Sunday, July 14, 2024

How to Apply Sunscreen Over Makeup, According to a Pro

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It’s the ultimate beauty conundrum: you want to keep your skin protected from harmful UV rays but don’t want to mess up your makeup. What is one to do? Before you reach for a makeup wipe (or worse, forgo sunscreen altogether), know that you won’t necessarily ruin your makeup by protecting your skin. And not reapplying comes with some consequences.

According to Erica Marie Gatt, a Los Angeles-based aesthetician, while many people skip reapplication of face sunscreens for fear of it disrupting their makeup or creating a cakey appearance, failure to do so may lead to sunburns, increased risk of skin cancer, and premature fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation. The good news? These days, there are SPF formulas that’ll do more than keep your skin shielded — they may actually make your makeup look better. Below, read on for expert-backed reapplication tips on how to keep your skin protected, your makeup intact, and your dermatologist happy. Ahead, you’ll find shopping recommendations, but you can also check out our list of the best sunscreens for reapplication.

Experts Featured in This Article

Erica Marie Gatt is a Los Angeles-based aesthetician and founder of EM Skin.

Tip 1. Use Loose SPF Powder

What protects your skin, soaks up excess oil, and works on all foundation types (powders and creams included)? Loose mineral SPF powders. Most come with a brush, but if yours doesn’t, Gatt recommends using your own (a kabuki brush or large powder brush will work just fine). You can ensure a 100 percent success rate with a loose mineral powder by first tapping a bit of product onto your arm — if you go straight from brush to skin, this may cause a lot of powder to come out all at once, says Gatt. Then, use light buffing motions to apply the powder onto the skin. A word to the wise: while SPF powders may mattify dewy-finish foundations, they’re a dream for soaking up excess oil that would otherwise make your skin appear greasy.

We like the Brush On Block SPF 30 Mineral Powder Sunscreen ($34) or the Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Brush-On Shield SPF 50 ($69).

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Tip 2. Refresh With an SPF Spray

Firstly, Gatt recommends applying sunscreen prior to any makeup as a base layer. After that, SPF-infused sprays are a convenient, handy way to re-up your SPF. They’re also great for those dealing with dryness, as they can refresh your skin and offer a boost of moisture throughout the day. If you have oily skin and choose the SPF spray route, Gatt says to reach for blotting papers prior to application — this ensures you’re getting rid of excess sebum on the skin that, when coming into contact with the spray, may cause your makeup to melt off. Also, keep in mind that “SPF sprays work best on top of a foundation formula that has more of a slip, like a liquid foundation versus a powder-based foundation,” says Gatt.

When using an SPF spray, make sure you’re holding the bottle two to three inches away from the face (the last thing you want to do is end up spraying in the air, not on your face). Be sure to shake the bottle well to ensure the minerals that typically settle on the bottom are mixed. The Supergoop! Mini (Re) Setting Refreshing Mist SPF 40 ($20) and the Naked Sundays Hydrating Glow Face Mist Top Up Spray SPF 50+ ($23) are both great options for this.

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Tip 3. Dab On a Sunscreen Stick On No-Makeup Makeup Days

Sunscreen sticks may seem intimidating as far as reapplication is concerned, but they’re actually easy to use (and less susceptible to user error). A clear sunscreen stick can be applied to the back of your hand and then dabbed onto your skin with clean fingers (avoid rubbing it directly onto your skin, as it could shift your makeup). This method is ideal for foundation-less days or occasions when you’re sporting a sheer skin tint. We like the Coola Organic Face Sunscreen SPF 30 Sunblock Lotion Stick ($24) and the Live Tinted Hueguard Invisible Sunscreen Stick SPF 50 ($28).

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Tip 4. Try the Press and Set Method

If you’re looking to double down on a long-lasting and protective makeup look, the tap-and-set method may be your best bet. Apply your sunscreen of choice onto your fingers (we recommend a stick sunscreen), press it into the skin, and set it with an SPF powder to avoid transfer and lock in your look. Then, supplement your application with limiting sun exposure and wearing protective clothing, like a wide-brimmed hat.

Tip 5. Use an SPF Compact

For pressed compacts, swirl your brush into the product, tap off any excess, and use circular motions to apply the formula onto your skin. Remember that just like any other compact, you’ll want to avoid double-dipping. Gatt recommends cleaning your brush often to avoid spreading bacteria, which can cause breakouts or skin irritations. A great compact is the Avène High Protection Tinted Compact SPF 50 ($42).

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Michelle Rostamian is a Los Angeles-based beauty and wellness contributor with over 10 years of experience in the industry. She began her career as a publicist, content writer, and social media manager, representing beauty brands and industry professionals. Currently, she is a writer and editor on all things makeup, beauty, skin care, and lifestyle.

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