The Answer To Your Biggest Sunscreen Question

While you technically should be wearing sunscreen all year long, we're reaching that time of year where daily application of SPF is especially necessary. So, as you adjust your skincare routine accordingly, you may be wondering whether you should apply your sunscreen before or after your day time moisturizer. It's actually a great question with a much more complex answer than you'd expect.

According to Skinacea, the proper order is usually moisturizer first and sunscreen second. Interestingly enough, the site also says that you should not actually mix your sunscreen in with your moisturizer to save a step, as this could interfere with the SPF. For best results, the site suggests you wait 20-30 minutes after the last skincare product you applied (i.e. likely the moisturizer) before adding SPF.

However, the website Beautiful With Brains says that the order you apply your skincare products may actually depend on whether you're using chemical or physical SPF. Chemical sunscreens, which normally contain UV filters, need to be in direct contact with the skin to be effective, Dr. Neal Schultz explained in a video for Derm TV, which means you should always apply it before your moisturizer.

Physical sunscreens, on the other hand, contain different ingredients and can theoretically be applied before or after your moisturizer. However, Schultz still recommends you apply your sunscreen first either way for maximum effectiveness. The bottom line: read the ingredients! While this is a lot of information, there really isn't a definitive answer on the subject.

If you'd rather avoid this issue altogether, there are a few great products that moisturize and provide SPF at the same time. Personally, I prefer the all-in-one products to separate ones because it's a heck of a lot less confusing and theoretically just as effective since they are formulated to go together. Here are few you might consider.

1. Kiehl's Facial Moisturizing Sunscreen

Kiehl's Facial Moisturizing Sunscreen, $31, Amazon

Affordable and great for all skin types, you're sure to love this Kiehl's moisturizer!

2. Clinique Moisture Surge Tinted Moisturizer

Clinique Moisture Surge Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15, $27, Nordstrom

Need a little glow? Protect your skin and keep it moisturized and glowing all at the same time with this handy product. Not to mention, it comes highly rated!

3. Aveeno Tinted Moisturizer With SPF 30

Aveeno Positively Radiant Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30, $14, Amazon

Aside from the SPF and subtle glow this product will give you, it also works to correct signs of aging and dark spots.

4. Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer, $44, Amazon

Welcome to the holy grail of tinted moisturizers! This product has SPF 20, provides superb coverage and is perfect for creating the glowing skin you need for the perfect summer time "no makeup" look.

5. Olay Total Effects CC Cream With SPF 30

Olay Total Effects CC Cream, $20, Amazon

Another great product for moisturizer, covering, glowing and tone correcting all at once. Plus, it will leave your skin feeling silky smooth when you go to take your makeup off at night.

Happy shopping! And if you're not currently buying a new SPF moisturizer, remember... sunscreen first!

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