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How to Wear Makeup With SPF

We all know how crucial it is to wear sunscreen. Not only is it key in preventing sunburn, but it can prevent the onset of sun damage, which leads to a more rapid aging process for our skin.

But in the past few years, the things we know about SPF have dramatically changed.

But one thing’s for sure: we should be wearing sunscreen every single day--even on the days we’re wearing makeup.

And there is a method to wearing sunscreen properly. 

Let’s start with the types of sunscreen you can use.

Mineral Sunscreen and Chemical Sunscreen: What’s the Difference?

As you may be aware, there are two major categories of sunscreen: there’s chemical sunscreen, and then there’s physical, or mineral-based sunscreen.

So what’s the difference?

It all comes down to the active ingredients in your sunscreen, and how they work to protect your skin from the sun’s rays.

Chemical sunscreens will have active ingredients like oxybenzone, octisalate, and homosalate, which work to create a chemical reaction when UV light touches your skin. Essentially, these active ingredients cause UV light to be converted into heat, which quickly dispels from your skin.

Physical sunscreens, on the other hand, use minerals from the earth like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which work by creating a physical barrier directly on your skin, which filters out the sun’s harmful rays like a breathable shield.

While both types of sunscreen are effective against the sun’s harmful rays, chemical sunscreen has raised red flags in recent years.

This attention gained massive traction in 2019, when a clinical trial from the Journal of the American Medical Association found that several of the active ingredients associated with chemical sunscreen can absorb into the bloodstream at rates that far exceed the FDA’s required amount.

On top of that, chemical sunscreens aren’t so great for the environment.

Scientists have voiced their concerns that in particular, the chemical sunscreen ingredient oxybenzone may disrupt the DNA of coral, and this is contributing to the devastating damage on coral reefs. Mineral sunscreens, on the other hand, are completely natural, and do not indicate any potential damage on the environment or our bodies, but it’s very important that they’re used properly.

Whichever sunscreen you wear, remember: any kind of sunscreen is better than none at all! That’s why it’s important to understand how to pair the SPF you use with your makeup, the right way.

When to Apply Sunscreen With Makeup, and How to Reapply

On days when you’re wearing sunscreen and makeup, the order of application is everything.

So what comes first?

If you’re wearing chemical sunscreen, you should apply your SPF first, and then your moisturizer, followed by your makeup. This is because it’s crucial for your skin to come into direct contact with chemical sunscreen in order to work.

With physical sunscreen, first moisturize, and then apply SPF, and finish with makeup. The important thing with physical sunscreen is that they need to settle on the skin with as little disturbance as possible.

Another important thing to know about mineral sunscreen is that they need to be applied every 80 minutes.

Luckily, there are powdered mineral sunscreens you can sweep over your makeup, so you never have to worry about smudging or caking your foundation!

Why Mineral Makeup Isn’t Enough

We know what a hassle it can be to wear sunscreen, and how tempting it is to settle for a moisturizer or foundation with SPF.

And let’s be real: we love a product with some bonus sun protection. We even make our own!

But here’s the thing: makeup or moisturizer with SPF added is not going to be a solid strategy for keeping the rays at bay.

That being said, products with added sunscreen can be helpful in strengthening your defenses against the UV rays.


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