How to Re-Apply Sunscreen Without Ruining Your Makeup

You don't have to wash it off.

Q: Hi Michelle! After years of not caring about the effects of UV rays, I plan to use my sunscreen religiously this summer. However, after reading some of your sunscreen posts, I know that sunscreen doesn't last for more than two hours, regardless of the SPF level. This is problematic for people who wear makeup as I don't think anyone is going to wash their makeup off and re-apply every two hours. One recommendation you made was using something like the Colorescience mineral powder foundation which has a built-in SPF. However, you don't seem to be a fan of mineral powders lately AND I don't want to add more make up to my face when I'm just looking to apply sunscreen. Are there any sunscreen products on the market that can be applied throughout the day which won't ruin my makeup or add more makeup to my face?? Please help!! :) — Joanna

A: Joanna, I hear you! It's just not realistic to slather on some greasy, thick, oily sunscreen that's going to ruin our expertly applied primer, foundation, concealer and iridescent complexion illuminator (!). Sure, we'll diligently apply our SPF in the morning, but at lunchtime? Ain't gonna happen.

Fortunately, I DO have some suggestions for getting around the SPF thingie without wrecking your makeup! 


This is a supremely lightweight, portable mineral powder with built-in SPF 30 that comes in three shades. (Well, technically "All Clear" is a non-shade.) 

You might remember the Colorescience brand from when I raved about it here, and so I can attest from a couple years' of use that these powders are TOPS. (Even if I did say I'm a little bit against both mineral powders in general as well as re-applying mineral powders over the rest of your makeup throughout the day.)

Let me tell you why these get a pass: they're crazy lightweight. So much so that when I first got my sample, I was convinced there was some inner packaging I didn't dismantle—I really did think that the powder wasn't dispensing because I couldn't see it! (Finally I convinced myself something was happening by dusting it all over my hands... eventually they got a little dry.) So if that doesn't scream "perfect solution to the sunscreen application problem," I don't know what does. 


I've been using this compact for years (okay, I think I'm on my third now)—even though, as I said, I'm "against" mineral powder. Just super-handy to have around when you want to be kind to your skin... or you need a sunscreen! How about that.

Now, technically Pure + Simple does not claim the SPF content because they haven't had them tested for SPF coverage. The amount of sunscreen ingredients varies by colour but ranges from 1-5 percent zinc oxide and 5-20 percent titanium dioxide, just to give you a ballpark. Their closest competitor, formula-wise, is the Jane Iredale Pressed Powder Foundation, which has 3 percent zinc oxide and 17 percent titanium dioxide and is rated an SPF 20.

I don't know about you, but that info's good enough for me! I like this one when I need a bit more coverage. And funnily enough, I actually prefer it over the Jane Iredale, which I DID end up buying but is a bit too heavy and powdery for my liking. You should have no problem putting the Pure + Simple powder all over your regular makeup without messing it up... just don't do it too many times or it'll look cakey.


Everybody's talking about this one lately! At least in beauty circles, which is where I roll. I was lucky enough to get my hot little hands on a sample, and can tell you that it's pretty impressive indeed. 

I liken it to a VERY light tinted moisturizer—like the lightest tinted moisturizer you've ever used. It has just a slight tint (a universal one, so you don't have to worry about finding your perfect shade) and would be just fab over top of any regular makeup to get you all dewy and glowy but not greasy. (OR you might just want to use this instead of your other prodz, it's that good.) 

What is also awesome is that the SPF is non-chemical (notice a theme here?) and you get bonus anti-aging ingredients such as alpha-lipoic acid and DMAE. 

(In a pinch, however, probably any lightweight tinted moisturizer would work too as a midday sun protection fix...)


This one is purely for the normal-to-oily skin types out there, because what it's going to do is mop up your shine while adding a layer of invisible SPF protection. 

Now, mattifiers can be drying and you will need to put it all over your face (other than the eye area), so tread carefully with this one. It would be nice if it came in a higher SPF too (derms like at least a 30), but it's better than nothing.

Tell me:

Did you know sunscreens only last two hours?

If you did know this, then do you ever actually re-apply?

Yes? Then tell us what you use! Ain't much out there in terms of options...

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