How To Reapply Sunscreen Over Makeup

By Minji

  • Powder or spray form sunscreen sound great, but the effectiveness is questionable
  • The key is to use a sponge to reapply a light weight mineral based sunscreen in small amounts
  • Join our newsletter for free access to other exclusive skincare tips - be in the know and spark a glow!

With good education around skin cancer and the increased focus on wellness, people are more diligent than ever about applying sunscreen every day. Huge win. It’s included as the last step to my basic 6-step morning routine too so hopefully we're all including sunscreen as a daily staple by now.  Sunscreen is necessary rain or shine, hot or cold ... so even during the winter, ladies~ 

But before we celebrate and pat ourselves on the back for nailing this skincare habit, we must acknowledge one unfortunate truth.  While the morning application of sunscreen has become a daily ritual, most of us are not reapplying correctly, if at all.  Besides laziness, the main culprit is makeup.  Once you have a full face of makeup on and have been immersed in the daily grind, most of us aren’t sure how we would even go about reapplying sunscreen without ruining our look. 

Recently, there have been alternative forms of sunscreen (so besides the liquid lotion form) that purport to solve this problem.  Sunscreen in powder or spray form are probably the most common.  Personally, I used to love the powder form for after makeup application, until I learned the ugly truth.

I was talking with a chemist from one of the most popular brands today who told me the real reason their brand would never make a powder form sunscreen.  We’ve all heard a gazillion times by now how one of the biggest mistakes people make with sunscreen is not applying enough.  According to this chemist, there’s no way you can apply enough powder to mirror the effectiveness of a liquid form of sunscreen.  This makes total sense - who can put a nickel worth of powder on your face?  Not me – it’s hard enough applying multiple layers of liquid!  That conversation stopped me from wasting any more dollars on powder sunscreen. 

Sunscreens in spray form have the same issue.  Apparently, you need to spray enough to make your face feel wet…which sounds disastrous with makeup on.  On top of that, if you aren’t extra careful, it can sting your eyes and cause other issues if you inadvertently inhale them.

So that brings us back to our good old liquid sunscreen.  After trial and error, I’ve found that the best way to reapply liquid sunscreen when you’re wearing makeup is to use a sponge and go slow.  Take the usual nickel worth of your favorite mineral sunscreen and use a sponge to take small amounts and tap it onto your face. 

Start with your cheekbones, nose and forehead, the most prominent and easiest places for the sun to attack.  Then, all over your face and neck too, in the same motion.  The key is to take small amounts in a dabbing/patting motion to help with smooth application, avoiding rubbing or dragging motions which could cake up your makeup and ruin your look. 

One other thing is to make sure you’re using a mineral based sunscreen that feels light on the skin and goes on smoothly.  Since you’re applying on top of makeup at this point, you want to use a mineral based sunscreen (versus chemical) that doesn’t need to be absorbed into your skin to function properly.  Once you have the full amount of sunscreen reapplied, consider giving it a couple of minutes to settle, warm your hands over your face to help smooth out, then reapply blush or bronzer for a refreshed and dewy look.  

I've found a sponge with a case helpful - it makes it convenient to carry both your sponge and sunscreen around for reapplication during the day.  Otherwise, even if you apply sunscreen in the morning, you’ve really only won half the battle.  Make it a habit to reapply during lunch time, and also mid-afternoon to make sure you’re adequately protected from enemy numero uno and let your beautiful skin shine!  Make sure you join our newsletter so you never miss a skincare tip and other exclusive content - be in the know and spark a glow!