Many people believe that because they use a moisturizer or foundation with SPF they don’t need an actual sunscreen, but this is misguided. The sunscreen in these products is usually not very stable and doesn’t provide adequate protection. Even if it did, chances are you’re not using enough of that product to get sufficient sun protection.
As a general rule, you should be using about a quarter teaspoon of sunscreen for your entire face and an additional quarter teaspoon for your neck. If you don’t use enough sunscreen you won’t get the stated protection. When in doubt, err on the side of more sunscreen. You must apply an ample and even coat of sunscreen, and give it time to sink in a bit before applying any makeup. (A quarter teaspoon looks like roughly the size of a quarter in the palm of your hand.) This should be the last step in your skincare.
The rule of thumb is that sunscreen is to be reapplied every two hours. If you’re like me and wear makeup when you’re out and about, this isn’t the most practical of tasks. So, what I do is carry Sunforgettable from Colorescience in my purse. Sunforgettable is a brush on mineral sunscreen that comes in a retractable, refillable brush. It’s available in SPF 30 or SPF 50. With 21% Titanium Dioxide and 11.8% Zinc Oxide (for SPF 30) or 23.9% Titanium Dioxide and 24.1 % Zinc Oxide (for SPF 50) it offers true broad-spectrum sun protection. It comes in three sheer shades for light coverage that touches up my makeup ever so slightly. I’d suggest the SPF 50 since the Zinc Oxide is significantly higher. Read more about why here.
Another product I like for this is from Supergoop. This is a colorless, transparent powder called Invincible Setting Powder. It’s also in a refillable brush for ease on the go and touts an SPF of 45. It features Zinc Oxide at 20%. I especially like the idea of this one because it is colorless and therefore doesn’t add anything extra to your makeup aside from a little powdering. (If you like Make Up For Ever’s Ultra HD Loose Powder, this has a similar finish.) I think powder sunscreens such as these are ingenious inventions for touching up your sunscreen throughout the day.
Full disclosure, I’ve never been a huge fan of the brush housing on these, as I can never tell if any/how much of the product is coming out onto the brush, so what I do is dump the powder into a small, empty mineral makeup jar and carry that plus a travel-sized powder brush in my purse. (Possible tip for you should you also dislike the retractable brushes that the powder is supposed to flow through.)
Beware of mineral makeup that claims to have sun protection. If there is one point I hope to drive home: always, always check the active ingredients. If you remember my past posts about UVA protection, the only mineral that offers solid protection from this aging wavelength is zinc oxide. Through my extensive search through various mineral makeup products, very few of them feature zinc oxide as an active ingredient, and if they do it’s at a nominal percentage.
The one exception I’ve found recently isn’t a loose mineral powder but a pressed powder foundation from It Cosmetics. The “Your Skin But Better CC+ Airbrush Perfecting Powder 50+” features Titanium Dioxide at 20%, and Zinc Oxide at 16%. They also make something called “Celebration Foundation SPF 50+” with the same percent of active sunscreen ingredients. If you like pressed powders they’re both high quality, finely milled, silky powder products. The Celebration Foundation has a bit more coverage than the Airbrush Perfecting Powder. If anyone knows of any other powder products with suitable sunscreen actives, please share!
Keep in mind, many mineral foundations and powders will list zinc oxide in the ingredients, but if it isn’t listed in the active ingredients (with a percentage by it) there isn’t enough present for it to be considered an active ingredient (ie. something that provides much, if any sun protection.)
Sometimes shopping online can be difficult when you are interested in active ingredients. For example, I find Sephora is very inconsistent about posting sunscreen actives. Your best bet is to go to the original product’s website for the info when necessary (although even then they will sometimes leave out ingredients or actives in their descriptions). If you’re really interested in a product either go check it out in person (the FDA requires the information be on the packaging) or call the company and ask.
Of course, for reliable sun protection, it’s always best to reapply a truly broad spectrum, stable, liquid or spray sunscreen every two hours. The reason for this is you’re more likely to get ample and even coverage with a liquid. The powder touchup is sort of the next-best-thing for times when that just isn’t a possibility.
Do your best to cover your face evenly with a powder product. Always bring along your normal sunscreen for neck touch-ups and a lip balm with sunscreen to layer under your lip color.
Grab your sunglasses, a hat, and you’re good to go!
**Click on the photos of any of the products in this post to find out more information or make a purchase. I make no money if you decide to purchase one of them, so you can be sure my recommendation is an honest one.