Anytime I see zinc oxide on a sunscreen label, I smile politely at it (don't want to hurt its feelings, you know?) and put it right back on the shelf because I know it's not for me. As a black woman with a medium-brown skin tone, a lot of physical sunscreens make me look like Ashy Larry's little sister — not the look I'm going for.
EltaMD Skincare's UV Pure Broad-Spectrum SPF 47 is a physical sunscreen containing zinc oxide, but this one, which is to be used on your face and body, is described as "transparent." That was a bit reassuring for me when it came across my desk to test out. I started by swiping a bit on the back of my hand. That area is slightly darker than my face, so it's a good way to test to see how a sunscreen might actually look once I apply it. The consistency of this stuff is very much like a classic sunscreen. It's stark-white and creamy, which scared me at first, but as I started to actually use it, I realized I didn't have much reason to be afraid.
After rubbing it in a bit and letting it marinate for a few seconds, the white cast cleared up. The final result? I definitely didn't look ashy, that was for sure. I did notice that it tamped down on some of my more yellow and golden undertones. But I didn't look gray, which is the ruler by which I measure a good sunscreen. However, if you're on the darker end of the skin-tone spectrum, you may not want to wear this one by itself.
Elta MD's UV Pure Broad-Spectrum SPF 47 is water-resistant for 80 minutes and has absolutely no chemical active ingredients. "When I wear it during workouts and it accidentally falls in my eyes, when I sweat, it doesn't burn," says Sarah Kinonen, associate beauty director. "It blends in nicely and also doesn't streak."
All this is to say, this stuff's pretty effective (no wonder it won an Allure Best of Beauty award). And it is gentle on your eyes even in the middle of a workout. Can't beat that. However, if your complexion is what Beyoncé was talking about in "Brown Skin Girl," use this one on days you're going to wear foundation over it because it will alter your undertone slightly. But, you'll have skin that's super moisturized and well-protected from the adverse effects of the sun's rays.
The EltaMD's SPF 47 is a 2020 Allure Best of Beauty winner. Check out the full list of Allure's 2020 Best of Beauty winners.