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How much do you care that your makeup contains SPF?

About John

The Triple Helixian is an unbiased science and research-based site that attempts to clarify and elucidate questions about skin care, while aspiring to be the most thorough and complete source of information.


22 thoughts on “How much do you care that your makeup contains SPF?

  1. Hi John, i don’t rely on ss in my makeup. I use the aveda tinted moisturizer which does have ss and I consider it a bonus on top of
    my pc sunscreen. Btw, both of her resist sunscreens are mineral based! I hope you will review them one day!

    Posted by Christi | April 23, 2012, 4:41 pm
    • Hi Christi,

      Yes I know both RESIST sunscreens are mineral-based. However, the SPF 25 one only contains titanium dioxide, which doesn’t provide adequate protection for longer UVA rays (>340 nm). So that’s not an option. Then the other one, which I believe is the hand cream, does contain both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. However, like the Skin Recovery SPF 15 sunscreen, it’s a bit too emollient. It just doesn’t work for me, probably because of the high concentration of palmitic acid, which can clog up oily skin types (ME!). So that’s out too.

      I’m not sure I’ll be doing full reviews on them, but we’ll see. I can give you a quick breakdown of those if you’d like instead. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Posted by John | April 24, 2012, 3:03 am
      • Say it isn’t so re: the SPF 25. I actually made the change to this product from the skin recovery/SPF 15 thinking I would get/need addl protection during the spring and summer. As concerned as pc is with sscreen, I don’t want to believe they would offer something with inadequate protection. I guess I better consider full time use of the hand cream which I was using when I wanted to make sure I had less of a white cast. The SPF 25 has been my sscreen of choice when outside exercising etc so I definitely don’t want to short change myself in this scenario. Would love to get your opinion..thx for enlightening me.

        Posted by Christi | April 24, 2012, 3:49 am
        • Yeah several studies have shown that titanium dioxide doesn’t provide adequate protection against longer UVA rays. I have no idea why PC uses it. I mean I see other brands do this, but why Paula?! But yeah, you should switch to the hand cream! 6% zinc oxide isn’t bad, and there are moderate amounts of other proven antioxidants like green tea. However, there are several mineral-based sunscreen from niche brands like Neova, PCA Skin, etc… that just as excellent if not more so. You don’t have to limit yourself to PC. But if you choose to, the PC hand cream is acceptable for everyday use. Of course if you go to the beach or something, you’ll want something a bit stronger and film-forming.

          I hope that helped. ๐Ÿ™‚

          Posted by John | April 24, 2012, 4:09 am
          • Have to jump in here and ask why she had to make a “hand cream”? I know she advocates using things anywhere, not just the area that it says (eye cream, neck cream, etc.), sooooo why did she call it a “hand cream” then? Marketing I guess. And hands ARE exposed more than the rest of the body (and I know mine do tend to get drier than other parts of my body, too). .

            I’d like to try it, but I think it would be too emollient for me as well…

            Posted by kayley123 | April 24, 2012, 10:25 am
            • Haha yeah! I really don’t mind what Paula calls a product, because I don’t even pay attention to the label anymore haha! Just the ingredient list. But it might be useful for those of us, that forget or are too lazy to use sunscreen on their hands. Like me! But really I’m always using my hands, (duh who doesn’t?!), and I don’t like leaving greasy hand and fingerprints everywhere. I need to just apply it on the back on my hands before I leave the house. *Puts on to do list* xD

              Posted by John | April 24, 2012, 11:16 am
              • Yeah, the backs of my hands get all cracked and scaly, especially in winter. Ouch!

                Posted by kayley123 | April 24, 2012, 11:32 am
                • Yeah I know! I’d hate to have super wrinkled and brown-spotted hands and then have smooth skin everywhere else haha! That’d be so odd!

                  BUT today, before I left the house, I remembered to apply sunscreen to the back of my hands. *Thumbs up for me* ๐Ÿ™‚

                  Posted by John | April 25, 2012, 12:18 am
  2. Hey John, *waves*

    I recently read (somewhere, forget where) that we would have to wear much more (like a teaspoonful or more) foundation than we commonly do to get adequate sun protection.

    That’s one point against relying on it for SPF.

    But for me the reality is that if I ever wear it, it is at night anyway, so pretty darn pointless. The best I manage is tinted moisturiser or BB cream (more hype than help with that product I think).

    It can mess with flash photography too.

    I guess that means my answer is ‘no’.

    I live in Australia, so that is a big call. Sunscreen is essential here, but I just don’t believe that you get enough protection from makeup. I tend to go for big sunglasses, hats, staying out of the sun during the hottest parts of the day and so forth. Sunscreen of course (when I can find a facial one that doesn’t sting) but extra barrier protection is crucial here.

    Posted by Melinda | April 23, 2012, 12:20 am
    • Hi Mel! *Waves back*

      Yeah, I’ve stated multiple times that you have to apply a lot of sunscreen/makeup with sunscreen, in order to achieve the labeled SPF rating. I think in my most recent FutureDerm post, I addressed that by saying, “Why would (you) need a sunscreen when this already provides SPF? Paula is right that the foundation doesnโ€™t contain UVA protection. However, EVEN IF IT DID it still wouldnโ€™t provide adequate protection. Thatโ€™s because the amount youโ€™d have to apply to achieve the labeled SPF rating is much larger than the typical 1-2 pumps used. So unless you want someone to stick a candle into your (birthday) cake face, you need a separate SPF product anyways!” Lol!! I thought that was hilarious.
      Anyways, good for you!

      As for the BB creams, I’ll be doing a post about it, because it just infuriates me that people think they are the best thing since the invention of electricity! Gah.

      And while I don’t really take a lot of pictures of myself, I do agree with the flash photography aspect. So, it looks like your opinion towards makeup with SPF is almost exactly the same as mine! And while I do wear big (aviator) sunglasses, I don’t have a big hat haha! Besides, I don’t want to mess up my hair. ๐Ÿ™‚

      As for sunscreens stinging your face, stick with mineral-based ones. I’d be happy to answer any questions about potential candidates.

      Posted by John | April 23, 2012, 5:32 am
      • How did I miss this! Awesome thanks for responding.

        Ah, a mineral based sunscreen – suggestions (affordable is always nice) would be most welcome. Mess up your hair LOL – do what I do and put it in a ponytail ๐Ÿ˜‰

        I don’t take a lot of photos of myself, but I do deal with a lot of brides to be, so it comes up from time to time.

        Looking forward to reading your take on BB creams, I really dislike the Garnier one and kind of lost interest after that (but I am using it up because I’m not good at waste).

        Really good to learn more about sunscreen – you are great!

        Posted by Melinda | April 24, 2012, 5:00 am
  3. Argh…I think I just lost the entire comment I just wrote when I tried to post it, because WordPress said I wasn’t logged in…

    I don’t generally use more than one sunscreen item–I don’t often wear foundation so my sunscreen is taken care of in my skincare, rather than my makeup. I don’t really care whether my makeup has sunscreen or not–it can’t hurt to have the additional protection, of course, but I don’t really look for it, EXCEPT in a tinted moisturizer. When I do wear any face makeup/foundation, it’s usually tinted moisturizer with SPF.

    My favorite suncreen item at the moment is Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer Oil Free SPF 15–it seems to mattify and I forget I’m wearing it after it soaks in–which I love! It SMELLS and FEELS like sunscreen upon initial application (which I don’t like), but that doesn’t last long. (It’s too pricey though–and I know I’m not getting the full benefit unless I apply it liberally–and it’s not a moisturizer–which isn’t a huge problem since my skin is bit oily–but I usually use a little moisturizer first). I’m hoping that one of the Paula’s Choice sunscreens will work as well and feel as good on my face (it’s really the texture and the fact that I forget I have it on that makes me love it).

    I suppose I could start mixing sunscreens; I’ve been considering it since I read your post on it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Posted by Lisa | April 22, 2012, 11:35 pm
    • Part Two: The one category of skin care that I don’t believe Paula does a great job with is sunscreen! I really wish she had lighter mineral-based sunscreens! She has SO many chemical sunscreens, and only ONE (if I remember correctly) mineral-based sunscreen, which is the Skin Recovery SPF 15 Moisturizer. Through Twitter, she told me that emollient bases help spread the “whiteness” that can come from mineral-based sunscreens. I’ve seen many different formulations that are lightweight, and that don’t leave behind a super obvious white-cast. But whatever. Anyways, I used to use that, but it just was too emollient no matter what I did. She also doesn’t make a mineral-based body sunscreen. :(( So I have to look elsewhere for my sunscreen. Obviously, I love Blue Lizard and Shiseido, but the latter is a bit pricey. Though, no where near as expensive as similar options from Make Up For Ever, MAC, Dior, Chanel, or La Mer.

      As for mixing sunscreens, I feel like that should be a last resort thing. I mean why mix if you can find a single product that works for you? I wrote that article for those that indeed have exhausted all their options like me! But yeah, go for it if you really have to. Let me know if you have questions about what you’d like to mix.

      Thanks for commenting! Fun fact: according to my stats, you are the person with the MOST comments, other than myself of course! Congrats!

      Posted by John | April 23, 2012, 5:16 am
      • Haha, well, I do love your blog and I try to always reply to your thoughtful comments so you know I’ve read them–since you put so much effort into them I feel like it’s the least I can do. ๐Ÿ™‚
        Yeah, the mineral sunscreens do give that whitish cast, but it doesn’t really bother me much, since I’m not wearing foundation, and I don’t think it’s that noticable once it’s absorbed–plus, I’m already pretty pale–MAC NC20ish–so it doesn’t make a huge difference to me. Then again I don’t really look at myself in a mirror out in natural light very often, so maybe the whitish cast is noticable and I just never saw. Oh well. :-p Maybe I’ll take a mirror with me and see. :-p
        By the way, do you know where that sort of signature sunscreen smell comes from? It’s sort of a…coconut-ish scent? From The titanium dioxide/zinc oxide?

        Posted by Lisa | April 23, 2012, 10:00 pm
        • Thanks! I wish every ready was like you. ๐Ÿ™‚ I actually do get a slightly noticeable white cast when I apply sunscreen. Well actually, it lightens my complexion by about a shade. I’m also like you, in that naturally, I’m about an NC20. But with sunscreen on my neck and face, I have to go NC15 foundations. I know, it’s crazy! I don’t really mind, but like I said, people always say I look like a vampire… Though I’m really not that fair. Haha!

          As for the sunscreen smell, you know, I don’t have an answer for you. I did a quick google search and the culprits seem to be titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, and octocrylene. But different sites say different things. I tried searching for some article on pubmed and various journals, and nothing specifically addresses that. Hm, that’s interesting. I’ll ask around and see if I can get back to you.

          Posted by John | April 24, 2012, 3:53 am
  4. I haven’t tried layering SPF products, but I like it to be in my daytime moisturizer because I don’t always (don’t often, actually) wear foundation. When I do wear foundation, it’s usually only a tinted moisturizer–with SPF. I don’t really want to apply a separate sunscreen. So i guess the short answer is that I don’t really care if my MAKEUP contains an SPF; my SKINCARE is supposed to take care of that. Though my current favorite SPF product is actually a primer; Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer SPF 15 (I completely forget that I have it on after it soaks in–it initially does have that sunscreeny feel and scent, but that goes away after a bit). Unfortunately it’s a little pricey (which means I am not applying it as liberally as I should to get enough protection) and isn’t really moisturizing (not really a concern, since I have oily-ish skin–this actually seems to mattify a bit, too, which I love) so I have been planning to try out Paula’s sunscreen products instead and am hoping one will work as well.
    I generally don’t mix my sunscreens though I’ve been thinking about it since reading your post on why and how to mix suncreens. ๐Ÿ™‚ I just put it on last, after everything else has had some time to absorb.

    Posted by kayley123 | April 22, 2012, 11:19 pm
    • Because you seem to have written two versions of your comment when you thought the first one didn’t go through, I’ll just break down my reply into two parts as well! First, thanks for taking the time to re-type your contribution! I HATE it when I take the time to type something, and it doesn’t go through… It’s happened too often to me that I’ve learned my lesson. If I’m typing a comment that’s longer than a few sentences, before I submit the comment, I will quickly copy and paste it into my “Sticky Notes” program. It’s saved me more than once! ๐Ÿ™‚

      My opinion on SPF in makeup is almost the same as yours! While additional mineral-based sun protection is welcome, I don’t particularly look for it? However, I could care less about SPF in makeup. My favorite primer, which I mix with my Shiseido SPF 55 sunscreen, is also the Hourglass Mineral Veil because it’s mattifying, enhances makeup application, and has a mineral-based sunscreen. I agree though, it’s SO expensive. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ It’s more expensive than most of my foundations. Fml? Haha! Part two… next comment.

      Posted by John | April 23, 2012, 5:11 am
  5. I feel like SPF in makeup never works since the amount is so little, and I always wear a separate sunscreen underneath all my makeup, so I’d rather NOT have SPF in my makeup. On the days in which I plan to take photos, having SPF in my foundation or something causes that washed out face look that I loathe… hahaha. That’s why I’d rather have it SPF-free.

    Posted by Michelle | April 22, 2012, 11:11 pm

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