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The Best Sunscreens for Dark Skin Tones

Because everyone needs SPF.

delmaine donson
Delmaine DonsonGetty Images

Here are some skincare myths that need to be dispelled: Coconut oil is a good moisturizer; makeup wipes count as cleansing your skin; and not everyone needs sunscreen. 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 as religiously as people with light skin. 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, this classic 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 actually present in skin cells and may not always be visible to the eye. Everyone, regardless of skin tone, is vulnerable to skin cancer. So while sunscreen is always important to wear daily, it's also true that there has not been a large selection of sunscreens that are marketed towards people of color. So many sunscreens leave white casts that don't blend well on darker skin tones. So, in the interest of getting everyone to wear sunscreen religiously, here are 15 sunscreens that are formulated to work well on darker skin tones.

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The Soothing Chemical Sunscreen
Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30
Black Girl Sunscreen blackgirlsunscreen.com

Although some chemical sunscreens are looked down on by dermatologists, this sunscreen only uses the best possible ingredients while still drying completely clear. White casts are a thing of the past, and naturally-derived ingredients help sooth and hydrate the skin.

The Glowing Skin Option
Prisma Protect SPF 30 Moisturizer
Dermalogica sephora.com

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 Mineral Powder
Instant Mineral SPF 45
Peter Thomas Roth sephora.com

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. The lightweight powder is an easy way to remember to keep your skin protected. 

The Invisible Sunscreen
Unseen Sunscreen
Supergoop! nordstrom.com

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 Tinted Choice
EVERYDAY Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen
Unsun unsuncosmetics.com

Unsun, which makes a collection of tinted sunscreens for darker skin tones, wants their consumers to have the best of both worlds: A healthy mineral SPF, with 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 Choice
Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47
Josie Maran sephora.com

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 Even Tone Cream
Urban Skin Rx Complexion Protection Moisturizer SPF 30
Urban Skin Rx ulta.com

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 Setting Spray
UncompliKated Making Setting Spray SPF 50
Kate Somerville nordstrom.com

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 Blendable Sunscreen
Prevention+ SPF 50
IMAGE Skincare dermstore.com

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

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 Skin Mattifier
Silken Pore Perfecting Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 35
Tatcha sephora.com

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
Glossier glossier.com

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 vaguely like summertime, so it never feels like a chore to apply. 

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

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
COOLA sephora.com

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."

The Mineral Spray
Sheer Mineral Sun Spray SPF 50
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare sephora.com

This water-resistant sunscreen spray is perfect for the no-muss-no-fuss customer. It's incredibly easy to apply, and this sheer formula makes it perfect for all skin tones. This mineral sunscreen won't make you look greasy or gray, but guarantees protection from photo damage.

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