THE 20 BEST SUNSCREENS FOR DARK SKIN TONESTHAT WON’T LEAVE A STREAKY MESS
If you have a darker skin tone, then you're probably already aware of the issues that can come with using most SPFs: white cast, ashy finish, and a streaky texture, just to name a few. But, my fellow people of color, there are now a ton of sheer and tinted sunscreen formulas that will provide all of the sun protection that your skin needs, without the messy application.
So, if you're in need of a new SPF that will complement your deeper complexion, you're in luck.
Everything To Know About Sunscreens For Dark Skin Tones
According to Dr. Jason Emer, board-certified dermatologist, everyone should be using a daily sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to keep their skin guarded against harsh UV rays.
“Regardless of skin color or tone, an SPF of 30 or more is recommended daily to prevent sun spots, irregular complexion, wrinkles, and UV damage that can lead to skin cancer,” he says. “Regardless of skin color, you can get burned or at least absorb environmental damage that can accumulate over time and lead to premature aging, wrinkles, and cancer.”
But, we get it: Most conventional sunscreens cause an ashy, white-toned residue behind that’s unflattering and annoying to deal with, which Dr. Emer refers to as the “ghosting” effect. He says that this issue is mainly caused by sunscreens that are made with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which are very “whitening” and leave the skin paler or with a cast.
Along with finding a sheer or tinted sunscreen that's specifically formulated to eliminate this ghosting effect, Dr. Emer also advises looking for sunscreens with added anti-aging benefits as well, so you can help treat pre-existing damage on your skin, among other things.
“Most people nowadays are looking for non-chemical or physical blocking sunscreens, which are safer on your skin and the environment,” he says. “Most [people] like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. It’s been thought that inorganic sunscreens create a protective barrier on the surface of your skin that reflects and scatters UV rays away from your body, although they are ‘heavier’ on the skin and may not be as good for those with oily or acne-prone skin.”
What is the best sunscreen？
With these tips in mind, it's time to start upping your SPF game with some of the most innovative options out there. So whether you choose a formula with bells and whistles or stick to an improvement on the classics, one thing is for certain: There's no excuse not to give your skin the protection it needs. Read on for our favorites. We'd go so far as to say that these could actually make you look forward to applying sunscreen.
- Best Overall: ISDIN Eryfotona Ageless Sunscreen
- Best for Acne-Prone Skin: EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 46
- Fan-Favorite: Glossier Invisible Shield
- Designed for People of Color: Black Girl Sunscreen Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30
- Expert-Approved: SENTÉ Invisible Shield Full Physical SPF 52
- Best Drugstore: Aveeno Positively Radiant Sheer Daily Moisturizer SPF 30
- Best for Sensitive Skin: Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion for Sensitive Skin & Children
- Best for Oily Skin: Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40
- Best Tinted Sunscreen: ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 Foundation
- Best for Lips: Coola Mineral Liplux SPF 30 in Purple Sky
- Best Water-Resistant Sunscreen: La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Ultra-Light Tinted Mineral Sunscreen
- Best CC Cream With SPF: It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream With SPF 50+
- Best Sunscreen Spray: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Spray Sunscreen SPF 100
- Best Luxury: SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 50
- Best Brush-On Sunscreen: Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Brush-On Shield SPF 50
- Best Sunscreen Stick: Sol de Janeiro My Sol Stick SPF 50
- Best Priming Sunscreen: Murad Invisiblur Perfecting Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 30 / PA+++
- Best Physical Sunscreen: Dermalogica Invisible Physical Defense Sunscreen SPF 30
- Best for Body: Clinique Sun Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Body Cream Sunscreen
- Easiest to Apply: COVER FX SPF 30 Booster Drops
All products featured are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Best Overall: ISDIN Eryfotona Ageless Sunscreen
This tinted formula not only blends into every skin tone with ease (with no white cast), but it's also a game changer for anyone who's looking to step up their anti-aging routine.
Its SPF 50 formula also contains skin saviors like peptides and vitamin E to rejuvenate and plump your skin for a more youthful appearance. It's no wonder why Dr. Emer gave this sunscreen his seal of approval.
EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 46
When it comes to SPF protection, this is the holiest grail of them all. This sunscreen for dark skin goes on completely sheer, is ultra-lightweight, and has an oil-free formula that won't clog pores.
Plus, it contains exfoliating lactic acid to refresh and refine your pores while it guards against harmful UV rays.
Glossier Invisible Shield
The name truly says it all: This top-rated sunscreen glides onto your skin like a serum and has a completely transparent finish. It guards your complexion with SPF 35, but it feels and looks so light that you'll probably forget you're wearing sunscreen in the first place.
It's no wonder why this weightless formula has sparkling reviews from major beauty authorities like Allure and Who What Wear — it really works.
Black Girl Sunscreen Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30
This sunscreen stands out from the rest for one main reason: It's one of the few sunscreens on the market that's made by people of color, for people of color. This sunscreen has a lotion-like texture that immediately absorbs into skin, creating an invisible veil that protects your complexion from harsh sun rays.
Plus, its good-for-skin formula is infused with all-natural ingredients like avocado, jojoba, cacao, carrot juice, and sunflower oil to nurture your pores throughout the day.
SENTÉ Invisible Shield Full Physical SPF 52
When looking for a sunscreen for dark skin, Dr. Emer suggests grabbing a tinted formula that blends in more seamlessly, like this one from SENTÉ.
This broad-spectrum SPF 52 formula will keep your skin guarded against sun rays without making you look like a ghost, thanks to its tinted formula. It's also infused with antioxidants to guard your pores from free-radical damage.
Aveeno Positively Radiant Sheer Daily Moisturizer SPF 30
Who said that you needed to spend more to get quality sun protection? The aisles of your nearest drugstore contain tons of pore-perfecting gems, like this sunscreen for dark skin from Aveeno.
It's gentle enough for all sensitive skin types, and its hydrating formula keeps your complexion looking hydrated without leaving a greasy mess or white cast behind.
Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion for Sensitive Skin & Children
If your skin is ultra sensitive and easily irritated, then this gentle, clear SPF is your best option.
This sunscreen for dark skin is a milder reformulation of Shiseido's best-selling original sunscreen formula, made with both sensitive skin types and children in mind. It contains broad-spectrum SPF 50, and it's free of red-flag ingredients like fragrances, alcohol, parabens, and more.
Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40
Does your skin tend to feel like an oil slick after putting on sunscreen? Then give your complexion some oil maintenance with this mattifying, award-winning sunscreen from Supergoop!
This sunscreen also has a primer-like consistency that applies completely clear, making it a great choice for deeper skin tones that tend to get greasy throughout the day.
ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 Foundation
This tinted SPF from ILIA is like the love child of your favorite SPF-enhanced tinted moisturizer and serum. In fact, it's one of many products that we love from the brand.
The Super Serum Skin Tint gives your skin an even, flawless complexion, and it's filled with hydrating essentials like hyaluronic acid and niacinamide to give your skin a plumper, dewier appearance.
Coola Mineral Liplux SPF 30 in Purple Sky
Don't forget that every part of your face needs sunscreen — yes, even your lips. To give your pout the protection it deserves, this nourishing SPF lip balm is great to stash in your bag.
It guards your lips with SPF 30, keeps them soft and smooth, and has a lovely berry tint that complements all skin tones.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Ultra-Light Tinted Mineral Sunscreen
If you're going for a swim, then lotion up with this water-resistant, SPF 50 sunscreen for dark skin. It's a lightweight mineral formula that stays put while you're swimming or working up a sweat for a full 80 minutes, plus, it's free of fragrances and parabens.
Bonus: It has a universal tint that flatters any skin tone.
It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream With SPF 50+
Tired of putting on sunscreen and foundation? Then grab this 2-in-1 CC cream from It Cosmetics, which evens out your skin tone with its buildable coverage.
Its SPF 50 keeps your pores protected from harsh sun rays, and we love that it comes in a wide range of 12 shades to choose from.
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Spray Sunscreen SPF 100
Let's be honest: Sometimes, we just don't have the time (or energy) to slather on globs of sunscreen. So, when you're feeling particularly lazy, this spray-on SPF 100 will suffice.
It's easy to apply, and it instantly dries into a waterproof and sweatproof formula. Plus, it's sheer, so it's a great sunscreen for dark skin in particular.
SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 50
Although a bit pricey for the size, this facial sunscreen is seriously worth it — there are hundreds of five-star reviews! The formula is tinted with a universal shade that adapts to your skin tone, so you won't be left with a white cast, and some users even use it as a foundation.
Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Brush-On Shield SPF 50
Applying your sunscreen once is only half of the work: According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, sunscreen should be reapplied every 2 hours during daylight. But if you don't want to mess up your makeup with your usual liquid sunblock, then this powder sunscreen for dark skin will give you all of the coverage you need.
It comes in four different skin tone shades and instantly blends in while controlling any excess oil. The result: SPF with your foundation still fully intact.
Sol de Janeiro My Sol Stick SPF 50
Don't let the white hue of this sunscreen stick fool you — once it touches your skin, it leaves behind a clear finish that makes your skin glisten in the sun like an Amazonian goddess. Plus, it also gives your skin a softer feel, thanks to the coconut oil in the formula.
This SPF stick is perfect for touch-ups around the delicate areas of your skin like your eyes, nose, and lips, and even tattoos.
Murad Invisiblur Perfecting Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 30 / PA+++
If you'd rather stick to your regular foundation, then try getting an added dose of SPF with Murad's priming sunscreen for dark skin.
Its mattifying formula creates a creaseless, smooth canvas for your other beauty products, and it's transparent enough to wear on its own.
Dermalogica Invisible Physical Defense Sunscreen SPF 30
If you're looking for a sunscreen that's also coral reef-safe, try a physical sunscreen. Also known as natural sunscreen, these SPFs are known for using active mineral ingredients to protect your skin from UV rays.
This sunscreen from Dermalogica is our favorite physical sunscreen for dark skin for its lightweight, transparent finish that won't leave a grainy, streaky finish behind. Plus, it layers perfectly under any of your favorite makeup products.
Clinique Sun Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Body Cream Sunscreen
Don't give all the attention to your face: According to the American Academy of Dermatology, you should be using at least 1 ounce — the equivalent of a shot glass — of sunscreen to cover your entire body every day.
But, if a head-to-toe ashy finish is what you fear, don't fret, because this sunscreen will keep white cast at bay for good. This creamy formula from Clinique absorbs quickly into the skin without leaving a single white streak or smear behind. Plus, this gentle sunscreen for dark skin contains antioxidants to help repair and prevent visible skin damage.
COVER FX SPF 30 Booster Drops
These invisible booster drops from COVER FX are an amazing way to fit SPF into your makeup routine.
It can be used under makeup as a lightweight priming base, on top of your foundation for a mattifying finish, or all by itself during those no-makeup days. Just a few drops and you're all set to bask in the sunshine.