Sunscreen is one of the most important steps in a good skincare routine. In fact, we’d go as far as to say that even you follow an elaborate multi-step skin care regime but don’t end it with sunscreen, it’s all for nothing. This is especially true if you use retinol and acids on a regular basis, as they make your skin more sensitive to the sun.

Wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen is essential no matter the season, but doubly so during the summer months, when harmful UV rays are all around us. The UVB rays are responsible for sun burns to which darker skin tones can be more resilient (but not resistant!), but everyone is equal in the eyes of the UVA rays which cause sun damage, premature aging, and worst of all, skin cancer. For this reason, it’s important to use a sunscreen labeled as ‘broad spectrum’ as this means that it’s able to protect you against both UVA and UVB rays. Most sunscreens of SPF 15 and higher found on the market today should be formulated to protect you from both.

Unfortunately – and annoyingly enough – applying your sunscreen once in the morning is not enough. Depending on the SPF factor of your sunscreen and how long your skin is exposed to sunlight, that initial layer will only protect you for a given time. For example, a sunscreen with SPF 30 provides 30 times the protection of no sunscreen. This means that if your skin normally burns after 10 minutes of sun exposure, with SPF 30 on your skin, you would have 300 minutes of protection. But this is in an ideal situation and under ideal conditions; to get that amount of protection you’d have to apply a proper amount of sunscreen (which is a lot!) and not touch your face too much so you don’t rub the protective layer off of your skin. But even then, to provide maximum protection, most sunblocks need to be reapplied every two to three hours of sun exposure, especially after sweating or swimming.

However, we know how difficult reapplying sunscreen can be if you’re wearing makeup. It’s a tricky issue, but a very important one. After all, you want to protect your skin as best as possible without undoing all the work you’ve put into creating your lovely makeup look in the morning. And that is why we put together a guide with tips on how to reapply sunscreen over makeup – without ruining it. Read on for foolproof SPF reapplying techniques that won’t smudge your makeup masterpiece!

Apply Sunscreen Right The First Time

Start by giving yourself a good base layer of sun protection. Sunscreen should always be applied before your makeup and as the last step of your skincare routine after a moisturizer. Some folks can use sunscreen as both a moisturizer and sun protection, while others may not be able to. If you have oily skin, you can probably get away with skipping a moisturizer in the morning, however, a drier or sensitive skin might need that extra level moisture that sunscreen alone can’t provide. Either way, choosing the right SPF for your skin is very important.

Apply a generous amount of sunblock all over your face and make sure you don’t miss any areas and that the coverage is even, including your eyelids (but be gentle with your eye area!), ears, neck and chest if exposed.

Do not rely solely on makeup with SPF to be protecting you from sun exposure as you cannot apply enough makeup enhanced with SPF to give you the full protection you need. These types of products are useful as an extra level of protection though so feel free to include a foundation or a primer with SPF in your makeup routine.

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Use a Sponge to Reapply Sunscreen On Top Of Makeup

While applying sunscreen in the morning is infinitely better than not applying it at all, it’s not enough for all-day protection. For this reason, sunscreen reapplication later in the day is essential, and one easy way of doing this without ruining your makeup is to use a tool like a makeup sponge or a Beautyblender. Simply apply the sunblock in small dots across the face and then blend by dabbing – not rubbing – distributing the sunscreen evenly all over the skin like you would with a foundation.

The alternative is using a flat foundation brush and a similar technique as with the makeup sponge.

Stick With Light Sunscreen Formulations On Top Of Makeup

When you go to apply sunscreen over makeup, you might want to avoid thick creamy formulas that will most likely ruin your look. Instead, opt for light formulations such as:

  • SPF mist in a spray, providing a light invisible veil of sun protection without you ever having to touch your face. SPF mist can also act as a setting spray for your makeup, making sure it stays in place throughout the day. They are hydrating and refreshing, perfect for hot and sweaty days.
  • Powder sunscreens are another great way of topping up your UV protection. Not only are these translucent or tinted powder sunscreens are convenient on the go – often packaged in a stick with a brush attached to the top needing to only press and powder is released onto the brush – they also absorb excess oil and will give your look a matte finish.

Try a Tinted Sunscreen

In our busy hectic everyday lives, we often welcome shortcuts and things that will make our life easier or save us some time. As previously mentioned, you shouldn’t rely on makeup products with added SPF as your main source of sun protection. However, tinted sunscreens are a whole other matter. While a foundation with SPF is primarily a makeup product with some added benefit of SPF protection that is rather unregulated in the beauty industry as it is in skincare, a tinted sunscreen is primarily a sunscreen with the extra bonus of makeup-like coverage.

For those that prefer light coverage when it comes to makeup, especially on hot days, a tinted sunscreen could replace your foundation. If you like a full coverage foundation, a tinted sunscreen can act as a great primer underneath your foundation.

Remove Makeup and Reapply Sunscreen before Extended Sun Exposure

If you’re headed to the beach or want to spend an extended period of time in the sun to end the day after wearing makeup for most of it, we highly recommend removing your makeup and washing your face first, and then reapplying a generous layer of your primary cream sunscreen. In any case, it’s best to follow the directions on your SPF packaging as every sunscreen is different.