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Living with a darker skin tone is very much like having a superpower. Thanks to the presence of melanin, people with darker skin have some protection against sun rays, which can be harmful to the skin.

However, even Superman needs some shielding against kryptonite. Despite having a form of built-in sunblock, dark skin tones still require defense against one of the brightest stars in our solar system. Sunscreen does a great job at this, but not just any sunscreen will do.

To properly cater to darker skin tones, sunscreen needs to be applied daily and liberally, without the fear of producing a white cast.

If you have darker skin and would prefer sunscreen to melt into your skin without showing, we’ve rounded up some of the best sunscreens that could work best for you.

To make sure you’re getting the best protection against sun damage, you’ll want a sunscreen that provides adequate sun protection. Equally important is finding a product that doesn’t leave you looking chalky or in the running to replace Casper.

To find products that meet both requirements, we looked through reviews online and selected those that were rated highly and have at least SPF 30. We also selected a diverse bunch to cover different price points, skin types, and skin care requirements.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $10
  • $$ = $10–$30
  • $$$ = over $30

Best facial sunscreen for dark skin

Black Girl Sunscreen

  • Price: $$
  • Type: chemical
  • SPF: 30
  • Who it’s best for: people looking for a moisturizer that has SPF — this product does double duty
  • Key ingredients: avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, cocoa butter
  • Vegan: no

There’s nothing quite like using a product designed especially with you in mind. If you’re Black and have struggled with finding sunscreen to properly protect and care for your skin, this Black-owned sunscreen could be the right choice for you.

Black Girl Sunscreen has been praised by reviewers for its creamy, lotion-y feel — many customers have ditched their moisturizers for this sunscreen, saving one step in their skin care routines.

Other bonuses include its lightweight application, cruelty-free ingredients, pleasant smell, and of course, the noticeable absence of any white residue.

And while it may mention “girl” specifically, people of all genders are free to use and enjoy this product.

Best acne-friendly sunscreen for dark skin

EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 Facial Sunscreen

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: mineral and chemical
  • SPF: 46
  • Who it’s best for: people looking for an acne-friendly sunscreen option
  • Key ingredients: zinc oxide, octinoxate, lactic acid
  • Vegan: no

While protecting your skin against the sun can help to manage acne scarring and discoloration, one of the very last things you want is to clog up your pores with greasy sunscreen. Blockages can cause breakouts and may be responsible for worsening the condition of your skin.

This sunscreen is a customer and dermatologist favorite for defending acne-prone skin from sun damage. It’s made with acne-friendly ingredients like lactic acid, which is useful for exfoliating and hydrating the skin. This acid also helps to control oil production, a very handy feature if you’re looking to manage your acne or have oily skin.

Best sunscreen for sensitive dark skin

Alba Botanica Sensitive Sheer Shield Sunscreen

  • Price: $$
  • Type: chemical
  • SPF: 45
  • Who it’s best for: people with sensitive skin
  • Key ingredients: homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene
  • Vegan: no, but it is vegetarian

If you have sensitive skin, finding non-irritating protection from the sun can be a tough task — which is where Alba Botanica Sunscreen comes in. This sunscreen is not only easy on your skin but also on your wallet.

Fragrance- and cruelty-free, customers have praised this product for how easily it melts into the skin without any residue. In particular, users with dry, sensitive skin have found the Alba Botanica sunscreen ideal.

Best powder sunscreen for dark skin

Colorescience Sun Forgettable Total Protection Brush-On Shield

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: mineral
  • SPF: 50
  • Who it’s best for: people who prefer a less greasy option for sun protection
  • Key ingredients: titanium dioxide, zinc oxide
  • Vegan: no

Powder sunscreen provides a useful alternative and extra support to more traditional liquid and spray-on sunscreen.

While this product comes at a high price point, a number of features make it a compelling option when selecting sunscreen. Reviewers say this product won’t clog your pores and shouldn’t cause an allergic reaction. It’s easy to use and shouldn’t streak underwater or in the presence of sweat for up to 80 minutes.

Even better, depending on your preference, this sunscreen may be worn alone, or as an accompaniment to makeup without having to worry about a white cast after application. It comes in four shades.

Best tinted sunscreen for dark skin

CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen

  • Price: $$
  • Type: mineral
  • SPF: 30
  • Who it’s best for: people interested in a sunscreen that can provide light coverage
  • Key ingredients: titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, ceramides (1, 3, & 6-II), niacinamide, hyaluronic acid
  • Vegan: no

For those days when you’d like a luminous glow to your appearance (AKA, every day), this CeraVe sunscreen could be the tube for the job.

Tinted sunscreen provides an instant, glowy lift to the skin without compromising on sun protection. This CeraVe option is particularly recommended by reviewers for its nongreasy feel and hydration. It achieves this by using ceramides (fatty acids that restore the skin’s protective barrier).

Best mineral sunscreen for dark skin

Farmacy Green Defense Daily Mineral Sunscreen

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: mineral
  • SPF: 30
  • Who it’s best for: people looking for a mineral sunscreen rather than a chemical one
  • Key ingredients: zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, moringa water and seed extract
  • Vegan: no (but it is labeled cruelty-free)

Farmacy Green Defense Daily Mineral Sunscreen claims it uses naturally derived ingredients to provide much-needed protection against the harmful rays of the sun.

These ingredients include sunscreen favorites like zinc oxide, which helps to block out those dangerous UVA and UVB rays, as well as antioxidants such as chicoric acid.

As an added bonus, users find the scent of this sunscreen pleasant and non-irritating.

Best lightweight sunscreen for dark skin

HABIT No. 41 Facial Sunscreen Mist

  • Price: $$
  • Type: chemical
  • SPF: 41
  • Who it’s best for: people who prefer lighter feeling products
  • Key ingredients: avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, lavender oil
  • Vegan: no

Raise a hand if you like your skin care products heavy and clogging on your skin. No? Then you may appreciate this sunscreen for its barely-there effect on the skin. Formulated as a facial mist, HABIT No. 41 is a refreshing SPF option with slightly higher ultraviolet (UV) protection than the norm to boot.

Reviewers also rave about this sunscreen’s floral scent, noting how light and fresh it is.

Best high SPF sunscreen for dark skin

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Light Fluid Sunscreen

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: chemical
  • SPF: 60
  • Who it’s best for: people who want a higher SPF for additional protection
  • Key ingredients: avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene
  • Vegan: no

If you want additional sun protection, this option from La Roche-Posay fits the bill. With an SPF of 60, it provides ample coverage from UV rays and it’s also lightweight and water-resistant as added bonuses.

This sunscreen is also a customer favorite for its invisible, matte finish. If you aren’t too fond of scents in your skin care products, you’ll be pleased to know that this sunscreen is designed to be fragrance-free and with sensitive skin in mind.

Best body sunscreen for dark skin

Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protector Lotion

  • Price: $$-$$$
  • Type: chemical
  • SPF: 50
  • Who it’s best for: people who want sun protection from head to toe
  • Key ingredients: avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene
  • Vegan: no

Here’s a cool thing you don’t hear about sunscreens everyday: Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protector is crafted in such a way that Shiseido says it works better when exposed to heat or water.

In addition to its cast-free composition, this broad-spectrum sunscreen also has a lightweight feel. It retains its protective properties for up to 80 minutes when exposed to water.

Best sunscreen for dark skin with hyperpigmentation

Fenty Skin Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: chemical
  • SPF: 30
  • Who it’s best for: people with hyperpigmentation
  • Key ingredients: avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, aloe
  • Vegan: no

If you’re dark skinned and live with hyperpigmentation, you can get your sun protection from the Fenty Skin Hydra Vizor sunscreen. This product works to protect you without causing any worries about a white cast marking your skin.

It contains niacinamide, which can help manage hyperpigmentation. Also present is hyaluronic acid, which has hydrating properties, combined with aloe to help soothe the skin.

Best waterproof sunscreen for darker skin

Neutrogena Invisible Daily Defense

  • Price: $$
  • Type: chemical
  • SPF: 30
  • Who it’s best for: people looking for sun protection at the pool, beach or while playing sports
  • Key ingredients: avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene
  • Vegan: no

This sunscreen is one of the more affordable options on our list, and is designed with the active person in mind. Neutrogena claims its formula provides both sun and environmental protection via antioxidants that help your skin resist the elements.

Whether you’re hiking or swimming or simply lounging poolside, Invisible Daily Defense is designed to have staying power — it’s advertised as being water- and sweat-resistant for up to 80 minutes. And, goes on clear, according to reviews, making it a great option for darker skin tones.

Best oily skin-friendly sunscreen for darker skin
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​​Murad Oil and Pore Control Mattifier

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: chemical
  • SPF: 45
  • Who it’s best for: people with oily-prone skin who want to control shine
  • Key ingredients: avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, avocado extract
  • Vegan: no

This lightweight sunscreen is designed to shrink the appearance of pores, create a matte look on the skin, and provide a healthy dose of sun protection. It’s advertised to provide up to 10 hours of a shine-free finish, and reviewers agree that this formula balances out oily skin without over-drying.

Murad’s sunscreen is a solid choice for those with acne-prone, oily, or combination skin, as well as anyone looking to minimize the look of their pores without sacrificing SPF.

Best dry skin-friendly sunscreen for darker skin

Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel

  • Price: $$
  • Type: chemical
  • SPF: 50
  • Who it’s best for: people with dry skin
  • Key ingredients: titanium oxide, hyaluronic acid, royal jelly extract
  • Vegan: no

A favorite among beauty bloggers and vloggers, as well as reviewers on Amazon, this lightweight formula contains hyaluronic acid, adding extra moisture into your skin along with a high SPF. While some reviewers note a slight white cast upon application, this does fade after 15 minutes as the product dries and absorbs into the skin.

This sunscreen does contain a small amount of fragrance (listed as the last ingredient), which may not be ideal for those with sensitive skin.

Best combination skin-friendly sunscreen for darker skin

Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: chemical
  • SPF: 30
  • Who it’s best for: people with combination skin
  • Key ingredients: avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, red algae
  • Vegan: no

With a 4.7 out of 5 rating and over 10,000 reviews on Amazon, this sunscreen has quickly become a cult favorite. Supergoop’s Unseen is designed to have no white cast. Its non-greasy formula leaves a smooth, matte finish, making it a good primer for makeup as well.

Since this sunscreen is meant to provide gentle hydration without leaving an oily residue, it’s worth considering for those with combination skin. It shouldn’t dry you out, but it won’t leave you feeling (or looking!) slimy either.

Best vegan sunscreen for darker skin

Biossance Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen

  • Price: $$
  • Type: mineral
  • SPF: 30
  • Who it’s best for: people looking for a vegan sunscreen option
  • Key ingredients: zinc oxide, sugarcane-derived squalane, water lily
  • Vegan: yes

Biossance’s Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen checks a lot of boxes: it’s vegan, it’s formulated for sensitive skin, it’s hydrating and it leaves a smooth finish whether you’re planning to wear it under makeup or on its own.

This sunscreen is verified by the Environmental Working Group, so you don’t have to worry about harmful chemicals and additives. Unlike many other mineral sunscreens, this one leaves no white cast, though reviewers say it makes your skin look dewy. If you prefer a matte look, you may need to apply powder over it.

Best oil sunscreen for darker skin

Hawaiian Tropic Dry Sunscreen Oil

  • Price: $$
  • Type: chemical
  • SPF: 25
  • Who it’s best for: people looking for low SPF for tanning
  • Key ingredients: avobenzone, octocrylene, cocoa butter
  • Vegan: no

While we know that tanning can damage the skin, some people do wish to use a tanning oil while lounging poolside or at the beach. This hydrating oil contains SPF 25 to help minimize skin damage and also comes in a handy spray bottle to reduce spillage.

A longtime favorite, Hawaiian Tropic’s signature scent will give you a little vacation vibe whether you’re actually on a break or still in the daily grind.

Best spray sunscreen for darker skin

COOLA Classic Body Organic Sunscreen Spray SPF 50 Fragrance-Free

  • Price: $$
  • Type: chemical
  • SPF: 50
  • Who it’s best for: people looking for easy, full-body coverage
  • Key ingredients: avobenzone, octocrylene, and octisalate, aloe, red raspberry seed oil
  • Vegan: no

COOLA’s spray sunscreen boasts 70% organic ingredients and contains red raspberry seed oil, which is an omega-packed natural sunscreen booster. According to the company, the non-aerosol, water-resistant formula provides steady SPF coverage even in harder-to-reach areas of the body, and it goes on completely clear.

As an added bonus, this sunscreen is fragrance-free, which is nice for those with sensitive skin, or who prefer unscented products.

Best sunscreen for dark skin for reapplication

Supergoop (Re)setting Refreshing Mist

  • Price: $$
  • Type: chemical
  • SPF: 40
  • Who it’s best for: people needing to reapply sunscreen throughout the day
  • Key ingredients: avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, rosemary, mint
  • Vegan: no

This easy-to-spray sunscreen is actually designed for setting makeup, which also makes it a great addition to your morning routine. You can throw it in your work bag or purse for easy touch-ups throughout the day. Whether you need to reapply sunscreen to your face because you’re playing a sport, working outdoors, or sitting poolside on vacation, Supergoop says its (Re)setting Refreshing Mist has you covered.

Reviewers raved about the convenience factor of this mist, but some did think that the scent was a little strong.

Best stick sunscreen for darker skin

Shiseido Clear Sunscreen Stick

  • Price: $$
  • Type: chemical
  • SPF: 50
  • Who it’s best for: people who prefer stick sunscreen or want an easy on-the-go SPF option
  • Key ingredients: avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, mineral oil
  • Vegan: no

Like other Shiseido sunscreens, this stick SPF becomes more protective when it senses heat or water (and the company claims it is water resistant for up to 80 minutes). Its reef-friendly formula can be applied on both face and body, and it’s been both dermatologist and ophthalmologist tested.

While this stick sunscreen is suitable for all skin types, some reviewers found the formula to be a little greasy.

Best kids sunscreen for darker skin

Coppertone Kids Clear

  • Price: $
  • Type: chemical
  • SPF: 50
  • Who it’s best for: kids
  • Key ingredients: avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene
  • Vegan: no

Getting your child to submit to sunscreen application can be a challenge. This gel by Coppertone — the number one pediatrician-recommended sunscreen brand — goes on blue and then dries completely clear, making it a little more fun than your average SPF.

Not only is this sunscreen free from dyes, parabens, octinoxate and oxybenzone, it’s also water resistant for up to 80 minutes, allowing kids plenty of pool time and play time before you need to reapply.

ProductPriceTypeSPFWho it’s best forKey ingredients Vegan?
Black Girl Sunscreen$$chemical30people looking for a moisturizer that has SPFavobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, cocoa butterno
EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 Facial Sunscreen$$$mineral and chemical46people looking for an acne-friendly sunscreen optionzinc oxide, octinoxate, lactic acidno
Alba Botanica Sensitive Sheer Shield Sunscreen$$chemical45people with sensitive skinhomosalate, octisalate, octocryleneno, but it is vegetarian
Colorescience Sun Forgettable Total Protection Brush-On Shield$$$mineral50people who prefer a less greasy option titanium dioxide, zinc oxideno
CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen$$mineral30people interested in a sunscreen that can provide light coveragetitanium dioxide, zinc oxide, ceramides (1, 3, & 6-II), niacinamide, hyaluronic acidno
Farmacy Green Defense Daily Mineral Sunscreen$$$mineral30people looking for a mineral sunscreen rather than a chemical onezinc oxide, titanium dioxide, moringa water and seed extractno (but it is labeled cruelty-free)
HABIT No. 41 Facial Sunscreen Mist$$chemical41people who prefer lighter feeling productsavobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, lavender oilno
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Light Fluid Sunscreen$$$chemical60people who want a higher SPF for additional protectionavobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene no
Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protector Lotion$$-$$$chemical50people who want sun protection from head to toeavobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene no
Fenty Skin Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen$$$chemical30people with hyperpigmentationavobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, aloeno
Neutrogena Invisible Daily Defense $$chemical30people looking for sun protection at the pool, beach, or while playing sportsavobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocryleneno
Murad Oil and Pore Control Mattifier$$$chemical45people with oily-prone skin who want to control shineavobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, avocado extractno
Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel $$chemical50people with dry skintitanium oxide, hyaluronic acid, royal jelly extractno
Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen$$$chemical30people with combination skinavobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, red algae no
Biossance Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen $$mineral30people looking for a vegan sunscreen optionzinc oxide, sugarcane-derived squalane, water lilyyes
Hawaiian Tropic Dry Sunscreen Oil$$chemical25people looking for low SPF for tanningavobenzone, octocrylene, cocoa butterno
COOLA Classic Body Organic Sunscreen Spray SPF 50 Fragrance-Free$$chemical50people looking for easy, full-body coverageavobenzone, octocrylene, and octisalate, aloe, red raspberry seed oilno
Supergoop (Re)setting Refreshing Mist $$chemical40people needing to reapply sunscreen throughout the dayavobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, rosemary, mintno
Shiseido Clear Sunscreen Stick$$chemical50people who prefer stick sunscreen or want an easy on-the-go SPF optionavobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, mineral oilno
Coppertone Kids Clear$chemical50kidsavobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocryleneno

There’s a reason sunscreen is advised to be used daily — come rain, come sunshine. Actually, make that plenty of reasons: sunburn, cancer, wrinkles, and fine lines are just some of the ways sun damage affects the skin. This makes protection against harmful UVA and UVB rays important not just for appearance but also for your well-being.

To make sure you’re getting the best sunscreen for your skin type, there are a few things to look out for.

Broad spectrum

It’s important to look out for sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection against the sun rays. This simply means that your sunscreen is able to protect you against the dangerous tag team of UVA and UVB sun rays.

SPF 30 or above

When selecting your sunscreen, look out for products that are SPF 30 or higher. SPF refers to “sun protection factor,” which indicates how much solar energy is needed to produce a sunburn on protected skin compared with unprotected skin.

An SPF 30 sunscreen will filter out about 97% of the sun’s rays when applied correctly. However, you should note that even a super high SPF doesn’t protect you completely. Be sure to reapply at least every 2 hours. If you’re spending time in the water, you may need to reapply more frequently.

Chemical or mineral

Sunscreens are commonly available in chemical or mineral form. Distinguishing between both forms is fairly easy — mineral sunscreens make use of minerals such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, while chemical sunscreens use these active ingredients:

  • oxybenzone
  • avobenzone
  • octisalate
  • octocrylene
  • homosalate
  • octinoxate

Chemicals allow for easy application into the skin and are less likely to produce a white cast when used. However, there are concerns over the effects of long-term exposure to these chemicals, both for humans and for aquatic life.

Research from 2020 found that some chemicals are absorbed into the bloodstream. More research is needed to figure out the long-term effects of this chemical absorption.

In the meantime, the only ingredients recognized as safe and effective by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which are found in mineral sunscreens. Mineral sunscreens are great for people with sensitive skin.

You should know, however, that mineral sunscreen is more difficult to apply (it can take a while to rub in) and is usually responsible for that telltale white cast.

Tips for sun safety

Beyond sunscreen, there are other ways to protect your skin when out and about in the sun. They include:

  • wearing a hat
  • selecting protective clothing
  • wearing sunglasses
  • staying covered in shade when outdoors

Is sunscreen important for dark skin?

Yes. Prevailing myths have falsely claimed that people with darker skin don’t experience sun damage, and this can lead to forgoing necessary application of sunscreen. According to scientific research, Black people are four times more likely to be diagnosed with advanced stage melanoma and are more likely to die of the disease than white people with a similar diagnosis.

What SPF is best for dark skin?

While melanin provides some degree of skin protection, dermatologists recommend at least SPF 30 to avoid skin damage or sunburn.

Sunscreen is one of the most important forms of protection for any skin type or shade. However, for dark skinned people, selecting the right sunscreen is very important to avoid white casts, as well as to optimize for the best form of coverage.

When looking for sunscreen, consider the type you prefer, where you’ll be using it, the price, and whether you have any skin concerns you’d like the sunscreen to address.


Courtesy of Beth Plumptre

Elizabeth Plumptre is a freelance health and wellness writer. She has spent the last 4 years helping brands like Hims, MindBodyGreen, and Prose create content that resonates with diverse readers. You can check out more of her work by visiting bethwrotethat.com