People with darker skin tones deal with a particular range of common skin complaints. Dr. Neelam Vashi MD, FAAD, who is the director of the Boston University Center for Ethnic Skin, told the American Academy of Dermatology: “Skin conditions are color blind, occurring in patients of every skin tone, but certain conditions can affect patients with skin of color more frequently and more severely.” These conditions include hypopigmentation (when areas of your skin look lighter than others), hyperpigmentation (when you develop darker areas of skin), eczema, sun damage, and dehydrated skin. If you’ve been asking yourself, ‘How can I make my dark skin glow?’ Then you’ve found the right place: we’re breaking down which ingredients you need to look for in your skincare products to make sure you can have glowing and radiant skin all year round.
How do you take care of dark skin?
There isn’t a steadfast rule when it comes to determining the best skincare products for Black skin. Still, there are ingredients to look out for in products depending on the skin complaints you’re dealing with at any given time. Whether your skin is feeling dehydrated, oily, or you’re dealing with eczema, these are some of our go-to products to give your skin the love it needs to feel and look great.
Celebrity esthetician Shani Darden has created one of our favorite cleansers specially designed to retain moisture. The Black-owned brand creates skincare products formulated to cater to the needs of darker skin tones. The Shani Darden Cleansing Serum contains hyaluronic acid, which helps skin attract and retain moisture, and oat bran extract to help protect skin from losing moisture.
Another star ingredient for cleansing without stripping your skin of moisture is squalane. It moisturizes without making your skin oily, making it the ideal ingredient to hydrate your skin regardless of your skin type. One of our go-to squalane cleansers is from The Ordinary. It’s strong enough to dissolve makeup too.
If you’re looking for the best exfoliator for Black skin, then look no further than the Raw Honey Cleanser by Marla Rene. The cleanser contains honey, jojoba oil, and geranium oil that all work to remove impurities and hydrate your skin. If you’re looking for gentle exfoliation, use it as a first cleanser. But if your skin feels like it needs something a little more substantial, you can leave the cleanser on for a few minutes and let its enzymes work their magic before washing it off. Your skin will look gorgeous and glowy afterward!
Serums are designed to pack a punch by delivering high concentrations of certain ingredients while remaining lightweight and well-tolerated even by sensitive skin. KAIKE’s Icing Facial Oil brings together a mix of hydrating squalane and natural oils to boost skin’s hydration levels and fight signs of aging.
If you’re looking to tighten pores and boost your skin’s glow, then Vitamin C will be a great addition to your skincare routine. The Smoothing Serum from Anne’s Apothecary contains a high concentration of Vit C, along with coconut pulp extract and sodium hyaluronate. These ingredients encourage the skin to store moisture deep within its layers. It will keep hydration levels boosted for hours! Vitamin C can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, though, so be sure to apply an SPF 30+ moisturizer after.
Which oil is good for dark skin? In short, oil is excellent for skin. But some oils are easier for your skin to absorb than others. Jojoba and marula oils are particularly effective carrier oils because they mimic the consistency of sebum (the oil your skin produces naturally). Jojoba oil can hydrate the outer layer of skin (the epidermis). In contrast, marula oil penetrates the skin deeper to reach the middle layer (the dermis). The serums we mentioned above contain oils to help with absorption, but the skin on the rest of your body needs hydration too.
Bawdy Beauty’s Bawdy Oil uses marula oil, patchouli oil, and cannabidiol (CBD) to hydrate skin and leave it feeling firmer. Apply the oil over your body after having a shower, and massage yourself with the oil. The natural properties of CBD oil will help relax your muscles too.
If you’ve opted for an oil-based serum, then you may want to skip the moisturizer. You want your skin to feel hydrated and glowy without leaving your pores clogged and overwhelmed with the product. But if you struggle with the texture of oil or need a hydration boost that doubles up as the perfect base for makeup, then look for a Shea butter-based product. It will give you the hydration you’re looking for without leaving your skin looking ashy.
We love the Buttah Skin Facial Shea Butter, which is made from 100% organic shea butter. It’s non-comedogenic, meaning that it shouldn’t make you break out, and it’s designed to protect your skin from everyday pollution.
Sun protection is vitally important, no matter your skin tone. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends wearing SPF 30 at a minimum to protect your skin from damage that can cause serious health problems in the long run. Dermatologists tend to recommend upping that to SPF 50 if you’re planning on spending more than a couple of hours outside. But we know that finding a sunscreen that looks natural on darker skin isn’t an easy task. So here are a couple of our favorite products that have been specially formulated to cater to darker skin tones.
UnSun’s award-winning Tinted Mineral Face Sunscreen comes in two different shades designed to adapt to most skin tones. And it’s an SPF 30, making it ideal for everyday wear. It’s a mineral-based sunscreen that is water-resistant and gives skin a beautiful dewy glow. UnSun’s range also includes an SPF hand cream and a highlighter to add some protective shimmer to your skin.
Another great option is Black Girl Sunscreen’s Broad Spectrum SPF 30. They also have an SPF 45 matte sunscreen which is perfect for beach days or if you’re going to spend more time outdoors. There’s an SPF 50 sunscreen designed for kids but is totally suitable for grown-ups too!