13 best sunscreens for dark skin that won’t look ashy | plmubl.com

13 best sunscreens for dark skin that won’t look ashy

Sunscreens for dark skin have come a long way since the outdated formulas that would leave your skin feeling like you smothered it in multiple layers of Sudocrem (if you know, you know). Thankfully, the new and improved SPF iterations won’t have you looking like you’re cosplaying as Casper the Friendly Ghost.

That said, even with the improvement in the sunscreen category for dark skin, there’s still the rather damaging narrative that Black and brown skin doesn’t need sunscreen. Admittedly, even I used to think that sunscreen was only necessary to use on hot, sunny days. Luckily, I have since been educated on why that simply isn’t true.

The increased presence of melanin in darker skin does provide a protective cloak that absorbs most of the destructive sun rays that can lead to diseases like skin cancer. And research does show that Black people on average have a natural SPF of 13.4. However, people with darker skin tones are still susceptible to the damaging effects of the sun.

Best sunscreens for dark skin at a glance:

  1. Best lightweight sunscreen for dark skinLa Roche-Posay Anthelios Oil Control Fluid SPF50+
  2. Best non-comedogenic sunscreen for dark skinMedik8 Advanced Day Total Protect
  3. Best affordable sunscreen for dark skinAltruist Dermatologist Sunscreen Fluid SPF30
  4. Best SPF30 sunscreen for dark skinBlack Girl Sunscreen SPF 30

La Roche-Posay Anthelios UVmune 400 Oil Control Fluid SPF50+

£20 £16 AT LOOKFANTASTIC

£20 AT CULT BEAUTY

Medik8 Advanced Day Total Protect Age-Defying Moisturiser SPF 30

£57 AT MEDIK8

Altruist Face Fluid Sunscreen SPF 50

£9.99 AT AMAZON

Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30

£14.99 AT AMAZON

People with darker skin especially need protection from UVA rays, which age the skin and exacerbate common Black skin issues such as hyperpigmentation and melasma. Likewise, to a lesser extent, UVB rays burn the skin and also affect darker skin tones by fuelling malignant DNA and cellular damage. Whilst the statistics are lower for the Black community, it’s still possible for Black skin to develop both sun-related and non sun-related skin cancers.

Long story short, experts highly recommend applying sunscreen every day, regardless of your skin tone. Even on cloudy days or when you’re at home, UVA rays can still penetrate through glass and surround us regardless of the weather. It’s also important to apply sunscreen whilst you’re on a plane – UVA rays do come through the windows and at 35,000 feet, they are significantly more intense.

How to find a good sunscreen for your dark skin:

When it comes to skincare, clearly one size does not fit all, and this especially holds true for sunscreen. While dark skin provides some natural protection against UV damage, it’s simply not enough, so it’s crucial to top up your natural SPF to prevent sunburn, pigmentation issues and the increased risk of skin cancer. Here’s what to look for when searching for the perfect sunscreen for your dark skin:

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  1. Broad-spectrum protection: Look for a sunscreen labelled “broad-spectrum”. This means it offers protection against both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays can lead to premature ageing, while UVB rays cause sunburn.
  2. SPF Level: Opt for a sunscreen with a SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 30. SPF 30 filters out approximately 97% of UVB rays, providing adequate protection for daily use.
  3. Non-comedogenic: Darker skin can be more prone to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. To avoid exacerbating this issue, choose a non-comedogenic sunscreen that won’t clog pores.
  4. Mineral and chemical sunscreens: Dark skin can generally tolerate both mineral (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) and chemical (avobenzone, octisalate, etc.) sunscreens. Mineral sunscreens are often preferred for their gentle and broad-spectrum protection.
  5. Check for a white cast: Some mineral sunscreens may leave a white cast on brown and dark skin tones. This is because of the titanium dioxide and zinc oxide which is prominent in many of their formulas. It remains on the skin’s surface rather than being absorbed, so they tend to leave a white cast, leading to an ashy look. However, many formulas have been adapted to avoid this, so test out the sunscreen on a small area of your skin to ensure it blends in seamlessly.

How we tested sunscreens for dark skin

Throughout the years, the GLAMOUR team has collectively tried hundreds of sunscreen formulations, having tested a variety of formulas on darker skin tones. When reviewing each formula, we assessed whether or not it left a white cast, and how well the sunscreens worked on skin issues such as acne and hyperpigmentation.

Scroll to view our edit of the best sunscreens for dark skin…

  • Best invisible lightweight sunscreen for dark skinLa Roche-Posay Anthelios Oil Control Fluid SPF50+
    • SPF level: 50
    • Chemical or mineral: Chemical
    Why we love it: This sunscreen created in a lightweight formula, works hard not only to give you protection against overexposure to UV rays, but also wards off excess shine, to give you a naturally matte finish as well as keeping breakouts at bay. All this without leaving you with a white-cast.Save when you shop for SPF for dark skin with these LookFantastic discount codes.£20 £16 AT LOOKFANTASTIC£20 AT CULT BEAUTY
  • Image may contain Bottle Lotion Shaker and CosmeticsBest gel sunscreen for dark skinGlossier Invisible Shield SPF50
    • SPF level: 50
    • Chemical or mineral: Chemical
    Why we love it: This sunscreen comes in a gel texture that leaves no white cast. It contains aloe vera to help soothe skin after a long period of sun exposure. Rice phyto-compounds are full of antioxidants, which helps neutralise free radicals and protects skin from pollution and blue light. Thanks to the sunscreen’s silk-like finish, it’s also great to wear under makeup.£32 AT GLOSSIER
  • Image may contain Bottle Aftershave Smoke Pipe Cosmetics and ShakerBest SPF30 sunscreen for dark skinBlack Girl Sunscreen SPF30
    • SPF level: 30
    • Chemical or mineral: Chemical
    Why we love it: When you think of sunscreen that is suitable to use on darker skin, Black Girl Sunscreen is one of the first ones that comes to mind. This moisturising formula contains key ingredients like avocado oil to help reduce signs of ageing and treat sunburn. Jojoba oil soothes the skin and sunflower oil prevents skin irritation and provides inflammation relief.£14.99 AT AMAZON
  • Best non-comedogenic sunscreen for dark skinMedik8 Advanced Day Total Protect
    • SPF level: 30
    • Chemical or mineral: Chemical
    Why we love it: This non-comedogenic sunscreen is a triple-threat. It gives you hydration, sun-protection and it also carries anti-ageing properties in its formula. Despite it being high SPF with a creamy consistency, this Medik8 sunscreen is still lightweight and fast absorbing, powered with antioxidants and peptides that can repair collagen in the skin overtime.£57 AT MEDIK8

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  • Image may contain Cosmetics Bottle and SunscreenBest sunscreen with no white cast for dark skinSupergoop Unseen Sunscreen SPF30
    • SPF level: 30
    • Chemical or mineral: Chemical
    Why we love it: This is exactly that, unseen and undetectable which is what you want. It spreads easily on the skin and actually makes your skin look really good – healthy and supple. A good option for no-make up days and I’ve noticed its a firm favourite amongst gym goers too.Save when you shop for SPF for dark skin with these Cult Beauty discount codes.£35 AT CULT BEAUTY
  • Image may contain Bottle Cosmetics and PerfumeBest mineral sunscreen for dark skinTatcha The Silk Sunscreen SPF50
    • SPF level: 50
    • Chemical or mineral: Mineral
    Why we love it: This lightweight mineral sunscreen provides photoageing protection and protects skin against environmental aggressors. Niacinamide helps even your skin tone and reduces the appearance of dark spots and hyaluronic acid moisturises skin to give it a plump, hydrated appearance. The sunscreen also contains biomimetic squalane to help strengthen your skin barrier.Enjoy savings when you shop for SPF for dark skin with these Space NK discount codes.£65 AT SPACE NK
  • Image may contain CosmeticsBest sunscreen stick for dark skinAbib Quick Sunstick Protection Bar SPF50+ PA++++
    • SPF level: 50+
    • Chemical or mineral: Chemical
    Why we love it: This chemical sunscreen comes in a stick application, which makes it so easy to apply it to your face, neck and even your ears. It contains acacia peptides and ceramides to help protect your skin barrier and aloe Vera to help calm your skin. If you’re a fan of K-beauty then this is the sunscreen for you.Save when you shop for SPF for dark skin with these Superdrug discount codes.£22 AT SUPERDRUG
  • Image may contain Bottle Lotion and CosmeticsBest sunscreen body mist for dark skinKopari Sunglaze Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen SPF30
    • SPF level: 30
    • Chemical or mineral: Chemical
    Why we love it: No matter the forecast, you can always bring the sun to you with this sunscreen body mist. It features a subtle rose-gold shimmer that will leave you looking like a sun-kissed goddess. Vitamin E protects skin against free radicals and vitamin C brightens the skin.£36 AT CULT BEAUTY

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  • Best over-makeup sunscreen for dark skinGarnier Ambre Solaire Over Makeup Super UV Protection Mist SPF50
    • SPF level: 50
    • Chemical or mineral: Chemical
    Why we love it: Want to re-apply your SPF but have a full face of makeup? No worries, this spray-on Overmakeup Super UV Sunscreen will allow you to top-up your SPF throughout the day. It’s ultra-lightweight fine mist that sits on top of makeup, delivering broad-spectrum UV protection, that works as a refreshing alternative to SPF creams.£13 AT LOOKFANTASTIC£13 AT BOOTS
  • Image may contain Bottle Cosmetics and SunscreenBest sunscreen for dark skin with skin-loving ingredientsSaltee SPF50 City Serum SPF+
    • SPF level: 50
    • Chemical or mineral: Chemical
    Why we love it: You should treat sunscreen like your skincare and the Saltee SPF50 City Serum helps you to do just that. It contains black ginger extract to counteract photo-damage and Nordic pine bark to help prevent hyperpigmentation.£38 AT SPACE NK£38 AT SEPHORA
  • Best sunscreen for dry dark skinEcooking Sunscreen For The Face SPF30
    • SPF level: 30
    • Chemical or mineral: Chemical
    Why we love it: This moisturising sunscreen is the best option for you if you have dry skin. Oilier skin types can just skip moisturiser beforehand. It contains organic aloe vera to help provide the skin with a cooling and moisturising layer. Natural red algae extract stimulates the production of protein collagen and hydrates the skin.£22.95 £18.36 AT THE FRAGRANCE SHOP
  • Image may contain Bottle Shaker and CosmeticsBest face sunscreen for mature dark skinVichy Capital Soleil UV-Age Daily
    • SPF level: 50+
    • Chemical or mineral: Chemical
    Why we love it: Similar in consistency and texture to the aforementioned La Roche-Posay Anthelios, this lightweight lotion from Vichy applies seamlessly without leaving behind any greasiness. On top of that, as well as being SPF 50+, it also has the maximum UVA rating, PA++++, which helps fend off the type of sun damage that can lead to wrinkling and pigmentation.£22.50 £18 AT LOOK FANTASTIC£22.50 £16.87 AT BOOTS

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  • Image may contain Bottle Cosmetics and AftershaveBest affordable sunscreen for dark skinAltruist Dermatologist Sunscreen Fluid SPF30
    • SPF level: 30
    • Chemical or mineral: Chemical
    Why we love it: Boasting vegan credentials and doing its bit for the environment, this sunscreen also has 5 star UVA ratings. It contains vitamin E to prevent cellular damage caused by free radicals. This formula is water-resistant and works well on sensitive skin. All without breaking the bank.£9.99 AT AMAZON

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