Should You Apply Sunscreen Before or After Moisturizer?

Should You Apply Sunscreen Before or After Moisturizer? (photo:

When it comes to maintaining the vitality of your skin, following a consistent skincare routine is important. However, it's crucial to apply your skincare products in the correct order to achieve the desired results.

So, the question is: should you apply sunscreen before or after moisturizer? In today's post, we'll explore the right answer to this question and provide additional tips to help you optimize your daily skincare routine for a radiant complexion.

What should you apply first: sunscreen or moisturizer? 

The answer is not straightforward and depends on several factors. Dermatologists are divided on the issue because moisturizer (or any other skincare product) can potentially affect the efficacy of sunscreen.

If you apply moisturizer under sunscreen, it may create a barrier that prevents the sunscreen from properly penetrating the skin. On the other hand, if you apply moisturizer over sunscreen, it may interfere with the sunscreen's ability to interact with the sun.

If you're using a chemical sunscreen, it's recommended to apply it first, as it needs to penetrate the skin to provide protection. However, if you're using a physical sunscreen (also known as mineral sunscreen), it's better to apply it after moisturizer. We will delve into the differences between chemical and physical sunscreen shortly.

It's important to remember that applying sunscreen before or after moisturizer is still better than not applying it at all. Never leave the house without applying sunscreen with at least SPF 30 or higher.

There are significant differences between chemical and physical sunscreens in terms of composition, safety, and how they work.

Chemical sunscreens contain various chemical active ingredients that can be harsh and irritating, especially for sensitive skin. What's more concerning is that chemical sunscreens work by penetrating the skin and absorbing UV radiation, which means that these chemical ingredients can enter your body.

In contrast, physical sunscreen is formulated with mineral ingredients that remain on the surface of the skin. This means that the sunscreen and its ingredients do not penetrate the skin. Instead, mineral sunscreen acts as a protective barrier between the skin and harmful UV rays by reflecting them away. As a result, mineral sunscreen is generally considered to be a safer option.

The Colorescience mineral sunscreen is formulated using natural active ingredients like Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide. Our sunscreen is completely safe for use and is available in various application methods for convenient and hassle-free usage. You can try our Sunforgettable® Total Protection™ Brush-On Shield SPF 50 or Sunforgettable® Total Protection™ Sport Stick SPF 50 for easy and quick application while on the go.

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Is it okay to mix sunscreen with moisturizer?

In general, it is not recommended to mix two separate products together to create a combination of hydration and protection. However, there are certain products that are formulated to combine both components, and in those cases, it is okay to mix sunscreen and moisturizer. For instance, our Sunforgettable® Total Protection™ Face Shield SPF 50 can be safely layered or mixed with your moisturizer.

Nevertheless, it is generally better to apply sunscreen and moisturizer separately, as a general rule of thumb.

Is it important to apply moisturizer before sunscreen? 

It's not necessary, but it is highly recommended if you want to maintain the overall health of your skin and prevent signs of aging.

If you are using both moisturizer and sunscreen in your skincare routine, applying the moisturizer before your mineral sunscreen is preferable. Ultimately, whether you apply sunscreen before or after moisturizer is up to you, but applying sunscreen after moisturizer ensures that it provides maximum protection.

Don't forget to reapply sunscreen every two hours (or every 80 minutes if you have been swimming or sweating). Also, ensure that your sunscreen is still effective if you have had it for a while. Sunscreen does expire after three years, so be sure to replace it as necessary.

Why is it necessary to include both moisturizer and sunscreen in your skincare routine? 

It's essential because they serve different purposes. It's like asking if you need to use a cleanser and an eye cream.

While some sunscreens may contain hydrating properties, they are usually not a substitute for a moisturizer, especially during dry months. Similarly, moisturizer with SPF is not considered an adequate substitute because it may not have the ideal amount of SPF or may not be applied as thoroughly as it should be. This is especially true for sensitive areas, such as the under eyes, which are prone to aging.

How long should you wait to apply sunscreen after moisturizer? 

There is no definitive answer, but allowing your moisturizer to absorb into the skin for a minute or so before applying sunscreen is a good idea. This way, you won't wipe away all of the moisturizer you just applied, and you can ensure that both products are effectively absorbed into the skin.

After waiting for a minute or so, apply your preferred mineral sunscreen gently. The method of application may differ depending on the type of sunscreen you are using. For example, our Sport Stick can be easily applied by gliding it on, while our Brush-On Shield should be applied using circular motions.

Is it necessary to apply sunscreen if you wear makeup? 

Yes, it is still necessary to wear sunscreen even if you're wearing makeup. It is recommended to wear sunscreen with makeup because most makeup products, even those that advertise SPF, do not provide adequate protection.

Our paraben-free sunscreens offer strong, invisible protection, so you can wear them over your makeup or on a bare face.

Read More: How to Get Glowing Skin

Can I wear makeup over sunscreen? 

You should apply your mineral sunscreen over your makeup, just like your moisturizer. It's also necessary to reapply sunscreen every two hours when you're outside in the sun, so eventually, you'll have to apply sunscreen over your makeup.

The Sunforgettable® Total Protection™ Sheer Matte SPF 30 Sunscreen Brush is a great option for wearing sunscreen over makeup. The mineral powder can be gently applied with a brush without disturbing your makeup, and it has a sheer finish, so you won't even notice it's there. Additionally, the Sunforgettable® Total Protection™ Brush-On Shield SPF 50 is available in four shades, has a slight tint, and can be worn alone or over makeup.

When to Apply Sunscreen in Your Skincare Routine

Now that we have established that sunscreen should be applied after moisturizer, you may be wondering where it fits into your skincare routine. It's essential to apply all your other skincare products first, so that sunscreen can serve as your outermost layer of protection against the sun.

When breaking down your skincare routine, the general order of application should be: cleanser, toner, serums, moisturizer, eye cream, and lastly, sunscreen. This applies to both your morning and nighttime skincare routines.

Takeaways For Wearing Sunscreen With Moisturizer 


Wearing both sunscreen and moisturizer is crucial to maintaining healthy and youthful-looking skin. Here are some key takeaways to keep in mind when using these two skincare essentials together:

- Apply mineral sunscreen after moisturizer. If you're using chemical sunscreen, apply it before moisturizer.

- Use separate products for sunscreen and moisturizer.

- Choose a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and apply it over your moisturizer for adequate sun protection.

- Wait only a minute or so between applying moisturizer and sunscreen.

- Even if your makeup has SPF, still wear sunscreen for full protection.

- Always apply sunscreen over your makeup.

- Incorporate sunscreen into the end of your daily skincare routine.

- Wear sunscreen every day and reapply every two hours when you're outside.

By following these guidelines and using a safe, mineral sunscreen, you can protect your skin and maintain a radiant complexion. The commitment is worth the payoff!

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