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How to Wear Sunscreen With Makeup

By Gorjus London   |   Date August 01, 2022

Sunscreen is essential for protecting the skin, regardless of where you live and how hot or sunny it is. Sun-damaged skin accelerates ageing and leads to a higher risk of skin cancer and other skin conditions. 


So, applying sunscreen with makeup really is essential. However, it’s tricky to get right, and since makeup with built-in SPF isn’t always effective, it’s essential to incorporate sunscreen into the routine.


When Do You Need to Wear Sunscreen?

Some studies recommend wearing sunscreen every day, even on grey days. While that might seem excessive, it really depends on your skin. If you’re very light or fair, it’s probably important to apply sunscreen more often than not. Darker skin certainly doesn’t make you immune to sun damage, though. 


If you apply sunscreen every day, finding a routine that fits your makeup when you wear it is crucial. While some foundations and other products contain sunscreen, they’re not always effective. Plus, most foundations are only SPF 15, and since you don’t apply them evenly, they don’t always work well.

For total protection, choose SPF 50 with broad spectrum protection. Applying this under your makeup gives you the best chance of protection. 


Does Sunscreen Hurt My Skin?

Good quality sunscreen is safe for the skin. While applying sunscreen every day might seem excessive, the damage posed by the sun is consistently worse. Moreover, you won’t need to apply sunscreen every day and can remove it in the evenings to lessen exposure. 

Does Sunscreen Work With Makeup?

Sunscreen definitely works with makeup, but many people are concerned that it leads to a greasy look. While some cheaper sunscreens can leave your skin looking greasy, high-quality sunscreen shouldn’t. In fact, good sunscreens enhance your makeup and make it look flatter and more defined. 


If you suffer from acne or other skin conditions, it’s crucial to choose both sunscreens and makeup that suit your skin. If you’re suffering from repeated or worsening breakouts, then reconsider your products and routine. 

What Types of Sunscreens are Best?

Choosing the right product is essential. It’s important to remember that you don’t need massive quantities of sunscreen to protect your face, so you can spend a little more compared to protecting other parts of your body. 


Sunscreens with moisturising bases are ideal for those who suffer from dry skin, whereas spray sunscreens and gels tend to be harsher on the skin. Light formula, oil-free sunscreens also tend to be thinner, which is an advantage. 


Here is our top 5 sunscreens for makeup: 

1: Supergoop! Glowscreen SPF 40


This excellent sunscreen is thin and has very little weight to it, leaving the skin fresh. It does leave a gentle pearlescent finish, which looks good under makeup. While reasonably pricey, this is a great sunscreen for makeup that’s widely available. Most of Sugargoop’s products are well-reviewed and tend to be light on harsh chemicals and additives. 


2: Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40


While not strictly a sunscreen, this powerful serum contains many active skin-healing ingredients. It’s rated SPF 40, which is high enough for all but the fairest skin types. It creates a soft, healthy finish that looks great under makeup. Again, an expensive product, but it’s worth it for the face!

3: Kinship Self Reflect SPF 32


An award-winning, best-selling sunscreen that is ideal for those with sensitive and softer skin. Features the brand’s special patented Kinbiome, a probiotic-like chemical that keeps the skin healthy. SPF 32 broad spectrum is suitable for many people, but consider kicking it up a notch if you have light skin.

4: Dermalogica Prisma Protect SPF 30 Moisturizer


The highly reputable brand Dermatologica provides this all-purpose defence cream that combines SPF 30 sun protection with numerous other benefits. This high-tech moisturiser is designed to protect the skin from pollution. It’s expensive, but it’s a bit of a game-changer and is well worth the investment. 

5: Bondi Sands Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50+ for Face - Fragrance Free 75ml


A cheaper SPF 50+ cream that is well worth trying. This Bondi Sands Sunscreen Lotion is light and thin, which makes it perfect for applying under makeup. It absorbs quickly and leaves no residue. Also, it’s cheap, widely available and provides total protection for those who need it. 


Which Sunscreen Should You Choose?


It’s often wise to try a couple of different options. While sunscreen is often expensive, finding one that suits your skin and routine is really important. Once you find the right combination, stick to it for the long term. 


In general, you should look for a thinner sunscreen that produces a subtle shiny ‘dewy’ or matte finish. The thinner, the better! 


How Do You Apply Sunscreen Under Makeup?


Before applying sunscreen, clean your face thoroughly. You want to apply sunscreen to dry, clean skin. Since most sunscreens contain moisturiser, you won’t need to pre-moisturise. 


Then, simply apply the sunscreen as per the brand’s directions. Make sure you apply a thin, even layer. More thin layers are better than one thick layer. 


In general, sunscreen lasts some 6 hours. While brands claim that their products last longer, even minimal sweat and exertion will decrease this figure to just 2 hours or so. After that, consider re-applying. Of course, this introduces an issue: how do you reapply sunscreen if you’re wearing makeup?


Ideally, you’d clean everything and start again, but that’s hardly realistic in most situations. Instead, you can lightly blot the sunscreen over your makeup. 


If you’re planning on serious physical exertion, then consider not wearing makeup at all. 

Summary: How to Wear Sunscreen With Makeup

Makeup might provide basic sun protection, but wearing sunscreen under it is the only comprehensive way to protect skin from sun damage. 


Choose a light, thin sunscreen that is oil-free. Apply it evenly but thinly, and ensure to top up every 2 to 6 hours. 


Adding another expensive product to your daily routine might seem like a pain, but premature ageing and skin cancer are obviously no joke! 


Overall, it's essential to take sun protection seriously, with or without makeup.