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Should you apply sunscreen before or after moisturizer?

Your skin is the first thing others see when they look at you. It’s also your body’s first line of defense against germs and external pollutants. To keep it safe and healthy so it can do its job well, it’s important to protect it from the sun’s harmful rays. Applying sunscreen is one of the best ways to achieve this goal, but should you apply sunscreen before or after moisturizer? This guide explains which step should come first and why.

Do you put on sunscreen before or after moisturizer?

It can be a puzzle figuring out where sunscreen application should fall in your everyday skincare routine. Doing things in the wrong order could result in your sunscreen being less effective, so let’s answer this question once and for all: Should you apply sunscreen before or after moisturizer?

Drum roll, please…

The answer, in most cases, is “after!” 

Sunscreen contains ingredients that are specifically formulated to block out the sun’s harmful UV rays. For the best results, apply your moisturizer first and let it soak completely into your skin. Let it dry, then apply a light layer of sunscreen on top, so it forms a film over your skin.

Be sure not to mix your sunscreens with other skincare products as a way to improve its texture or appearance. Your sunscreen has been formulated to work a certain way, and mixing it with other products may reduce its efficacy. 

What about makeup?

Now that you know to apply sunscreen after moisturizer, let’s talk about makeup. Most people don’t want to put sunscreen on top of their makeup, since sunscreen can interfere with foundation’s finish. Most beauty experts therefore recommend applying makeup on top of sunscreen.

However, if you’re spending time outdoors during the day, or indoors near a window, you’ll want to reapply your SPF product at least every two hours— even if that means applying it on top of your makeup. If you don’t, your skin will be exposed to the sun’s UV rays, which are known to cause premature aging, sun spots, and even skin cancer. 

To make it easier to apply sunscreen over your makeup, try using an applicator or sponge that can dab and pat over your face. In general, once makeup sets, it’s possible to gently dab a layer of sunscreen over it without messing it up.

Learn more about applying sunscreen before or after moisturizer

By understanding why you should apply sunscreen before or after moisturizer, you can optimize your skin care routine. If layering on a product to make sure you get enough sun protection sounds heavy and uncomfortable, don’t worry! We started Clair Obscur in order to develop lightweight sunscreens that you can barely feel on your face. Sign up for our mailing list to be first in line for our products; we can’t wait to protect your skin during all your adventures.