From Flash-Proof Powders to Residue-Free SPF, These Editor-Approved Beauty Products Were Made For Dark Skin
Beauty shopping is fun until you can't find a foundation shade that actually flatters your undertone or a sunscreen that melts into your skin without leaving a white cast. Unfortunately, these are the hurdles most beauty-lovers with darker skin tones face.
It's no secret that brands have spent years leaving BIPOC consumers out of the product-development narrative, and while there's still a lot of improvement to be made in this part of the industry, we know there are products out there that do work for darker skin tones in all the right ways. Ahead, we tapped Assistant Beauty Editor Danielle Jackson to share the products she cosigns that are made for melanin-rich skin. Bonus: every single one can be found exclusively at Ulta Beauty.
Blk/Opl True Color Skin Perfecting Stick Foundation SPF15
The idea of a "perfect match" is a wholly unrealistic concept (dating apps prove this point), but the Blk/Opl True Color Skin Perfecting Stick Foundation SPF 15 ($11) is prepared to make you question everything you thought you knew about this cliché. Come for the unique shade technology (Blk/Opl uses multicolored pigments to adjust to your unique skin tone and neutralize imperfections), but stay for the handy convenience of this stick formula, a feature Danielle enjoys. "Stick products can be tricky sometimes in that they can often be a little too thick for my liking, but this foundation applies like butter," she said. "It's so easy to spread and gives my skin a flawless, full-coverage finish when I use it."
Mented Cosmetics Sunkissed Bronzer
No one needs a bronzer that looks muddy or gray on the skin. Instead, opt for the Mented Cosmetics Sunkissed Bronzer ($22) in Yacht Life. It's warm, it blends like a dream, and it really helps to create that beachy glow most old-school bronzers couldn't offer. "I love that this bronzer has a tiny amount of shimmer in it, but not enough for it to be overpowering," Danielle said. "For a powder formula, I'm impressed by how smooth and blendable it is, and a small amount really goes a long way."
Black Girl Sunscreen Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30
Most sunscreens are chalky, drying, and leave behind an awkward white residue, but the Black Girl Sunscreen Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 ($16) is here to change all of that. Designed for people of color, this moisturizing formula is cast-free and protects skin like it's licensed to do so, making it a perfect addition to your daily routine (and a beach bag essential). "I've always been a fan of this sunscreen," Danielle said. "Not only is it made specially for darker skin tones so that it doesn't leave a white cast or finish, but it's also very light, easy to spread, and doesn't make my skin feel super oily or heavy." In other words, it may be the first product that actually does it all.
Jaclyn Cosmetics Accent Light Highlighter
Dark skin was made to glow, and the Jaclyn Cosmetics Accent Light Highlighter ($29) knows how to make that happen. "Want a glow that everyone in the (socially distanced) room can spot from literal feet away? This is your ticket," Danielle said. "It applies to the skin so smoothly, complements cool undertones so well, and is buildable depending on just how glowy you want to appear."
Keys Soulcare Harmony Mask
There are a lot of celebrity beauty brands out there, but there's something extra special about Alicia Keys's line that just launched this year. The MVP? The Keys Soulcare Harmony Mask ($28). "Masks are a huge part of most of my self-care days," Danielle said. "Even though I've cycled through a ton of them at this point, few have made my skin feel as soft and plump as this one." Just think about how rejuventing this mask will feel after a long day at the beach.
Juvia's Place I Am Magic Loose Setting Powder
Avoiding flashback and an oily T-zone often feels impossible, but the Juvia's Place I Am Magic Loose Setting Powder ($14) makes it easier — "set it and forget it" should be its tagline. Danielle is a fan of how easily this powder blends on top of her base products without looking cakey. "It's one product I'd highly recommend for people with oily or combination skin," she said, calling out its mattifying finish. Setting your makeup in the summer just got a lot less stressful thanks to this flash-proof powder.
Tarte Shape Tape Concealer
With 35 shades to choose from, the Tarte Shape Tape Concealer ($27) is fully prepared to provide crease-free coverage on all skin tones. "I've tried a lot of concealers, but this one is probably one of the most reliable when it comes to brightening my face up a bit and really concealing any blemishes or dark circles," Danielle said, also noting just how legit its all-day wear is. If you prefer to opt out of foundation on those hot and sweaty summer days, this formula is perfect for spot and all-over coverage.
Looking for something that's hydrating for summer? Check out this concealer's creamy sister, the Tarte Shape Tape Ultra Creamy Concealer.
Tula Brightening Treatment Drops Triple Vitamin C Serum
If dark spots are the one thing keeping you away from rocking a more natural no-makeup look this summer, then you might want to consider trying this Tula Brightening Treatment Drops Triple Vitamin C Serum ($48). Not only will it leave skin soft and glowing, but it directly targets uneven skin tone. Thanks to the help of vitamin C alongside pro- and prebiotics, this serum works quickly to address your biggest skin-care concern, so you can be proud of foregoing makeup this summer. Bonus: vitamin C also helps to combat sun damage!
Dermalogica Clear Start Breakout Clearing Foaming Wash
Hyperpigmentation and scarring are difficult to treat, especially for darker skin tones. Opting for skin-care products that contain AHAs and BHAs can help resurface the skin and heal dark spots. The Dermalogica Clear Start Breakout Clearing Foaming Wash ($20) uses salicylic acid to clear away dead skin cells and deep clean skin, so the fear of future spots is no longer your biggest concern. In fact, Danielle noted that after a rare breakout surfaced, this wash cleared it away with ease.
Morphe Continuous Setting Mist
Some people think setting sprays aren't necessary, but if you want your makeup to seamlessly melt into skin and stay put for hours, a product like the Morphe Continuous Setting Mist ($16) is a must. "The name isn't an exaggeration," Danielle said. "This setting spray really does feel like a super-gentle mist on your face, which is amazing when you're looking for something that actually gets the job done and keeps your makeup in place but won't make your face feel too heavy or weighed down."
Peach & Lily Glass Skin Refining Serum
The first line of defense against uneven skin tone and texture is a serum that addresses it head one, like the Peach & Lily Glass Refining Serum ($39). Not only that, but this serum delivers a flood of hydration into the skin. "I like to think of this serum as a glass of water for your face," Danielle said. "It has a gel-to-water texture that practically melts in your hands, and it's made with ingredients like hyaluronic acid and niacinamide so skin looks and feels super-hydrated."
Truly Acai Your Boobies Lifting Boob Polish
Who doesn't want smooth, soft, and hydrated skin, especially if your go-to summer wardrobe includes peekaboo tops and dresses? The Truly Acai Your Boobies Lifting Boob Polish ($28) prioritizes doing exactly that. "Boob polish is a beauty product I never thought I'd think was necessary or sing the praises of — then I tried this and was pleasantly surprised," Danielle said. "Not only does this one smell amazing (it has an açaí and dragon-fruit scent), but it left my skin feeling so smooth and silky." Combine this polish with water to work up a lather in the shower or, for some extra pampering, you can use it as a pre-shower mask. Leave it on for five-to-10 minutes, then rinse!