The 5 Sunscreens I, As A Brown Gal, Actually Trust

With the first ocean swims of the season under our belt and the warm evening air on our faces, we reckon it’s safe to call it: summer is on its way. And with it comes a renewed focus on sun protection. Now, this isn’t to say you shouldn’t be wearing sunscreen every single day regardless of the season. “If it’s bright enough for you to see your hand, it’s bright enough to get sun damage,” is a maxim that lives rent free in my head that I refuse to fact check because it’s so effective in getting my skincare dilettante friends to wear their SPF.

Sunscreen is the best preventative step against premature skin damage and something most of us have had drilled in as essential under the Australian sun. Modern formulations are also finally becoming more conscious of their environmental impact too, with way more “reef safe” sunscreen options on the market. Coral bleaching, we do not love to see it. What we also don’t love to see when it comes to sunscreen? A white cast. No, not the Gossip Girl kind but the chalky, white or grey residue that many, many sunscreens can leave on people with deeper skin tones.

But it’s fine right, we don’t burn we just tan? Incorrect. As sun protection brand Black Girl Sunscreen explained to Harper’s BAZAAR, “It is a myth that people of colour don’t need to wear sunscreen.”

“This misconception may have to do with much of the advertising and public awareness campaigns [around sun protection] being geared towards fair-skinned individuals. However, people of colour are also at risk of getting skin cancer despite additional melanin in the skin.” So, if you’re in the market for a sunscreen that won’t leave a white cast and put a real damper on your Hot Girl Summer plans, these are my tried and tested favourites.

The Very Best Sunscreens For People With Darker Skin Tones

Ultra Violette

The hype is v well deserved for this delightful sunscreen from Ultra Violette. With a skin-friendly light-weight formula that’s moisturising enough to use as alone as your daytime moisturiser, this little tube has served me extremely well over the cooler months. Now that we’re moving into a sweatier summer, the matte and ultra light Queen Screen are next on the list to try.

Supreme Screen SPF 50+ Hydrating Facial Sunscreen, $45 from Ultra Violette.

Mecca Cosmetica

Classics are classics for a reason and in the case of this sunscreen from Aussie retailer Mecca Cosmetica, there are many reasons. As well as boasting an SPF factor of 50+, which you know is actually real because it was vetted by Australian standards, this moisturising sunscreen has an ideal finish for applying makeup over top. So you can go ahead and skip your day cream and your primer.

To Save Face SPF50+ Superscreen, $40 from MECCA.

The Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50+ PA++++ is truly one of the GOATs. Japan (and South Korea) are known for their advanced sunscreen formulations, which are often much more refined than Western variants. The Bioré is no exception: it’s incredibly lightweight, has high sun protection, includes skin-loving ingredients like hyaluronic acid and sits well under makeup. *chef kiss*

Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50+ PA++++, $15.89 from YesStyle.

La Roche-Posay

One option if you’re v ~sensitive~ that I’d recommend is the La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra Facial Sunscreen. While it’s ever so slightly thicker than some of the other options on this list, it boasts a high SPF, a fragrance free formula and melts into the skin with no white cast in sight.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra Facial Sunscreen SPF 50+, $29.95 from Adore Beauty.

We Are Feel Good Inc

A final sunscreen suggestion comes from the relative newcomer We Are Feel Good Inc. They’re Australian owned and made and offer a bunch of different reef safe SPF formulas. We’re particularly into the fragrance free options for sensitive skin, which will probably last you a while if you’re using just on your face as it’s a generous sized bottle. And cute too!

Sensitive Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50+, $29.95 from We Are Feel Good Inc.

Monisha is a writer with a background in publishing and digital media. A chronic Pisces, she’s into trying to be a better person and sparkling water.