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Everyday Sunscreen: When to Apply & How to Reapply

Wed, 12 December 2012 10:19AM

Is there really a point in applying sunscreen before my makeup at 7am each day? And then how do you reapply if you already have makeup on?

Ooh, this is a curly question. But I’m so glad you asked, as it’s a really important one, too.

First of all, why are you applying sunscreen at 7am? I’m guessing it’s because you’re getting ready for work, right?

Okay so, even if the UV index isn’t that high as you make your way to work, you probably won’t get the chance to apply sunscreen to clean skin again that day (more on how to reapply when you’re already wearing makeup in a sec). So this is your Big Chance.

You must slather your face with a good teaspoon-sized dollop of sunscreen (not an SPF moisturiser, but an actual sunscreen that promises SPF30 or more). Then let it sink in, then continue on with makeup. No matter if your makeup has SPF in it, too.

Now you know you’ve got good protection. And even if you’re walking or bus-ing to work when the sun isn’t super-shiny or glary, some skin damage is possible. And damage is a funny little cumulative thing. So lots of little bits of exposure will eventually make for lots of lines and spots and so on.

Okay, here is where it gets tricky. Because we all know the bit about having to reapply our sunscreen every few hours. But how to do this when you’re already wearing a face full of maquillage? You can hardly nip into the office toilet and re-start your whole beauty routine, right?

Now, if you’re spending most of your day indoors – and you don’t sit next to a window (UVA rays can penetrate through windows, FYI) – then it seems you’ll be safe not to reapply sunscreen during the day. I’ve quizzed enough derms and suncare experts on this very matter over the years to feel fine in telling you that.

However … if you are going to be outside during the day, especially if it’s during that high-UV midday mark, you will most definitely need to reboot your sunscreen. But luckily there’s a super-easy way to do this: mineral makeup. You see, mineral makeup – the good, 100%-minerals stuff – is mostly made from zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, two of the best ‘physical’ sun blockers around. So, the more you apply, the more protection you get. And because they’re ‘physical’, they’re actually best sitting on the skin’s surface, as they work by forming a barrier that reflects sunlight. There are loads of mineral makeup buys around but one of the easiest to use on a work day is a brush-on form, such as DermaQuest DermaMinerals On-the-Go Finishing Powder SPF30, $88, 1300 799 709.

You simply shake a little powder onto the back of your hand, then use the brush at the other end to whisk it all over your face.

Let’s ask the other Primpers … does anyone else have any suggestions for how to wear sunscreen well on a regular office day?

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  • Posted by: Rebecca-1314689428 Enthusiast // Wed, 12 December 2012 12:39pm

    I have to confess I don’t usually reapply during the day, but I work indoors and wear a mineral makeup so hopefully that makes up for it.

    I apply 30+ every morning and I love Nivea Daily Face Veil 30+. It works like a primer under your foundation and it doesn’t feel sticky.

  • Posted by: ATR // Wed, 12 December 2012 01:23pm

    I also love Nivea Daily Face Veil 30+. It takes maybe a minute to soak in fully and then I can go about slapping on my foundation. I also pat it on straight over the top of my makeup if I need a top up and my makeup stays fairly in tact underneath. Love it.Can’t imagine applying extra layers of powder, but maybe because that is because I have dry skin.

  • Posted by: Em // Wed, 12 December 2012 02:39pm

    Thanks so much for your answer Kat! xx

  • Posted by: Beck // Wed, 12 December 2012 03:19pm

    Katrina, if you love the DermaQuest one you’ve got to try Mineralogie’s 100% mineral foundation and finishing powder in a dispensing brush. The product dispenses straight from the brush onto your face, so easy! I Love it!

    Thank you for the info, I’ve always wondered about this :)

  • Posted by: JellyBelly Enthusiast // Wed, 12 December 2012 04:02pm

    I try to apply an SPF moisturiser and then my makeup, which also has an SPF. I find normal sun-creams too greasy…plus I work inside anyway.

  • Posted by: Lex // Wed, 12 December 2012 04:46pm

    I don’t get it, what’s wrong with moisterisers with an sp30 aren’t they just as good as a pure sunscreen sans the grease factor? Have I been using something uselses as a form of daily sun protection for years? (i use olay spf30 moisteriser btw) obviouslty if I go to the beach I’ll use a plain sunscreen

  • Posted by: bluebird Master Fan // Wed, 12 December 2012 04:48pm

    This is something I’ve wondered about so it was great to be informed.

  • Posted by: misschris Master Fan // Wed, 12 December 2012 06:08pm

    I’m so glad I’m always indoors, unless I go to the park or put washing on the line.

  • Posted by: Britty1 Master Fan // Wed, 12 December 2012 06:48pm

    make sure you cover your lips in a SPF balm or gloss. cant forgot the lip care!

  • Posted by: loopylexy Master Fan // Wed, 12 December 2012 08:20pm

    Yeah I’m with Lex, what’s wrong with moisutrisers with SPF? I’m using the Olay one as well… (not a stalker, i swear)

  • Posted by: Alex // Wed, 12 December 2012 09:34pm

    Thanks, Kat. I’ve been wondering about this for a while :)

  • Posted by: PrettyPrincess Master Fan // Thu, 13 December 2012 08:48am

    Peter Thomas Roth also has a nice powder SPF for reapplication.
    I think you need to make sure it’s fine so you don’t start to look too cakey.

  • Posted by: Katrina Lawrence Devotee // Thu, 13 December 2012 09:46am

    Hi Beck and PrettyPrincess. Thanks for the recommendations, they sound great! I’ll have to check it out.

    Hi Lex and loopylexy. Thanks for asking this, I should have thought to go into this issue more. Okay, so the thing is, there are moisturising sunscreens and SPF moisturisers. If you use the former and find it’s hydrating enough, then stick with it – it’s a great two-in-one. However, just make sure you’re going by that teaspoon-full rule (at least – some derms even say a tablespoon is more apt). The reason that an SPF moisturiser is probably not enough is either that it’s not SPF30 or that you don’t apply enough of your face cream to get an SPF 30 protection level. That’s why it’s always best to follow up with a specific sunscreen. What’s more good sunscreens tend to be cheaper than good face creams, so it’s a more cost-effective way to look after your skin.

    Does that make sense?

    Kat x

  • Posted by: anitas.artistry Master Fan // Thu, 13 December 2012 01:13pm

    Thanks Kat, now I’ll hop on off to get a ‘real’ sunscreen to add to my routine, as I’m clearly not getting enough in my SPF 15…

  • Posted by: DebstarDesigns Master Fan // Thu, 13 December 2012 03:14pm

    Like Rebecca-1314689428, I work in an office and have never given a second thought to re-applying my sunscreen during the day. After reading a few comments I will be checking out the Nivea Daily Face Veil 30+. Thanks ladies!

  • Posted by: louweeez Master Fan // Thu, 13 December 2012 09:47pm

    Just to ad to what Kat said…. You will need to check if your moisturiser is broad spectrum SPF 30, it may not be protecting you against UVA (cancer causing, ageing rays) and UVB (burns your skin) it may be a simple UV SPF 30 and not adequate and quite possibly pointless.

    See this classic from founding editor Zoe Foster on how not all spf’s are created equal….

  • Posted by: Katrina Lawrence Devotee // Fri, 14 December 2012 09:57am

    Hi Louweeez. Great point, thanks for adding that. It reminds me: as well as the new SPF 50+ introduction, the great thing about the new sunscreen rules that have just come is that anything marked ‘broad spectrum’ legally must have at least a third the UVA protection compared to UVB protection. So an SPF30 would have an UVA-PF of 10 (an SPF50+, which is actually around an SPF60, has a UVA-PF of 20). Doesn’t sound like much but in the past products could legally claim to be ‘broad spectrum’ with barely more than a scattering of UVA-blocking ingredients. So just another reason to follow up your regular moisturiser with a legitimate sunscreen. Kat xx

  • Posted by: louweeez Master Fan // Fri, 14 December 2012 01:02pm

    BTW Kat, still no SPF 50 in my area. I have shown countless people your blog on my trusty blackberry sales assistants, store managers and even a pharmacist who argued with me saying it’s not true and I must be mistaken. My local priceline manager was the only one who knew about it and he said they won’t be receiving any new stock until July 2013. I can understand though why it would take so long, there are ALOT of products incorrectly and misleadingly branded

    Never fear I purchased some SPF 60+ online ages ago (the la roche posay one you recommended)

  • Posted by: daylight dancer Master Fan // Sun, 16 December 2012 05:54pm

    Great question and ive often wondered this myself. I didnt realise how good mineral make up is at protecting your skin. I just wish it wasnt so costly. The dermaquest finishing powder sounds fantastic!!

  • Posted by: Morning Star Devotee // Tue, 22 January 2013 09:06pm

    I hadn’t realised that there was such a difference between moisturising sunscreens and SPF moisturisers. I’ll have to look into that more.

    I do tend to be inside most of the day while I’m at work, and I use mineral makeup which hopefully helps when I’m outside!

  • Posted by: MissJo Devotee // Tue, 2 April 2013 10:23pm

    I too swear by Nivea Face Veil as Rebecca mentioned. Please ladies, don’t forget the backs of your hands especially if you drive! The sun shines right in on top of the steering wheel, and they say you can always tell a woman’s age by her neck and her hands.
    There is definitely a point in applying sunscreen at 7am, it’s better to have some protection than none at all.

  • Posted by: catn2kittens Master Fan // Sat, 13 April 2013 03:35pm

    I am “lucky” enough to work such long hours that I don’t get any sun exposure – well I see the sun until 8am, but then I’m indoors until 6 or 7 at night :(

  • Posted by: Erin-1312272625 Master Fan // Fri, 14 June 2013 07:48pm

    Ehhh I apply sunscreen if I’m going out but not for work because my cc cream has sunscreen. Thats why I bought it…

  • Posted by: talkalot Master Fan // Fri, 9 August 2013 01:51pm

    I apply it in the morning and with working indoors I do not reapply during the day.
    If I had a job that required me to go outside a lot I would have to change this routine.

  • Posted by: diva89 Master Fan // Sun, 15 September 2013 01:49pm

    great tips

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