SPF Problem: How Do I Reapply Sunscreen Over Makeup?

by | Jul 28, 2022

This is the third SPF problem in my little mini-catalogue of sunscreen issues and it’s the one that seems to frustrate people the most: how on earth do you reapply sunscreen over makeup?

I have two good options below. My first thought, though, is this: if you’re doing an activity that requires a full face of makeup, it’s unlikely you’re going to be in full sun, without shade, for the entire day. Of course there must be the odd scenario, but I struggle to think of many where your face will be getting a full solar battering and where full makeup is required and where it’s not possible to wear a hat. Usually someone who works outside for long periods will be used to protecting themselves with clothing/hat/sunglasses and if it’s an event like a wedding or outdoor party then there will normally be some shade.

Related Read: Sunscreen Breaks Me Out

However, I’m well aware that there’s the impromptu al fresco lunch to navigate, or drinks after work in the pub garden, or people who like to spend all day outdoors and hate hats, or have to spend all day outdoors and love wearing full makeup, and for those situations the top-up ideas below are great. Just try and use common sense, protect your face physically as much as you can (wear a hat, seek shade) and remember that ultimately sun safety trumps makeup.

SPF Problem: How Do I Reapply Sunscreen Over Makeup?

So here’s the age-old problem. You carefully apply a full face of makeup over your sunscreen in the morning but at lunchtime you quite fancy a glass of wine with friends, outside on the terrace. Do you need more sunscreen? Has your initial application still got any life in it? You’re not sure. But in no way, shape or form are you going to take off your makeup, reapply sunscreen and do your face all over again. Just not feasible. So how do you top up your sunscreen?

1 – With a mist.

La Roche-Posay’s Anti-Shine SPF50 Mist* is brilliant. It was one of the first mists of this kind to the market and is still one of the best. It truly is invisible on the skin and acts as a sort of setting spray for sweaty makeup that’s started to move. So if you wanted to revive a full face of makeup that’s had a bit of a party on your face then you could give it a buff with a big foundation brush, maybe add an extra dash of bronzer and then spray the whole thing liberally with the LRP Mist.

Kate Somerville’s Soft Focus Makeup Setting Spray SPF50 (here* online) is the pricier, slightly more glamorous older sister – note that it’s marketed as a makeup product and not as a dedicated SPF. I think that this is wise because you actually have to spray a lot of these sunscreen sprays onto your face to get the stated protection…and most people won’t do that. Most people will do a cursory spritz and be done. (Also, I do feel that a lot of sunscreen mist ends up in the air. Or your hair. Or on your office chair, or bed, or carpet.)

Read: Sunscreen Stings My Eyes

Which is why I wouldn’t rely on a facial SPF mist for my full sunscreen application, I only use it as a top-up if I feel as though the protection of my dedicated sunscreen might have waned a bit and I want to be extra sure I’m not going to burn.

But it’s invaluable as this bit of extra insurance if you find yourself having an impromptu bit of frolicking in the sunshine. It doesn’t mess with your makeup – if anything it keeps it in place – and it’s quick and easy to apply.

Buy La Roche-Posay Anti-Shine SPF50 Mist*

2 – With a tinted sunscreen.

If your SPF is your makeup base then there’s no issue with reapplying it. You just bosh your tinted sunscreen on over the top of the last stuff, with the added bonus that your new makeup looks fresh and dewy and just-done.

But tinted sunscreen hasn’t been that great an option until recently. Shades have been limited and usually the coverage isn’t quite enough to replace wearing a makeup base. If you go down the CC Cream or tinted moisturiser route then it’s often difficult to apply enough of that sort of product to get the stated SPF – you naturally use a much thinner coat of it because, well, it’s makeup.

Australian sunscreen brand Ultra Violette have an excellent new tinted sunscreen called the Dream Screen Tinted Veil (here online*) – I personally think it’s quite a gamechanger. Firstly, you can easily apply the recommended amount to get the stated SPF50 protection (1/4 teaspoon for face, or 1/2 teaspoon for face and neck) and even in quantities more than this it never looks claggy or overdone. Secondly, it layers up beautifully and actually gives okay coverage. It’s light, it won’t obliterate dark circles, but it does the trick for adding some warmth and making skintone slightly more even.

The Tinted Veil comes in fifteen shades (I wear 4 but would most likely be shade 3 through the winter), all of them flexible in that they will sheer out to suit a number of tones. It’s oil-free, fragrance free, suits all skin types and gives very high protection from UVA and UVB rays. I like everything about this little SPF50 and have been wearing it daily, no other face base on top.

Shop Ultra Violette Tinted Veil here*

Any more sunscreen problems? Let me delve through my product collection and try to find you some answers – just drop me a comment below!


  1. Never heard of applying sun screen over makeup. I learned something new from this post today. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. Hi,

    Great work on this, I get asked regularly by my customers how they can reapply SPF during the day and you’ve suggested some real problem solvers!

    Keep up the great work!

  3. Thanks for sharing. This is something that I really need to do!

    Danielle | thereluctantblogger.co.uk

  4. I like using a makeup sponge and dabbing one of these hydrating Asian sunscreen formulas on with it. Adds a little luminosity and sun protection.
    Mists never worked for me, I feel they go everywhere except for where I want them to be.

  5. I appreciate the spf reviews. I live in Texas so using a spf is crucial! It is a shame that I cannot purchase Ultra Violette in the States.

    One thing I wanted to mention is that I have used Kates spf setting spray. I do caution those that want to try it as it has a strong lavender scent. I enjoy scented products but lavender is t one of them.

    • Yes you’re right Tracy, thanks for flagging that!

  6. Great post thanks! What shade of the sunscreen tint do you wear?

    • Shade 4! Will add to post, thank you x


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