I Road-Tested 5 Sunscreens to See if They’re Dark Skin-Friendly

dark skin-friendly sunscreensdark skin-friendly sunscreens

Ah, sunscreen.

For the longest time, I believed the misconception that because I was black, sunscreen was optional, but not necessary for me.

Sunburn isn't something I'm acquainted with, and honestly, I was tired of applying SPF during PE and my face being left looking an array of blues, purples and greys. So I didn't wear it at all.

But the day I found out sunscreen is also beneficial for preventing the signs of ageing, my fear of wrinkles had me hunting for an SPF that didn’t leave me looking like Casper the Ghost.

It. Has. Been. A. Struggle.

Side note - you can watch Nkisu's helpful YouTube tutorial on how to find the best foundation shade for your skin tone in this video below!

As someone with oily skin who rarely wears makeup and is barefaced most of the time, all I want out of my sunscreen is:

1. Adequate sun protection.

2. NO WHITE CAST PLEASE AND THANK YOU.

3. Something that doesn’t leave my skin looking so oily, you could fry an egg on my forehead. 

In the hope it might help someone else find a sunscreen they'll legit wear every day, I put my face on the line to road-test five sunscreens.

From the texture and finish to whether or not they leave a white cast, here are my thoughts below.

1. Alpha-H Daily Essential Moisturiser SPF50+.

Alpha-H Daily Essential Moisturiser SPF50+Alpha-H Daily Essential Moisturiser SPF50+

Alpha-H Daily Essential Moisturiser SPF50+Alpha-H Daily Essential Moisturiser SPF50+

The product: Alpha-H Daily Essential Moisturiser SPF50+ is a daily moisturiser enriched with Vitamin E and aloe vera.

How it worked for me:

This has a light cream texture that absorbs well into the skin. I feel like it almost gets a little bit oilier as you’re rubbing it in, which just helps it spread easier, so yay. It always leaves my face feeling nice and hydrated, so the product would suit dry skin types well.

It does have that typical sunscreen smell, but that doesn’t bother me. No white cast, but my main issue is the finish isn't as matte as I'd like for my skin type. My skin doesn’t feel greasy when I use it, but BOY DOES IT LOOK IT, so I don’t tend to wear this sunscreen out by itself, without makeup.

Alpha-H Daily Essential Moisturiser SPF50+ reviewAlpha-H Daily Essential Moisturiser SPF50+ review

2. Alpha-H Protection Plus Daily SPF50+.

Alpha-H Protection Plus Daily SPF50+Alpha-H Protection Plus Daily SPF50+

Alpha-H Protection Plus Daily SPF50+Alpha-H Protection Plus Daily SPF50+

The product: Alpha-H Protection Plus Daily SPF50+ is also a moisturiser/SPF in one.

How it worked for me:

The cream formula is a tinted colour, but don’t let that scare you. Once it sinks in, the product is invisible.

This is supposed to have a matte finish, but my skin was looking SHINY within an hour of applying, so again, another great pick if you have drier skin rather than oily skin like mine.

I find this sunscreen a little irritating if I get it near my eyes, and also a little heavy on the skin, so I avoid using it on particularly hot and humid days. This isn't the sunscreen for me, but it is definitely suitable for darker skin tones.

Alpha-H Protection Plus Daily SPF50+ reviewAlpha-H Protection Plus Daily SPF50+ review

3. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Invisible Fluid SPF 50+.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Invisible Fluid SPF 50+La Roche-Posay Anthelios Invisible Fluid SPF 50+

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Invisible Fluid SPF 50+La Roche-Posay Anthelios Invisible Fluid SPF 50+

The product: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Invisible Fluid Facial Sunscreen SPF 50+ is a non-comedogenic, non-greasy face sunscreen made for sensitive skin.

How it worked for me:

The texture is very watery (I mean, duh, it does say ‘fluid’). Because of the formula, I have to be more mindful when I’m using it because it's easy to use too much - better than not enough, though!

I really like using this sunscreen because it’s lightweight and stays MATTE! Because of this, it's not as dispersible as the other more hydrating formulas, so you'll need a little more than you might think. I haven't found it leaves a white cast or discolouration on my skin.

Despite it being so runny, the formula sinks into the skin very quickly. It almost feels like a mattifying primer after it has sunk in. It's also the most affordable of the bunch.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Invisible Fluid SPF 50+ reviewLa Roche-Posay Anthelios Invisible Fluid SPF 50+ review

4. Ultra Violette Queen Screen SPF 50+ Luminising Sun Serum.

Ultra Violette Queen Screen SPF 50+ Luminising Sun Serum.Ultra Violette Queen Screen SPF 50+ Luminising Sun Serum.

Ultra Violette Queen Screen SPF 50+ Luminising Sun Serum.Ultra Violette Queen Screen SPF 50+ Luminising Sun Serum.

The product: Ultra Violette Queen Screen SPF 50+ Luminising Sun Serum is a milky chemical sunscreen serum.

How it worked for me:

This feels like just another serum in my skincare routine when I apply it. The texture isn’t super runny, but it feels lightweight on the skin.

The product does leave a lovely glow to the face, but within hours, I feel like I need to blot my skin. I would LOVE a matte finish of this. It smells like rose, which I like, but if fragrance isn’t your thing, maybe give it a miss. A great dark skin-friendly sunscreen if you have normal to dry skin.

Ultra Violette Queen Screen SPF 50+ Luminising Sun Serum reviewUltra Violette Queen Screen SPF 50+ Luminising Sun Serum review

5. Ultra Violette Supreme Screen SPF 50+ Hydrating Facial Sunscreen.

Ultra Violette Supreme Screen SPF 50+ Hydrating Facial SunscreenUltra Violette Supreme Screen SPF 50+ Hydrating Facial Sunscreen

Ultra Violette Supreme Screen SPF 50+ Hydrating Facial SunscreenUltra Violette Supreme Screen SPF 50+ Hydrating Facial Sunscreen

The product: Ultra Violette Supreme Screen SPF 50+ Hydrating Facial Sunscreen is a primer, moisturiser and SPF all in one!

How it worked for me:

This lightweight sunscreen comes out of the pump dispenser with a light beige colour, and sinks in without a white cast. My skin doesn’t feel greasy when I use it and I like how the finish is a little more matte than the Queen Screen, but it still leaves me with a wearable glow!

The texture is nice to apply, but considering the tube is 50ml and you need five pumps for adequate sun protection, I feel like I’ll be running out before I know it - I wish it came in a bigger tube or was slightly more affordable.

I have noticed every now and again it will pill with certain skincare or makeup products, but for the most part, I can’t complain! It's definitely replaced my moisturiser on days when I want to cut down on my skincare routine.

Ultra Violette Supreme Screen SPF 50+ Hydrating Facial SunscreenUltra Violette Supreme Screen SPF 50+ Hydrating Facial Sunscreen

Overall, all five of these SPFs are dark-skin friendly.

Most of them are better suited if your skin type is normal or dry, but if you have oily skin and don’t mind some extra glow/shine, they'll all do the job, minus the white cast.

So, which one will I keep wearing?

I’ve been using all of these products regularly, but I tend to gravitate towards two more than the rest...

Both tick the sun protection and wearability boxes for me, I’m a fan!

Want more sunscreen recommendations? Check out these stories from the Adore Beauty team below!

*SPF is only one part of sun protection! Always seek shade, and wear sunnies, a hat and protective clothing. Use sufficient sunscreen for all unprotected areas and reapply sunscreen as directed. Always read the label.