10 Sunscreens for Darker Complexions That Protect and Prevent That Dreaded White Cast
Sunscreens offer protection, but can leave white films behind. A ghastly residue is noticeable on any skin tone. Although, it’s especially obvious on people of color. It’s almost worse than wearing the wrong foundation shade. That chalky cast may make you want to skip sunscreen altogether. That’s not an option, however, since all skin tones can burn and experience sun damage. Luckily, there are some great sunscreens for darker complexions.
“One of the biggest misconceptions out there is that melanin skin doesn’t get skin cancer,” explains Dr. Shasa Hu, co-founder of BIA Life. “Mounting cancer statistics and medical studies have shown that people with darker skin can develop skin cancer from chronic sun exposure and often they are diagnosed late because of the lack of awareness.”
She recommends using a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. Not only will it prevent sun damage, it will also help prevent hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone. Hu suggests looking for sunblocks with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. It’s also important to avoid fragrances and citrus botanical extracts.
There’s no need to compromise. There are sunscreens for deeper skin tones that blend seamlessly and offer unbeatable protection. Haven’t found your perfect match yet? Try one of these best sunscreens for darker complexions.
Sunday Riley Light Hearted Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Daily Face Sunscreen, $35 at Sephora
Sunday Riley’s ultra lightweight sunscreen includes antioxidant-rich turmeric. It’s ideal for all skin tones since its transparent formula sinks right into skin without leaving a white, chalky residue. It even defends against blue light courtesy of plant-based xanthophyll. Plus, it offers a velvety finish that minimizes the look of pores, dark spots, lines and wrinkles.
Glossier Invisible Shield, $25 at Glossier
A clear sunscreen is just what the doctor ordered to banish that ghostly cast. This water gel formula relies on active microcapsules that absorb into pores and leave no trace on your skin. People will genuinely want to use it every day thanks to its lightweight texture.
Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense SPF 30, $34 at Drunk Elephant
This sunscreen has racked up countless awards because it provides UVA/UVB protection using zinc oxide without the white tint we often see from physical sunscreens. The fragrance-free, nonirritating product has marula oil and raspberry seed oil to help the sheer formula spread easily and provide moisture. When the brand says the sunscreen is suitable for all skin types and tones, it truly means it.
CyberDERM Simply Zinc Ultra SPF 50, $44 at Indie Beauty Market
This is the sunscreen that Michelle Obama reportedly uses and if it passes the former FLOTUS' test, the 25 percent zinc oxide formula obviously delivers the goods. The reformulated version has a silkier texture and its lightweight tinted formula negates any gray or white tones as it dries down to a subtle illuminated finish.
Black Girl Sunscreen Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30, $18.99 at Black Girl Sunscreen
Black Girl Sunscreen began with the desire to give goddesses a natural sunscreen minus the irksome white tint. The formula is made by women of color for people of color and is cruelty-free, reef-safe and vegan to boot. The sunscreen dries clear and contains nourishing ingredients, like jojoba, avocado and carrot juice. Cacao delivers a dose of antioxidants and helps even out your skin.
Unsun Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen, $29 at Unsun
There's no ashy finish with this tinted sunscreen, just moisturizing SPF 30 protection. The brand promises the formula will blend into skin tones from fair to dark chocolate. Those with drier skin will also appreciate the vitamin E, shea butter and coconut butter.
EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46, $39 at DermStore
A transparent zinc oxide sunscreen that protects and also handles shine and acne? This is the real deal. The noncomedogenic, fragrance-free product has users covered against UVA and UVB rays, greasiness, dryness, enlarged pores and free radical damage.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Sunscreen Melt-In-Milk for Face and Body Sunscreen Lotion SPF 60, $36.99 at Target
Heading to the beach? Stash this water-resistant, fast-absorbing sunscreen in your beach bag. It can be applied (and reapplied) to your face and body without causing a white cast. The hydrating lotion combats the drying effects of the sun without making your skin feel greasy.
EleVen by Venus Williams Ace the Day Face Lotion SPF 30, $38 at EleVen by Venus Williams
This lotion absorbs quickly on all skin tones, offering a semi-matte, soft-focus finish without the white cast. The lightweight formula even helps hydrate complexions.
Farmacy Green Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen, $36 at Farmacy
This sunscreen leaves an invisible finish on all skin tones. The titanium dioxide and zinc oxide physical sunscreen also protects against blue light from phone and computer screens.