If you got some melanin in you, you probably know that anxious feeling you get before daring to try a new sunscreen. You either convince yourself it's going to be different than the last few SPFs that left you with an ashen face, or you're fully prepared to look like Casper the Friendly Ghost because â€” well, what else should be expected from the sun-care market?
Though there have been some marked improvements in sunscreen for dark skin with innovations like completely clear gel and oil formulas, there's still quite a ways to go â€” especially with mineral sunscreens, which almost always leave a white cast (sometimes even on lighter skin tones). But now there's a new option from new skin-care brand KinlÃ², founded by renowned tennis player Naomi Osaka.
"I had learned so much about the importance of sun care first because I needed to, based on my own exposure to the sun, but also seeing that people with darker skin tones are often under-marketed in this area," Osaka tells ishonest. "It became a passion of mine to not only make a product I could be proud of and use, but also use it as an opportunity to educate and promote skin care in those communities."
The brand's interesting name is an ode to both her Japanese and Haitian heritage and something she felt would speak to the ethos of the brand. "Both Kin and Lo mean 'gold' in Japanese and Haitian Creole, respectively â€” so it just felt like a nice nod to my background," she shares.
The first thing I grabbed was the sunscreen, of course. While I do have a few sunscreens that work on my brown skin, I was very curious to see what KinlÃ² came up with. Admittedly, I was shocked when I pumped the aluminum bottle and a brown liquid squirted out rather than a white cream or even a transparent gel. I was actually pretty worried about using it on my face. Even though it was a brown shade, it was lighter brown than my skin, and I have tried tinted sunscreens this shade that look ashy on my face. But I gave it a shot because, hey, you do what you gotta do for the job.
Courtesy of brand
KinlÃ² Active Golden Rays Sunscreen
I did the two-finger application method roughly given that the formula was so loose and liquidy. Then, I rubbed the sunscreen between my hands, tinting my palms with its tawny hue, and slathered it on my face. I worked it into my skin until it was fully blended and undetectable. It took a bit of rubbing, but nothing too difficult. It actually disappeared into my skin without a hint of a cast, even adding a slight tint to my skin and making it seem almost as if I had gotten a tan. I was in such disbelief that it didn't make my skin look white that I walked into my bathroom with a stronger light to ensure everything was rubbed in â€” and it was.
So how did the brand succeed in creating a brown formula that practically disappears? I asked cosmetic chemist Ginger King what exactly is going on. King tells ishonest that this sunscreen sounds like it's essentially a foundation with SPF, and the iron oxides in the formula are responsible for the tint. "It is usually a mix of yellow, red, black, and white iron oxides to match the skin tone by varying the ratio," she explains. "When there is a match in skin tone, you cannot see the pigments, and that is how foundations work."
Though it may be like a foundation, the tinted formula is not exactly giving you much coverage. It felt even lighter than some of the tinted moisturizers I've tried. Even though the sunscreen's color had me a bit shook for a second, I really love how it felt on the skin. The lightweight formula melted right into my face and neck without too much of a struggle. My skin didn't lose any of its luminosity, and it felt great.
My glowy skin with the sunscreen applied.
There are also a few good-for-your-skin ingredients in this sunscreen, like brightening niacinamide, hydrating glycerin, and antioxidant-rich vitamin E. Other than the slight color change and leftover tawny pigment on my palms, I was pleasantly surprised. My skin maintained its radiant glow, but with the addition of sun protection.
Nykia Spradley applying the sunscreen.
Though I didn't pair the Hydrating Golden Mist with the sunscreen in the same way, I really enjoyed how lovely it felt on the skin. It's packed with hydrating aloe vera, witch hazel, and hemp seed oil. The spraying mechanism is perfect, so it feels like a mist lightly dusting your skin rather than a harsh spritz attacking your face. It has a slightly tropical scent with hints of coconut and citrus, which I really enjoyed. While scented products may be unpopular for some folks, I didn't find that the scent lingered too long or felt too overpowering. Though I'm tucked away in my house these days, I can definitely see how refreshing this spray, especially with its scent, would be on a hot summer day.
Courtesy of brand
KinlÃ² Recovery Hydrating Golden Mist
My favorite product of the launch, however, may just be the Hydrating Lip Balm. I'm big on moisturizing lip products, which is why I keep several lip balms in my desk area (including this balm now). It's formulated with shea butter, four oils (olive, coconut, jojoba, and hemp seed, to be exact), and aloe vera, all of which are great for moisture. It also has Terminalia arjuna bark extract and red marine algae, both of which, King says, can help with strengthening the skin's barrier.
I definitely felt the moisturizing effect when I rubbed a teeny amount on my lips. After thoroughly washing my hands, I just dipped the tip of my pointy acrylic nail into the malleable, butter-like formula and then applied it straight onto my lips. To melt the thick balm, I just rubbed it between my lips and used my natural body heat.
I didn't feel that I needed to reapply the lip balm too frequently, and a tiny amount does go a long way, which gets an A+ in my book. Though the thick formula is packaged in a tiny, quarter-sized tin, I'm sure that this will last me several months because of how little product is needed to feel truly moisturized.
Courtesy of brand
KinlÃ² Recovery Hydrating Eye Cream
Similar to the lip balm, the Hydrating Eye Cream is also infused with Terminalia arjuna bark extract, aloe vera, and jojoba and hemp seed oils. I didn't have to use too much underneath my eyes, and it felt deeply moisturizing. (Admittedly, I don't really use eye creams, but I think this one does exactly what it needs to do.)
All in all, KinlÃ² not only knocked it out of the park with its non-whitening tinted mineral sunscreen but also provided three other products that feel fantastic on the skin. Hydration and protection is important to the brand, and that's clear from the thoughtful ingredients and amazing results. To get your hands on the products, which retail for $6 to $20, head to kinlo.com.
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