What is the length of your hair?
This will help us personalize your experience.

How to Reapply Sunscreen Over Makeup Without Messing Up Your Look

Photo by Westend61/Getty Images

Hopefully we’ve all realized by now that applying a dermatologist-recommended SPF 30 is the bare minimum when it comes to sun protection for your full face and body. Regardless of oily skin, dry skin, sensitive skin, or a skin type somewhere in between, ample SPF is a must when it comes to your skincare products. Skin cancer and sun damage are not glamorous—wellness, however is. On top of that, the application of SPF 30 or more isn’t a one-and-done situation—especially because people aren’t usually applying the correct amount in the first place.

“When a sunscreen is tested in the lab, a teaspoon of product is used for the skin, and one shot glass is used for the body,” explains nurse practitioner Nancy Pellegrino. “It’s recommended that we apply two layers of sunscreen because the typical user doesn’t use enough to cover the entire area. In the end, there’s no elegant way to re-apply an SPF product on top of previously applied makeup or SPF, but we do the best we can.”

Furthermore, when it comes to reapplication touch ups, every two hours is recommended, “I don’t know anyone who wants to apply a teaspoon of sunscreen on top of their makeup,” Pellegrino says. So, then what is one to do? Thankfully, we don’t need to tweak our makeup routine. If you’re wondering how to reapply sunscreen over makeup, we’ve got some answers for you. Keep reading for our expert-recommended tips, along with some of the best sunscreens on the market—and keep the sun’s rays at bay!

About the Experts:

Ariel Ostad, MD, is a cosmetic surgeon and founder of a namesake skincare line.
Simone Hopes, PA-C, is the owner of Queen Aesthetics in Houston, TX.
Nancy Pellegrino, MN, NP, is the founder NP Aesthetics and The Route Beauty.

6 Ways to Reapply Sunscreen Over Your Makeup

1. Apply Makeup Products Formulated With SPF

To get yourself an extra dose of protection, start by using a sunscreen product that doubles as makeup. This will also make it easier when it comes to sunscreen reapplication later on. “Some makeup brands have foundations, setting sprays, and other products with SPF to increase your coverage,” says dermatologist Ariel Ostad, MD.

You’ll want to take note of just how much SPF is included, because oftentimes it’s under the recommended amount. An effective product we love that also offers ample protection is the IT COSMETICS Bye Bye Foundation Full Coverage Moisturizer with SPF 50+.

2. Use SPF With a Brush

Whether you opt for powder SPF or liquid, applying with a brush will not only ensure the product is evenly spread, but it will also help blend with your makeup more easily. If your SPF doesn’t come with a brush, we recommend gliding the COMPLEX CULTURE Angled Foundation Brush onto the skin with product. We also love a BEAUTYBLENDER for meshing the product into the makeup seamlessly.

3. Apply Mineral Powder Sunscreen

With powder SPF, you can lightly tap product onto the skin without tampering with your makeup. In fact, it can almost act as a setting powder. The only thing is you’re guaranteed a matte finish, so if that’s not the look you’re going for, you may want to avoid this.

“SPF powders are available as loose powders or in a compact and are applied with a brush,” says Pellegrino. “Powder SPF are mineral-based—either zinc oxide, titanium dioxide or a combination of the two.”

Dr. Ostad is a big fan of the award-winning COLORESCIENCE Sunforgettable Total Protection Brush-On Shield SPF 50. “It comes with a brush, so application is very easy,” he says. “You just have to lightly dust the brush over your makeup and distribute it evenly to cover all areas of the face.”

4. Apply an SPF Spray

Who doesn’t love a good spritz? Sunscreen mists are great because they don’t have to involve rubbing and they’re easy to apply generously. Think opposite of a sunscreen stick (which we definitely would not recommend for this purpose).We’re fans of the COOLA Organic SPF 30 Makeup Setting Sunscreen Spray because it does double duty. In addition to reapplying SPF easily, it also locks your makeup in place as a makeup setting spray—which is perfect for those sweaty, sun-filled days.

5. Apply a Mineral Sunscreen

Mineral sunscreens (also known as physical sunscreens)—as opposed to chemical sunscreens—are probably what come to mind when you think of “regular sunscreen.” They’re great because they can often double as makeup primers and lotion. Additionally, if they’re a thinner consistency, they should blend pretty seamlessly into your makeup.

“Consider lightweight or sheer formulas that won't leave a thick residue,” says physician assistant Simone Hopes. “Some mineral-based formulas tend to leave a thick white cast on the skin, so finding the right formula is especially important for those with darker skin. If you suffer from acne then I’d also be sure to choose a non-comedogenic option to prevent clogged pores and potential breakouts.”

Hopes recommends the ELTA MD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46, La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-in Milk Sunscreen SPF 100, and the BIOJUVE Microbiome-Safe Sheer Finish SPF 50+ Sunscreen because they’re “specifically formulated to blend seamlessly into dark skin, providing effective protection without leaving a white residue,” she says. “Their lightweight formulas also ensure comfortable wear throughout the day.”

We love the FIRST AID BEAUTY Mineral Sunscreen with Zinc Oxide SPF 30 because it doesn’t get greasy or streaky. Grab the brush mentioned earlier, and glide this goodness onto your skin.

6. Apply Tinted Moisturizer With SPF

Whether you opt for a full-coverage look or you keep things minimal, tinted moisturizer with SPF is a triple-threat. It gives you a little bit of coverage, along with sun protection and hydrated-looking skin. It will blend effortlessly into your already-applied foundation. We love a tinted moisturizer with SPF when it comes to the beach or a pool day.

Dr. Ostad suggests kicking off the day with his medical grade broad spectrum Sun Shade Clear sunscreen, which doubles as a makeup primer. Then, as you reapply throughout the day, you can use his Sun Shade Tint tinted sunscreen to kick those harmful UV rays goodbye, without losing your look. We personally use the decadently creamy PURLISSE BEAUTY BB Tinted Moist Cream SPF 30, made with magical Asian herb extracts.

Want in on all the IPSY suncare fun? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started with your own IPSY beauty subscription. Already an IPSY member? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and TikTok @IPSY.

Like this article? Share it with your friends by clicking the icons below!

About the author
Dahvi Shira
Dahvi Shira
Dahvi Shira is a Los Angeles-based beauty writer, who has a passion for hair, makeup, and skincare. She contributes regularly to Mane Addicts and her blog, Skyelyfe. Her work has also appeared on Glossy, People, E!, Sweety High and more.
Share Article
Article Last Updated March 25, 2024 12:00 AM