5 Best Moisturizers for Black Skin

Whether you follow a three step skincare routine or a 15 step one, moisturizer is the one step (besides sunscreen – more on that later) that shouldn’t be skipped. We often hear people saying that moisturizer is only for people with dry skin.

However, skin care has become so advanced that now even people with oily skin can benefit from using a moisturizer. But what about black skin? 

The skin care industry does not cater well to black skin. Because of this many black people suffer from problems like acne and dry skin unnecessarily. 

If you have black skin with acne then the best thing we can do is point you in the direction of a dermatologist. However, if you’re suffering from itchy and dry skin then we can help you. 

Not only is dry and itchy skin a nightmare to live with, but it also ages faster. Dry skin is also more susceptible to sun damage (which can have fatal complications). 

If you struggle with your skin then you’ll be pleased to know that choosing the right moisturizer can often be the solution to many of your skin woes.

Let’s have a look at the 5 best moisturizers for black skin.

Best Moisturizers for Black Skin: Our Top 5 Picks

1. Best Overall: Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base

Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base - 50ml/1.7oz

The Vitamin Enriched Face Base from Bobbie Brown has been a cult classic in the United Kingdom for over a decade. The brand is harder to get hold of in the US, however, this miracle pot is worth the effort. 

Let’s start with the experience of using this moisturizer. The product comes in a heavy, glass jar that screams luxury. The product itself is lightly scented. It’s slightly floral and lightly citrusy – like something straight out of a spa. 

The moisturizer feels like something between a gel and a cream. It glides across the skin smoothly and soaks in nearly instantly. You’ll feel it get to work straight away, as you will notice both short and long term improvements when using this cream. The moisturizer leaves a matte but hydrated finish once it has been absorbed. 

Throughout the day you will notice that oily areas of your face like your chin and your forehead are more matte than usual. While your under eyes and lips feel plump and hydrated well into the evening. 

It sounds pretty perfect, right? But do we have any issues with it? 

Yes, the pot is too small. This gel-like formula runs out very quickly. If you’re not used to investing in your skincare then you will find how often you have to repurchase this very painful. 

However, we’re sure that when you start to notice the results you’ll agree with us that it’s worth the investment. 

Pros

  • Enriched with essential, skin loving vitamins 
  • Calming, spa-like scent 
  • Absorbs quickly 
  • No residue 
  • Perfect for daytime wear 
  • Fights excess oil 
  • Keeps dry skin moisturized 
  • Vitamin A, C, E 
  • Grapefruit, carrot, and shea extract

Cons

  • This cream is an investment 

2. Tatcha The Water Cream

Tatcha The Water Cream: Oil-Free, Optimal Hydration Moisturizer For Pure Poreless Skin - 50 ml | 1.7 oz

The Water Cream from TATCHA is described as ‘oil-free, optimized hydration moisturizer for poreless skin’.

If you’re looking to put some money behind your skin care, then this cream will be an investment you won’t regret. This is a more lightweight version of TATCHA’s cult Dew Skin Cream, if you need something heavier check out that option.   

Like the Bobbie Brown cream, The Water Cream has a cult-like reputation amongst skincare enthusiasts. And for good reason. Tatcha has built its name by combining industry leading formulas and ingredients with unforgettable packaging and user experience.

If using the Face Base makes you feel like you’re at a spa, then using The Water Cream will make you feel like you’re relaxing on a private island. 

The American brand uses organic ingredients from all over Japan to fight your skin’s woes.  They boast the use of Japanese roses and lilies in this cream.

But the most interesting ingredients are the matcha (super high in antioxidants), algae (antibacterial), and rice (superfood for the skin) extracts. 

Just like the Face Base this cream skins effortlessly into the skin and leaves next to no residue behind. It does not do as good a job at preventing oil production as the Face Base but it does keep the skin hydrated and plump all day. 

Again, our main issue with the Tatcha Water Cream is that it is very expensive and doesn’t last very long. We believe that the high quality ingredients make it worth the price tag. 

Pros 

  • Gorgeous packaging 
  • Amazing user experience 
  • No residue 
  • Smooth application 
  • Good for daytime 
  • Absorbs quickly 
  • Oil-free
  • Matcha, algae, rose, lily, and rice extracts 
  • Charity donation with every purchase 

Cons 

  • This cream is an investment 

3. SheaMoisture Balancing Moisturizer for Dry Skin

SheaMoisture Balancing Moisturizer for Dry Skin African Black Soap with Shea Butter 2 oz 

The SheaMoisture Balancing Moisturizer for Dry Skin comes from a brand created for black skin specifically and is black owned. The two key ingredients in this moisturizer are shea butter and African Black Soap. 

SheaMoisture offers a few different versions of this moisturizer including one designed for oily and acne prone skin with tea tree oil in it. 

The main ingredient in this moisturizer is glycerin. This is a simple and very common ingredient in skin care products. However, it has been around for a long time for one reason – it does a fantastic job at keeping skin hydrated without making it oily. 

Our only problem with this moisturizer is that it contains soaps that can dry out the skin. It also contains alcohol. Both of these ingredients can irritate dry skin. 

Pros 

  • Designed just for black skin 
  • Glycerin heavy 
  • Rich 
  • Sinks in quickly 

Cons 

  • Contains soap, which can dry out all skin types 
  • Contains alcohol 

4. Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Facial Moisturizer with Broad Spectrum SPF 15

Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Facial Moisturizer with Broad Spectrum SPF 15 Sunscreen & Total Soy Complex for Even Tone & Texture, Hypoallergenic, Oil-Free & Non-Comedogenic, 4 fl. oz

The Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Facial Moisturizer with Broad Spectrum SPF 15. If you’re looking for a moisturizer that can give you all day hydration and SPF for a reasonable price then look no further. 

Many people dismiss more affordable brands because they do not believe they have high enough quantities of the right ingredients. Aveeno is here to prove you all wrong.

This moisturizer contains Avobenzone at 3.5% and Oxtinoate at a crazy 7%. These two ingredients are powerhouses when it comes to looking in moisture. 

This moisturizer does not sink into the skin as well as the other, most expensive moisturizers on this list. It does leave a slightly sticky residue behind. However, you won’t notice this once you put on your layer of SPF. 

Pros 

  • Soy complex keeps skin glowing 
  • Lightweight 
  • Great for all skin types 
  • Sinks in quickly 
  • Fantastic price 
  • Contains Avobenzone and Oxtinoate

Cons 

  • Leaves some residue 
  • Has an oat scent 

5. Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Moisture Rich Night Cream

Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Moisture Rich Night Cream, 2.70 oz

Our final choice is the Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Moisture Rich Night Cream. This is the night cream that all of you with dry skin out there have been looking for. 

This is a thick cream that takes a little while to soak into the skin, however, you will wake up with soft, flake free skin. This cream’s formula includes a gentle form of retinol that will leave your skin looking renewed and younger after every use. 

Those of you that have combination and/or oily skin will want to skip over this one. As it is so thick it might cause breakouts. 

Pros 

  • The perfect night time dose of hydration for dry skin 
  • Contains retinol 
  • Incredibly affordable 

Cons 

  • Is too thick more oily and combination skin 
  • Contains alcohol, which is bad for all skin types 

Moisturizer for Black Skin: Buyer’s Guide

We get asked a lot for our top tips for keeping black skin healthy. When the skincare market isn’t designed for your skin, it can be hard to navigate.

There is a lot less research done on black skin compared to white and Asian skin (most skincare research is done in South Korea). However, we do know a lot more than you think about keeping black skin soft, youthful, and glowing. 

Many cosmetic companies would have you believe that keeping our skin looking good is a difficult and expensive task. We’re here to tell you that this really isn’t the case. If you follow our quick guide, you’ll see glowing results in no time. 

What is the main skin concern for black skin? 

You may be shocked to learn that the most common skin concern among black people is dry skin. Because the issue is harder to detect on black skin it often goes untreated for a long time. 

Here are some of the main cause of dry skin: 

  • Hot showers
  • Diabetes
  • Warm, dry weather
  • Natural aging
  • Over-washing your hands
  • Psoriasis
  • Eczema
  • Acne treatments 
  • Using the wrong active ingredients  
  • Using soap bars 
  • Harsh shower gels and shampoos 
  • Laundry detergent and fabric softeners 

Here are our five top tips for keeping your black skin healthy: 

1. Day and Night Moisturizers 

One of the questions we get asked most often is ‘is there actually a difference between day and night moisturizers?’ The answer is yes. 

As skincare influencer, James Welsh, puts it, our morning and evening routines have different purposes. Our morning routine should be about protection – from the sun and pollution – and our evening routine is about recovery.  

In the morning we want to be using light, gel-like moisturizers that will soak in quickly and layer well with our SPF (more on that in the next section). In the evening we want to use thick, emulsive creams that lock in the actives and serums we have just put on.  

When you’re picking out your moisturizers make sure you are considering the time off day, and year that you are using them in. Remember that black skin loses moisture quicker than other types of skin, so make sure you are making your evening routine count. 

2. SPF and Sunscreen 

Did you know that black people have a higher skin cancer mortality rate than any other ethnicity? Despite this being a well known fact, many people still believe that (a) black skin does not get sunburnt, and (b) black people don’t need to wear sunscreen. 

Both of those statements are wrong and could be putting your life at risk. Studies in recent years have shown that even on cloudy days are harmful UV rays can still penetrate our skin. 

This kind of exposure can not only lead to diseases like melanoma but it can also cause permanent cosmetic level damage as well. Sun damage makes us age faster. That means wrinkles at a younger age, dark spots, and more blackheads. 

So how can we combat this? 

Everyone should be wearing sunscreen or SPF every day. It is recommended that we should all be wearing at least factor 30. The SPF should be broad spectrum – meaning it protects from UVA and UVB rays. 

Traditional sunscreens and SPFs are mineral sunscreens. These can often leave a white cast on the skin. On black skin in particular this can be very visible.

Over the last decade, South Korean cosmetics companies have started to produce chemical sunscreens. These feel like gel moisturizers and leave no cast on the skin. 

A quick note on SPF in moisturizer and makeup. The quantities of SPF in these products are never high enough to effectively protect your skin. Even if your moisturizer contains SPF you should always wear sunscreen.

3. Active ingredients 

Choosing the right active ingredients for your skincare is one of the most difficult tasks at the best of times. It gets even more difficult when your skin tone hides a lot of the obvious symptoms of skin problems – as black skin does. 

Dry, oily, and combination all need different types of actives. And finding the ones that will work well for your skin will be a process of trial and error. However, we can recommend some ingredients to look into first: 

  • Vitamin C – this ingredient is great for reducing hyperpigmentation and scarring. Due to the effect, it has on the skin you should only put Vitamin C on at night. It is suitable for all skin types and all ages. 
  • Retinoids – these types of ingredients really are the superhero of the skincare world. We’ve seen them popping up in everything over the last 10 years, and we’re only going to see more of them. Retinoids should be used in cycles, you should start at the weakest concentration and work up from there. They are suitable for all skin types, and should not be used by anyone under 25. 

4. Cleansing is vital 

We’ve talked a lot about moisturizers today. However, your moisturizer is only going to work if it is laid down on the correct canvas. 

What we mean by that is there is no point in finding the perfect moisturizer if you are going to put it on unwashed, makeup covered skin. This is why properly cleansing is just as important as using the right moisturizer and active ingredients. 

If you are wearing makeup at all then you should be double cleansing every night. A double cleanse is an oil cleanse followed by a water-based cleanse.

The oil cleanse breaks down and removes the makeup, oil, and pollution on your face. The water-based cleanse then  removes all of that oil from your skin and prevents it from clogging your pores. 

If you don’t wear makeup then you can choose to do a double cleanse to get a really clean base, or you can opt for a single, water-based cleanse if you have dry skin. 

5. You can’t out scrub a bad diet 

We understand that the famous phrase is that you can’t outrun a bad diet. However, the sentiment is just as critical to healthy skin as it is to losing weight. 

Our skin has a lot of natural repair processes that our skincare helps to improve or to speed up. However, to complete these processes our bodies need the right fuel.

You should try to include as many fruits and vegetables as you can in your diet. You should drink at least 1.5 liters of water every day. You should also avoid oily foods as they cause breakouts. 

Many foods that are high in FODMAP sugars like alcohol and dairy can make skin conditions worse. Lactose consumption has been linked to acne in teens. And the sugars in alcohol have been shown to cause psoriasis flare ups. 

Frequently Asked Questions

There are a lot of false rumors about black skin and the type of skin care it needs. 

Some of these have spread because we just don’t know enough about black skin (both in the world of science and as skin care consumers. Today we’re going to answer your most frequently asked questions about skin care for black skin. 

We’re also going to debunk some dangerous rumors, starting with our very first question: 

Can black skin sunburn? Is it true black people don’t need to wear sunscreen? 

We know that the above is technically two questions, but these two questions feed into and perpetuate each other. Firstly we would like to state the following two statements are false: 

  • Black people don’t get sunburn 
  • Black people don’t need to wear sunscreen 

These are two very dangerous statements that we wanted to address before we talk about anything else in this FAQ. 

Yes, black skin can get sunburnt, and yes black skin needs SPF as much as any other skin type. 

In fact, as signs of sun damage and sunburn are harder to spot on black skin it is possibly more important for black people to wear sunscreen. The next question will explain why this is so important. 

Can black people get skin cancers? 

While black people are less likely to get skin cancer, if they do get it they are more likely to die. It is important to take every precaution possible to protect your skin all year round. 

Spotting early signs of skin cancer of black skin can be very difficult. It is important that you protect your skin and get to know it. Talk to your doctor if you see any changes that worry you.  

Does black skin need different skincare? 

On the whole, black skin does not need different skin care from most over skin types. It is true that certain skin conditions are more common with black skin – like dry skin for example. So in general black skin may require heavier moisturizers. 

The main exception to this rule is when it comes to treating black skin with acne. Studies have shown that black skin does not respond as well to traditional acne treatments as well as white and Asain skin. 

If you are having problems with breakouts and acne then we would recommend going to talk to a dermatologist who specializes in black skin. 

Do I need to use serums on my black skin? 

As we have mentioned above every person as unique skin. There isn’t just one type of black skin. What may work for one person, may not work for you. For that reason we recommend that you take some time to get to know your skin and what works well with it. 

If you are happy with your skin then you may not need to use any type of serum or active ingredient. 

Final Words

If you’re looking for glowing and healthy black skin then the best thing you can do is establish a well thought out skincare routine. When you understand what your skin likes and needs then you can buy products that will make it flourish. 

By using the products we have recommended above, eating cleanly, and cleansing – well then there will be nothing stopping you from having the skin of your dreams. 

Making sure to include as much SPF and sunscreen as possible in your skincare routine will prevent many unwanted side effects like dark spots, premature wrinkles, and even developing melanoma. By applying your skincare daily you are doing the best thing possible for the health of your skin.

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