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August 10, 2021

Should you mix sunscreen and foundation? An array of make up brushes with green handles atop a wooden table

If, by now, you’re across the truth that skin experts say sunscreen is the single most important beauty product, then you might have wondered this: Is combining sunscreen and foundation a good idea?

First, a recap. Dermatologists and make up artists alike agree that if you only use one product on your skin, it should be sunscreen. This is because all the cleansing, exfoliating, face masks, moisturising and powdering in the world won’t make much difference if you’re exposing your delicate facial skin to harsh UV rays. As well as the dangers of skin cancer, UV damage can cause premature ageing of the skin and pigmentation. The experts also say that we should be wearing sunscreen on exposed areas of skin every day — even when it’s cloudy — because you never know quite when those pesky rays are going to show up.

So, if you’ve worked daily sunscreen application into your routine, good job! However, if you’re also applying make up, it’s important to make sure your process is all tickety-boo. The last thing we want is for you to stroll out into the sunshine without your SPF protecting you as it should.

Should you mix sunscreen and foundation?

What happens when you mix sunscreen and make up?

When it comes to mixing sunscreen and foundation, the answer is that it’s not a great idea. When we say “mixing”, we mean literally combining the two products into one (some people might do this as a time-saver, or because they like the consistency). The reason this approach can be problematic is, first of all, because it dilutes the SPF in your sunscreen. If you’re swirling sunscreen around with foundation then you’re probably not applying as much sunscreen as you need to properly protect your skin. Secondly, there are other ingredients in your make up —such as emulsifiers and oils — that might interfere with the sunscreen’s ability to do its thing.

Should you mix sunscreen and foundation together? A make up brush on top of a smear of foundation on a white surface

How should make up and sunscreen be worn together?

So, here’s the thing. Just because combining sunscreen and make up isn’t a good idea, it doesn’t mean that you can’t wear sunscreen and make up at the same time. The trick is to layer your products instead of mixing them together like you’re baking a cake. How you do this depends a little on what kind of sunscreen you’re using.

For physical sunscreens like SunButter (sunscreens that block UV without using chemicals), your skincare application should look like this:

  1. Skincare
  2. Sunscreen
  3. Foundation / other make up 

We also suggest waiting at least a few minutes between each layer before applying the next (hey, you might as well use the time to listen to your favourite song, take some deep breaths or dance around the bathroom).

If you’re using chemical sunscreen, on the other hand, you need to apply this first (before your skincare), as it needs to be close to the skin in order to work effectively (however, as we know, chemical sunscreens are full of all sorts of ingredients we probably don’t want close to our skin!).

Should you mix sunscreen and foundation together?


What about make up or skincare that includes an SPF?

While it can be very tempting to lean into the convenience of products like tinted moisturisers or BB creams, there can be issues with non-sunscreen products that come with an SPF. Although some sun protection is better than none, these products usually tend to contain a lower SPF than what is generally recommended for staying safe (SPF50 or above is definitely the go when protecting your face), plus in some cases the sunscreen’s efficacy may be compromised by the other ingredients used in the product.

Where does tinted sunscreen come into all of this?

We’re glad you asked! We created our tinted SPF50 to simplify, streamline and give you the option of a one-stop shop. If you ever find that zinc sunscreens leave a white cast on your skin, tinted sunscreen might blend into your skin tone better while giving you a bit of a glow. Some people choose to use our award-winning tinted sunscreen on its own for a fresh-faced, dewey look, while others pop some mineral make up powder over the top for fuller coverage. 

Plus, our tinted sunscreen formula includes cocoa butter to keep your skin nice and supple, without any nasty chemicals that are going to harm you or the environment — so you can take a spontaneous plunge into the ocean without a care in the world!

Should you mix sunscreen and foundation together?

The bottom line  

Ultimately, the best-looking skin is the healthiest skin, and the healthiest skin is the skin that’s protected from the sun. UV damage can happen on cloudy days as well as sunny ones, so it pays to take a moment and apply your SPF before you leave the house. If in doubt, remember sunscreen BEFORE foundation — and to wait a few minutes between layers.