A Guide to SPF Makeup

incorporating SPF into your makeup
Oleg Gekman – stock.adobe.com

SPF protection is an incredibly important part of maintaining the healthiness of your skin. Sunscreen is the traditional way to protect yourself from UV rays, but it can feel bulky. On top of that, old-school sunscreen is difficult to put on under makeup, can clog your pores, and isn’t usually good for sensitive skin. In the past decade or so, however, SPF protection has come a long way, and you can easily work it into your makeup routine. Brands have even created makeup products infused with SPF protection; so, you can put on a full face of makeup with built-in sun protection. Here’s a quick guide to the different types of SPF makeup you can add into your routine.


Moisturizer is potentially the most important makeup item that you can use for sun protection. For them to be as effective as possible, you have to apply SPF products liberally; you should use a dollop about the size of a nickel across your face and neck. Most people don’t wear that much foundation because it tends to look cakey and fake, so moisturizer can make for a great base instead. With moisturizer, make sure to spread a liberal amount across all of your skin, including your ears and neck, and then leave it for around 10 minutes before doing the rest of your makeup. That way, it can sink into your skin and maintain its protective features even if you move around the top layer while doing the rest of your makeup.


Although it’s not extremely effective when used by itself, adding SPF protection to a foundation does help it protect your skin, so it’s a good option if you like foundation anyway. An SPF foundation will help the most when you’re only going to be out in the sun for a short amount of time during the day, making it perfect for days when you’re just going to and from work.

Lipstick and Lip Balm

Your lips need protection from the sun, too. Lips don’t have as much melanin as the rest of your skin, so they’re less protected against sun damage. You can combat this by using a lip product with built-in SPF protection. Lip balms are most well known for including this in their formula, but some lipsticks will also have SPF protection. Tinted lip balms exist that offer maximum SPF protection while still giving you a pop of color, and many people prefer these to transparent lip balms or flashy lipsticks. Although lip glosses can sometimes carry SPF protection, it’s not necessarily the best idea. The glossy shine can catch the sun and act like a magnifying glass, thereby making burns worse.

Powder Sun Protection

If you’re going to be out in the sun for much more than an hour or two, you’ll need more than merely moisturizer or foundation to keep your skin safe. Experts suggest that you reapply sun protection about every two hours, but that’s impossible to do when you’ve embedded your sun protection under layers of other products. For that, your best option is a powder with SPF protection.

Powder-based sunscreens are the go-to for many people who don’t wear makeup, and they offer powerful protection from the sun. Don’t worry about your look, either; you can find tinted powder-based sunscreens, so you don’t end up with a pasty look on top of your regular makeup. With powder-based sunscreens, the same rule applies as with traditional sunscreens. About every two hours, reapply the powder; most containers are easy to transport, so you can pack them to take with you.

adding SPF to existing makeup
Voyagerix – stock.adobe.com

At the end of the day, adding SPF to your makeup routine is important, but you don’t have to feel like you need to switch to a makeup that you don’t like as much just because your current makeup doesn’t have SPF. Strike a balance by adding SPF moisturizer, investing in a powder sunscreen, and putting on some lip balm over your favorite lipstick.

If you’ve realized that you love the concept of intermingling skin care and beauty, check out Ogle School’s programs. As a cosmetologist, you can learn how to approach makeup professionally, while an esthetics degree can lead to researching professional skin care and combining it with everyday beauty routines.

About the Author

Jeff Chiarelli
Jeff Chiarelli is the Head of Marketing for Ogle School. His responsibilities include leading Ogle School's marketing and branding strategy to amplify Ogle School's passion for helping create future beauty professionals in the communities Ogle School serves.