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

May 06, 2021
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, it can feel like something new is launching every day. Don’t get us wrong, it’s a good thing — you can’t really 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.

“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 2mg 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. A tinted sunscreen, like the CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 Face Sheer Tint, is the best of both worlds. Another one of our favorite sunscreens to wear under makeup is the La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Sunscreen Milk SPF 60.

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 perfectly intact during and after application. Another option is to use a setting spray with SPF like the Supergoop Defense Refresh (Re)setting Mist SPF40 or Coola Makeup Setting Spray SPF 30.
Photo: Chaunte Vaughn

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