Should You Apply Primer or Sunscreen First? (Important findings)

woman applying sunscreen

If you are wanting to apply both primer and sunscreen you might be wondering what the right order is to do it and importantly how to do it.

It’s best you apply sunscreen first and allow time for it to dry before applying any makeup such as primer. This is the best order to do things to stop any chance of the makeup becoming messy etc.

Below we will talk about this in more detail so you know exactly what you should do.

Sunscreen or Primer First

As we briefly mentioned already you should always apply any sunscreen before applying any makeup to the skin such as primer.

The reason why is because if any sunscreen is applied after primer or makeup it can and usually will mess up how the makeup has been applied beforehand.

While you should apply the sunscreen before any makeup you must allow some time for the sunscreen to completely dry before applying any primer or other makeup up. We recommend waiting for at least 10 minutes to allow for drying first.

If you were to apply any makeup while the sunscreen is still drying this will increase the chance of the makeup mixing with the sunscreen and not applying properly.

It can sometimes also lower the effectiveness of the makeup and make it become useless if it becomes too moist.

If you did mistakeably apply primer soon after applying sunscreen it would be better to wipe it off and then reapply the sunscreen and allow time for it to dry before applying any primer.

Primer or Moisturizer or Sunscreen First

If you are also wanting to apply moisturizer along with primer and sunscreen the best thing to do is to apply any moisturizer first. Then allow some time for it to dry and then apply your sunscreen. Again, once the sunscreen has dried you can apply the primer and other makeup and work from there.

If you are not sure how long you should be waiting we recommend 10 minutes of drying before going to the next step. Sometimes it can take more time depending on how much cream you have applied and if you are sweating etc.

If you still feel the sunscreen or moisturizer hasn’t dried then it’s best you wait a little longer until it’s completely dry. This is particularly important before applying any primer or other makeup. That’s because if they haven’t dried it will make makeup application troublesome and ineffective.

What to Do When Reapplying Sunscreen with Makeup

As you might already know if you are planning on spending more time out in the sun it’s important to reapply sunscreen after a few hours to keep your skin protected as much as possible.

Of course, this might seem a little tricky if you have already a full face of makeup.

What we recommend is to keep your makeup to a more minimal level if you are planning on spending more time in the sun. When you do this you can more safely apply sunscreen on top without too much concern of it totally messing up your makeup.

In this case what we recommend is that you use a sunscreen in the spray format like this one. This way you can gently apply a thin layer of the spray on top of your makeup.

Because the spray applies evenly over the skin you won’t need to rub it into your face which would make it much more likely to alter and ruin your makeup.

Makeup with SPF is Good but Not the Whole Picture

When choosing makeup, it’s always a good idea to opt for makeup with SPF included. These kinds of makeups are ideal particularly if you will be spending more time in the sun.

Though you should know that the SPF that is included in these kinds of makeup while good doesn’t offer the protection that you may need that is found in sunscreen.

That is why we recommend using both makeup and primer that include have SPF protection but also to apply a quality sunscreen before any makeup is applied to offer your skin the best protection possible.

What Kind of Sunscreen to Apply Before Primer and Makeup

Sometimes an overlooked thing is what kind of sunscreen to apply before applying makeup to the skin.

There are 2 main kinds of sunscreen on the market. One is chemical sunscreens which absorb into the skin. They are designed to absorb the UV rays and turn them into heat which is released from the body.

The second kind of sunscreen is mineral sunscreen. Mineral sunscreen sits on top of the skin and basically creates a barrier effect that causes the UV rays to reflect away from the sun.

We have tested both kinds and if you are planning on wearing primer or makeup on top on the sunscreen we recommend that you opt for a chemical sunscreen. We find that the mineral sunscreen doesn’t absorb as well, and this sometimes makes the makeup application more difficult and tricky whereas the chemical kinds of sunscreen don’t do this.

We Recommend: EltaMD UV Lotion

In terms of SPF, we recommend at least 30 SPF + for protection. If you are wanting to sun tan you can try a lower amount of SPF to allow for some tanning effect. For the best protection check this article – How to Prevent Tanning.

Don’t forget to check out our round of the best sunblocks – 8 Best Sunblocks to Prevent Tanning.

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