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How to apply - and reapply - sunscreen with makeup : A comprehensive guide

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

Now that we are getting closer to the heart of summer, it is vital that we protect our skin from the dangerous sun-rays. A significant sun protectant is,of course,our good old sun-screen.However, many people, and understandably so,find it very hard to incomporate sunscreen into their daily routine,especially if they use makeup products.

But, fear not!

In this comprehensive guide, we have included valuable information from realiable sources about SPF,sunscreen,the difference between UVA and UVB rays, different skin types and, of course, ways to apply your sunscreen under your makeup, and reapply it too! All of these, in a way that will not ruin your makeup's final look.

Let's dive into this!


1. The Importance of Wearing Sunscreen as a Base for Makeup

2. Understanding SPF and UVA/UVB Protection

3. Different Types of Sunscreen Formulations

4. Sunscreen and Skin types

6. Sunscreen and Makeup

7. Other Ways to stay protected

Last Thoughts



1. The Importance of Wearing Sunscreen as a Base for Makeup

When it comes to achieving a flawless makeup look, many of us tend to overlook the importance of wearing sunscreen as a base. However, incorporating sunscreen into your daily beauty routine is crucial for maintaining healthy, youthful-looking skin. Not only does it protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun's UV rays, but it also acts as a barrier between your skin and the makeup products you apply.

Sunscreen forms a protective shield over your skin, preventing the penetration of damaging UVA and UVB rays. These rays can cause premature aging, sunburns, hyperpigmentation, and even skin cancer. By wearing sunscreen under your makeup, you ensure that your skin is shielded from these harmful rays, keeping it healthy and radiant.

Moreover, sunscreen acts as a primer, creating a smooth canvas for your makeup application. It helps to even out your skin tone, reduce the appearance of pores, and provide a hydrated base for your foundation, allowing it to glide on seamlessly.

Applying sun screen with high spf

2. Understanding SPF and UVA/UVB Protection

Let's take a moment to understand the terms SPF and UVA/UVB protection. These are crucial factors to consider when choosing the right sunscreen for your needs.

SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, measures a sunscreen's ability to protect your skin from s UVB rays and short UVA rays, which are responsible for sunburns.

The SPF number indicates how long the sun’s UV radiation would take to burn your skin when using the product exactly as directed versus the amount of time without any sunscreen. Therefore, ideally, with SPF 30 it would take your skin 30 times longer to redden, than if you weren’t wearing sunscreen.

FUN FACT (Maybe not so fun) :

Heat can ruin your Sun screen's potency! So do not leave it under the sun. To avoid this, you can always have with you a cool container or a heat resistant makeup bag.

3. Different Types of Sunscreen Formulations

When it comes to sunscreen formulations, there are a variety of options to choose from, each with its own unique benefits and textures.

Let's take a closer look at the most common types of sunscreen formulations:

1. Chemical Sunscreens:

Chemical sunscreens contain organic compounds that absorb UV rays and convert them into heat, which is then released from the skin. These sunscreens are known for their light-weight texture and ability to provide invisible protection.

2. Physical Sunscreens:

Physical sunscreens, also known as mineral sunscreens, contain active ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These minerals create a physical barrier on the skin, reflecting and scattering UV rays.

“Zinc oxide sunscreens are often recommended for people with skin sensitivities, including acne, and are gentle enough to use on children", says Elizabeth Hale, MD, board certified dermatologist and a vice president of the Skin Cancer Foundation.

“They also offer the most broad-spectrum protection (against both UVA and UVB rays) and are widely recommended for those that apply sunscreen to their face and neck daily, as they work to prevent year-round UVA damage including wrinkles, brown spots, and photoaging,” she says.

3. Hybrid Sunscreens:

Hybrid sunscreens combine the benefits of both chemical and physical sunscreens. They contain a combination of organic compounds and mineral ingredients to provide broad-spectrum protection. Hybrid sunscreens offer the lightweight feel of chemical sunscreens and the physical barrier of mineral sunscreens. They are suitable for all skin types and provide excellent sun protection.

4. Sunscreen and Skin types

1. Sunscreens for Oily Skin:

If you have oily or acne prone skin, “An oil-free or mattifying moisturizer may be the best choice,” says Dr. Bucay. Moreover, according to him, you can look for sunscreens with niacinamide (bitamin B3) , which fights acne and discoloration,as well as ceramides and peptides that boost the antiaging properties of the sunscreen.

2. Sunscreens for Dry skin:

For dry skin, opt for moisturizing sunscreens that provide hydration and nourishment. Look for formulas that contain ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin, which help to lock in moisture and prevent dryness. Cream or lotion-based sunscreens are ideal for dry skin, as they provide a rich texture that deeply hydrates the skin.

3. Sunscreens for Sensitive Skin:

If you have sensitive skin, it's important to choose sunscreens that are fragrance-free and formulated with gentle ingredients. Look for hypoallergenic and non-irritating formulas that won't cause redness or irritation. Mineral sunscreens are generally well-tolerated by sensitive skin, as they provide a physical barrier without causing adverse reactions.

5. Which one should I pick, after all?

To ensure optimal protection during extended outdoor activities, the Skin Cancer Foundation advises using a water-resistant sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum coverage and has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Irrespective of the specific SPF level, it is crucial to apply a generous amount equivalent to one ounce or two tablespoons, approximately 30 minutes before heading outdoors. Additionally, it is recommended to reapply sunscreen every two hours and immediately after swimming or sweating.

Also, To ensure the best sun protection for your specific skin type, it's always a good idea to consult with a dermatologist or skincare professional. They can recommend products that cater to your unique needs and help you achieve optimal results.

6. Sunscreen and Makeup

sunscreen before makeup

For optimal sun protection, it is advisable to apply sunscreen before putting on makeup. It is important to use an ample amount of sunscreen and ensure it is evenly spread across the face before applying foundation or any other makeup products. However, if you are exposed to the sun for more than two hours (please refer to the specific instructions on your sunscreen for reapplication guidelines), it is necessary to reapply sunscreen on top of your makeup to maintain effective UV protection.

Here are three types of sunscreen that can be reapplied over makeup, along with techniques to effectively reapply them:

1.Powder SPF:

Powder sunscreens are mineral-based powders that provide UV protection. They are particularly suitable for oily skin. Simply apply the powder sunscreen over your makeup using a brush. This allows for easy reapplication without smudging your foundation, giving you extra protection throughout the day.

2. Spray sunscreens:

Spray sunscreens come in a convenient mist formula, making it easy to apply sunscreen without disrupting your makeup. Choose a water-resistant spray if you'll be spending time at the beach or pool. To help set your makeup and add sun protection, consider using a makeup setting spray that contains SPF. Simply spray it over your face to secure your look while providing additional sun protection.

3. SPF moisturizers or lotions:

Moisturizers or lotions that contain SPF 30 or higher offer hydration and UV protection, making them a suitable choice for dry skin. Opt for products without tint, such as plain SPF moisturizers, instead of tinted moisturizers or BB creams. This allows you to reapply throughout the day without applying too much product or creating a heavy layer.

Now, here are three techniques to effectively reapply sunscreen over makeup:

1.Brush on powder sunscreen:

Take a gentle, sweeping motion with a brush to apply powdered sunscreen over your makeup. This technique provides broad-spectrum protection while giving your skin a matte finish.

2.Mist your face with a spray sunscreen:

Use a spray sunscreen to lightly mist your face throughout the day, ensuring even coverage. This method allows you to add SPF protection without disturbing your makeup. Make sure to hold the spray at an appropriate distance from your face for even application.

3.Reapply with a makeup sponge:

This is what I personally do, and it works wonders for me!

Take a clean makeup sponge and use a dabbing or pressing motion to reapply a facial sunscreen or SPF moisturizer. This technique helps prevent smudging your makeup while ensuring the sunscreen is properly blended into your skin.

7. Other Ways to stay protected

hat to stay protected from the sun

1. Limit your time in the sun, especially between 10 am and 4 pm when the sun's rays are strongest. Seek shade or use an umbrella during peak hours.

2. Wear protective clothing, such as long pants, long-sleeve tops, and tightly-woven fabrics, to cover your skin. Darker-colored clothes tend to offer more UV protection.

3. Wear sunglasses with 100% UV protection to shield your eyes from harmful rays. Opt for large wrap-around styles for maximum coverage.

4. Wear a hat, preferably with a wide brim, to shade your face, ears, and neck. Select hats made of tightly woven fabric and avoid styles with holes.


It is important to remember that the sun is not our enemy. After all, without it there would not be any life on our planet. We should simply understand the risks, stay protected and everything will be fine ;)



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