Beauty Q&A: Is the SPF in My Makeup Enough to Protect My Skin?

June 24, 2022
Marisa Petrarca
By: Marisa Petrarca | by L'Oréal
Beauty Q&A: Is the SPF in My Makeup Enough to Protect My Skin?

There are countless makeup products on the market that contain SPF. Between SPF-infused foundations, tinted moisturizers, lip balms, finishing powders and even eyeshadows, the options are plentiful. Don’t get us wrong, it’s a good thing — you really can’t go overboard with sunscreen. But the question is whether the SPF found in your makeup products is really enough to protect your skin from the sun. 

We reached out to New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Hadley King to find out.

Do I Need to Wear Sunscreen if My Makeup Has SPF?

“An important thing to consider when using moisturizers, primers and makeup with SPF is how much you need to apply in order to achieve the advertised SPF,” Dr. King explains. “You should use approximately 2 milligrams of product per square centimeter of skin. In practice, this means applying the equivalent of a shot glass of sunscreen to the exposed area of the face and body — a nickel-sized dollop to the face alone.” 

You probably aren’t using a shot glass-full of makeup (it’s a lot!), so you should be applying sunscreen in addition to your makeup. And even if you are using a shot glass-full of a makeup product, we still recommend applying sunscreen beforehand to ensure protection — consider your makeup a bonus. 

The Best Sunscreens to Wear Under and Over Makeup

A tinted sunscreen, like the CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 Face Sheer Tint, is the best of both worlds. If you’re looking for an SPF that applies beautifully underneath makeup, try the SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50. It’s a fluid formula that protects and adds glow to the skin without feeling heavy.
cerave hydrating mineral sunscreen spf 30 face sheer tint

Finally, don’t forget to reapply sunscreen every two hours when you’re in the sun. We get it — it’s not the easiest to reapply sunscreen when you’re wearing makeup, but more options that won’t compromise your beat are becoming available. We like using mineral powder sunscreen that doubles as a setting powder, like Brush On Block. Because it’s transparent, your makeup will stay intact during and after application. Another option is to use a setting spray with SPF, like the Coola Makeup Setting Spray SPF 30.

brush on block mineral sunscreen
Photo: Chaunte Vaughn

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