No more chalky white film. These formulas go on clear.

By Andrea Jordan
June 02, 2020
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This is part of our new weekly series called Test Drive, where our team of beauty experts demystify products and tools, as well as explore new techniques IRL.

Growing up, I didn't think much about applying sunscreen. In fact, it was one of those things my mom only pulled out if we were headed to the beach or pool for the day. Fast forward to my adult years when I became a beauty editor, I began hearing all the terrifying, but true reasons you should sport sunscreen on a daily basis, and I literally had an internal freak-out. How could I erase all the damage that accrued over the previous twenty-something years? Why did I ignore that tiny little SPF bottle for so long? After realizing there wasn't much I could do about the past, I made a commitment for my future to adopt the healthy habit of wearing SPF every single day. No excuses.

When my friends learn that I won't go outside, any time of year without sunscreen, the most common comment I get is, 'But do people of color really need to wear sunscreen?' And while for me it's an obvious yes (I want to shout it from the rooftops), there are lots of people out there that really don't believe this is true. You see, people of color do have melanin-rich skin which does offer some UV protection (especially more than the Caucasian population), but it's definitely not enough to keep your complexion protected from the damaging effects of the sun and skin cancer. "While skin cancer is generally less common in people of color, the rate of hyperpigmentation is significant," says Houston-based board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Suneel Chilukuri. "I suggest anyone over six months of age wear sunscreen to help prevent pigmentary changes, decrease the chance of skin cancer, and lessen the formation of wrinkles."

But what about finding a formula that is actually brown-girl friendly? Truth be told, most sunscreens I've tried leave a white film on my skin, especially mineral formulations. But my best advice is not to let this be a deterrent when it comes to making healthy choices for your skin. So, to help you save time and money, I've tested dozens of formulas to see which work best on dark skin tones.

Credit: Courtesy of Target

Infused with squalene, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin E, this daily sunscreen is super moisturizing without leaving you with a greasy t-zone come lunchtime. It also helps to correct and prevent dark spots which is a common skin concern among women of color.

Buy It: Complexion Protection Mineral Moisturizer, ($20, Target)

Credit: Courtesy of Sephora

It's all in the name. This sunscreen literally goes on invisible no matter the skin tone. It's also formulated with red algae that helps to protect against blue light from our tech devices.

Buy It: Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40, ($34, Sephora)

Credit: Courtesy of Target

An oil-free formula that works great for acne-prone skin. Not only will it keep your complexion balanced by absorbing excess oils, it's water-resistant so you can toss it in your beach bag.

Buy It: Clear Skin Oil Free Dry Touch Sunscreen, ($20, Target)

Credit: Courtesy of Sephora

Sunscreen protection goes beyond our complexions, the truth is, you should protect every part of your body. This sheer, unscented spray screen is great to for the entire family. Ingredients like cucumber extract and red raspberry seed oil help with hydration.

Buy It: Organic Sunscreen Spray SPF 50 Fragrance-Free, ($25, Sephora)

Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

If you prefer a matte finish to your complexion, this is the sunscreen for you. This is my top pick for wearing under makeup since it goes on smooth and dries like second-skin.

Buy It: Facial Sheer Sunscreen, ($18, Amazon)

Credit: Courtesy of Target

This sunscreen was created by women of color for women of color so you know it's the real deal. It's a vegan formula you can feel good about and helps prevent signs of aging while you wear.

Buy It: Black Girl Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30, ($16, Target)

Credit: Courtesy of Target

This reef-conscious formula swirled with silk proteins and shea butter really performs. It's so lightweight you'll forget you have anything on.

Buy It: Silk Hydration Weightless Face Sunscreen, ($9, Target)

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