Picture this: You wake up early enough to complete your morning wake-up routine at your own meditative speed. You stretch your arms and legs, slip on your comfiest oversized sweater, and walk over to the bathroom mirror to start your 5-step skincare routine.
But you’re faced with a dilemma more than halfway through it—one that most people can relate to: Does sunscreen come before or after moisturizer? But you’re in luck. We always aim to answer your most-Googled beauty questions, including this SPF dilemma, so we enlisted Dr. Hadley King, M.D., an NYC-based board-certified dermatologist to shine a light on the importance of sunscreen and when it should be applied. (Spoiler: Applying broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher is always a good idea.)
Sunscreen vs. Moisturizer: Which Is Applied First?
It’s understood that moisturizer is almost always the last step in any skincare routine. It’s often the product with the thickest texture, meaning it helps lock in any serums—and “thinner” products—that were applied beforehand. But there’s always an exception to that rule, and sunscreen happens to be it.
“It may be best to apply a physical sunscreen as the final step after the moisturizer,” says Dr. King, adding, “We don’t want the moisturizer to dilute the sunscreen.”
In other words, applying sunscreen should always be the final step in your skincare routine as the everyday essential boasts ingredients that work to protect the skin from harmful UVA/UVB rays. Using moisturizer on top of SPF decreases its efficacy—and we don’t want that.
So, yes, sunscreen after moisturizer, always.
Should You Wear SPF Over Makeup?
Once the sunscreen is secured, you may reach for some foundation or concealer. This a.m. routine shouldn’t be the last time you apply sunscreen, however. And Dr. King agrees, recommending that SPF gets reapplied every two hours.
The most important rule of thumb remains the same, however: Never leave the house without applying one ounce of SPF 30 or higher on the face and body.
Written by Grace Gavilanes for Youth To The People