A woman holds a sunscreen tube and applies some on her face.

Makeup and Sunscreen: Choosing the Right Layers

Last updated: October 2022

Much has been written about makeup and sunscreen, so why should you read another post? Well, some point out how the sunscreen in makeup isn't enough.

But what about layering makeup and sunscreen? What works, and what doesn't? Let's answer those questions for a different take on your skin's health while wearing makeup.

SPF and makeup

I get it, not everyone wears makeup. Some love to let their natural beauty glow, while others enjoy accenting their beauty. I happen to be in the latter category. I love how makeup makes me look and feel about myself.

Yet, having skin cancer on my face twice, I know how important it is to protect your skin. Is the SPF in makeup enough?

Experts say that it's not. Usually, makeup has about 15 SPF, yet for full protection, The American Academy of Dermatology states that SPF 30-50 is ideal. And as you probably already know, the higher the SPF, the more protection you get. But it's a good start to find makeup with SPF in it - just make sure the total amount you use after layering equals the ideal amount.

What about makeup and sunscreen layering?

Some people don't like to layer their makeup and sunscreen because the sunscreen leaves a chalky or white look under the foundation or powder. So, what to do? There is a way of getting the protection you need without making your makeup look wrong. There is, you just have to choose the right products.

To avoid the shiny, white look in some SPF products, look for those that do not have titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. Actually, zinc oxide is one of the ingredients found harmful to our health and to coral reefs. So, it's best to skip that anyway.

Another good idea is to make sure you allow the sunscreen to soak in before applying makeup. Using an even, thin coat and allowing it to dry well before using makeup, ensures that your face will have a look you created with your makeup regimen, not look like you tried to lighten your skin. This may take a few more seconds than usual, but it's worth it in getting the look you want, and the health benefits from protecting your skin.

For those with darker skin tones, there are tinted sunscreens that enhances your beauty and doesn't look pasty or leave a white cast to your face. These range from your local drug store brand to the higher end brands of tinted sunscreen. In past years, there wasn't sunscreen made for people of color. Fortunately, that has changed so every can protect their skin.

The takeaway

Protecting your skin is super important, as you know. But you don't have to give up your beauty routine to do it effectively. Spend some time finding the right SPF that doesn't lighten your skin, apply and let dry, then let your beauty shine with your makeup routine. You may have to try a couple of brands before you find the one perfect for you. But in the end, it's worth it. Keep in mind that the higher the SPF - the better.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The SkinCancer.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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