Felicia Walker Benson has been blogging since 2006, pouring her heart and soul into her passion for beauty. Walker Benson, who serves as editor in chief for top-rated beauty blog ThisThatBeauty, is a highly sought-after authority in the industry. She has appeared on TV programs like the Today show and in beauty publications such as Allure, Ebony, and Marie Claire U.S.
We’ve all read magazine articles where your an It girl is asked, “If stranded on a deserted island, what’s the one product you cannot live without?” The response is usually some exclusive miracle cream that’s guaranteed to set you back half a week’s salary. However, I’m always surprised that the answer isn’t “sunscreen.”
Sunscreen is the one skincare product that addresses a myriad of concerns, particularly the skincare concerns of women of colour. As a beauty editor, I’m constantly asked by other women of colour, “What’s the secret to clear, even-toned skin?” Like a broken record, I always respond, “Sunscreen!” My response is usually challenged with a firm “But our skin doesn’t need sunscreen.” In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
In my experience, when it comes to skincare for women of colour, we aren’t too worried about lines and wrinkles—particularly in our 20s, 30s, and even 40s. Our top skincare concerns typically revolve around uneven complexion, hyperpigmentation, blemishes and dark spots. This is why the daily application of sunscreen is so crucial. It protects skin from the sun’s rays that can lead to uneven skin tone and exacerbate the presence of hyperpigmentation and dark spots. Broad-spectrum sunscreen also helps to shield skin from wrinkle-causing UVA rays. No one needs pre-mature wrinkles—no one!
Picking the right sunscreen can be an overwhelming task for women of colour. Some are super thick and leave behind a grey or white tint. If you wear makeup, you definitely want a sunscreen that won’t battle with your foundation. Read on as the best sunscreens for dark skin tones. Each is guaranteed to protect and perfect.
If a mineral-based sunscreen is your jam, Clinique’s sunscreen is for you! The comfortable, lightweight fluid can be worn by itself or paired with makeup. Give the bottle a good shake before applying and this 100% mineral sunscreen applies virtually transparent. If portability is a concern, this one fits in the palm of your hand. Genius!
Protecting from the neck down is a breeze with Zelens’s SPF 30 sunscreen. The water-resistant sunblock glides onto skin and provides full-body broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection. Chock-full of antioxidants, this silky sunscreen also works for hair. How’s that for a beauty bonus?
Lift, firm, protect and de-age the skin with this cream This moisturizing, SPF-packed face cream improves the texture of skin in as little as four weeks after daily use. The advanced amino-peptide complex is loaded with anti-ageing superstars like skin-plumping peptides and vitamins B and C. And makeup girls, rejoice: Olay Micro-Sculpting Cream is totally seamless under foundation.
Your neck and décolletage need love too, so don’t slack when it comes to protecting these delicate areas. For broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection that won’t leave a sticky white residue, add RoC’s SPF 30 sunscreen to your daily skincare routine. Clinically proven to address hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, dullness and loss of elasticity, this supercharged sunscreen applies like an elegant day cream and leaves skin well hydrated and thoroughly protected.
As light as water, Exuviance Sheer Daily Protector SPF 50 is an anti-ageing workhorse because of its PA++++ rating, which is the strongest defence against UVA rays (aka the rays that age the skin). The sunscreen’s light tint will give you a moment of pause, but stay the course—apply and you’ll see. Exuviance Sheer Daily Protector dries to a sheer, matte finish. It’s perfect as a stand-alone sunscreen or as a primer. Either way, you can’t lose!
For a sunscreen that applies completely clear, try Cover FX clear sunscreen with SPF 30. The see-through formula melts onto skin, leaving behind not a single trace of white or grey residue. Developed specifically to address the SPF concerns of people of colour, the antioxidant-rich skin protector works perfectly under makeup and is 100% undetectable in photos.
Even facial oil is getting in on the act. Glow and protect with L’Oréal’s facial oil with an SPF of 30. Suitable for sensitive skin, the elegant texture absorbs in seconds. Formulated with eight essential oils, it makes skin feel immediately nourished. Don’t let the word “oil” throw you for a loop. It takes about four to five drops to provide adequate sun protection, and this one feels weightless!
Be sure to stock up on these hardworking sunscreens to keep your skin's glow up to par.