Is the SPF in your make-up enough to actually protect you from the sun?

Written by Lucy Partington

Freelance beauty editor Lucy Partington is obsessed with all things skincare, collecting eyeshadow palettes that she’ll probably never use, and is constantly on the hunt for the ultimate glowy foundation.

Here’s the real reason why you should invest in a separate SPF or sunscreen to wear under your make-up.

Along with vitamin C and retinol, SPF is up there as one of three scientifically proven ingredients you need in order to make an identifiable difference in the way your skin ages.

SPF has long had a bad reputation as far as formulations go, though. It can be too thick, chalky, greasy and leave skin looking ashy or with a white cast (although, we must say products have come on a long way since then). So, it’s no wonder that so many people admit that instead of having a separate SPF, they just rely on what’s already built into their daily moisturiser, foundation or BB cream to protect their skin. Sadly – and we hate to be the ones to break it to you – that isn’t going to give you adequate protection against the sun’s UVA and UVB rays, mostly because it’s rare that enough product will be applied.

“I would strongly advise against using make-up as a sole form of SPF because we just don’t apply these products in thick or even enough layers to get anywhere close to the level of protection provided by a typical sunscreen or sun protection moisturiser,” says consultant dermatologist Dr Justine Kluk.

Most experts agree that in order to get the required amount of protection from sunscreen, around 1-1.5tsps needs to be applied, which is much more than the amount of foundation anybody really uses on a daily basis. “Instead, make-up with SPF should be thought of as your second line of defence against UV rays once you’ve already applied sunscreen,” adds Dr Kluk. “Because two forms of sun protection are much better than one.”

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It’s also worth noting that, as consultant dermatologist Dr Anjali Mahto explains: “SPF is only a marker of UVB protection from the sun, which means it tells you very little about the UVA, high energy visible light or infrared protection in a product, and these additional light wavelengths may drive skin ageing and pigmentation.”

SPF formulations have come a long way in the last few years though, and actually, they’re much more cosmetically pleasing and tend to sit well under make-up, too, so really there is no excuse not to have a separate product. Keep scrolling to find out which ones the Stylist beauty team rave about.

The best SPF creams and lotions for under make-up

  • Medik8 Advanced Day Total Protect SPF30

    Best SPF creams and lotions for under make-up: Medik8 Advanced Day Total Protect SPF30

    Lightweight and sits well under make-up, this SPF is one of Medik8’s bestsellers for a reason.

    Shop Medik8 Advanced Day Total Protect SPF30 at Cult Beauty, £55

    buy now

  • CeraVe Facial Moisturising Lotion SPF25

    Best SPF creams and lotions for under make-up: CeraVe Facial Moisturising Lotion SPF25

    Affordable and effective, CeraVe’s moisturising lotion isn’t heavy, chalky or greasy.

    Shop CeraVe Facial Moisturising Lotion SPF25 at lookfantastic, £9.75

    BUY NOW

  • Kiehl’s Ultra Light Daily UV Defense SPF50

    Best SPF creams and lotions for under make-up: Kiehl’s Ultra Light Daily UV Defense SPF50

    Non-comedogenic – meaning it won’t clog pores – this SPF has a gel texture and added protection against pollution.

    Shop Kiehl’s Ultra Light Daily UV Defense SPF50 at Feelunique, £38

    BUY NOW

  • Skinceuticals Ultra Facial Defense SPF50

    Best SPF creams and lotions for under make-up: Skinceuticals Ultra Facial Defense SPF50

    Consistently recommended by dermatologists, SkinCeuticals’ Ultra Facial Defense protects against pigmentation, too.

    Shop Skinceuticals Ultra Facial Defense SPF50 at lookfantastic, £41

    buy now

  • Dr Sam’s Flawless Daily Sunscreen SPF50

    Best SPF creams and lotions for under make-up: Dr Sam’s Flawless Daily Sunscreen SPF50

    Part of Dr Sam’s coveted ‘Perfected Basics’ range, this SPF leaves skin glowing and hydrated.

    Shop Dr Sam’s Flawless Daily Sunscreen SPF50 at Dr Sam’s, £29

    buy now

Main image: Getty

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