How to Reduce White Cast in Mineral Sunscreen — According to a Dermatologist
On the quest to find the perfect sunscreen for dark skin tones, the requirements tend to be largely similar as those for lighter skin tones. It must help protect the skin but a little added glow doesn’t hurt, and if it’s moisturizing, even better. It also can’t leave the dreaded white cast, which can be a tall order. Most “clear” or “invisible” sunscreens are of the chemical variety, so if you opt for a mineral sunscreen you sometimes have to choose between showing off your commitment to physical SPF by showing up as an ashen version of yourself or risk not wearing enough for true coverage. But is it possible to have coverage sans white cast? The short answer is kind of. According to skincare.com consultant and NYC-based dermatologist Michelle Henry, MD, the white cast occurs because ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which are white, stay on the skin’s surface rather than absorbing into the skin — so the white cast isn’t always avoidable. There are ways, however, to minimize its appearance. See our best tips ahead.
Application Is Key
It’s important to wear enough sunscreen — Dr. Henry recommends at least a teaspoon for the face — so don’t skimp on the coverage in an effort to minimize a white cast. Look for a formula that’s lightweight and easy to rub in like Cerave Hydrating Sunscreen (Dr. Henry’s personal favorite), a non-greasy option that’s and easy to work with in small amounts. Apply it to one small area at a time and rub it in thoroughly instead, which will ensure adequate coverage without a ghost-like film.
One of the best ways to circumvent the white cast is to choose a tinted formula instead, which has pigment to offset the white film. We recommend a formula like La Roche-Posay Anthelios Tinted Mineral Sunscreen for Face — a lightweight option with a matte finish that lends skin a healthy glow. This option beats mixing your sunscreen with foundation, which Dr. Henry cautions against because it may dilute the formula and reduce its potency.
Layer if You Must
Although you shouldn’t mix your sunscreen with other products, it is okay to lightly layer face products on top. Dr. Henry recommends using a powder (we like a versatile formula like Lancôme Dual Finish Multi-Tasking Powder Foundation) or lightweight foundation to minimize dilution.