich in fatty acids). This formula meets the Allure Clean Standard.

How I Tested It

I have, possibly, the most difficult skin on the Eastern Seaboard. Not only do I have both rosacea and eczema (dermatologists love me), but my skin is also sensitive, dry, and — uh — not in its 20s. The foundations and tinted moisturizers that used to be reliable staples don’t really cut it anymore. If they don’t actively irritate my skin, it seems like they just conspicuously sit on my face instead of blending in properly.

In order for a product to make it into my rotation it needs to play nicely with my temperamental skin, even out some of the redness, and make me look glowy and healthy (not dry and patchy). I’ve been dabbling in clean formulas in hopes that more natural ingredients will stymie any irritation.

My morning routine is typically as follows: cleanser, hyaluronic acid serum, a medicated cream to curb rosacea redness, a thick moisturizer to bulk up my suffering moisture barrier, and finally, SPF. To give the Super Serum Skin Tint a fair shot at living up to its skin-care potential, I skipped my usual hydrating serum (the Skin Tint has hyaluronic acid in it) and my moisturizer/SPF, as recommended by a few reviewers online. 

Because my hope was to keep my routine as simple and clean as possible (in my mind, Jennifer Aniston applies all skin care and makeup with just her fingers), I squeezed a dropperful of product onto my hand and applied it with my fingers like a moisturizer. I used the shade "Diaz" — a light-medium with neutral undertones. The formula dried a bit darker than what initially came out of the dropper. 

My Honest Thoughts

Am I Jennifer Aniston now? Alas, I am not. But my skin definitely has an "I drank enough water today" glow — plump and healthy-looking. And as far as I’m concerned, that’s about as close as I’ll get. 

The tint offers just enough coverage to tamp down my blotchy redness (the anti-inflammatory ingredients definitely play a part here) and uneven tone without making it look like I caked on a makeup mask (though I probably could have used a color corrector or concealer to really kill the redness). The actives are a huge plus — instead of using a base that simply doesn’t irritate my skin, this is actually good for my skin. And, as someone who is guilty of maybe-possibly-not-always putting on SPF, I appreciate not having to think about adding that step.

Before and After

Beauty Writer Loren Savini Before Using Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint

Beauty Writer Loren Savini After Using Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint

You can always tell when I’m not wearing any base. My skin tone is a little uneven and I exist in a permanent state between dehydrated and tired. The catch is that I don’t like wearing a ton of makeup, I don’t want to feel products sitting on my skin, and I want to look natural and healthy.

Fortunately, the Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint is the best of both worlds. It’s like using an Instagram filter in real life. It blurred my imperfections, gave me an even glow, and once it dried I completely forgot I had it on. I still looked like myself, but improved. The formula does go on a little sticky, but after patting it into my skin the tackiness subsided and left dewy, healthy-looking coverage. It also dries down a little darker than it looks right out of the bottle, so don’t panic if at first it looks too light. I found that powder also works nicely on top of the formula if you prefer a matte finish.

If you’re looking for low-maintenance, "no-makeup makeup," you can’t do much better than this minimalist, clean, three-in-one product.

Pricing and Value

A one-ounce bottle of Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint is $48 at, which is on the high end for skin care or for makeup. You can sign up for discounted subscription shipping (every three months) which would bring it down to $43 per bottle — but it’s still pricey. That said, because it’s supposed to act as three products in one bottle, you really are getting a good value (say you spend about $15 each on a serum, a foundation, and an SPF), given how nice the results are.

For more product reviews: 

  1. Our Honest Review of KVD Beauty's Reformulated Liquid Lipsticks
  2. TikTok Is Obsessed With K-Beauty Brand Kaja, and Now, So Am I
  3. Belif Aqua Bomb Brightening Vitamin C Cream Makes My Skin Extra Juicy

Now, Charli D'Amelio's Quick Beauty Routine for Acne-Prone Skin:

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