I’ll admit that I wasn’t a daily sunscreen user until my mid twenties. I grew up in Trinidad and Tobago and then went to college in Miami so trust me, I got plenty of regular sun exposure. But like many of us people of the sun, I thought of sunscreen as a heavy paste that I didn’t really need because of my melanin. I assumed sunscreen application was only required for the beach or outdoor sports – slathered on to protect my skin from extended time outside in the hottest period of the day. SPF wasn’t something I realized I needed daily, regardless of cloud cover until I was old enough to rent a vehicle on my own. Terrible. Now I look back on all those years where I had ridiculous hyperpigmentation and realize I was part of my own problem!
There are SO many reasons for people to wear sunscreen. A good moisturizer with SPF 30 can protect you from damaging UVA and UVB rays and help to stave off skin cancer. If you’re black, or a person of color with a deep skin tone, then daily use of sunscreen can also help to prevent lasting hyperpigmentation. My daily goal is to protect my melanin and my perpetual quest is to find a good sunscreen for my skin tone that just blends in effortlessly. I don’t want that gray finish or cast on my skin, and that’s been a challenge in the sunscreen world. Finally, I’ve found an independent, black woman owned brand that is truly doing the work – producing sun protection intended for dark skin, that effortlessly blends right in. Bellas, allow me to introduce you to Shontay Lundy and her brand, Black Girl Sunscreen!
Shontay made the product she needed for her own active lifestyle. She loves being outside — hiking, doing yoga and walking her bulldog on the beach. She needed a product that worked for her skin tone and took her lifestyle needs into consideration. She worked with skin care experts to create Black Girl Sunscreen.
Why is it called Black Girl Sunscreen? Shontay is happy to explain! “I named my product Black Girl Sunscreen because there are a lot of people who still think having dark skin means that you have full sun protection. While we do have more melanin (natural protection) than people with lighter skin tones, we’re still at risk for damaged skin cells, skin irritation (burns), cosmetic sun damage and—most importantly—skin cancer,” says Shontay. I completely agree. Through the years I have encountered many women and men of color who for some reason doubt our need for SPF protection. We may not get visible sunburns, but please know that our melanin deserves and demands protection too!
I’ve had the pleasure and privilege to try Black Girl Sunscreen – I’ve been testing it out myself all summer! It performs to perfection. No cast, no gray undertone, just clear application of a creamy sunscreen that sinks effortlessly into my skin.
I’ve been wearing Black Girl Sunscreen all summer, and I can absolutely say that I love it, it works, I would recommend it to anyone who needs sunscreen (and that’s all of us)!
I wanted to learn more about the creator of Black Girl Sunscreen and the intent behind the brand, so I reached out to Shontay Lundy with more questions.
Afrobella –.. Tell me about your background and what led to the creation of Black Girl Sunscreen?
Shontay Lundy– I am a New York-raised entrepreneur that has lived off and on in Los Angeles and Miami. I earned an MBA along the way and am currently pursuing a PHD. In my free time, I am an avid hiker, beachgoer and outdoor yoga enthusiast who wanted to enjoy these pursuits while protecting my skin. Black Girl Sunscreen was born from a need for a product that offered broad-spectrum sun protection and blended beautifully with dark skin tones—instead of leaving a white cast.
Afrobella — Why did you decide to make Black Girl Sunscreen?
Shontay Lundy– This was very personal to me because I am my own customer. Underwhelmed by the lack of products on the market for people of color, I knew there had to be something that could work. And I knew that if I could figure out how to make it happen, it’d be a game changer. With this motivation, I started looking for a solution and discovered that there were natural ingredients that could boost melanin production, offer proper UV protection and be fully absorbed by our skin; hence, the evolution of Black Girl Sunscreen.
Afrobella — What makes it different from all the other sunscreens on the market?
Shontay Lundy– Black Girl Sunscreen was developed for woman of color with natural ingredients that are appropriate for our skin complexion. We have eliminated the tell-tale white residue, all fragrances, parabens and all things that are toxic to the environment such as oxybenzone. Black Girl Sunscreen is here to make women look and feel good while giving them the confidence to be in the sun while their skin is protected. Protect your melanin ladies!
Afrobella — What is your intent and goal for the future of your brand?
Shontay Lundy– It’s been an old school mentality that people of color don’t need to protect their skin from the sun. Black Girl Sunscreen’s goal is to start fluent conversation as well as create awareness and education around dispelling the myth that black people don’t need sunscreen. Research shows African Americans have the highest rate of mortality in the U.S. population after receiving a melanoma diagnosis. Our mission is to create awareness globally around skin cancer, melanoma and sunburn. Black Girl Sunscreen will create a legacy that will influence future generations to be stay moisturized and protect their skin.
Afrobella — What do you want Afrobella readers to know about you? Give us a glimpse into your childhood, what were your career dreams? As a child, I was a second chair violinist who loved to play with Barbie dolls. When I was 12 years old in sixth grade, I wanted to be the President of the United States. While I’m not the President of the United States yet (lol), I am the President of my own company and loving what I do. I found happiness and success by following my passion.
To all the Afrobella readers out there, follow your passion. You have to get out there and do it, because no one else will do it for you!
Thank you, Shontay!