How To Reapply Sunscreen Without Effing Up Your Makeup

Most of you probably put on sunscreen in the morning. Good job. But we'd be willing to bet that way less of you apply the recommended amount — that's half a teaspoon — every day. Now raise your hand if you remember to slather it on several more times throughout the day.


We get it. Smearing a layer of sunscreen on top of your painstakingly applied foundation can seem as appealing as plucking your nose hairs. But it's important (like, really, really important) to make sure you stay protected by reapplying regularly.

We turned to L'Oréal Paris celebrity makeup artist Sir John (the man behind Beyoncé's beauty looks) and board-certified dermatologists Dr. Jessica Weiser and Dr. Sejal Shah for foolproof methods that won't massacre your makeup.

Read on for their expert techniques so that you never have to sacrifice sun protection or flawless makeup again.

Read More:
All The Differences Between A $200 Skin Cream & A $20 One
The Real Reason This Woman Put On A Face Of Makeup While In Labor
9 Insider Hacks From Former Sephora Employees

Ace Your Base

Always start by applying sunscreen underneath your makeup (and over your moisturizer) for adequate coverage, says Dr. Weiser. It's critical that you spread a half-teaspoon of product over your entire face, which will seem like a lot at first, but keep rubbing until it's fully absorbed.

If you're turned off by thick, tacky sunscreens (because who isn't?), try a lightweight lotion like Shiseido's Oil-Free Sunscreen.

Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free Sunscreen UV Protector Broad Spectrum SPF 42 For Face, $46, available at Sephora.
This broad spectrum sunscreen doubles as a primer, thanks to skin-soothing ingredients that both protect and perfect your skin. So you can rest assured that your makeup will glide on smoothly and you'll be protected from sun damage.

Tatcha Silken Pore Perfecting Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 35, $65, available at Sephora.
Double Up

Layering a tinted SPF on top of your regular sunscreen is ideal during the summer months. It adds additional protection and evens out your complexion.

"It's always best to ensure excellent sun protection with a true sunscreen, and, of course, it never hurts to apply makeup with SPF on top for additional coverage," says Dr. Weiser. SkinCeuticals' works overtime to shield against UV rays and boost skin's radiance underneath makeup.

SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50, $34, available at SkinCeuticals.
With a sheer universal tint, generous SPF 45 coverage, and a creamy, lightweight texture that smooths on like a cream and works well alone or under makeup, this easy-to-apply, easy-to-wear formula is a sunscreen even a sunscreen-hater could love.

PCA Skin Sheer Tint Broad Spectrum SPF 45, $45.60, available at Amazon.
This CC cream’s countless dedicated fans know what’s up: It’s basically a full-coverage foundation with a dewy, lightweight finish and some of the best sun protection on the market. Apply it as your skin-perfecting makeup over your regular sunscreen, and you’re golden — but not from sun exposure.

It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream with SPF 50+, $38, available at Sephora.
If you want to be very diligent — which you should be — go for high protection of SPF 50 and reapply regularly. This stuff is great because it's a face sunscreen (one of the best) that feels like a moisturizer, so you'll actually want to use it often.

Dr.Jart+ Every Sun Day UV Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50, $91.08, available at Amazon.
Your Makeup Matters

Sir John suggests switching to cream or liquid makeup formulas in the summer, which won't clash with the texture of your sunscreen and can be easily manipulated and layered throughout the day. (As opposed to powder products, which can cake and cause obvious buildup.) L'Oréal's luminizer adds radiance without feeling heavy.
L'Oréal True Match Lumi Liquid Glow Illuminator, $12.99 Buy
Another way to get your glow on? Nars' Illuminator in Orgasm looks good in any form, on anyone.

Nars Illuminator, $30, available at Nars.
Sometimes radiant skin comes at a steep price — but the microscopic, light-reflecting glimmer in this formula will be worth it when everyone asks your skin secret.

Sisley Instant Eclat Instant Glow Primer, $90, available at Nordstrom.
Copy Selena Gomez's summer sheen with this illuminating primer. Somehow it keeps skin shine-free, yet magically glowing.

Marc Jacobs Beauty Under(cover) Perfecting Coconut Face Primer, $44, available at Sephora.
Spray In Place

Supergoop's setting spray with SPF is ideal for touching up throughout the day. Dr. Weiser notes that this shouldn't replace your original pre-makeup sunscreen application, so don't skimp on that. Be sure to spray it thoroughly — like you would a spray-on sunscreen, not a lazy 2 p.m. facial mist.

Supergoop Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50, $28, available at Supergoop.
Most setting sprays come out at a powerful speed that can leave dew drops on your perfectly blended makeup. This new iteration from Kate Somerville ensures a smooth finish that lasts hours and handles your sunscreen protection.

Kate Somerville UncompliKated SPF 50 Soft Focus Makeup Setting Spray, $38, available at Sephora.
Get Physical

When it comes to re-applying sunscreen, choose a physical block rather than a chemical one. "Physical sunscreen will be more consistently effective over makeup because it creates a barrier to UV radiation, as opposed to the filter created when chemical sunscreen is absorbed into the skin," Dr. Shah says. "Because makeup leaves a film or residue on the skin's surface, it will be more difficult for chemical sunscreens to be properly absorbed for adequate protection."

Dr. Shah recommends mineral sunscreen powders like ColoreScience's Sunforgettable (which comes in tinted versions) and Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral SPF 45, both of which contain zinc oxide and titanium oxide to physically block the sun's harsh rays.

Pro Tip: Dr. Shah advises sweeping on two coats of powder, since it can be difficult to gauge the coverage.
Colorescience Sunforgettable Mineral Sunscreen Brush SPF 30, $57.00 Buy
This lightweight finishing powder gets its sun-protecting power from zinc oxide, which creates that much-needed physical barrier between your skin and the sun. Sweep it on after applying makeup to set you cosmetics, then toss the travel-friendly brush in your purse for your on-the-go defense.

Ilia Moondance Radiant Translucent Powder SPF 20, $34, available at Ilia.
Apply More Often

If powder products aren't your jam, it's NBD, because face sunscreen sprays now exist (hooray!). Dr. Shah suggests a mist that contains both physical and chemical blockers, such as Goldfaden MD's Sun Visor or Dr. Gross's Sheer Mineral Sun Spray SPF 50. BUT — and this is a big but — when using a spray or one of the aforementioned powders, you need to reapply more often than every two hours. Since you're using them on top of makeup, you're more than likely not using the recommended amount, Dr. Shah explains. Instead, shoot for every hour and make sure to apply as thoroughly as possible.

Now let's talk technique. Sir John, who's a huge fan of the new dry mists on the market, says the best way to use them is to spray evenly all over your face and then go in with your fingers and slightly pat. "Definitely don't rub!" he stresses. "You'll make a mess."

Dr. Dennis Gross Sheer Mineral Sun Spray SPF 50, $42, available at Dr. Dennis Gross.
This sunscreen facial mist makes doubling up on sun protection feel ultra luxurious. Not only does it have an SPF of 30, but it's also loaded with mushroom extract and lightweight oils to hydrate and soothe the skin.
Amorepacific Sun Protection Mist SPF 30 Sunscreen, $32.00 Buy
Two words: travel size. Keeping your sunscreen in the same place as your phone, wallet, and keys means you have no excuse for "forgetting" to reapply throughout the day. Make it a spray-on formula, like this lightweight unscented version from Coola — which also happens to be water- and sweat-resistant, packed with nourishing antioxidants, and SPF 50 — and you’re set.

Coola Sport Unscented Continuous Spray SPF 50, $20, available at Sephora.
Related Video
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!
Show More Comments...