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What Goes First: Sunscreen Before Or After Makeup?

by @Author_Heather
Aug 9, 2022


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Applying sunscreen daily is one of the cardinal rules of skincare. After all, UV rays are a known enemy of smooth, youthful skin. But what about wearing sunscreen on your face? Do you put sunscreen on before or after makeup?

I used to solve this problem by using SPF-infused makeup products. But then, I wondered if SPF makeup alone could protect me from harsh UV rays, so I decided to get to the bottom of this makeup mystery. With the help of personal experience, advice from makeup experts, and some online research, I’ve found answers to frequently asked questions on makeup and sunscreen.

What’s the best sunscreen to use with makeup?

When choosing a sunscreen for your face, the sun protection factor (SPF) is one of the most important considerations. An SPF of 15-30 is ideal for everyday use, but get sunscreen with SPF 30-50 when you spend most of the day in the sun.

An excellent, lightweight daily sunscreen is the one from Everyday Humans (SPF 30). It’s cruelty-free, vegan, and is easily absorbed by the skin. Meanwhile, for UV-intensive days, try Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen (SPF 40) for a matte finish with no white cast. It’s also good for moisturizing and doesn’t clog the pores. The Kinship Self Reflect Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 32 has a dewy finish if you prefer that look. Individuals with acne-prone or oily skin love Kinship Sunscreen to bits. Last but not least, tinted sunscreens like the CeraVe Face Sheer Tint are great for evening out your complexion. They can even act as a sheer foundation.

Mineral or chemical sunscreen are alright to use. But if you’re using a chemical sunscreen (with chemical UV filters like oxybenzone), you should put on moisturizer after SPF and before makeup.

Do you still need sunscreen if your foundation has SPF?

The short answer is yes. SPF makeup cannot be a substitute for sunscreen.

I used to think that SPF makeup would cover all my sun protection needs. But as it turns out, most SPF makeup products do not meet the required SPF levels, and you’ll need to put on 6 to 7 times more of the SPF makeup to get the same quality as a sunscreen. Plus, makeup comes off easily, and that leaves your skin more likely to be sunburned. Nonetheless, you can still use your SPF makeup as an extra layer of protection after you put your regular sunscreen on.

Should you put on sunscreen before or after makeup?

Here’s the quick answer: sunscreen before makeup is the way to go.

The order in which you apply your makeup and sunscreen is important because it determines the effectiveness of your UV protection. Sunscreen should be applied before makeup, generously and evenly. Use a mirror to ensure you don’t miss any spots, including your ears and neck! Another pro tip: tap sunscreen onto your face instead of rubbing it. This will help you apply the product more evenly and avoid irritation.

Let your sunscreen dry for about five minutes before putting on makeup. Liquid or cream foundations blend better with sunscreen, but you can lightly offset it with a powder foundation to give your face a warmer look.

How to reapply sunscreen over makeup

Reapply sunscreen every two or three hours for maximum protection from sun damage, even on your face. It can be a hassle to wash off all your makeup and reapply sunscreen as a base, so you can wear sunscreen on top of it. But to avoid ruining your look when reapplying sunscreen over makeup, you’ll need to be extra careful.

A good technique is to dip the flat section of a dry makeup sponge into the sunscreen and then dab the sunscreen all over your face. Dab and blend the sunscreen one area at a time to ensure you’re applying evenly. It’s important to press and not drag the sponge across your skin. Use lightweight or tinted sunscreen for best results.

On the other hand, you can also look into other types of sunscreen that can be easily applied over your makeup. For instance, you can try setting sprays with SPF, SPF powders, or even spray-on sunscreen. Remember to wash your face and reapply both your sunscreen and makeup after swimming or sweating heavily.


The importance of sun protection cannot be overstated. So, don’t forget to wear sunscreen before your primer. You’ll need it even if you use foundation or powder with UV protection. You should only wear sunscreen over makeup if you’re reapplying it. Last but not least, sunscreen is only one way to protect your skin. Wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and protective clothing, too, for additional protection.

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