It’s all fun and games in the sun till your skin starts peeling and pigmentation starts creeping up. Sun damage is the number one cause of skin ageing. It breaks down collagen and elastin—the building blocks of healthy, glowing skin—and also makes skin dehydrated and rough. So it’s no wonder that beauty editors, insiders and derms agree that sunscreen should be a key part of any daily beauty routine.
It’s easy to apply—and even reapply—sunscreen when you’re at the beach or working out outdoors. But when it comes to daily application under your makeup, that’s when things start to get a bit messy. Yes, layering sunscreen with makeup can be a bit complicated, but I do it every day, and so can you.
Why you need sunscreen under makeup
Every sunscreen has its own Sun Protection Factor or SPF, which tells you how long it will shield your skin from harmful UV rays. But to actually get the labelled amount of protection, you’ll need about 1/3 to 1/2 teaspoon of sunscreen for your whole face and neck.
This means makeup that offer sun protection might not be enough—which is why your first defence against the sun should always be a sunscreen or sunblock under your makeup.
I tested the LANEIGE Air Light Sun Stick for the CLEO Beauty Hall of Fame and loved how lightweight and easy it was to apply. That’s why it’s one of the winners of the Best Sunscreen Under Makeup. The angled sun stick allows you to reach the every nook and corner of your face. To get adequate coverage, I apply one layer first, go over it another time and then tap in it with my hands.
Werk it into your beauty routine
Sunscreen or sunblock should be applied right after your skincare and before makeup—ideally at least 15 minutes before you leave the house. It’s best to layer it over an antioxidant serum and moisturiser. If you feel it’s all getting a bit too much, you can skip the moisturiser and opt for a sunscreen like the Sigi Skin Morning Glow Physical Sunscreen, which also won the CLEO Beauty Hall of Fame award for the Best Sunscreen Under Makeup.
It offers broad-spectrum coverage (meaning it protects you from UVA and UVB rays) and doubles as a lightweight moisturiser. Packed with ingredients like acai and avocado extracts, it helps reduce the effects of sun damage. It also has niacinamide that keeps the skin hydrated and strengthens the natural defence barrier. Just be sure to apply a generous layer.
Pick the right texture
Opting for a sunscreen in a similar texture as your foundation will make layering sunscreen with makeup a bit easier. So if you prefer matte foundations, go with a sunscreen like the Supergoop! 100% Mineral Matte Screen Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 40.
If you prefer a more dewy approach to your makeup, opt for the Bio Essence Bio-Water Hydrating Sunscreen SPF50+PA++. Its watery texture layers well under cushion or liquid foundations, and it absorbs quickly to keep skin hydrated and protected from the sun. Plus, it’s suitable even for sensitive skin.
Give it time
Even if you use a lightweight, easily-absorbed sunscreen like the La Roche-Posay Anthelios Shaka Fluid SPF50+, you still need to give it time to set before you apply your foundation. To save time in the morning, I slather on my sunscreen and then either have a cup of tea or start doing my eye makeup. (Tip: sitting in front on an AC or fan can help speed up this process, so you don’t have to tell you boss you’re late because you were waiting for the sunscreen to settle.) By the time I blend everything, the sunscreen has had enough time to settle and I can now layer it with foundation. I also use a sponge to apply my foundation. Unlike a brush, it won’t shift the layer of sunscreen below.
The La Roche-Posay Anthelios Shaka Fluid SPF50+ is suitable for all skin types, but especially ideal for sensitive skin. It provides hydration, offers broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays, infrared A, as well as pollution. It’s safe to use on the skin around your eyes and is resistant to water, sweat and sand. On top of all this, it doesn’t leave a white cast so your foundation gives a true colour payoff.