Here's How To Reapply Face Sunscreen Without Ruining Your Makeup

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

Protecting your skin from harmful UV rays is one of the most important things you can do to help keep your skin looking youthful and plump. Per Yale Medicine, exposure to UV rays from the sun can cause photoaging, also known as premature aging. This causes fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, pigmentation, decreased elasticity, and broken capillaries on the skin. To keep your skin protected, youthful, and glowing, it's essential that you wear sunscreen every day, especially during the summer and when out in the sun.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, you should reapply your sunscreen every two hours when you're outside and exposed to direct sunlight. But after spending time and effort perfecting your makeup look, you don't want to have it ruined by applying sunscreen. Putting sunscreen over makeup the wrong way can end up creating a sticky, smudged mess. So, how can you reapply sunscreen without destroying your makeup?

Start off with a strong base

Marina Peredo, a board-certified dermatologist, tells Byrdie, "The best way to approach sunscreen and makeup is to lay a strong foundation of sunscreen before applying any makeup." Use a high SPF-sunscreen to keep yourself protected and to set the base for your skin. When you start off with a strong base, you won't have to worry about having to reapply sunscreen to avoid a major sunburn. 

The American Cancer Society recommends using sunscreen that is at least SPF 30, which filters out about 97% of UVB rays. When you're on the hunt for a new sunscreen, look out for one labeled as having broad-spectrum protection to protect your skin from sun damage. Although all sunscreens protect the skin from UVB rays, not all protect against UVA rays, which can also cause skin cancer, premature aging, and damage to the skin (via American Cancer Society). Luckily, there are many quality sunscreens for your face that will give you a beautiful glow without the mess, and we recommend Paula's Choice Extra Care Non-Greasy Sunscreen SPF 50 for a light and weightless finish. 

Use a powdered sunscreen

If you're worried about sunscreen looking too oily or greasy on your skin, opt for powdered sunscreen instead. Doris Day, a New York City-based board-certified dermatologist, tells Byrdie, "Powder formulas are designed to go over makeup and keep you protected because if you don't reapply your sunscreen, it's as if you never applied it, due to the fact sunscreen wears off or degrades within a few hours of application." 

Powdered sunscreen is great if you struggle with oily skin and want to achieve a light, matte finish. Simply take a brush and dust the powdered sunscreen over your face. Make sure to dry the brush in between use, especially if you're sweating from the heat. We recommend the Supergoop! Glow Setting 100% Mineral Powder SPF 35. Made with plant-based extracts, this powdered sunscreen will leave your skin with a beautiful luminous glow while giving you ultimate UV-ray protection.

Apply with a sponge

According to Michelle Wong, a cosmetic chemist, it's best to use a sponge when applying sunscreen over your makeup. When you're applying sunscreen, you want to get as much product on your face as possible to keep yourself protected. A Beautyblender would absorb much more product — which you want to avoid. Gently blot the sunscreen over your face until you've applied it evenly. "You can gently pat a sunscreen lotion on top. I like to use a cushion puff because it's portable and doesn't soak up much sunscreen" she explains. 

For seamless application, we recommend using the Mac Cosmetics Studio Tech Sponge. This sponge duo will provide you with effortless and flawless blending, making reapplying sunscreen on top of your makeup a breeze. Per Refinery29, don't apply your sunscreen in a dragging motion to prevent wiping off your makeup, instead, gently dab it over your foundation.

Use a compact sunscreen

One of the easiest ways to apply sunscreen when you're on the go is by using a compact sunscreen. With compact sunscreen, you can easily keep it in your purse or pocket for when you need to reapply it throughout your day-to-day tasks. It's best to use a lightweight makeup brush or a soft makeup sponge for an even and seamless application that won't ruin your look.

If you're looking to splurge on a compact sunscreen, try the Dior Dreamskin Fresh & Perfect Cushion Broad Spectrum SPF 50. This compact works to blur the look of imperfections and pores, minimizes the appearance of aging skin, and has a strong SPF of 50. For a more budget-friendly option, try the Avène Mineral Tinted Compact SPF 50. As a 100% mineral-tinted sunscreen, the cream-to-powder formula contains rich antioxidants and sun protection that will leave you with lightweight but powerful coverage.

Finish off with setting spray

When you're finished reapplying sunscreen over your makeup, gently mist a setting spray over your face to keep your makeup in place. One of the benefits of setting sprays is that some of them can contain SPF, giving you additional protection from UV rays. You can even use a setting spray with an SPF to reapply your sunscreen when you need a top-up. Not only will it protect your face from sun damage, but it will keep you refreshed in the summer's heat. 

Marina Peredo tells Byrdie, "You should re-apply sunscreen on top of makeup every 30 minutes if you are directly in the sun or every two-to-three hours if you are not directly in the sun." Setting spray will leave your face with a light glow and won't leave you with an oily or greasy look like other sunscreens can. We recommend the Supergoop! Setting Refreshing Mist SPF 40 for a weightless finish.