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How to reapply sunscreen over makeup

Everyone knows they’re supposed to reapply sunscreen throughout the day, but let’s be honest—most people don’t do it.

Once you’ve got your makeup on point, the last thing you want to do is mess it up by smearing thick white cream over the top of it.

The good news is that you don’t have to destroy your carefully applied makeup when it’s time to add more sunscreen. Here’s how to reapply sunscreen over makeup without anyone being the wiser. 

Why you need sunscreen

Before we dive into how to put sunscreen on over makeup, let’s review why sunscreen is important in the first place. Understanding the risks of unprotected sun exposure makes it easier to choose to apply sunscreen for your skin’s protection.

It can reduce your risk of skin cancer

A skin cancer diagnosis is probably the most frightening risk associated with spending time out in the sun. When you learn how to reapply sunscreen over makeup and do so frequently throughout the day, you can block more of the sun’s most damaging rays, whether it's a sunny day or a cloudy one. 

It keeps your skin tone even

Nobody wants splotchy skin, which is why it’s important to learn how to reapply sunscreen over makeup.

When you’re outdoors, you’re constantly moving around, and different areas of your body are exposed to the sun at different times. This can lead to a noticeably uneven skin tone.

Applying sunscreen evenly can help you avoid awkward tan lines and keep your skin tone even. If you avoid sunscreen because you want to look tan, we would instead suggest that you make regular sunscreen application a habit, and consider incorporating sunless tanning options (e.g. spray tans or lotions) into your routine.

It prevents premature aging

Too much unprotected sun exposure is really hard on your skin: It can cause it to age prematurely and develop unflattering spots.

It might not be possible to avoid age spots your entire life, but it is absolutely possible to delay their development.

Applying sunscreen is one of your best options for preventing age spots and keeping your skin looking youthful for as long as possible. It can also help you avoid developing wrinkly, leathery skin.

How to reapply sunscreen over makeup

Now, let's talk about reapplying sunscreen. Plan to reapply sunscreen to your face at least every couple of hours. (If you're swimming or heavily sweating, you'll need to reapply more often, but we'll assume that in those cases, you're probably not wearing makeup, or will need to reapply it anyway.)


Here’s how to reapply sunscreen over makeup like a pro:

Option 1: Use a beauty tool

If you don’t mind carrying a makeup sponge or brush around with you, it can be a convenient sunscreen applicator.

Apply a small amount of sunscreen to the sponge or brush and gently use it to cover your skin. Use small amounts of sunscreen at a time so you don’t smudge your makeup. Use dabbing motions with your beauty tool to avoid smearing your foundation while applying your sunscreen.

Option 2: Use a hands-free sunscreen applicator (coming soon!)

The last thing you want to do when learning how to reapply sunscreen over makeup is to use your fingers. Clair Obscur is hard at work developing a hands-free sunscreen applicator that will make it easier to reapply sunscreen over makeup. Sign up for our newsletter to be the first to know when it's available. 

Touch up your makeup as needed

If your makeup becomes a little uneven or smeared despite your best efforts to reapply sunscreen carefully, don’t sweat it! Just use a beauty sponge to gently touch up as needed.

Whatever method you choose, repeat these steps at least every two hours during the day to make sure your skin is well-protected.

Practice makes perfect in order to learn how to reapply sunscreen over makeup

The best way to learn is by doing. To keep your face as healthy and youthful as possible, practice reapplying your sunscreen over your makeup until it becomes a daily habit you don't need to think about.