How to reapply SPF over makeup (without ruining your look)

After meticulously applying your makeup, the last thing you want is your sunscreen to ruin it.

Written by
Tori Crowther
Medically reviewed by
min read
twitter iconpinterest iconfacebook icon
Table of contents

You’ve heard it 100 times (and we’ll tell you 100 more!), sunscreen is the single most important step in your AM skincare routine. It’s one way to help protect against the increased risk of skin cancer and premature ageing, as well as preventing skin concerns like hyperpigmentation from worsening. 

Although sun protection is incredibly important, we get it, so is your makeup look.

After meticulously applying your skincare, foundation, concealer, bronzer, blush and eye makeup, the last thing you want is your sunscreen reapplication to ruin it.

The good news is that you can actually reapply sunscreen over makeup without it disrupting it. We dive into exactly how to reapply sunscreen over makeup.

Should you apply sunscreen before or after makeup?

Before even thinking about how to reapply sunscreen over makeup, you’ve got to make sure that you apply sunscreen correctly on your first application.

It’s a step that must be incorporated into your routine to protect your skin every single day.

It is particularly important in Australia to wear sunscreen due to high levels of UV radiation and ozone depletion. 

How to choose a sunscreen for your skin type

Before applying sunscreen, you've got to choose the right one for your skin type. There are a few things to bear in mind:

Protection factor

Start by choosing an SPF factor of 30 or above that'll give sufficient protection from the sun (though reapplying sunscreen is still crucial!).

You'll also want to choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects from UVA and UVB rays.


The best sunscreen is one that you'll actually wear, which is why catering to your skin type is essential.

If you have sensitive skin you may wish to choose a physical formula over a chemical one and if you have oily skin, you may choose an oil-free sunscreen, for example.

Combination skin might benefit from topping up with a powder for SPF reapplication to control oil.

How it works in your makeup routine

Relating to the second point, if you wear makeup daily and the sunscreen doesn't slot into your makeup routine seamlessly, you're unlikely to use it.

Find one that is lightweight, works under makeup products without pilling and stays put — all while giving SPF protection. Get yourself a few options to stay protected in the sun despite the makeup you're wearing (or not) on any given day.

Software’s Daily Sun Defence SPF50+ is really easy to incorporate into your routine because it's lightweight, easy to apply and sits nicely under makeup.

Plus, the nozzle applicator makes it easy to measure out your ideal amount on your fingers before applying. It makes regular sunscreen use easy and enjoyable.

How much sunscreen should you use?

During your morning routine, you need to apply your sunscreen before your makeup.

You need to use 5ml for the face and neck, each arm and leg, the front and the back of your body equaling to about 35ml for your whole body. For the face, this equates to about 2 finger lengths [1].

However, if this doesn’t cover your entire face and neck, then apply more; you'll soon get a feel for what your ideal amount of SPF is daily.

4 in 5 Australians don’t apply enough sunscreen so making sure you’re using enough for you specifically is important [2]. 

It’s recommended to apply your sunscreen 15-20 minutes before heading outside. 

How often should you reapply sunscreen?

As much as we wish we could apply sunscreen once and be done with it, you have to top-up throughout the day. 

You should be reapplying your sunscreen every 2-4 hours, more if you’re swimming, towelling off or sweating. 

Sunscreen is only one part of sun protection, wear UV protective clothing, stay out of the sun during peak hours and find shade where possible to avoid prolonged sun exposure.

Can you reapply sunscreen over makeup?

The great news is, yes, you can reapply sunscreen over makeup. And the even better news is that there are a bunch of ways you can reapply sunscreen wearing makeup.

Mastering wearing sunscreen over makeup is the key to keeping your skin protected from the sun's rays no matter the occasion.

How to reapply SPF over makeup

There are a few ways to go about reapplying sunscreen over makeup. 

Reapply your regular, liquid SPF 

If you wear skin tints, you can apply your SPF over the top of it and then simply pop on a little more tint over the top and finish off with powder. 

You can either do this with your fingers, or some people like to apply SPF over their makeup with a beauty sponge (make sure it’s low absorbency though).

Doing this means you’re applying and blending without smudging your makeup. Just make sure you’re using enough for adequate sun protection. 

You can even get a tinted SPF to apply, but make sure you’re using enough of it. People tend to not apply enough sunscreen when in a tinted version. 

Don’t mix your sunscreen with your foundation though, otherwise, you risk not getting enough protection.

If you’re looking to get as much protection as possible, you can get a foundation that also has a built-in SPF, just make sure that you’re not relying on cosmetic sun protection factor alone. 

Use SPF spray 

If you’re wearing a full face of makeup, or are unable to slather SPF on and touch up your makeup, you can use a sunscreen spray.

These clever spray formulas keep makeup intact whilst protecting against sun damage.

Look for a spray with protection against UVA rays and UVB rays.

One of our top tips? Keep your mouth closed whilst reapplying sunscreen in a spray formula. Make sure you're not standing in the wind (otherwise the spray will blow away!) and do a few passes to get the entire face and the ears.

Top up with a mineral powder sunscreen

If you’ve reapplied your sunscreen but now feel you’re a bit shiny, you can add extra protection with a mineral sunscreen powder to soak up excess oil.

However, relying alone on these mineral powders is not recommended because there’s no solid way of knowing whether you’ve used enough. 

Having said that, it's certainly great for touch-ups and is also a great alternative to blotting paper.

Grab a sunscreen stick

Sunscreen sticks are another great way of topping up your SPF throughout the day, particularly if you’re travelling and want something mess-free. It’s also ideal if you want to target specific areas. 

Again, it can be difficult to know you’ve applied enough. Go over each area with a few passes to get even coverage. 

The main takeaway is there are lots of ways you can reapply sunscreen over your makeup look from sprays, sticks, beauty sponges, powders and more.

Choosing a few that work for you is a great way of avoiding sun exposure. Just make sure you're applying your first, base layer of sunscreen before your makeup.

Image credit: Getty Images

No items found.
No items found.
No items found.
No items found.

Real people, incredible transformations

woman with acnewoman without acne
woman with acne
5 rating stars
Wish I bought this sooner
So I’m currently one month into this skincare and it has made such a difference. My acne has reduced significantly as well as my pigmentation. The instructions are clear to use and their other skincare products work great with the custom made solution.
5 rating stars
Only thing that’s worked!
I have tried everything under the sun to fix my skin, noticed a difference straight away with software and was able to get off the medication I was given by my GP, super grateful!!
fine lines
woman with acnewoman without acne
5 rating stars
Life changing!!! Not exaggerating.
I had horrible pigmentation all over my face and after 4 weeks it had reduced so much, and I’m only half way through the treatment! I can finally look in the mirror without disgust. It has made me feel so much better about myself!

The initial process of Software was so easy and straight forward. Got exactly what I wanted. And I LOVE that you can upload photos of your progress. I recommend software to my friends with pigmentation (melasma) too :)
5 rating stars
Saved my skin
Helped improve texture and pigmentation!! Gone from being too scared to leave the house without makeup, to not even thinking about how my skin looks! Couldn’t be happier.
Loved by patients,
backed by dermatologists
91% of patients see improvements in skin texture & brightness*
* Software lifestyle survey of 116 patients who were using
Software for ageing concerns, June 2022
Create my formula
* Software lifestyle survey of 116 patients who were using
Software for ageing concerns, June 2022