Makeup and Daily Sunscreen
December 16, 2018 12:31 PM   Subscribe

Please explain to me like I'm 5 how to wear makeup but also reapply my sunscreen every 2-3 hours as recommended. As always, there are snowflakes. I know about foundation and powders with SPF but don't know where to start. General tips for how to effortlessly work sunscreen reapplication (face and body) into one's daily activities are appreciated as well!

What I currently do:
- Apply a non-comedogenic moisturizer with SPF 30 (Cerave brand).
- Dust on loose translucent powder - I'm a makeup minimalist - before applying mascara and whatever else.
- The translucent powder I currently use is Laura Mercier's Translucent Loose Setting Powder, which doesn't have SPF.
- Finish up with makeup-setting spray (Urban Decay).

I also spray sunblock onto my neck, chest, hands/forearms/whatever else is exposed that day. Obviously this list grows during the warmer months.

I don't like wearing much more than loose translucent powder and I can't seem to find a comparable loose translucent powder that also has a high SPF (at least 30) and isn't so expensive that it won't kill my wallet to reapply it a couple times a day. Recommendations? (Loose mineral powders are strongly preferred - I'm not big on liquid foundation.)

I also find it awkward, throughout the day, to reapply sunscreen. One example is at the workplace. I work in a cubicle office environment. I don't really think it's a great place (whether in my cubicle or in the restroom) to be spraying myself with sunblock before I leave to go out on break or leave for the day. Is there some kind of decent combo moisturizer/high SPF product I can keep at my desk to apply to said areas before walking back out into sun exposure?

Any other tips? Am I overthinking this? Probably yes but I'd still like to hear what others do.

Note: Yes it's currently winter in the northern hemisphere and no I don't work outdoors, but the reason why I care so much about SPF is because 1) I have mild rosacea that is exacerbated by sun exposure and 2) I like to protect my skin in general. It's important to me.
posted by nightrecordings to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (23 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
You've pretty much ruled out all of your options. If you want to A) wear makeup during the day and B) reapply your sunscreen regularly, these are your options:

1) use a normal liquid sunscreen and remove and reapply your makeup every time you apply sunscreen (this includes SPF moisturisers... Could you explain why you want to use an SPF moisturiser rather than a dedicated liquid sunscreen? It won't be any better for your makeup, and SPF moisturisers are much less effective than dedicated sunscreen products).

2)Use a spray sunscreen over your makeup.

3)Use a sunscreen powder product. These are a more niche skincare product, every sunscreen powder I've seen has been around twice as expensive as your preferred powder.

Sorry, those are your only options. If you only wear translucent powder, I'd really suggest switching to a translucent sunscreen powder that doesn't hurt your skin. It is pricey but translucent powders last for a pretty long time even with frequent use. My skincare/aesthetics place has sales every couple of months and the brand they sell is usually around 30% off. It's a competitive industry, shop around for sales or look online for beautubers or bloggers offering coupon codes.
posted by windykites at 12:53 PM on December 16, 2018

A product called Seriously Fab Zinc It Over has gotten some good reviews.

It's a non-nano SPF 25 zinc oxide spray designed for sunscreen reapplication over makeup.

Here's a link to the website.
posted by virago at 1:06 PM on December 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

When I am in a situation that requires frequent sunscreen application I just don't wear foundation so I can reapply the sunscreen. SPF in foundation isn't really strong enough to use alone and is more of a backup to apply on top of a full time sunscreen. There are studies that have tested this and found that the standard amount of SPF you need on your face would be way more foundation than a person typically applies, because the SPF is competing for space with the other foundation ingredients.

Some coworkers like the SPF powders but I haven't tried them and I don't feel confident enough that I'd get an even application like I do with a liquid. I am really pale so this is important to me.
posted by joan_holloway at 1:09 PM on December 16, 2018 [5 favorites]

Supergoop makes a great setting spray/sunblock that can go on over makeup. I love it. They also make some powders that might suit your needs.
posted by ferociouskitty at 1:24 PM on December 16, 2018 [3 favorites]

When I’m wearing makeup, I don’t reapply sunblock unless I intend to be in direct sunlight for hours. Even then, I’m wearing a big ass hat to do most of the UV blocking for me.

Can you buy yourself a winter hat with a brim?
posted by vivzan at 1:25 PM on December 16, 2018 [5 favorites]

As you like powder foundation so much I'd use the lighter texture Asian sunscreen to reapply during the day then redust with the powder you like. They are not spray sunscreens, but very light & not oily in texture so dry fast for reapplying powder and don't tend to disturb what's underneath them too much. I've used them on top of mineral sunscreens & Liquid foundations with good results.
posted by wwax at 1:51 PM on December 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Well, there is guidance on how not to wreck your make-up from your friendly, cosmetic dermatologist.

Your makeup routine sounds quite basic (good thing!). If you love what you do in the am, is there any reason why you don’t just take a wet wipe/bit of cotton and miscellar water and remove what’s left of the powder, reapply the spf and the powder and get on with the rest of your day? As long as you leave your eye make-up intact this should be really easy and quick.

Another option are tinted spfs, as reviewed by another friendly dermatologist. She’s also done a more recent video with drugstore options. You can just re-apply those as required. If you can manage with only a little bit of coverage and a bit of eye make-up, that would seem to be an good alternative.

I am not aware that there is any substitute for reapplying for the body either. And I guess at work the bathroom would be the place to do all of that. If the main concern is the spray going places it shouldn’t perhaps use a lotion out and about?

The only other alternative is to cover up - wide brimmed hat, big shades, sleeves etc.
posted by koahiatamadl at 1:59 PM on December 16, 2018 [4 favorites]

I think reapplying every 2-3 hours throughout the day when you're in an indoors environment is unnecessary overkill. During a regular workday, that's like 4-5 times, just to sit in a cube. You don't need to do that. As long as you're applying it before you're actually in the sun, that should be more than sufficient. Once in the morning under your makeup, and once in the evening before you leave for work. I'd keep a hat and a long-sleeve cardigan for breaks, since a physical covering is always going to be more effective than a chemical one anyway, and there's less potential for having it interfere with your professional environment.

I really like Biore UV Aqua Rich sunblock. It's thin and light, it absorbs in under a minute, isn't greasy at all, and is ideal for wearing under makeup or on the body when you don't want to be "lotiony".
posted by Autumnheart at 2:16 PM on December 16, 2018 [25 favorites]

As you like powder foundation so much I'd use the lighter texture Asian sunscreen to reapply during the day then redust with the powder you like. They are not spray sunscreens, but very light & not oily in texture so dry fast for reapplying powder and don't tend to disturb what's underneath them too much. I've used them on top of mineral sunscreens & Liquid foundations with good results.

posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 2:18 PM on December 16, 2018

I wish I could buy those sprays. That's what I would use if I could. But one is $52 with shipping to the UK (plus a huge percentage of customs fees when it arrives) and the other is $12 but doesn't ship to the UK. GET THE SPRAY, KNOWING THAT OTHERS WOULD LOVE TO HAVE WHAT YOU HAVE.

I've tried the Biore Watery Essence but found that it, too, was extremely expensive and difficult to import, only arrived 50% of the time, and broke me out when it did.

The Asian cushion sunscreens are always tinted too dark for me, come in much too bulky packaging to carry, and also are excessively difficult and expensive to import.

However, I've adapted the method to my needs. I've taken to carrying a small amount of my morning sunscreen with me in a shallow rectangular compact with a sponge. Fortunately the consistency is solid enough that it doesn't run, but I keep the compact in a plastic sleeve just in case. At the end of the day I pat on a sheer layer of the sunscreen for the drive home.

If you are indoors all day, you do not need to reapply every 2-3 hours.
posted by tel3path at 3:04 PM on December 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

my dermatologist recommended colorescience powder sunscreen/makeup as a product that could be reapplied on makeup days. It's way too expensive for me to consider, so I haven't tried it myself.

oh and she said to be careful with the brush, apparently you can't clean it the regular way, if you get it wet it ruins it or something.
posted by fingersandtoes at 4:09 PM on December 16, 2018

I bought colorescience once, years ago.

My skin is very pale with purple undertones, whereas this powder is yellow-toned. The lightest shade was too dark, sallow and muddy for me.

However, I am an outlier and the conventional wisdom is that yellow-toned people should be using yellow powder, and pink-toned people should be using yellow powder because all skin needs to be more yellow. Though grotesque on me, the results seem to be fine for everybody else.

As a product, colorescience is good and ergonomic and I would use it routinely if it looked good on me, but it doesn't.
posted by tel3path at 4:19 PM on December 16, 2018

2nding (3rding?) Asian sunscreen. I like Biore products, too, especially the perfect milk, because it mattifies your face enough to make it an alternative to primer or powder (be warned that very few Asian products are cruelty-free, if that's a concern). Murad's sunscreen also works well for this.

You don't need setting powder or spray if you're not wearing foundation or concealer. You can skip those steps and use the sunscreen instead. Sometimes you might want to use the Laura Mercier to spot-set eye makeup or whatever.

Agreed, too, that you don't need to touch up if you're going to be inside. A hat should be sufficient, especially if it's wintertime.
posted by Miss T.Horn at 4:35 PM on December 16, 2018

I don't know why you would need a setting spray for powder and spf moisturizer; generally powder works fine as a setting agent. I think the sprays are for makeup-wearing folks who use them in place of powder?

As far as being awkward at work I don't see why putting on some more sunscreen (after gently washing your face) is any weirder than brushing your teeth after lunch in the shared bathroom. Or reapplying lipstick or futzing with your hair.

That said I wear a high spf applied in the morning and if I'm at work all day, aside from a couple 10-15 minute breaks outside, I am not getting a sunburn (and according to govt guidelines, no lasting skin damage) by not reapplying most days. I know they all technically "expire" after two hours but I burn like the dickens and the one morning application tends to work well three seasons a year compared to not doing the morning sunscreen regimen. (In the summer I will burn and then I put on sunscreen before going out anytime between 11-4pm, generally in the shared bathroom, nobody seems to notice or care, and I will definitely do this in public at parks or beaches and again, nobody seems to notice or care.)
posted by love2potato at 6:11 PM on December 16, 2018

I personally use an all-day sunscreen. Lasts 8hrs, which covers me from getting up to 3pm. UV is low enough after that to not worry about reapplying.

I use this one, but Nivea etc make similar ones.
posted by tinkletown at 7:33 PM on December 16, 2018

I don't think the OP wants to reapply all day while she stays indoors. She mentioned reapplying before going outside for her break and before going home.

I think this depends a lot on the climate/sun where you live. In Australia where the sun is insane, I've stopped wearing makeup on my face at all during the day for this exact reason; I found that sometimes I would skip reapplying sunscreen when I really should've reapplied it because I didn't want my makeup to turn into a gross mess which is what would inevitably happen. I finally just decided to go without makeup during the day which means I just reapply sunscreen whenever I need to. (I still wear eye makeup, just nothing on my face.) Try it, it's liberating :) I still wear face makeup to go out at night.

Otherwise, you may actually be able to just reapply your sunscreen on top of the makeup you're already wearing, since it's just powder. Then reapply more powder? I wouldn't do this a bunch of times in a row but for one or two reapplications a day, it might look and feel fine.
posted by sunflower16 at 8:42 PM on December 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

Another spray-on sunscreen option is Bioderma Hydrabio Eau de Soin (and available in the UK or shipped from France for cheaper). It has SPF 30 and goes on like your average mineral water spray, without disturbing even the most detailed smoky eye or contour. Reviews online mention the sprayer sometimes stopping working, but I've never run into this issue and my rosacea-prone skin loves this before afternoon bike rides home. I also spray it on my shoulders / neckline and it definitely works even just by noting how the exposed parts aren't red and tender after long bike rides. It lives in my handbag from April to October.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 10:23 PM on December 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

I’m Australian and don’t like applying dedicated sunscreen and then a faceful of makeup. For a start, the sunscreen always puts a white cast over my face, it stings when it inevitably goes in my eyes, causing them to water and my eye makeup to run due to furious rubbing and blinking, and on top of that, you can’t really reapply.

My solution is La Roche posay anthelios xl. It comes recommended by most dermatologists. It’s basically 50+ tinted spf that looks like quite dewy makeup. Because it’s the highest spf, you shouldn’t have to reapply. You can still have eye makeup. If you use too much, it can look greasy so a light coverage first and you can always build it up. It’s also reasonably priced and means you don’t have to buy multiple products.
posted by Jubey at 10:28 PM on December 16, 2018

I go alternative and use sun blocking hats, gloves, scarves, jackets, and umbrellas for breaks. Coolibar.
posted by tilde at 12:59 AM on December 17, 2018

Have you looked at SuperGoop? They have a mineral powder with SPF that you can reapply during the day, AND a makeup setting spray that also has SPF. Plus I believe a spray for touching up your sunscreen as well.
posted by something_witty at 6:34 AM on December 17, 2018

I have a similar skincare/makeup/office set-up and I apply this Supergoop SPF powder before going out for lunch and before leaving for the day. The container isn't the best so I leave it at my desk instead of putting it in my bag, which also reminds me to use it!

You also might want to look into a physical sunscreen as opposed to a chemical one. I'm not sure which one CeraVe is. I believe physical sunscreens don't wear off in time like chemical ones do. I use Etude House Sunprise Airy Finish and it's has a great velvety matte finish.
posted by apricot at 6:55 AM on December 17, 2018

I've seen articles from dermatologists declaring that powder sunscreens are less reliable than liquid sunscreens, so I would not rely on powder sunscreen as your only or main sun protection.

I will join the chorus suggesting you check out Asian sunscreens, especially Japanese and South Korean brands, as those are the most widely discussed and available in English / the west. The blog RatzillaCosme is VERY useful for exploring Japanese skincare products in general and Japanese sun protection products specifically.
posted by nicebookrack at 10:05 AM on December 17, 2018

One option that hasn't been suggested: DIY your own high-spf tinted sunscreen and ditch the powder. On days I know I'll be reapplying, I mix my SPF 70+ sunscreen with a concentrated foundation and keep it around in a small container (like these travel jars). Concentrated foundations are meant to deliver high pigment, so the formula doesn't build up on the skin (beyond the buildup from multiple layers of sunscreen, but c'est la vie).

I add the foundation to the sunscreen in increments and mix until I reach my desired level of coverage. If it's pigmented enough, the concentrated foundation shouldn't dilute the sunscreen very much. Since you're already light coverage anyway (given that translucent powder is lighter coverage than powder foundation), you'd probably only need a tiny amount.

Some recommended products below, but one note about powder: I wouldn't put any liquid-based formulas (like sunscreen) on top of powder. It's a recipe for muckiness. If you want to wear powder, I'd remove it before reapplying (though that's an added step I personally wouldn't want to do!).

For concentrated foundation, I use this Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer, which was originally formulated to be used as both a foundation and a concealer. It's been my go-to for a decade, but any foundation that's highly concentrated (i.e. could be used as concealer or foundation) should work. I haven't tried these CoverFX custom drops, but I'd try this if they ever stopped making my go-to. You could also try using a liquid concealer that matches your skin tone instead of concentrated foundation (as it's basically concentrated foundation--though the formula may be more moisturizing if it's targeted for the under eye area), but I haven't tried that yet. FWIW, Kevyn Aucoin's product lasts a very, very long time because you only need a tiny bit. I've had my last tub for years.

For sunscreen, I use Neutrogena's because it works with my combo skin and costs under $10, but I've also done this with the asian sunscreens others have mentioned (this Anessa one in particular) and it's worked well.
posted by melancholyplay at 9:00 AM on December 19, 2018

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