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11 Popular Sunscreens Tried & Tested On Dark Skin

From mineral to chemical, there’s no denying the power of SPF in protecting your skin from UVA and UVB rays, subsequently keeping damage such as pigmentation, fine lines, burns and skin cancer at bay. But finding an SPF that is compatible with dark skin? Well, that’s no mean feat.

Often, the ingredients that are so brilliant at shielding skin against UV can also leave behind an unsightly white cast, making darker skin looking more ashy and grey than glowy – not cool.

By now, SPF should be a staple in your morning skincare routine – come rain or shine – but if you’re thinking about trying something new or simply want to step up your skincare game for summer, look no further. Ahead, Dami Khadijah, R29’s strategic partnerships and client services manager and self-confessed SPF-obsessive, has done all the legwork, having tried 12 popular SPFs to give her honest verdict.

The sunscreen: Paula’s Choice Sunscreen SPF 50 for Face & Body, £21, available at Paula’s Choice

The verdict: This mineral sunscreen is a great option for black skin, literally zero white cast and good moisturisation. It’s not the best choice for oily skin in the summer but if you’re looking for a physical sunscreen and you are of a darker hue, then here it is.

The sunscreen: Soleil Toujours Extrème UV Face Mineral Sunscreen SPF 45, £45, available at Pfeffer Sal

The verdict: This is the best mineral sunscreen for dark skin during a hot summer. It literally left no white cast and survived the underground heat on a 31 degrees day. One negative is the cream didn’t have much slip at all so it did take some work to rub in but the results paid off – it’s one of my faves for sure. I wouldn’t recommend for the cold winter months unless combined with another moisturiser.

The sunscreen: Glossier Invisible Shield Daily Sunscreen SPF 35, £34.98, available at Amazon

The verdict: This is a chemical sunscreen and has no white cast. Generally chemical sunscreens don’t have a white cast so it doesn’t get many brownie points for me based on this, but if you prefer chemical SPF and are in need of a new one, this is your best bet. I did find it was a tad too greasy for the summer months but not moisturising enough.

The sunscreen: The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF 30 With Antioxidants, £8.90, available at Deciem

The verdict: This mineral sunscreen has a lethal white and blue cast. Although it scored well on the non-greasy chart and had a great dry touch, unfortunately it had me looking like I had a mask on. I found it somewhat difficult to remove after applying and I wouldn’t wear it under makeup either as I believe it would alter the colour of a base product like a foundation. It’s an all-round no for me.

The sunscreen: Avène Very High Protection Cream SPF 50, £16.50, available at Boots

The verdict: Okay, so this didn’t give me a white cast but it had me looking slightly dull and colourless. It’s not really noticeable in these pictures but it’s definitely there in person! It performed well on having the dry touch element and was moisturising too.

The sunscreen: SkinCeuticals Ultra Facial Defense SPF 50, £37, available at SkinCeuticals

The verdict: This is literally the perfect mineral sunscreen for dark skin. There’s absolutely zero white cast. It’s moisturising and has all the slip required to spread across my face without tugging – golden star!

The sunscreen: Vichy Idéal Soleil Hydrating Solar Protective Water SPF 30, £19, available at Boots

The verdict: This is a sunscreen I am definitely not used to but it’s very useful. There is absolutely no white cast – it feels like micellar water on the skin. I think this is great for the winter months but it has a bit of an oily feel to it, so is probably not that great for the summer.

The sunscreen: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Invisible Anti-Shine Mist SPF 50, £14, available at La Roche-Posay

The verdict: This isn’t as good in comparison to the Vichy protective water. When you initially spray it there’s a white film but once you pat it in, it disappears. It’s not a big deal per se, but this is not a spray-and-go kind of mist.

The sunscreen: Clinique Anti-Wrinkle Face Cream SPF 30, £19.50, available at Clinique

The verdict: This is a mineral sunscreen with a tiny white cast. I’ve been using it for years but I’ve had to do a lot of work, mixing it with other serums just to minimise the ashiness. Oddly enough, when I’m on holiday the white cast doesn’t come through but when I’m back home in London, it’s the complete opposite…

The suncreen: Vichy Idéal Soleil Anti-Blemish Face Sun Cream SPF 30, £16.50, available at Boots

The verdict: This is a great cream with no white cast but I felt it kind of crumbled off the skin while rubbing it in…

The sunscreen: DCL Skin Renewal Complex SPF 30, £117, available at Cult Beauty

The verdict: I wanted to try this SPF moisturiser for a while. It’s an interesting option, because I’m not sure if I can call it a white cast but there is definitely a cast that makes me look slightly grey and takes the colour out of my skin. It has a tingling sensation on application because it contains glycolic acid – which is strange. Other than that it moisturises and minimises shine, which is perfect for the summer.

The sunscreen: CeraVe Facial Moisturising Lotion with SPF 25, £13, available at Boots

The verdict: This is a great moisturising chemical SPF and I think it would be especially good to wear in the colder months. It has zero white cast, does the job and feels good on the skin.

Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?

These Sprays Set Your Makeup & Protect Against Sun

The Sunscreens Top Derms Swear By

A Derm’s Guide To Sunscreen Expiration Dates


Credit: Original article published here.

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