Without a doubt, one of the most important ways to keep skin looking its best is to wear a sunscreen rated SPF 30 or higher every day. Sunscreen application should be the last step in your morning skincare routine; but, if you’re going to be outdoors for more than two hours, it needs to be reapplied to maintain protection.

Reapplication is important, but what if you’re wearing makeup? How do you maintain your SPF without ruining your look? It’s easier than you think, although in some cases you might have to get a little creative.

How to Reapply Sunscreen Over Makeup

The easiest way to apply additional SPF after you’ve applied makeup is to use makeup products that also contain SPF. A setting powder with sunscreen is the most straightforward way to do this. Such powders carry additional benefits, too. For example, if you have oily skin, it’s a good way to blot shine, and if your skin is dry or normal, it can help prevent creasing and make your foundation and concealer last longer. Talk about a win-win!

If you use a liquid or cream foundation with SPF, you can do a spot reapplication using a sponge. Take care just to dab the foundation where you need extra sun protection; don’t rub or blend excessively, as that will disrupt the makeup you’ve already applied.

If you don’t like the idea of applying more foundation, try reapplying your sunscreen the same way—dabbed on carefully, with a sponge—essentially pressing it in to skin instead of rubbing. Of course, not all sunscreen formulas will lend themselves to this type of application, so experiment to see if this might be an option for you.

Spray sunscreens are another option for adding SPF over your makeup. There are a growing number of makeup setting sprays with SPF available, and there’s no shortage of regular spray-on sunscreens. If you want to go this route, select a dry-finish formula; anything too wet and your makeup will melt off in a matter of seconds.

One note: Many spray sunscreens contain SD or denatured alcohol, which is not good for skin. This issue is mitigated somewhat by the fact that your foundation serves as a barrier of sorts between your skin and the alcohol, so the risk of irritation is significantly minimized compared to applying it to bare skin. But be careful: You still want to close your eyes and hold your breath when touching up with this type of spray.

All the tips above are excellent ways to maintain your sun protection during long days outdoors—without having to remove your makeup and start all over again!

References for this information:
The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, January 2013, pages 16–26
Indian Journal of Dermatology, September-October 2012, pages 335–342
Photochemistry and Photobiology, March-April 2011, pages 457–460
The Journal of Dermatology, November 2009, pages 597–591