How To Reapply Sunscreen Over Makeup: 6 Touch-Up Tips

When you put your sunscreen on in the morning , you do it after your skincare routine but before your makeup routine — which means smudging your makeup products isn’t an issue. But what about when it comes time to reapply your sunscreen? 

While those first few hours in the morning are fine, by lunchtime, your skin is probably ready for a second coat of SPF. Different from the first thing in the morning, there is already something on your skin in the middle of the day — makeup. 

Some people take this as a sign to never reapply their sunscreen, which puts their skin at risk of sun damage. However, you don’t have to sacrifice UV protection to maintain your makeup.

You read that right: we’re talking about makeup-friendly sunscreens. 

Today, we’ll walk you through how to reapply sunscreen over makeup in a way that will protect your skin from sun damage and ensure that your makeup looks just as good as it did when you put it on that morning. 

What Type of Sunscreen Is Best for Use With Makeup?

Because there are already other products on your skin when you reapply sunscreen over makeup, you have to consider how whatever sunscreen you choose will interact with them. Depending on what sunscreen product you use in the morning, you may be able to just reapply what you already have on. But not all sunscreens work well on top of makeup. 

While most physical sunscreens are great for reapplying over makeup, chemical sunscreens are less ideal. 

Physical sunscreens (also called mineral sunscreens) work by creating a physical barrier on the skin that blocks out harmful UV rays and reflects light back into the atmosphere. They sit on top of the skin — and can sit on top of your makeup. 

Chemical sunscreens work a bit differently. Instead, chemical sunscreens are absorbed into your skin , working to dissipate UV rays that make their way into the skin before they can cause any damage. While this mechanism works fine on a clean face, when you try to reapply chemical sunscreen over makeup, it can ruin both your makeup and the effectiveness of your SPF.

That’s why when choosing a mid-day sunscreen to pair with your existing makeup look, physical sunscreens are the way to go. 

Even though you’re opting for a physical sunscreen every time, you can find it in a variety of formulas to suit your skin type (and reapplication preferences): 

  • Sunscreen powders 
  • Sun sticks 
  • Sunscreen sprays 
  • SPF setting powders and makeup setting sprays
  • Regular sunscreen lotions 

How Often Should You Reapply Sunscreen?

While choosing the right sunscreen for your skin is important, even the best sunscreen can’t last forever. No matter which formula you decide to use, you have to reapply it. 

Dermatologists recommend that you reapply your sunscreen every two hours or so, especially if you’re engaging in heavy outdoor activity like swimming, exercising, or anything else that might make you a little sweaty. 

But don’t just take our word for it — your sunscreen bottle should also include instructions on how (and how often) to reapply, so you can be sure you’re using the right time frame for each specific sunscreen product. 

Why Is Proper Sunscreen Reapplication Important?

SPF stands for sun protection factor . This number measures how much UV is needed to damage your skin when wearing the sunscreen product. 

As you wear your sunscreen, external conditions like air temperature, moisture levels, and even cellular processes in your own skin can cause the sun protectant to wear off. As the sunscreen disappears, so does the UV protection — but this UV light isn’t going away, and neither are the risks it poses to your skin. 

That’s why reapplying sunscreen (over makeup or not) is so important. You need to keep that SPF level up to keep your skin safe. 

What Is the Best Way To Reapply Sunscreen Over Makeup?

Even though you might know that you should be reapplying your sunscreen throughout the day and that it is possible to do over makeup, you might also choose not to. We understand! For many, the thought of putting sunscreen over makeup seems difficult and even unnatural — but we’re here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be. 

Putting SPF on top of your makeup is a simple process once you know what to do. To help you get started, we’ve put together six stellar tips for people who might be a little nervous to reapply sunscreen over makeup. 

1. Opt for SPF Sprays

One of the easiest ways to reapply sunscreen over makeup is to use an SPF spray. 

SPF sprays are a kind of sunscreen that comes in an aerosol can . Like dry shampoo or spray deodorant, this type of delivery method makes protecting your skin from the sun easier than ever. All you have to do is close your eyes, hold your breath, and spray.

Some of our favorite SPF sprays include: 

2. Try Sunscreen Powder

Another super simple delivery method for mid-day sunscreen reapplication is to use a sunscreen powder. 

Sunscreen powders are exactly what they sound like —  SPF in the form of a facial powder . This type of physical sunscreen is dusted over the face to create a layer of sun-protecting powder that prevents UV rays from penetrating the skin barrier. 

Some of our favorite sunscreen powders include: 

3. Blot Your SPF

When reapplying sunscreen over makeup, the number one goal is to avoid smudging of any kind. That’s why we recommend blotting your mid-day SPF. 

By pressing sunscreen into the skin rather than smearing it around, you deliver more targeted sun protection and avoid spreading around the makeup products that are already on your skin. 

4. Use Lightweight SPF Formulas

If you do opt for a liquid sunscreen when reapplying, be sure to use one that is lightweight. 

Lightweight sunscreens are more breathable than other heavier formulas, meaning they won’t weigh down your skin as much. This is essential when reapplying over makeup. You don’t want to cake on a heavy cream on top of your concealer or blush because they might smudge. With lightweight sunscreen formulas, this is far less likely. 

One of our favorite lightweight SPF products is the SkinMedica Essential Defense Everyday Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 47 Sunscreen , which gives you the highest level of UVA protection available without clogging your pores. 

5. Reapply With a Beauty Sponge

Another way to reapply liquid sunscreen in the middle of the day is to use a beauty sponge

The logic here is the same as with blotting your SPF: by patting the product into the skin instead of smearing it, you avoid unnecessary jostling that could ruin your makeup look. 

Some of our favorite beauty sponges to use when reapplying sunscreen include: 

6. Use a Facial SPF Stick

If you find that no matter what you do, you can’t help but smear your makeup when reapplying liquid sunscreen, you might want to give another formula a try: a sun stick. 

Sun sticks are a type of SPF formula that comes in a solid bar, sort of like a stick deodorant. These products can be applied directly to the skin on your face in the same way. Because they’re compact and easy to put on, these sunscreen products are great for reapplying in the middle of the day. 

Some of our favorite facial SPF sticks include: 

Soak Up the Sun

Reapplying sunscreen doesn’t have to mean the end of makeup look. You can protect yourself from the sun and maintain a full face of makeup. 

So, go into the sunlight and know that your freshly-applied sunscreen product is there to keep your skin safe.  

Sources:

Sunscreen and Your Morning Routine | Johns Hopkins Medicine

The difference between physical and chemical sunscreen | Piedmont

Sunscreening Agents | National Library of Medicine

Sunscreen FAQs | American Academy of Dermatology

Sun Protection Factor (SPF) | FDA

Spray sunscreen: Characterizing application area density and implications for sun protection | National Library of Medicine

Does Powder Sunscreen Work? | Cleveland Clinic