Great sunscreens for olive, medium and darker skin tones are (finally!) here
People with medium and dark complexions naturally have more protection from UVA and UVB rays, but the Mayo clinic and UC Davis both recommend that people with medium and dark skin wear sunscreen to prevent sunburn, sun damage and skin cancer.
Beauty expert Janine Falcon of BeautyGeeks notes that in 2012, Health Canada ruled against using the word 'sunblock' as well as 'sweatproof,' 'waterproof' and 'sun shield.'
"It offers a false sense of security. SPF can only reduce your exposure, and formulas designed to withstand sweating and swimming can only do so for a limited amount of time," she says.
There's sunscreen everywhere. Walk into any drugstore and there's an aisle dedicated to creams, tubes, oils, sticks and spray ranging from SPF 30 to 110. Sounds easy, just grab one, apply, and your skin's protected.
Not so fast. Apart from the level of greasiness, protection and how it feels on the face, people with medium and dark complexions have to worry about whether the sunscreen leaves that unflattering grey haze or chalky film on the skin, making them look sickly. Never fear, we've got some recommended sunscreens that protect and won't leave that grey haze on your skin.
Keep in mind that what may not work for you may work for others, says Falcon. "Ultimately, the best sunscreen is the one we'll willingly wear every single day, rain or shine, summer or winter," she says. "And as with anything that matters, finding the right one requires research, trial and error and determination. Thankfully, each year the marketplace expands with more and better textures and formulas, which of course improves our odds of achieving sunscreen happily-ever-after."
Kiehl's Super Fluid UV Defense SPF 50+
This chemical sunscreen comes in a tiny bottle – it's pretty expensive but isn't greasy and feels light on skin. Available at Kiehl's.
Kiehl's Super Fluid UV Defense SPF 50+, $69, kiehls.ca
L'oreal Silky Sheer Face Lotion 50+
This sunscreen comes in a small, bright orange bottle so you'll never lose it in your bag. It's a chemical formula and can leave your face a bit greasy but like it says, it's sheer so no grey haze. Available at most drugstores and is often on sale.
L'oreal Silky Sheer Face Lotion 50+, $13.99, lorealparisusa.com
Nivea Super Sun Protect Water Gel SPF 50/PA+++
If you don't like the feel of a cream on your face, especially during the summer, why not look to Japan for a gel? "Some people find these watery and gel textures quite drying and irritating; others love, love, love them," says Falcon. "It depends on skin type and probably on application techniques, too – a bit-by-bit apply-and-blend approach might yield better results than loading up in one generous dollop." This can take up to a month to arrive. Available from Amazon.ca
Nivea Super Sun Protect Water Gel SPF 50/PA+++, $17.31, amazon.ca
Dermalogica super sensitive shield spf30
Our priciest entry, Dermalogica is a favourite of Toronto-based stylist Tricia Hall. It's a mineral sunscreen with titanium and zinc oxide. It says it has "UltraCalming™ Complex with Oat and botanical actives to help minimize discomfort, burning and itching." Available at dermalogica.ca.
Dermalogica super sensitive shield spf30, $71.50, dermalogica.ca
Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50+/PA++++
Refinery29 is a huge fan of this sunscreen and we know why. It's light, goes on completely sheer and there is no chalky residue. There are two caveats: if you order it from Amazon, it can take four to five weeks to arrive. The second is to buy from a trusted seller to ensure you get sunscreen. Order multiples. Available from Amazon.ca
Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50+/PA++++, $18.52, amazon.ca
Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47
Natural sunscreens have zinc and titanium dioxide which physically block UVA and UVB rays. The problem is, no matter how finely milled, they can leave a chalky residue on darker skins. This sunscreen doesn't leave a cast but does feel heavy and greasy. Available from Sephora.com.
Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47, $40, Sephora.com
COVER FX Clear Cover Invisible Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30
This one is pricey but like the name says, it's invisible and sits well under makeup. Available at Sephora.com.
COVER FX Clear Cover Invisible Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30, $58, Sephora.com
bareMinerals COMPLEXION RESCUE™ Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream
If you want something tinted, Crystal Lewis Brown, freelancer and the former director of editorial operations at SheKnows, recommends bareMinerals. "It doesn't leave give that filmy/ashy look I usually get from sunscreen. And it comes in a ton of different shades." Available from Sephora.com.
bareMinerals COMPLEXION RESCUE™ Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream, $37, Sephora.com
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen (SPF 30)
Neutrogena might be the giant of sunscreens and it's easy to see why. They (and Coppertone) dominate the drugstore sunscreen scene. Not all Neutrogena products work for everyone but this one is sheer but if you go higher into the 110 SPF range, it does get chalky. Available in drugstores (often on sale), Well.ca and Amazon.ca.
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen (SPF 30), $17.80 but often on sale, amazon.ca