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The 19 Best Sunscreens for Dark Skin Tones

It won't leave a cast—promise.

delmaine donson
Delmaine DonsonGetty Images

Some skincare myths that need to be dispelled: Coconut oil is a good moisturizer (it's not); makeup wipes count as cleansing your skin (they don't); and not everyone needs sunscreen (they do). That last one particularly irks me, because believing it can endanger your health. For so long, we've been told that people who have dark skin don't need to use SPF religiously, and it's just not true.

Yes, dark skin tones need sunscreen, too.

In this myth's defense, there are some reasons why people might still believe it. For one thing, we've been taught that the main sign of sun damage is an itchy, red sunburn. For people with darker complexions, that sign is not always present. But redness is not the only sign of damage, even for people with pale skin. Sun damage caused by the sun's rays is present in skin cells and may not always be visible to the eye. Everyone, regardless of skin tone, is vulnerable to skin cancer.

But sunscreen hasn't always been formulated for darker skin tones.

While sunscreen is important to wear every day, it's also true that there weren't always a ton of sunscreens available that were designed and marketed for people of color. So many sunscreens leave white casts that don't blend well on darker skin tones, for example. But these sunscreens, formulated to work well on darker skin tones, don't—and they offer A+ protection, to boot.

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The Mattifier
Make It Matte
Black Girl Sunscreen

Here's a sunscreen that oily skin can get behind. Black Girl Sunscreen's Make It Matte formula has the consistency of a silky smooth serum, goes on invisible, and leaves behind a natural matte finish. This product even doubles as a makeup primer.

The Invisible Sunscreen
Unseen Sunscreen

This cult-favorite invisible sunscreen feels like the smoothest pore-erasing primer. It has a gel-like consistency that is so clear you might even wonder if you put anything on. For anyone who doesn't want to spend any time rubbing in SPF, this product is a no-brainer.

The Glowing Skin Option
Prisma Protect SPF 30 Moisturizer

This moisturizer with SPF 30 is perfect for people who need some extra hydration. This broad spectrum SPF protects from photodamage while giving the skin a lovely glow.

The Weather-Proof Wonder
Ultimate Sun Protector Lotion SPF 50+ Sunscreen

Shiseido's Ultimate Sun Protector goes on invisible and is so lightweight, it can even be reapplied on top of your makeup (just give it a few minutes to disappear). Another key benefit to consider with this gem: It powers up when exposed to heat, sweat, or water, so your skin is never compromised.

The Mineral Powder
Instant Mineral SPF 45
Peter Thomas Roth

If powder is a normal part of your makeup routine, try switching out your typical product for this mineral SPF powder. The product comes conveniently packaged for on-the-go touch ups. This lightweight powder is an easy way to remember to keep your skin protected. 

The Athlete's Pick
On-The-Defense Sunscreen SPF 30
EleVen by Venus Williams

This sheer mineral sunscreen, created with Venus Williams, is perfect for women who are active and don't want to sweat their SPF into their eyes. Even better? This sunscreen has managed to combine the skin benefits of a mineral sunscreen while not leaving a noticeable white cast on darker skin tones. 

The Chemical Sunscreen
Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30
Black Girl Sunscreen

Another favorite from Black Girl Sunscreen, this sunscreen only uses the best possible ingredients while still drying completely clear. White casts will be a thing of the past, and naturally derived ingredients help sooth and hydrate the skin.

The Mineral Moisturizer
City Skin® Age Defense

Don't be alarmed by the initial orange tint of this mineral-based sunscreen. This moisturizer quickly absorbs for a second-skin finish and shields against stressors such as infrared radiation, blue light from devices, and free radicals from pollution—as well as UVA and UVB. 

The Soothing Choice
Anthelios Melt-in Milk Body & Face Sunscreen Lotion SPF 100
La Roche-Posay

If you're prone to sunburns or have sensitive skin, try this calming solution. This lightweight sunscreen is suitable for the face and body and quickly absorbs into the skin for an ultra-hydrating and velvety smooth finish. 

The Mineral Spray
Antioxidant Infused Sunscreen Mist SPF 50

This water-resistant sunscreen spray is perfect for the no-muss-no-fuss consumer. It's incredibly easy to apply, and the sheer formula makes it perfect for all skin tones. This mineral formula is packed with vitamin C, won't make you look greasy or gray, and promises substantial sun protection.

The Tinted Choice
Everyday Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen

Unsun, which makes a collection of tinted sunscreens specifically for darker skin tones, wants their consumers to have the best of both worlds: A healthy mineral SPF, and no white cast at all. These tinted sunscreens not only protect the skin from the sun's rays, but also leaves your skin looking gorgeous. 

The Parched-Skin Pick
Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47
Josie Maran

For skin that is in serious need of intense hydration, this moisturizer with SPF has you covered. It doesn't feel greasy or leave a residue, but it contains a sizable amount of Argan oil for all-day moisture. If sunscreen clings to dry areas, this product will solve both problems at once.

The Setting Spray
UncompliKated Making Setting Spray SPF 50
Kate Somerville

If setting sprays are part of your makeup routine, swap this one in to add some sun protection. This spray not only contains SPF 50, but also won't smudge your makeup, unlike some other sunscreen sprays. Now there's no excuse not to reapply throughout the day!

The Even Tone Cream
Urban Skin Rx Complexion Protection Moisturizer SPF 30
Urban Skin Rx

If sun damage has caused irregular skin tone or dark marks, this SPF helps fade those marks while also giving the skin the hydration it craves. Two birds, one stone.

The Blendable Sunscreen
Prevention+ SPF 50
IMAGE Skincare
$37.40 (15% off)

For anyone who wants a classic mineral sunscreen but with less rubbing in, this product might be what you're looking for. While it may still leave a slight white cast on some skin tones, this sunscreen is incredibly hydrating and easy to blend into the skin.

The Skin Perfector
Silken Pore Perfecting Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 35

For fans of Tatcha's makeup primer, this product does something similar while providing broad spectrum sun protection. This sunscreen eliminates the look of bumpy pores while giving a smooth canvas for makeup. 

The Sheer Shield
Invisible Shield

There's a reason this sunscreen has a massive following. It is a completely clear formula, making it perfect for darker complexions. It also smells like summertime, so it never feels like a chore to apply. 

The New Classic
Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturizer SPF 30 Sunscreen
Fenty Skin

With the launch of Fenty Skin, Rihanna has redefined skincare routines. Everything is dual-purposed, and this product is no exception. It's a moisturizer with SPF 30, goes on without a trace, and smells like heaven. Plus, when you inevitably finish the bottle, simply buy a replacement capsule and keep the outside packaging. If it's good enough for Rihanna, it's good enough for me.

The Clean Sunscreen
Classic Face Sunscreen SPF 50 White Tea

This lightweight sunscreen—which is cruelty free, vegan, and over 70 percent organic—is perfect for people who want to stay protected from the sun while also being kind to the environment. It contains plant extract to help nurture the skin while keeping sun damage at bay. Plus, the package is recyclable, so there's no guilt involved in clicking "purchase."

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