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What are the best SPFs for melanin-rich skin?

What are the best SPFs for melanin-rich skin?
Alice Macfarlane
Beauty Writer11 months ago
View Alice Macfarlane's profile

As the heatwave hits, many of us will be topping up on our sun protection, but did you know you should be wearing SPF all year round? With more and more people becoming suncare savvy, the demand for SPF is higher than ever, and finding the right formula for your skin type and tone is essential.

Sun protection products have come a long way over the years, with thick, gloopy, white formulas slowly becoming a thing of the past in favour of high-performance formulas that keep melanin-rich skin tones in mind. However, not all SPFs are created equal, and we still have some way to go. Looking for a dark skin-friendly formula? We asked LOOKFANTASTIC's resident pharmacist, Aruj, to share her top recommendations.


Does melanin-rich skin require SPF?

"You should apply SPF regardless of your skin tone, type, and texture to help protect your skin against UV rays all-year round. The sun can cause hyperpigmentation and two of the most common skin concerns for melanin-rich skin are dark spots and an uneven skin tone."

"Melanin-rich skin requires daily broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection with SPF30 or higher to help protect against hyperpigmentation, premature ageing, melanoma skin cancer and sunburn. Re-apply SPF liberally every two hours especially if you are exposed directly to sunlight and are going to be spending most of the day in the sun. By layering your SPF and re-applying it during the day, it can help to add more coverage to your face and body and help your skin get the SPF protection required. Please take into consideration that sweat, swimming and beach towels can rub off SPF."

Why do some SPFs leave a white cast?

"Mineral and hybrid sunscreens are often formulated with white mineral particles zinc oxide or titanium dioxide that sit on top of the skin surface to reflect UV rays rather than absorbing them. This is why some SPFs can leave a white cast on the skin."

The best SPFs for melanin-rich skin

Versed Guard's Up Daily Mineral Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF35

"This tinted, creamy mineral SPF formula has a peachy hue that is great for darker skin tones as it blends into the skin, leaving no white cast. Plus, Versed Guard’s Up daily oil-free SPF is formulated with antioxidants such as sea fennel extract and moringa seed extract, which help to protect skin from environmental pollution and premature ageing."

"The 15.2% zinc-oxide non-nano mineral suncream gives an undetectable, fast-absorbing finish, as well as good broad-spectrum protection. Iron oxides help boost protection against visible light, especially for melanin-rich skin that is prone to hyperpigmentation."

  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Sheer-tinted formula
  • Protects against pollution and environmental aggressors


Avène Very High Protection Fluid for Sensitive Skin SPF50+

"As a chemical sunscreen, this fluid SPF is hydrating and has an invisible finish that melanin-rich skin types can re-apply quickly during the day, especially on the hands and neck as it quickly absorbs and blends into the skin!"

"This lightweight fluid SPF has a non-sticky feel; formulated without that traditional suncream smell and is made with an innovative ocean friendly Triasorb™ sunfilter, which protects skin with high sun protection! I would recommend this ultra-light formula for normal to combination skin types. It is made with Avène’s thermal spring water which soothes the skin alongside moisturising active ingredients such as rice extract and glycerin."

  • Great for normal to combination skin
  • Invisible finish
  • Offers hydrating protection

Murad City Skin Age Defense Broad Spectrum SPF50 PA ++++ 

"This mineral sunscreen has a soft peach tint that can be worn alone and is just as effective when paired with makeup. If you are looking for an SPF that disappears into the skin quickly, this cream tint SPF blends easily and is formulated with the antioxidant vitamin C to help brighten an uneven skin tone."

"It has a luminous veil with a radiant, pearlescent finish whilst offering a broad spectrum of UVA and UVB. This 100% mineral SPF helps provide hydration, brightness and radiance to darker skin tones, even those with sensitive skin!"

"With its non-greasy finish and lightweight texture, this SPF will help to protect against blue light, as it is also formulated with iron oxides. Don't forget the more PA+ - the higher the protection from UVA rays!"

  • Brightens and evens skin tone
  • Suitable for sensitive skin
  • Protects against blue light and UVA rays

Bioderma Pigmentbio Brightening Face Cream Anti-Dark Spot SPF50+

"For melanin-rich skin that is prone to hyperpigmentation, protect your skin with this lightweight daily SPF 50+ face cream. Powered by LumiReveal technology and developed in the brand’s own laboratories, the formula helps to regulate the skin’s production of melanin."

"This SPF can be applied daily to the face and neck after cleansing and is formulated with niacinamide to help brighten dark spots and to help fade acne marks. Alongside antioxidant vitamin C, known for its skin-brightening properties. The formulation is also non-comedogenic (meaning it won't clog pores) and has added salicylic acid making this suitable for all skin types especially blemish-prone skin."

  • Great for blemish prone skin
  • Helps to fade dark marks
  • Brightens and evens the complexion




Alice Macfarlane
Beauty Writer
View Alice Macfarlane's profile
As someone with an affinity for all things beauty, discovering fantastic new products is my not-so-secret obsession. Over the years I've tried and tested a mountains worth of creams, serums and cleansers, finding some of my favourite 'holy-grail' products along the way. However, I'm always on the lookout for more ways to nourish my hair, perfect my dewy base, or enhance my skincare routine. Working as a beauty blogger for over 3 years, I've been lucky enough to collaborate personally with lots of amazing beauty brands including Christian Dior, The Body Shop and Dermalogica. I've used the Dermalogica special cleansing gel religiously since I first got it and their products are some of my ultimate skincare faves. When it comes to cosmetics, NARS Sheer Glow foundation is definitely my go-to - I live for a light, glowy base!