SPF and Makeup

June 21st, 2023

June 21st, 2023

Sun damage, skin cancer and premature aging are just a few of the reasons we are major proponents of year-round sunscreen usage. And, while we have our go-to sunscreens, we’ve decided to take a little extra precaution by adding makeup with SPF into the mix. After all, you can never have too much sun protection. From protective lip balms that add just the right amount of hydration to high SPF foundations that offer full coverage, there are plenty of products that fulfill their purpose while also protecting skin from the sun’s harsh rays.

The three real impacts of sun exposure on skin

  • According to the Melanoma Research Alliance over 90% of all skin cancer is caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun or indoor tanning devices.
  • A clinical study commissioned by L’Oréal and released in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology found that daily sun exposure not only damages the skin cell’s surface morphology but also significantly reduces the level of ceramide in the skin and impairs the quality of essential ceramides 1, 3 and 6-II in the skin barrier.
  • Sun damage also manifests in photoaging, or premature aging of the skin caused by sun exposure. These symptoms include: wrinkling, changes in pigmentation, uneven skin tone, loss of skin tone and elasticity and damage to the skin barrier.

However, the Skin Cancer Foundation found that regular daily use of SPF15 or higher reduces the risk of developing melanoma by 50%, and people who use SPF15 or higher daily show 24% less skin aging than those who do not use sunscreen daily.

It’s worth noting that the SPF found in makeup won’t be enough for you to meet the dermatologist-recommended level of protection and should think of it as more of a bonus. It’s important to use a base lay of at least SPF30 before you layer it in order to achieve optimal levels of coverage.


We look at a range of products that can help you layer up your sun protection all year round.

Erborian BB Cream SPF20 (£20.50) is a skincare-makeup hybrid, enhancing skin with a light texture and buildable coverage. It perfects and evens out the complexion without any caking and is formulated with Erborian’s white ginseng complex, based around a Korean active ingredient renowned for its smoothing properties. The formulation also includes glycerine to plump and moisturise and UV filters to protect from the damaging effects of the sun. Available in five shades.

Eborian’s Super BB SPF20 (£20.50) is the ultimate alternative to foundation.  Giving the same sun protection as the standard BB Cream, it also contains 4% Niacinamide making it perfect for those suffering from active breakouts, those who have acne scarring or simply those looking for more coverage than standard CC and BB creams. This makeup/skincare hybrid provides full coverage, concealing imperfections, redness and dark spots.

IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Nude Glow with SPF40 (£33) Colour correction, skin care and natural-looking coverage in the first CC cream to be formulated with 90% skin care ingredients.  This lightweight fluid tint comes in 22 shades and amalgamates medium-coverage foundation, brightening serum and SPF into one formula.  Formulated with humectant hero hyaluronic acid, skin-loving niacinamide and green tea extract, all working to grant a radiant complexion. Thanks to a buildable, medium coverage you can customise your base day in and day out while visibly improving everything from texture to tone. SPF40 protects from sun damage.

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser Oil-Free Natural Skin Perfector SPF20 (£37) Balancing oils but never drying skin, this multitasking formula combines skincare with makeup to provide sheer coverage for normal and oily skin types.  Infused with oil-absorbing powders, liquorice root extracts, vitamin E and broad spectrum SPF20, it is proven to soothe irritation, nourish, hydrate and protect against environmental aggressors and sunny rays.  Available in 20 shades.

Mik Makeup Sunshine Skin Tint SPF20 (£39) A tinted moisturiser that also provides broad-spectrum sun protection.  With weightless coverage, it comforts the skin and imparts a dewy glow.  Available in 14 sheer, adaptable shades and crafted with plant-derived squalane, this skin tint works to boost the skin’s moisture levels.  The antimicrobial glass rollerball and airtight chamber protect the formula from contamination and oxidation.

bareMinerals Original Loose Powder Foundation SPF15 (£29) Made with five clean, vegan ingredients, this lightweight, talc-free mineral foundation provides sheer-to-full coverage and promotes clearer, healthier-looking skin over time.  Available in 27 shades.

Tropic Mineral Foundation SPF (£24) Light as a feather this refillable powder foundation skims over skin like silk, leaving behind a full coverage appearance without any heaviness.  With light-diffusing particles to enhance the skin’s natural radiance, and active botanical extracts such as olive leaf, sea buckthorn and vitamin E to nourish, it leaves skin looking and feeling soft, smooth and supple.  The added SPF protection keeps your skin safe from UVA and UVB rays too. Available in 11 shades

MAC Studio Finish SPF35 Concealer (£24) As far as eye makeup with SPF goes, this is jackpot. With SPF 35 and UVA protection, this concealer will definitely protect your under-eye area – which deserves loads of attention as it is one of the thinnest skinned areas of your body. The coverage is full and long lasting, perfect for day-to-night makeup.

Charlotte Tilbury Invisible Flawless Poreless Primer SPF50 (£40) This research-powered SPF primer is infused with hyaluronic acid. 100% pollution defence and SPF50 to protect, hydrate and perfectly prime skin.  The weightless, satin-smooth texture glides on and instantly absorbs with an invisible finish and soft-focus beauty glow filter that creates the most beautiful, flawless, poreless looking canvas for makeup for every age, skin type and skin tone.

Morphe Sunsetter SPF30 High-Protection Broad-Spectrum Setting Spray (£12). Lock in your look and power up your defenses with this micro-fine, SPF30-infused mist that sets and improves the wear of your makeup while protecting your complexion against sun, blue light, and daily environmental stressors.  The sheer spray protects against both UVA and UVB and gives no white cast.  It is lightweight, oil-free and non-comedognic. An ideal way to keep your sun protection topped up throughout the day.

SOS Long Wear Lip Balm with SPF30 (£16) Lips are the top spot that are missed when applying SPF. SOS Lip is a deeply nourishing and mattifying lip balm with broad spectrum SPF30, that helps to moisturise and protect lips against the harsh effects of the cold, wind, and sun.  A unique blend of botanical extracts including pisum sativum (pea extract) and viscum album leaf (mistletoe extract) deliver lasting hydration whilst helping to repair and soothe damaged skin.

Carmex Cherry Moisturising Lip Balm SPF15 (£3.49) Moisturising lip balm, formulated with cocoa butter, heals dry, cracked lips and protects them from the sun with the added protection of SPF15. Not only is it a great sunscreen, you can wear it after the sun goes down as a lipstick undercoat, sealant or on its on to give your lips a conditioned sheen.



What to Look for When Buying Makeup with SPF


According to Jeanette Graf, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City, titanium dioxide, oxybenzone and zinc oxide are common and effective ingredients added to makeup products to provide SPF protection. Ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are mineral-based and are often found in mineral sunscreens. Ingredients like avobenzone, octinoxate, and oxybenzone are well-known chemical filters that lay on top of the skin and absorb UV and turn them into heat.


Type of SPF

The two types of sunscreens (mineral and chemical) are different, despite serving the same purpose. Mineral sunscreens block the sun’s rays physically, while chemical sunscreens work by absorbing UV rays and converting them into heat. Both types are effective and will keep you protected; however, if you have sensitive skin or are trying to avoid chemicals in your beauty routine, a mineral option is likely to suit you better.


SPF Strength

While makeup products with SPF can offer some level of protection from the sun, they are not enough on their own. Makeup with SPF is a great supplement to your SPF routine, but should not be counted on alone, although it is great for touch-ups during the day.



Subscribe to the Warpaint newsletter here.

Purchase our print magazine here.






Posted In

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

By Sarah Dann

Comments are closed.