Summer may be in the rearview mirror, but that doesn’t mean the risks of sun exposure are as well.
“We know that sun damage is cumulative,” warns board-certified dermatologist Debra Jaliman, also an assistant professor of dermatology Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist. “Five minutes every day will cause sun damage, breakdown of your collagen and elastic tissue, and will cause wrinkles as well as skin cancer.”
The solution lies in today’s more advanced formulas that not only offer superior sun protection but also tackle multiple issues such as acne, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation. And with a crop of brands created for people of colour with deeper skin tones, sun care is now more inclusive.
“I am excited to start seeing new trends and innovations in the sun protection category such as more physical sunscreens, more antioxidant ingredients, probiotics, blue light protection, and cleaner, more sustainable formulas,” says Rachel Roff, founder of Urban Skin Rx, a brand recognized for catering to diverse skin tones.
We tested over 70 multi-benefit sun protectors on fair to deep, melanin-rich complexions and these were the sheer, chalk-free winners.
Oars + Alps Go Stick Clear Sunscreen: This SPF 35 balm stick glides on without feeling tacky, while the jojoba and sunflower oils moisturize and soothe post-shave irritation without clogging pores. If a shave is overdue, stubble remains free of visible residue. This reef safe and fragrance free stick also provides 80 minutes of sweat and water resistance. $22, oarsandalps.com
Coola Classic Sunscreen Stick: The coconut scent smells more like vanilla and less like spring break in Cancun. Packed with vitamins C and E, prickly pear extract and cold-pressed meadowfoam seed oil, this SPF 30 is formulated to protect the skin’s barrier, hydrate, and heal. Plus, the skinny applicator easily slides into pockets and tiny backpack compartments for convenient on-the-go reapplication. $20, coola.com
Sunscreen Without the Shine
Peter Thomas Roth Max Matte Shine Control Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 45: When Roth launched his namesake brand 28 years ago to address his personal acne concerns, the brand was grounded in the healing properties of the mud and minerals found in the Hungarian thermal springs that surrounded the spa resort his family owned in the 1800s and early 1900s. Today the line has embraced on-trend ingredients and efficacious formulas. The Shine Control cream incorporates silica to sop up oil and hyaluronic acid and ProHyal+ derived from blue agave leaves to hydrate so skin is matte without appearing dull or feeling tight. $34, ulta.com
M-61 Hydraboost Oil-Free Sunscreen SPF 40: Thick yet emollient, this rich oil-free cream somehow avoids feeling like a face blanket. Reef-safe, gluten-free and vegan, this protector is packed with peptides, vitamin B5, tamarind, and aloe to hydrate, soothe, and improve elasticity. $42, bluemercury.com
Urban Skin Rx ShineBlock Oil Control Moisturizer SPF 30: Rachel Roff opened Urban Medspa in 2006 to safely treat issues such as hyper pigmentation for clients with melanin-rich skin and, in 2010, launched Urban Skin Rx to provide inclusive skincare for diverse tones. This mattifying broad spectrum sunscreen has a potent peppermint scent upon application—which comes from the oil used to calm inflammation—but subsides after a few minutes. This thick, yet spreadable cream also contains 11.6% finely milled zinc oxide which makes it a solid mineral option as well. $22, urbanskinrx.com
Sunscreen With Sex Appeal
Cardon SPF + Moisturizer: Forgoing the lengthy multi-step routine K-Beauty is known for, this Korean men’s skincare line relies on a simple, yet tightly edited range of products with cactus extract to hydrate and calm inflammation. The sleek, compact design of its SPF moisturizer and faint notes of sandalwood, amber, cedar, musk, and mint may suit a minimalist techie. $20, cardonformen.com
Mineral Sun Protection
Avène Solaire UV Mineral Multi Defense Sunscreen Fluid SPF 50+: French brand Eau Thermale Avène launched in 1990, but locals have used Avène Thermal Spring Water to treat to treat eczema, psoriasis, and atopic dermatitis for almost 300 years. Rich in mineral salts, the water serves as the base for all products in this sensitive skin-friendly line. Getting a stamp of approval from the National Eczema Association, this sunscreen fluid is loaded with bisabolol, allatoin, niacinamide and plant-derived squalane for soft skin. $32, aveneusa.com
The Fancy Stuff
Mila Moursi Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30: Moursi uses her MM-5 Complex- a mix of peptides, plant derived stem cells and amino acids- along with her legendary dry contouring and sculpting massage to lift and tone the A-list faces of Hollywood. The clear, velvety sunscreen is designed to combat free radicals, sagging and dehydration. $148, milamoursi.com
Eve Lom Daily Protection SPF 50: The brand recommends applying this non-comedogenic SPF over moisturizer, but it works as a stand alone for those with oily skin. This easy-to-wear cream moisturizes, exfoliates, prevent breakouts and reduces pigmentation using niacinamide, vitamin C and lactic acid. $90, evelom.com
Good Drugstore Deal
Mele Dew The Most Sheer Moisturizer SPF 30 Broad Spectrum Sunscreen: Co-created with dermatologists of colour and designed for those with darker skin tones, this lightweight lotion blends seamlessly and contains niacinamide (B3) for the treatment of dark spots and vitamin E for full day hydration. $21, cvs.com
A Spray Option
Soleil Toujours Clean Conscious Antioxidant Sunscreen Mist SPF 50: For those who prefer the spray format, you’ll still want to avoid misting it directly on your face. Apply to hands first and pat into skin and let the red algae, vitamin C ester, vitamin E, and bisabolol work to prevent sagging and increase smoothness. $36, soleiltoujours.com
Also read: Your sunscreen might contain a carcinogen