Much has rightly been made of the lack of racial inclusivity when it comes to makeup shades, but even skincare can fail to cater for brown and black skin. High protection sunscreen is crucial for everyone, but many facial SPFs throw a whitish, almost lavender cast that looks almost like a tracing paper or gauze overlay. It flatters no one, but looks particularly unconvincing and unhealthy on darker tones. For a long time, there were woefully few suncare brands making inclusivity a priority, but now there are such excellent (if pricey) clear sunscreens that whittling down to just four has been tricky (sorry, Coola, La Roche Posay and Ecooking).
Glossier’s Invisible Shield SPF30 (£20, 30ml) instantly made the cut. Clear, ungreasy, pleasing to the touch, this watery, vegan gel comes in an opaque, airless pump – ideal for preserving the antioxidants inside. It feels fresh and hydrating on all skins, disappears instantly and doesn’t peel under makeup, however vigorously I rub.
Supergoop’s Unseen Sunscreen (£30, 50ml) is exceptional and accurately named. What I didn’t see coming was its texture. This is the sunscreen for you if you love those smoothing, blurring silicone makeup primers from brands such as Smashbox, Benefit and The Ordinary. (I personally don’t, but they’re ideal for oilier skin, enlarged pores or uneven texture.) Unseen Sunscreen’s identical texture doubles up as a great makeup base, on the right skin while also protecting against UVA and UVB with an SPF30 that leaves only a semi-matte finish – no white, lavender or ash.
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The influence of Korea has been dramatic throughout the industry, but nowhere more so than in sunscreen technology. K-beauty brands are the masters of feather-light, cosmetically elegant (that’s industry speak for a nice-feeling, makeup-friendly formula) protection and this is exemplified in Thank You Farmer’s Sun Project line. Balanced, dry and very dry types will love the Water Sun Cream (£18, 50ml), while oily and combination skins will want the Light Sun Essence (£21, 40ml) – both are SPF50 and neither leaves a cast, only a little added glow.
I apply almost all dedicated sunscreen products straight over my morning serum, skipping moisturiser altogether. This ensures I apply enough skin type-appropriate SPF to both moisturise and protect (there’s a tendency to under-apply what we can’t see). On the basis that sunshine is scarce and life is finite, there are only so many steps I’m prepared to take.