We’ve covered sunscreens for all skin types (and even for your lips) along with reef-safe variations to ensure that you’re not killing the ocean as you defend your skin from the sun. But the real question is—how well-protected is your skin if your sunscreen breaks down throughout the day?
Here’s a nifty guide on how and why you should consider reapplying your sunscreen:
Why do you need to reapply sunscreen?
We get it—your apprehension in reapplying sunscreen stems from the gross feeling of layering something else on top of your full face of makeup. After all, an icky finish that’s sitting on our skin all day long is a no-no in our books, but don’t let that deter you from protecting your skin properly from getting a tan, pigmentation, premature ageing and even skin cancer (you get the gist).
A good reason why you should reapply sunscreen is because sunscreen isn’t exactly sunproof. Whether physical or chemical, your sunblock starts to degrade on your skin the moment it’s exposed to the sun. Over time, your sunscreen is pretty much ineffective as the chemical and physical active ingredients actually do its job. Coupled with perspiration and the umpteenth time your hand/hair comes in contact with your face, your sunscreen is going to break down and/or get physically removed from your face.
How to reapply sunscreen throughout the day:
Use the beauty sponge method
If you’re struggling to keep your makeup in place while you reapply, consider this ingenious method by YouTuber Alexandra Anele. In the video, she uses her beauty sponge to reapply her SPF without melting her makeup off.
The reason this works so well is because of the stippling motion she has employed—rather than smearing product across your face (and wiping all of your makeup off in the process), stippling it on with the sponge keeps all the layers underneath intact while distributing coverage evenly.
All you’ll need post-reapplication is a small touch-up here and there, and you’re good to go!
Try: Tarte Quickie Blending Sponge
Use a spray-on sunscreen
Mist your face up with a dose of SPF if you’re not keen on slathering liquid sunscreen over your makeup. Remember that you’re not just spritzing a mid-day refresher all over your skin—you’ll need a generous amount (read: between seven to ten spritzes would suffice) to ensure your skin is evenly protected, and make sure to gently pat the formula instead of rubbing it all over your skin.
Tip: Look out for a formula that’s packed with skin nourishing and hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, red algae and vitamin C/E.
Try: Soleil Toujours Organic Sheer Sunscreen Mist SPF 50
Glide it on
Before you cringe at the prospect of gliding on a sunblock stick all over your skin, hear us out. This is a handy tip for those who go without foundation on most days, or if you’re wearing minimal makeup out. Instead of getting your hands messy as you reapply sunscreen, use a sunscreen stick that’s transparent and perfect for touch ups, like Shiseido’s new skincare-infused sunscreen. The best part? It reacts positively to sweat/water on contact, which actually fuels its efficacy.
Try: Shiseido Clear Stick UV Protector
“Set” your makeup while protecting your skin at the same time
A sunscreen powder is a skin saviour at times like these, especially if your oily skin isn’t partial to liquid/spray-on formulations. Opt for a powder formula to give your skin a mattifed finish—we like Supergoop!’s two-in-one setting powder that allows you to seal your makeup, control shine and protect skin from the damaging effects of UVA/UVB rays as well. Just tap and brush the powder all over your skin to let it do its job.
Try: Supergoop! Invincible Setting Powder SPF 45
Swap your chemical sunscreen for a mineral sunscreen
Since you already have a layer of makeup on, it’ll be almost impossible for chemical sunscreens to absorb well into your skin and protect it from UV radiation. Go for your physical sunscreens if you’re looking for a more effective way to block out the sun rays—after all, it creates a literal barrier (usually with zinc oxide and titanium oxide) to prevent the UVA and UVB rays from damaging your skin.
Try: Clinique Even Better City Block Anti-Pollution SPF40/PA+++
You may not need to reapply sunscreen if…
… you never leave the house without sunscreen (no less than SPF30) and base/complexion makeup with added UV protection on the daily.
Good news—if your unprotected skin takes a while to turn pink (burn, basically) under the sun, chances are your sun protection will last longer.
Here’s how you can tell: if your skin (sans sunscreen) usually takes 15 minutes to start turning pink/red while it’s exposed to the sun, multiply 15 with the SPF rating of your sunscreen and you’ll have your total minutes of sun protection.
So, if a sunblock with SPF50++++ is your mainstay, you’ll be scoring 750 minutes of sun protection (that clocks up to 12 and a half hours), and that’s not inclusive of the SPF in your base/complexion makeup.
That said, you should definitely abide by the two-hour reapplication rule if you’re swimming or working up a sweat.
In a nutshell, go by these cardinal SPF rules:
- Primers, moisturisers, foundations and other makeup/skincare items that have UV protection are not enough to shield your skin from the sun rays
- Always layer your sunscreen on top of your skincare, right before your makeup application—one can never get ‘enough’ of sun protection
- Look out for “broad-spectrum” in your sunscreen label. This means that it will be able to protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays—the former causes your skin to tan, while the latter is what gives your skin a sunburn
For more SPF stories, click here.
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