Do You Apply Sunscreen before or after Primer? Question Answered

Do I Apply Sunscreen before or after Primer

Summer is perhaps the most exciting time of the year. The weather is hot and sunny, perfect for your pool parties, beach outing, and other fun activities that would be in prime this season.

While you would want to look flawless to your outing, it must not be at the expense of getting your skin burnt by the hot scorching sun. Your sunscreen should be your BFF during this season. 

However, incorporating sunscreen into your makeup routine can be quite a hassle. Since sunscreens are designed to protect your face from the sun, you should apply them directly to your face. 

You should know that the order in which you apply your products greatly determines their effectiveness. In essence, applying your sunscreen in the wrong order can water down its benefits. Thus, the question arises; should I apply sunscreen before or after primer?

If you’re interested in knowing the proper order to apply your sunscreen and more, read this article till the end.

Do I Apply Sunscreen before or after Primer
Do I Apply Sunscreen before or after Primer

Should I apply sunscreen before or after primer?

Applying sunscreen is the first step to achieving your flawless summer makeup look. As a general rule, you should apply sunscreen before primer. According to makeup artist Josette Balsamo in ”Instyle” magazine, you should wear every other skincare product under your primer.

Also, the pigments contained in a primer can weaken the effectiveness of your sunscreen. 

Wearing sunscreen is an essential step in your routine. It helps protect your face from UVA rays. It reduces the risks of skin cancer, aging, as well as wrinkles. Asides from these, not applying sunscreen is one major cause of sunburns. Trust me, having sunburns is the worst disaster that can ever happen to your skin.

It leaves your skin looking discolored, dry and wrinkled, making it feel leathery.

How to use sunscreen with primer?

Sunscreen and primer are must apply in your makeup routine. While you can apply both together, it is essential to know the order of the application. Follow the step below to get the best of your sunscreen.

Step 1- Wash your face and apply any moisturizer of your choice.

Step 2- Choose a sunscreen with SPF (sun protection factor) of about 15-30 for daily usage. If you would be in the sun for a more extended period, go for an SPF 30-50.

Step 3- Apply evenly to all parts of your face. Don’t forget to apply on your ears, neck, and other body areas exposed to the sun. Your face is not the only part of your body that needs protection from the sun so try not to leave the rest of your body out.

400;”>Step 4- Pat the sunscreen on your face till the skin has fully absorbed it. It would be best if you patted rather than rubbed the sunscreen on your face to avoid irritations. Patting it would also ensure that it is applied evenly to your face.

Step 5- Leave to dry for about 5 – 10 minutes, then apply your primer evenly to your face.

Sunscreen vs. Primer

Sunscreens and primers are two precisely different things. Sunscreen is usually applied directly to your skin to protect against harmful UV rays that cause sunburn and other skin damages. On the other hand, primer is a makeup product that is applied to the face before makeup.

It creates a smooth base for your makeup and helps make your makeup last longer. Your face might feel greasy after applying sunscreen, depending on the one you use. Primers come in handy here as it helps to keep your makeup in place. 

How long should you wait between your sunscreen and primer application?

When you apply sunscreen, you have to wait to let it dry for about 5 minutes before applying your primer. This waiting period is to allow the skin to absorb the sunscreen properly. Applying the primer immediately after sunscreen would reduce the sunscreen effect and expose your face to UVB and UVA rays.

Does sunscreen work as a primer? 

A primer is specially formulated to be directly on your skin to create a smooth surface to apply your foundation. A sunscreen can never take the place of a primer, even if it is in lotion form. It cannot create even a base or block pores for a smooth foundation application like a primer. In essence, sunscreen, in whatever form, cannot be a substitute for primer. 

Do I need to use sunscreen if my primer has SPF?

The simple answer is Yes. Although primers with SPF are excellent to use, they should not be your form of sun protection. In other words, the SPF in the primer is not enough to block the sun’s damaging rays. Essentially, you should apply your sunscreen before applying your SPF primer for maximum protection from the sun. 

Do I Apply Sunscreen before or after Primer
Do I Apply Sunscreen before or after Primer

Do I need to wear sunscreen even if my foundation has SPF?

At this point, I’m sure you understand already that sunscreen is not something you should compromise. However, several foundations are SPF infused, and the question arises as to whether these SPF infused foundations provide adequate protection. 

The answer is a definite no. Although technically speaking, the SPF in a foundation can protect you from UV. It should not substitute for regular sunscreens.

Some of the reasons why you cannot use an SPF infused foundation as a substitute for a regular foundation are;

1. Just because your foundation has SPF indicated doesn’t qualify as a sunscreen.

It would help if you understood that the FDA has strict guidelines on what constitutes sunscreen. Therefore, there is a possibility that a foundation with SPF would not qualify as a sunscreen because it fails the FDA requirements to qualify as a sunscreen. It’s best if you look for a foundation that has a broad spectrum label. 

2. The SPF contained in the foundation most times protects against only UVB rays.

Most of these foundations do not provide coverage against UVA rays that will go through the cloud, rain, snow, your home, and car windows. So if you think by applying foundation with SPF, you’re well protected. You’d be surprised to know that your skin is still under exposure to UVA rays. Thus, causing more harm than UVB.

3. Even if you find a broad spectrum foundation, there is no way you’d be getting as much sunscreen as you need.

To get the SPF promised on the container of your foundation, you’d have to apply ten times more than you’d use on a typical day. Also, you’d still be leaving out your beck, jawline, and other areas that would need sun protection. In the end, there’s no point using it if it would not work.

4. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you reapply sunscreen on your face every 2 hours when you are out in the sun.

It is pretty unrealistic to reapply foundation on your face every 2 hours. Instead, you should start applying your regular sunscreen on the necessary spots before applying your SPF foundation. There is nothing like too much sunscreen. It just protects your skin even more.


Is it ok to put sunscreen over makeup? 

While we advise that you apply sunscreen on your face before applying makeup, there can be instances when you’d need to reapply makeup on your face. It is ok to reapply sunscreen over your makeup to ensure optimum protection from UV rays. 

However, it would help if you were very careful to avoid ruining your makeup. Start by applying a small amount of sunscreen to your makeup sponge. Then dap the sunscreen all over your face. Avoid dragging the makeup sponge on your face, as this could shift and ruin your makeup.


Should you use sunscreen every day?

You must apply sunscreen every single day. It does not matter whether the weather is sunny or cloudy. You’d be surprised to know that the cloud does not block ultraviolet rays, and so even when the sun is not visible, your skin stands at risk of being affected by UV rays.

So if you’re the type that only applies sunscreen when it’s sunny, you should apply sunscreen every day regardless of the weather. It would be best if you go for a sunscreen with SPF 30 and above. You should also note that sunscreen should be applied to every part of your body and not only your face. 

Can I skip moisturizer and use sunscreen?

href=;”>Moisturizing is a part of your makeup routine that you should not compromise. I understand that many sunscreens double as a moisturizer due to their inherent moisturizing components. They protect your skin from harmful UV rays while keeping your skin hydrated.

Most people prefer to use these types of sunscreen and skip moisturizers. While this is great, there is no harm in using both lotion sunscreen and moisturizers. Your skin can never be too moisturized. 

Does sunscreen lighten your skin? 

Essentially, sunscreen deactivates UV radiation and protects the face from damages caused by UV rays. However, it does not lighten your skin complexion. It helps improve the overall appearance of your skin and reduces wrinkles, spots, and redness. Sunscreens do a lot of good to your skin, but lightening your skin is not one of them. 

Does sunscreen expire?

According to the FDA, Sunscreens can last up to 3 years and still retain their potency. You should avoid using sunscreen that has passed its expiry date. Perhaps your sunscreen has no expiry date indicated; you should note the date of purchase to track the expiry date. 

How long does sunscreen last?

On average, sunscreen last up to about 2 hours, after which you should reapply. However, with water and sweat exposure, the potency of your sunscreen would reduce to last for about 40 minutes.  

Can sunscreen remove dark spots?

When sunscreen is applied daily, it can help prevent dark spots and patches and clear existing ones. 

Watch Video | How To Apply Foundation Over Sunscreen


Would you instead plan for your summer body and not take care of your face? Many people forget this and complain about the effects of the sun’s rays. Why not get sunscreen handy and enjoy the very best of summer? As there are no particular restrictions on using sunscreen, bear in mind that it is vital during hot and sunny weather.

I’ll tell you that I have had my bad days too, but I have learned. Sunscreens have now become my best friend. There’s no time you won’t find one in my backpack. I hope this article answered your many questions about sunscreen. Go ahead and enjoy the best there is to summer!

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