"I have a tiny bit of a glow going on"
It is often thought that if you have a darker skin tone you are dismissed from wearing SPF.
However, this is a big misconception as no matter your skin tone everyone should be wearing an SPF every day.
Rihanna, the owner of skincare brand Fenty Skin, told Oprah Daily that this is the biggest skincare misconception, explaining:
“As a woman of colour, I’m here to say that’s a lie.
“I hope to educate the melanin community, as much as everyone else, that SPF is for everyone and for every day.”
Regardless of the melanin in your skin, everyone is at risk of getting skin cancer. Regular use of SPF can reduce the risk of this and protect your skin from UV rays.
Apart from reducing the risk of sun damage, SPF can also help with signs of ageing and acne.
Most people of colour suffer from hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone; sun damage in fact contributes to the development of this.
Therefore, with time, regular use of SPF can help to reduce hyperpigmentation and even your skin tone out.
Nerisha Penrose, the assistant editor at Elle, maintained:
“The sun’s rays don’t discriminate, but some of the SPFs on the market do.”
Not all SPF’s are the same. SPFs tend to bring up connotations of being hard to blend, ashy, chalky and thick in consistency.
Fairer complexions can get away with these types of SPFs, however, people of colour have to be a little more careful when choosing their sunscreens.
These SPFs tend to leave a white cast on darker skin tones.
A lot of SPF products on the market are not very inclusive and are not formulated with brown skin in mind.
But, thankfully, the days of annoying hard to blend sunscreens are gone!
There are in fact many SPF products on the market, nowadays, which are brown girl friendly.
If you are new to the world of sunscreens it can be quite confusing to know what the different types are and what the different acronyms stand for.
What are UVA and UVB rays?
Sunlight contains ultraviolet radiation, frequently known as UV.
UV radiation consists of different types of rays, which can affect your skin in different ways.
The different types are classified by their wavelength. The most common types are UVA (longer wavelength) and UVB (shorter wavelength), rays.
UVA rays make up 95% of the sun’s UV rays, making them the most common rays to cause damage.
These rays are more penetrating, meaning they can affect your deeper skin cells.
These rays can penetrate through windows and clouds. The effects of UVA rays can be seen almost immediately.
UVA rays can cause damage to the skin:
- Short-term effects: sunburn
- Long-term effects: premature signs of ageing such as wrinkles, pigmentation and some skin cancers
UVB rays make up 5% of the sun’s UV rays. They do not penetrate windows and are filtered by clouds, unlike UVA rays.
These rays are extremely dangerous and can damage the cells on the top layer of the skin.
- Short-term effects: Sunburn, blistering, delayed tanning.
- Long-term effects: Skin cancer
Both of these rays can come from sunlight and tanning beds. Therefore, it is important your SPF protects you from both of these harmful rays.
The Different Types of SPF
There are two main types of sunscreens: Mineral and Chemical.
Mineral sunscreens are also known as physical sunscreen. These are sunscreens that use minerals, such as zinc oxide and titanium oxide, as their active ingredients.
Mineral SPFs work by sitting on top of your skin to reflect both UVA and UVB rays. An article by Mustela explains this well, stating:
“Think of these minerals as millions of tiny mirrors resting on the surface of your skin, bouncing away harmful UV rays.”
They can protect you from the sun as soon as it is applied and can block lots of UV wavelengths. Mineral SPFs tend to have a thicker consistency.
However, with mineral SPFs you will have to reapply often, as it can wear off easily with sweat.
Chemical SPF’s are much more spreadable and thinner in consistency. Renée Rouleau, a celebrity esthetician, told Byrdie, that:
“Chemical sunscreens contain organic (carbon-based) compounds that create a chemical reaction and work by changing UV rays into heat, then releasing that heat from the skin.”
Unlike mineral SPFs, which sit on the skin, chemical SPFs absorb into the skin before it is effective.
Top Tips for Wearing SPF
- Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before direct sun exposure, as it has to dry fully to be effective.
- Sunscreen does not provide all-day protection; it wears off after a few hours. Therefore, you should reapply every 2 – 3 hours or more frequently.
- Wear sunscreen daily even if it does not appear sunny, as UV rays are always there!
- Make sure you don’t forget to apply it to your ears and necks!
- SPF is not waterproof, so make sure you reapply after swimming.
- Apply SPF as the last step in your skincare routine.
CeraVe AM Facial Moisturising Lotion SPF 25
The CeraVe Facial Moisturising Lotion SPF is more for brown-skinned girls and women with dry skin. It is a hydrating SPF that provides protection against both UVA and UVB rays.
“Three naturally occurring ceramides and Hyaluronic Acid which are essential in supporting the skin barrier and retaining moisture.”
It is not super lightweight, nor super thick, it is somewhere in the middle and is still extremely blendable.
It definitely does not leave that dreaded white cast!
The CeraVe SPF is a great fuss-free option for sensitive skin, it is fragrance-free so will not irritate sensitive skin.
It is also non-comedogenic, meaning it will not clog your pores, which is always a major plus!
On the Superdrug website, it has an average rating of 4.4 from over 1,000 reviews, with one customer describing it as a “miracle in a bottle”.
Another customer expressed how it layers well with makeup:
“It’s an amazing primer under my makeup. There is no greasiness or oiliness during the day.”
This one is a great cheaper alternative; it allows you to protect your skin while not breaking the bank.
It retails for £13 for 50ml, however, with CeraVe products there are often 3 for 2 deals on websites such as Boots, Superdrug and Look Fantastic.
Fenty Skin Hydra Vizor Invisible Moisturiser Broad Spectrum SPF 30
Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty is known for producing products with darker skin tones in mind, so you already know that this SPF will not leave you looking ashy.
Fenty Skin’s Hydra Vizor is a 2-in-1 moisturiser and sunscreen, which contains SPF 30.
This SPF is described:
“Pink-tinted cream that applies invisibly on all skin tones – we’re talking zero chalkiness – and boosts and brightens skin, too, making pores, fine lines and wrinkles less visible (instantly and overtime).”
It is packed with some amazing ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid, which is a dream ingredient for dry skin.
It also contains aloe vera, green tea, kalahari melon and niacinamide. Niacinamide is especially good for reducing the appearance of dark spots.
This SPF does include fragrance, so probably is best to avoid if you have super sensitive skin. However, Rihanna described the scent:
“It’s kind of a sweet, fruity scent that’s not overpowering.”
This SPF, with its unique twistable packaging, is a firm favourite among Fenty fans.
YouTuber, Simply Ije, expressed in her video review:
“It feels hydrating, I have a tiny bit of a glow going on, but it does not feel greasy or oily and there is no white cast, which is to be expected.”
This 2-in-1 SPF retails for £32. The packaging is also refillable, you can purchase a refill for £28 once you run out!
In the UK, Fenty Skin can be purchased on the Boots and Harvey Nichols websites.
Body Shop Vitamin C Glow-Protect Lotion SPF 30
The Body Shop Vitamin C SPF is a great multifunctional product. It is great at protecting your skin from the sun, as well as making your skin more radiant.
Body Shop market this SPF for “dull tired skin”, so if you are struggling with dull skin this may be the SPF for you.
It has received a rating of 4.6 from over 500 reviews on the Body Shop website.
One customer praised its brightening properties, expressing:
“My face does genuinely look brighter and personally I love the orange smell, which I find, disappears after a few minutes.”
It costs £15 for a 50ml bottle.
Glossier Invisible Shield
This SPF is described as a daily sunscreen with the protection of SPF 30.
Glossier Invisible Shield does exactly what it says on the tin; it is a weightless “invisible” SPF.
Most SPFs are white and quite thick in consistency. However, this SPF is a clear gel formula, that almost acts like a lightweight serum.
This clear SPF would not even leave a hint of a white cast on your skin.
YouTuber Lux Says, maintained within her review video:
“I honestly really really like this sunscreen. I think it does what it says and I like how it feels like there’s nothing on your face.
“It just doesn’t feel like a traditional sunscreen.”
Glossier Invisible Shield contains some amazing ingredients such as Vitamin E, Vitamin P, broccoli and aloe leaf extracts, which help fight free radicals.
One customer said: “This is my go-to favourite sunscreen. I’m serious about my skincare and want a good, solid choice.
“This is completely clear, makeup goes on perfectly after, and doesn’t ever cause breakouts.”
It retails for £20 for a 30ml bottle.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Invisible Fluid Sun Cream SPF50+
La Roche-Posay’s invisible fluid is a non-greasy SPF offering a high level of sun protection from both UVA and UVB rays.
“It is great for sensitive skin, as it does not contain any fragrances.
La Roche-Posay says:
“This broad-spectrum SPF50+ high protection fluid is resistant to water, sweat and sand.”
Normally SPFs are hard to blend, but this one is thinner in consistency meaning it is easy to blend all over your face.
Although the bottle may look small, a little goes a long way with this product, so it will last you for a long time!
YouTuber Anoushka said in a June 2020 video that she highly recommends this non-ashy SPF, explaining:
“It is moisturising without being greasy.”
On Look Fantastic, this SPF has received a 4.61 rating from nearly 200 reviews. One customer asserted:
“I love that there is no white cast on my skin after I apply it. I just love this product.”
While another talked about its practicality:
“That’s the best sun cream I have brought, does it’s job plus it’s really small you can keep it in your handbag if you like.”
It retails for £18.00 for a 50ml bottle.
Body Shop Skin Defence Multi-Protection Lotion SPF 50+ PA++++
This SPF is one of Body Shop’s bestselling sunscreens that contains a high SPF 50+ protection.
Body Shop it as a “fast-absorbing and non-greasy” product. It contains a high level of skin protection against both UVA and UVB rays.
Aside from the protection it offers, this SPF includes red algae extract and Vitamin C.
These ingredients will help brighten the appearance of your skin and give it a healthy glow.
Due to its high level of protection, it helps to protect the future of your skin, as well as the appearance of pigmentation.
Glamour Magazine stated how the skin defence SPF “is considered one of the greatest of all time”.
YouTuber Anoushka expressed that the Body Shop’s SPF is one of her favourites. She said:
“It’s just so good, it sinks into the skin and it doesn’t give any ashiness at all.”
She also maintained how the SPF alone is not enough hydration, therefore she does apply a moisturiser with it too.
On the Body Shop website, it has received an average rating of 4 from nearly 800 reviews. One customer asserted:
“I was hooked from the first use!”
“I struggle with sunscreens because my skin is sensitive and I hate being sticky. But this product absorbs fast and leaves my skin feeling super smooth.
“The product is quite thin or runny so it goes a long way. Slightly on the pricey side but worth every penny!”
It retails for £18 for the 40ml size and £22 for the 60ml.
Shiseido Clear Suncare Stick SPF 50+
This one is a little different from your conventional SPFs, as it’s in a stick form. Shiseido’s stick SPF offers high protection and a water-resistant veil.
It is a clear stick sunscreen that goes on smoothly. It is non-greasy, non-sticky and does not leave a white cast.
YouTuber Deepica Mutyala, expressed in her YouTube video:
“I actually use this all over my face regularly, like when I am not wearing any makeup and it just gives a nice glow to my skin.”
Due to the stick applicator, this SPF is great for travelling and touching up your SPF on the go!
It retails for £28.00 and can be brought on Boots, Space NK or Cult Beauty.
Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 40
This is a clear gel-like SPF that is non-greasy and does not leave any white residue on your face. It has more of a silicone-like texture to it.
In her YouTube video, Arshia Moorjani asserted how this one is her “OG favourites”, saying:
“I love this, especially if you have oily skin and are concerned about pores and want something pore filling. This is a unique SPF, you really have to try it out!”
Due to its silicone smooth texture, it is great as a makeup primer and can allow for your makeup to go on smoothly.
YouTuber Aysha Harun, expressed in her video:
“Supergoop are my favourite SPF brand, I feel like they do chemical SPF’s the best.
“It reminds me of a makeup primer, as it goes on completely smooth completely clear.
“It kind of has a blurring effect to the skin so this is really nice to wear even when I am not wearing makeup.”
It retails for £15 for 15ml and £30 for 50ml.
It is extremely important to add an SPF into your skincare routine.
Not only will they protect your skin from the sun but they also prevent wrinkles and reduce hyperpigmentation.
These eight brown girl-friendly SPFs will ensure you stay protected from the sun, while also ensuring there is no dreaded white cast on your skin.