Sun damage doesn’t discriminate by skin tone. Everyone who spends time in the sun without sunscreen is susceptible to sunburn, irritation, and even skin cancer — regardless of how much melanin you have. Unfortunately, all sun-protecting formulas aren’t made with brown skin in mind.
Many Black girls will tell you: There are a lot of mediocre sunscreens out there. Some formulas leave behind a noticeable gray tint or cover your face with a greasy film. Both results can make you want to forfeit the step altogether. However, a few bad apples in the bunch shouldn’t deter you from getting the
daily sun protection dermatologists recommend.
There are products on the market that blend into brown skin flawlessly, and we’ve found them by trial-and-error. Ahead, we asked several Black women to share their hands-down favorite sunscreens. These picks won’t leave you looking ashy or cause a breakout to erupt. Now, you have no more excuses.
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Kinship Self Reflect Sport SPF 60
“I am obsessed with this silky-smooth sunscreen, and I call most sports ‘Sports Ball.’ Like, I would swim in a pool of this SPF. It feels like a primer in a way I never expected, and it’s gorgeous on the skin. And yes, it’s the rare white-cast-free mineral sunscreen, and I have the highest standards for white casts. But really what seals the deal here for me is the formula being waterless means it’s basically sweat-proof and locks all that good moisture in, making my skin feel hydrated. It’s a great year-round option.”
—Amanda Mitchell, Senior Beauty Writer & Stories Creator Kinship Self Reflect Sport SPF 60, $, available at Kinship
Supergoop! Superscreen Daily Moisturizer Sunscreen SPF 40 PA+++
“Nothing is worse than giving sunscreen an honest chance — only to be left with an ashy purple tint on your face when it’s all said and done. This formula from Supergoop gave me hope. You’ll see a white cream in the jar, but it goes on invisible once it touches your skin. It’ll leave your skin supple and hydrated, and won’t feel grainy or greasy once it’s on. You can rest easy knowing that your face is hydrated and protected while wearing this.”
—Aimee Simeon, Senior Beauty Writer Supergoop! Superscreen Daily Moisturizer Sunscreen SPF 40 PA+++, $, available at Sephora
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Lotion Sunscreen SPF 50
“This formula has been one of my favorites because it’s easily accessible in drugstores and moisturizes my skin better than a lot of high-end creams. It’s infused with
hyaluronic acid, which is beneficial for all skin types. It’s so hydrating that I’ve been able to cleanse, apply this SPF, and retain moisture all day long. Easily the best lazy-girl hack.” —Ashley White, Licensed Esthetician Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Lotion Sunscreen SPF 50, $, available at Ulta Beauty
Brush on Block Translucent Mineral Powder Sunscreen SPF 50
“Another mineral sunscreen option, Brush On Block is always in my purse during the summer for touch-ups, especially over makeup. (If I’m not wearing makeup, I’m a huge fan of
Shiseido Clear Sunscreen Stick SPF 50+.) But I love that this is an SPF 50 and works as well as other translucent powders I’ve used while also giving sun protection. This is a genius product.” —Mitchell Brush on Block Translucent Mineral Powder Sunscreen SPF 50, $, available at Brush on Block
Black Girl Sunscreen Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30
“The name of this sunscreen drew me in, but the performance made me a believer. It applies like butter and works so well underneath makeup, there’s no excuse for not fitting it into my morning routine. The moisturizing formula avoids the mineral ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that are known to leave a white cast on darker skin tones. It’s also free of fragrance and drying alcohols, which is ideal for my fellow eczema sufferers and others with sensitive skin.”
—White Black Girl Sunscreen Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30, $, available at Ulta Beauty
Supergoop! Glow Stick Sunscreen SPF 50 PA++++
“This is the dream travel sunscreen. I’ve been using this before I worked in beauty, and I’ve used several tubes to the very, very bottom. It’s lasted through cold days in Prague and the deep heat of Dubai, and I never felt that the ‘glow’ transformed into ‘sweat.’ The accessibility of the product and its ease of use is great for those of us who just want the easiest option.”
—Mitchell Supergoop! Glow Stick Sunscreen SPF 50 PA++++, $, available at Sephora
Vichy Aqualia Thermal UV Defense Daily Face Moisturizer with Sunscreen SPF 30
“A lot of people complain about sunscreen making their skin look and feel greasy, but when your skin is dry (like mine), extra moisture is critical. This Vichy formula is thick and hydrating, but it absorbs quickly into my skin — so it doesn’t look like my face has been deep-fried. Even though it dispenses out of the pump white, the product disappears once it’s rubbed in, so you don’t have to worry about looking ashy either.”
—Simeon Vichy Aqualia Thermal UV Defense Face Moisturizer SPF 30, $, available at Target
Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream SPF 30
“I never thought that applying sunscreen daily could feel like a luxurious experience — until I used this Elemis formula. It has a cooling sensation when it first touches the skin and a lightweight, gel-cream texture. Oftentimes, I forget I’m even wearing sunscreen.”
—Simeon Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream SPF 30, $, available at Nordstrom
Black Girl Sunscreen Make It Matte Sunscreen SPF 45
“I first used the original Black Girl Sunscreen and loved the feel and look but the formula didn’t agree with my oily skin — my face broke out. Then I discovered the brand’s matte version and I’ve been in love ever since. It has a silky, silicone texture that almost resembles a primer. It doesn’t add a drop of oil to my complexion and a little goes a long way. Oh, and obviously no white cast. I stand by it!”
—Alexandra Polk, Lifestyle Market Writer Black Girl Sunscreen Make It Matte Sunscreen – SPF 45, $, available at Ulta Beauty
Glossier Invisible Shield
“The consistency of this sunscreen isn’t creamy, which I like, and it applies very smoothly under my makeup. As a brown girl, I’m always looking to make sure that my sunscreen doesn’t make me look ashy or washed out, and this product doesn’t do that at all! I love that I can wear this with or without makeup and not feel caked down with an additional step when I’m getting ready. Oh, and a little goes a long way, which is great when you’re trying to do skin care on a budget.”
—Jame Jackson, Senior Beauty Editor, Verizon Media Glossier Invisible Shield, $, available at Glossier
Specific Beauty Day Moisture Broad Spectrum SPF 30
“This formula does the opposite of what you’d expect from a sunscreen. It gives brown skin a golden highlight, versus an ashy cast. I love using it on my bare-faced days to give my skin a natural-looking highlight without having to apply makeup.”
—Simeon Specific Beauty Day Moisture Broad Spectrum SPF 30, $, available at Amazon
Murad Invisiblur Perfecting Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 30 PA+++
“I recently discovered this sunscreen during the last Sephora sale. I love it because it doesn’t leave a white cast on my skin, and the texture is very silky. It does a great job of blurring my pores to make my skin look and feel more smooth and even. I feel like I don’t even need to wear face makeup with this on because this does the job.”
—Carly Danner, Social Producer Murad Invisiblur Perfecting Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 30 PA++, $, available at Murad
Black Girl Sunscreen Make It Hybrid SPF 50
If there is one consistent thing about me, I want a high SPF count. I used Black Girl Sunscreen’s original formula for years and just wanted a little bit more from the SPF 30. Luckily, the brand heard me, and they gave us a hybrid SPF sunscreen that is the stuff of dreams. There’s something in it for everyone, including Vitamin E and Jojoba oils, and you’ll want to buy this one in bulk and always have it on hand. Trust me.”
—Mitchell Black Girl Sunscreen Make It Hybrid SPF 50, $, available at Ulta Beauty
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