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The Best Sunscreens Without a White Cast

It’s no secret that {SPF} is a vital part of every {skin care} routine, regardless of skin tone, as it’s essential that you protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays every. single. day. But we know that the fear of that chalky residue can be all too off-putting, especially for those with darker skin tones.

With that in mind, we’ve made it our mission to uncover the very best sunscreens with no white cast. Alongside skin care expert and Cult Concierge consultant {Ryan}, we’ve carried out rigorous testing to find the best chemical and physical sunscreens that blend seamlessly into your skin for an invisible finish, with no ashen appearance.

Read on to find out more about what causes the dreaded white cast, and to discover the 10 best SPFs without white cast.

What causes white cast in sunscreen?

It’s the filters in the sunscreen that cause that visible white residue. In mineral sunscreens (also known as physical sunscreens) in particular, these filters can be large-molecule metal oxides (like zinc and titanium oxides) that are white in colour and which, by design, sit on the surface of the skin to create a protective barrier and reflect harmful UV rays.

Chemical sunscreens typically blend and absorb much more easily, as they’re designed to penetrate the upper layers of your skin rather than sit on the surface, and they don’t contain the same white-coloured minerals. But they’re not totally void of guilt – some chemical sunscreens can leave you with a ghostly appearance too.

What to look for in a sunscreen to avoid white cast

There are certain key factors to consider when looking for a sunscreen without white cast:

Check the ingredients of mineral sunscreens

When choosing mineral sunscreens, {zinc oxide} is the better ingredient to look out for. It’s often a smaller sized molecule, which reduces the likelihood of white cast.

Opt for a chemical sunscreen instead

Chemical sunscreens don’t sit on the surface of your skin and reflect the light like mineral sunscreens, so there’s much lower risk of that white tint.

Drop to SPF30 (at the absolute lowest)

If you are comfortable dropping to an SPF30, this will reduce the percentages of filter ingredients, which in turn reduces the potential of white cast. But SPF30 is the limit. Any lower, and you won’t be giving your skin the sun protection it needs.

Now you know the science and what to look out for, here’s our pick of the best sunscreens without white cast.

The best sunscreens without a white cast

{Alpha-H Protection Plus Daily SPF 50+}

Another offering from Alpha-H, this ultra-lightweight, non-chalky sunscreen not only defends your face from UVA and UVB rays, but also creates an environmental shield that prevents attack from free radicals and other environmental aggressors. It’s also intensively nourishing, so your skin will feel soothed, hydrated and conditioned. Yes please!

Watch Charlotte, Training and Education manager at Alpha-H talk through Protection Plus SPF and how to get the most out of it:

{Sonya Dakar Face Shield SPF 30}

Ultra-lightweight and completely non-greasy, this sunscreen keeps the ‘good stuff’ in and ‘bad stuff’ out without leaving a chalky white cast. It’s suitable for all skin types, and because the consistency is so fine, it won’t suffocate your skin or cause congestion, even if your skin is on the oily side. Added aloe leaf extract helps to hydrate your skin too, so your face will stay hydrated whilst it’s protected from the sun’s harsh rays.

Ultra Violette Queen Screen Lightweight Skinscreen SPF50+

For an SPF that laughs in the face of white cast, say hello to Ultra Violette’s Queen Screen Lightweight Skinscreen SPF50+. It comes in a lightweight, slightly shimmery, serum-like formula that gives a deliciously dewy finish, and it’s packed full of vitamin C (thanks Kakadu plum) so your skin will feel plumped and bouncy as it’s shielded against infrared, visible and blue light.

{Thank You Farmer Sun Project Light Sun Essence SPF50}

Providing invisible protection from the damaging effects of UV rays, this SPF 50+ sunscreen hydrates, controls oil production and helps you maintain a smooth, semi-matte finish. It’s infused with cooling aloe extract to reduce redness and calm irritation, plus sacha inchi oil and lotus flower water to improve your skin’s suppleness and bolster its resilience.

{Murad Invisiblur Perfecting Shield SPF 30}

Invisiblur by name, invisible by nature – there’s no white cast to be seen with this sunscreen. Not only that, it melts into your skin for a mattifying effect that blurs, softens and primes for a flawless base. The lightweight gel features a complex of shitake mushroom and mucor miehei peptides to encourage collagen production, plus barley, sunflower and cucumber extracts which mimic the skin’s membrane structure, enhancing moisture retention. We’re obsessed!

{Kate Somerville UncompliKated SPF50 Soft Focus Makeup Setting Spray}

Meet the shine-free sunscreen we’ve all been dreaming of! The spray has an ultra-fine mist that feels weightless on your skin – simply hold the can 8-10cm from your face and spray in a clockwise motion for an even and invisible distribution.

{Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 30}

Completely invisible, with no greasy film and no tell-tale white film, Supergoop! has revolutionised the sunscreen sphere. It’s universally flattering and perfect for every complexion, and provides consistent, broad-spectrum protection without suffocating your skin. It’s coral reef-friendly too, so your skin and the planet will thank you!

{Medik8 Advanced Day Ultimate Protect SPF50+}

Brimming with {hyaluronic acid} and youth-boosting, light-activated DNA repair enzymes, slather your complexion with this nourishing and hydrating formula to fight the signs of premature ageing. It’s non-greasy and totally invisible – consider this your ultimate ‘skinsurance’ policy.

{Alpha-H Daily Essential Moisturiser SPF 50+}

Enriched with vitamin E and aloe vera to trap moisture and keep skin hydrated, this lightweight sunscreen leaves skin matte and prepped for foundation – it’s even suitable for oily and combination skin types. And with no white mask effect, it won’t look chalky on your skin.

{Dr. Barbara Sturm Sun Drops}

This innovative, light-textured sun serum is like a parasol for your complexion – but a totally invisible one, naturally. As well as SPF 50, it also contains cassia extract, vitamin E and beta-glucan for further protection and to promote the regeneration of damaged cell structures. This is the protection (and rejuvenation) your complexion is crying out for!


Cult Beauty

Cult Beauty

Writer and expert