Does Make-up Have Enough SPF? Not Really, Say the Experts

Savannah Clark's picture
wear sunscreen and make-up

Everyone wants to avoid wrinkles and sun exposure at the same time, so a lot of make-up companies are now putting SPF in our foundation. This is convenient, but does make-up have enough SPF to count as sunscreen?


Does make-up have enough SPF?

The answer is yes, and no. You don’t necessarily need to wear both make-up and sunscreen as long as you meet the minimum SPF requirements, which is 30 SPF; This will block about ninety-seven percent of ultraviolet radiation. So, does make-up have enough SPF? Yes, in theory.

If it says SPF 30, does it really count as SPF 30?

Let’s say that you have a liquid and a powder foundation that you will be wearing, one has SPF 15 and one has SPF 20. Does this make-up have enough SPF in it? No, SPF does not add up it is only equal to the highest amount, in this case SPF 20. Even then, as much as dermatologist love multi-use items a lot of experts are still saying that make-up does not count as sunscreen, even if it says that is has SPF 30 in it.


The reason for that is to actually get enough make-up on your face to be considered as full coverage sunscreen you would need to apply seven to fourteen times more foundation and powder. That is a lot of make-up and I don’t know anyone who actually wears that much, all day every day.

Error on the safe side

When it comes to things like skin cancer and ageing, it is better to error on the safe side. While there are a few experts out there that are starting to see make-up that they feel meet the requirements, most still don’t. You should still wear sunscreen under your make-up and reapply every two hours. There are a couple of tricks to applying make-up over sunscreen, the biggest one being wait a couple of minutes to apply foundation over sunscreen. This helps make sure that the sunscreen is dry and doesn’t mess with your foundation as you apply it; it actually makes for a great base.

There are two tricks to reapplying sunscreen every two hours over make-up. The first one being: don’t put on any powder make-up if you’re using cream sunscreen. This makes it easy to reapply a cream over a cream and you don’t have to worry about the sunscreen smearing or dragging your make-up. If you don’t like the way your make-up looks without sealing it with a powder, try a powder sunscreen. If you use this method you will need to apply the powder sunscreen twice to make sure you are completely covered, but you don’t have the oily look of cream sunscreens.

Remember, if you find yourself thinking “Does make-up have enough SPF?” The answer is no, you still need to wear make-up and sunscreen. There are ways to wear sunscreen all day and still look good though, you just have to be mindful of how you apply.