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How to Wear Sunscreen and Makeup

sunscreen and makeup essentials

Rain or shine, wearing sunscreen protects you from the sun’s powerful UV rays. Of course, that rule applies whether you are marathon sunbathing or quickly darting in and out of the house. But, how to pair sun protection and cosmetics without looking like a hot mess is the burning question. Fortunately, we have you covered, and what follows is the skinny on how to wear sunscreen and makeup the right way. 

Applying Makeup & Sunscreen the Right Way

Depending on the cosmetics you wear, you will be applying different layers of individual products to your face. That poses questions such as should I put sunscreen before or after makeup? To answer that question and more, here is a step-by-step tutorial of how to apply sunscreen and makeup to your skin, along with tips on how to reapply them and clean your skin at the end of the day.

  • Apply topical medication: If you use topical medications to treat acne, psoriasis or other skin conditions, the first step should be to apply it to your face as the first layer. 
  • Moisturize your face: Apply moisturizer before sunscreen. This allows the moisturizer to hydrate the skin. Sunscreen should be applied after you have moisturized the face.
  • Rub on sunscreen: At this step, rub a broad-spectrum mineral sunscreen with SPF 50 on your face and body. Make sure you apply it evenly, and rub it thoroughly into your skin. Don’t neglect your neck, lips and ears! You should see it all vanish once you are finished. 
  • Put on makeup: Sunscreen functions as a foundation primer, and at this step, you apply foundation and other makeup products. Waterproof mascara can keep streaks at bay, and a foundation with an SPF of 8-15 can boost your chances of protecting your skin.  
  • Finish your look: Top all the layers with a brush of powder, which helps set the layers of moisturizer and sunscreen in place. Finish your look with a setting spray that is packed with sunscreen. 
  • About reapplications: If you are swimming or sweating, sunscreen needs to be reapplied every two hours to be effective. If you are not getting wet, it can last up to 4-6 hours. You can put sunscreen on over your foundation, but dermatologists recommend against it. Instead, wash everything off your face, and reapply your sunscreen and makeup using the previous steps above. 
  • Take the day off: When you are finished spending time outside in the sun, use a deep cleansing face wash that will help remove pore-blocking perspiration and sunscreen. Follow that regimen with a moisturizer formulated for your facial skin type. 

  • Here’s a breakdown of your sun protection + makeup routine:

    • Apply topical medications to your face.
    • Use a moisturizer on your face.
    • Rub sunscreen on your face and body until it disappears. 
    • Put on your facial makeup. 
    • Finish the look with a brush of powder and finishing spray.
    • After two hours, reapply sunscreen to your body. Touch up the makeup on your face with makeup that contains sunscreen.
    • Lastly, after a day in the sun, use a daily cleaner to remove impurities that can block pores. Follow that with a moisturizer formulated for your skin type.

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