What Are Sun Drops — & Do They Actually Work?

As far as beauty is concerned, it just might be the year of customizable cosmetics. Makeup drops, as in the liquid that comes in droppers and is meant to be mixed with your existing products, have taken many forms lately, from foundation to highlighter to primer.

When summer hit, I found myself itching for an SPF version of my beloved CoverFX Highlighter Drops and it just so happens that I found two — Dermalogica Solar Defense Booster and Dr. Barbara Sturm Sun Drops — both of which are ideal for both the lazy and diligent alike. Not only do they shave a few seconds off my morning routine, but they can turn pretty much any product into a skin-protecting wonder.

Sounds like a miracle, right? They are in many ways, but SPF drops aren't without their caveats. When using a mixable product, consumers have a tendency to use a few drops and call it a day. "In order for the booster to be effective, you must use enough of it," says Joshua Zeichner, MD, Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at The Mount Sinai Hospital. "The same rule applies to a booster as does any other sunscreen. You need one nickel-sized amount applied to the full face."

While you can use the drops solo and apply them straight to the skin, they are designed to be mixed — but not with anything and everything. "I caution against combining them with specialized moisturizers that contain ingredients like antioxidants or hydroxy acids as these ingredients may interact with the sunscreens," Dr. Zeichner adds. He recommends mixing sunscreen drops with simple moisturizers (I love Embryolisse's Lait Creme Concentre).

Dendy Engelman, MD, a dermatologist at Manhattan Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery, agrees. "I would advise mixing drops with a cream moisturizer or liquid foundation and to avoid oil-based products that could breakdown the integrity of the product," she says. "Since most sunscreen drops contain vitamin C, this should not be used in conjunction with retinol because when used together, the skin can become more vulnerable and irritated."

Talk about dropping some major knowledge.

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