SPF. Sensible, essential and non-negtotiable. So says journalist Anna Hunter this week in her round up of the new, non-greasy, innovative formulations that are making sunscreen easier than ever to adapt into your daily routine.
Keep reading below for my full interview with Get The Gloss about SPF makeup. To see my quotes in the article, including product recommendations, click here.
If you want to wear makeup as your sole form of SPF, what should you look out for?
I would strongly advise against using makeup as your sole form of SPF. We just don’t apply these products in a thick or even enough layer to get anywhere close to the level of protection provided by a typical sunscreen or sun protection moisturiser. Instead, makeup with SPF should be thought of as your second line of defence against UV rays once you’ve already applied sunscreen because two forms of sun protection are better than one.
After cleansing, apply a broad spectrum (UVA/ UVB) sun protection moisturiser with SPF30 or higher to your face, ears, neck and chest. If you’re prone to breakouts, pick a non-comedogenic formulation that won’t clog your pores. Follow with an SPF-containing foundation or powder, depending on how much coverage you’re looking for. If you’re dashing in and out of the office during the day, remember to top up regularly.
Would you have to wear a heavy layer or more than you might normally for adequate SPF protection?
You would need to apply several times the normal amount of foundation, for example, to get anywhere near the level of protection stated on the bottle. Most of us just don’t want to put that amount of makeup on because it wouldn’t look good.
Would you need to reapply SPF makeup throughout the day?
Yes. If you’re exposing your skin to the sun, particularly between 11am and 3pm when it’s directly overhead, it is essential to top up your sun protection every couple of hours.
Is there a formula that works best in terms of SPF protection (powder, liquid, solid)? Are SPF powders safe?
To the best of my knowledge, there haven’t been any head to head studies published in the medical literature comparing the levels of sun protection from different types of foundation. I would therefore choose whichever formula or texture you prefer, provided you have already applied a dedicated sun protection product underneath.
The challenge with powders is applying enough to get adequate protection. They are certainly convenient for top-ups, particularly in those who don’t like to wear heavy makeup and may also help soak up sweat that can cause your SPF to wear off, but shouldn’t be relied upon on their own.
In terms of safety, skincare products are subject to rigourous scientific testing before becoming commercially available. If there is a concern about the ongoing safety of a particular type of product or research points to new health concerns, they are usually withdrawn pretty quickly. It would seem sensible to stick with reputable brands who specialise in sun protection and have a good track record for safety when selecting your products.
Do you have any favourite SPF base makeup that you would recommend?
Heliocare oil free compact SPF50
Colorescience Sunforgettable SPF30 or SPF50
Garnier Ambre Solaire nourishing lip protection stick SPF20
In terms of SPF in other makeup, what should you look out for when buying a lipstick/ lip balm/ under eye concealer etc?
For lip protection, your best bet is a clear lip balm or stick with the highest SPF that you can find. Most of those currently available are SPF15-20. If you can’t bear the thought of going without lip colour, apply your ordinary lipstick on top of the SPF balm, allowing a few minutes for it to soak in, or use the SPF lip balm as a type of gloss on top.
My thoughts about eye shadows, concealers and other types of makeup with SPF are that they aren’t be applied in a thick enough layer to give any meaningful protection on their own so they must always be used as well as sunscreen, not instead of, and simply be considered a boost to whatever protection is already in place.