What to apply first, foundation or sunscreen

Last Updated on June 15th, 2023

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Sunscreen is always important; it protects our skin from the sun, preventing skin cancer and other unwanted wrinkles and discoloration. Lucky for us, the makeup industry is aware of the importance and has created products and unique foundation formulas to protect our skin.

Ideally, if you do not have a foundation formula already mixed with sunscreen, it’s best to apply your sunscreen under your foundation. Not only does this method work better to protect your skin, but it also makes the application process easier.

Woman applying cream on face - What to apply first, foundation or sunscreen

Why Apply Sunscreen First?

Applying sunscreen before the foundation has many benefits that are usually not taken into consideration. First, the sunscreen will offer a protective layer on top of your skin and underneath the foundation. 

This method also calls for less mess and a smoother application process. It would be more difficult to apply foundation first, then sunscreen, because then the pigmentation of the foundation would seem lighter than usual. 


What if Your Foundation has SPF?

Foundations that already contain SPF are a lifesaver if you are someone who lives in those consistently sunny regions. 

But unfortunately, people have different thoughts and opinions of the product, despite the company’s claims of the product being just as effective as your average sunscreen.

While everyone’s skin is different and depending on the foundation formula’s SPF levels, it might be worth considering more sunscreen. Applying a layer of sunscreen underneath your SPF foundation will provide that extra layer of protection for your skin. 


Where on Your Face Should you Apply Sunscreen?

Ideally, we apply sunscreen to all the areas of our body that are exposed to the sunlight. But do we follow the same rules for our faces? 

Unfortunately, yes! Instead of applying sunscreen directly to your face, apply a generous amount to your hands to then rub into the areas of your face.

While applying sunscreen all over your face, it’s important not to skip areas that are more likely to be affected by the sun. See the list below.

  • Forehead
  • Nose
  • Ears
  • Cheeks


Can I Mix Sunscreen with Foundation?

There are SPF foundation formulas on the market. What’s the difference between that and your own DIY mixture of foundation and sunscreen? While this may seem like a quick fix, you might want to reconsider this choice.

Mixing sunscreen with your foundation at home is more likely to decrease the efficiency of the SPF, making this entire process completely useless. 

Instead, it’s better to take that extra step in applying the sunscreen before the foundation, allowing it to set, then applying the foundation.


When Can you Skip Sunscreen?

Surely, you can skip sunscreen if you are staying home for the day and not planning on leaving the house. However, if you want to avoid being a hermit for the day, it’s best to always apply sunscreen if you are going out despite the hour of the day or even the weather.

The sun rays can even get to your skin on days that are more overcast than usual, so unless you are in a completely shaded area, it’s always important to apply sunscreen consistently.


Final Thoughts on Applying Both Foundation and Sunscreen

Always apply a layer of sunscreen before applying foundation or primer. Allowing the sunscreen to set before applying any makeup is ideal. This is because the sunscreen will offer your skin that protective barrier it needs underneath your foundation.

Some foundations have formulas that already have SPF included. This is great. 

However, it’s still recommended to include that protective layer of sunscreen underneath the SPF foundation. Do not DIY the SPF foundation, and do not skip sunscreen unless you are completely shaded all day.

The formula of your foundation could cancel out the properties of the SPF, resulting in the product being ineffective. What a waste! Focus on applying sunscreen to the entire surface of the face, especially areas like the forehead, nose, and ears.


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