Welcome to Beauty In A Tik, where each week we put TikTok's viral beauty hacks and innovative trends to the test.
If you ask me, TikTok's beauty hacks are getting more ridiculous as time goes on. Last week I accidentally turned myself into The Joker practising the viral lip plumping hack (using eyeliner no less). A few weeks before that, I was compelled to squeeze my very pricy foundation into a glass of water in the hope that it would stick around for longer (I won't lie, I did notice a difference).
Admittedly, I'm nowhere near as creative as some of TikTok's beauty enthusiasts. Every so often, something really smart comes along and makes me say: Why didn't I think of that? This time around, it's TikTok's way of reapplying sunscreen.
This week saw the hottest UK temperature on record so it's no wonder that sunscreen — which protects skin against burns and skin cancer — is dominating Google and TikTok searches. Among questions about what SPF stands for and which sunscreen is the best, lots of us are keen to know how, and just how often, to reapply it.
TikToker @kamgregory has it nailed. In a viral video titled "Makeup tips I wish I knew earlier (summer edition)" Kamille proves that the easiest way to reapply sunscreen isn't to drop your money on SPF powders (the majority of which are on the expensive side) or risk forgoing sunscreen entirely but to use a dry makeup sponge (like a Beautyblender) to press the product into your skin. In a couple of moments, Kamille tops up their sunscreen without their immaculate makeup budging an inch. "The sunscreen hack is LITERALLY what I've been looking for thank you 😭," wrote one viewer in the comments, and the thousands of likes speak for themselves.
You might be thinking: But SPF top-ups are what aerosol spray sunscreens are for, surely? Of course you can top up with an SPF spritz but recent research has shown that they aren't as effective at deflecting UV rays as we once thought. And for those on a beauty budget, buying two different types of sunscreen might not be an option.
So is this SPF sponge hack the way forward for makeup wearers? Before trying it myself, I had to consult an expert. I asked Dr Rachel Abbott, consultant dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson, whether this could ever work and if it really is an effective way to reapply sunscreen over makeup. Her answer? Yes, as long as enough sunscreen is applied. The expert consensus is a teaspoonful for your face, with an extra teaspoon if you're extending the application to your scalp (for example an exposed parting), neck and ears — and this is always advised in the sun.
Reapplying sunscreen is important under any sun, let alone heat this intense. "The UV index [which identifies the strength of UV rays] is above three between 9.30am and 4.30pm, and around seven at midday in most of the UK this week," says Dr Abbott. "So sun protection including shade, clothing, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen should be used to protect skin."
As a makeup wearer, I'm guilty of not reapplying sunscreen as regularly as I should when in the sun (for fear of dislodging my foundation). So I had to try this out. I'd usually apply my makeup with a damp sponge but the key to this hack is making sure it's dry. I reached for my trusty Beautyblender and a sunscreen that my oily, acne-prone skin loves right now: Thank You Farmer Sun Project Water Sun Cream, £20. Unlike others, it doesn't break me out. Instead it moisturises, hydrates and makes my skin glow. The bottle is also quite slim so I can pop it into any handbag for touch-ups on the go.
The lotion sinks into the sponge quite quickly so it's paramount to start tapping it into your skin as soon as you squeeze it out. To my surprise, the lotion absorbed into my makeup fast and the tapered end of the sponge made it easy to get my eyelids — an area which a lot of people tend to miss when applying SPF. Miraculously, this didn't disturb my foundation, concealer or even my liquid eyeliner, though it did slightly dull the shade of my blush. Still, it's nothing an extra dusting of colour couldn't fix.
Kamille isn't the only influencer to extol the virtues of this hack, which I can safely say works a treat. Cosmetic chemist Dr Michelle Wong recently took to Instagram to show her followers how to reapply sunscreen over makeup, swapping out the sponge for a washable cushion puff. "It's portable and doesn't soak up much sunscreen," said Michelle. "Use a bit extra for what absorbs into the puff."
One downside to this smart hack is that it's easy to under-apply sunscreen, says Dr Abbott. That said, providing you do it correctly (using the right amount), Dr Abbott rates this method above using a spray-on sunscreen. I agree — many of them sit heavily on the skin and thanks to the propellants (gases which push out the liquid SPF), you're actually getting a lot less sunscreen than you think.
All in all, I think this is one of the most sensible TikTok beauty hacks I've tried of late. I even bought myself a sponge travel case so I can reapply my SPF on the go this scorching summer. To get the best protection, Dr Abbott recommends a high factor, broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF30 or above, or a star rating of four and above — both of which should be on the label of your chosen product.
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