Can I mix sunscreen with lotion?

Have you ever been tempted to mix your sunscreen with your moisturizer or foundation? I know I have.

Finding a good sunscreen is really hard: some are greasy, others leave a white cast. And besides, sunscreen is an extra (but very necessary and one you should never skip!) step in your beauty routine and adding it to your lotion would not only save you time but also make sure you never forget to apply it.

If you’re thinking, “Oh, that’s a good idea, I’m going to try that now” think again. It’s not a good idea. It’s actually a very bad one.

Why you shouldn’t mix sunscreen with lotion

Why, I hear you ask? Well, there are a couple of very good reasons why mixing your sunscreen with your moisturizer or foundation should be avoided.

The first one is that, by doing so, you are diluting your sunscreen. That means that a SPF30 sunscreen, for instance, can become a SPF15 or less. Think about it. To get the protection claimed on the label, you need to apply one teaspoon of sunscreen to your face.

That’s a lot and if your sunscreen is diluted, then you’d have to apply even more cos the lotion you just mixed simply won’t provide enough protection for your skin.

In addition, sunscreen formulations are delicate and some of the ingredients present in your moisturizer or foundation may actually compromise the active sunscreen ingredients, making them less or not effective at all.

Bottom line

Mixing your sunscreen with foundation or lotion may seem a good idea, but it will diminish its effectiveness, leaving your face prone to sunburn and to the damage the dangerous sun rays cause. Not really a risk worth taking is it? ;)

17 Comment

  1. Great post! I never mix my sunscreen and moisturizer :) What’s your take on moisturizers/primers/foundations that contain spf? Many people don’t use a sunscreen because they think that the other products containing sunscreen is sufficient. I personally believe in using a separate sunscreen because I’ve been taught to do so but I’m still not too convinced as to why we need to use two separate products
    .-= Connie´s last blog ..Eyeshadow Primers 101 =-.

  2. Connie, I used to be one of those people when I was younger! I was like, I don’t need sunscreen cos my moisturizer has SPF but after learning more about ingredients and how products work, I think using a separate sunscreen is necessary, unless you’re spending very little time outdoors.

    The thing is that, to get the amount of protection claimed on the label, you need to apply a teaspoon of sunscreen on your face and then you have to reapply often throughout the day. The same applies to foundation or moisturizer. They will protect your skin from the sun but only if you apply several layers (which noone does) and do regular touch ups.

    So, basically, if you’re spending most of the day inside and only go out to walk to your car for instance, using a moisturizer or foundation with spf will do. Or if you can’t apply sunscreen every two hours, retouching your makeup with a foundation or powder with spf, always provided you don’t spend too much time outdoors, will do too.

    But if you know you’re gonna spend lots of time outside, always use a sunscreen. Other products with SPF won’t offer enough protection against the sun, unless you apply a huge amount of them.

  3. i know it’s a bad practice but i have done that. however, i do apply SS beforehand…

    i just like to mix them so the foundation is sheered out and get extra SS. not sure if this was OK but it makes my face less fake looking especially when it’s one with heavy coverage.

  4. All Women Stalker, you’re right. Products that contain Spf aren’t as effective as sunscreen and shouldn’t be used instead of it, unless you spend very little time outdoors.

    As for what the most effective is, it doesn’t really matter if it’s a foundation, a primer or a moisturizer. What matters are the ingredients and method of application. For these products to be effective, they need to contain ingredients that offer broad spectrum protection (like titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, avobenzone, tinosorb and Mexoryl) in sufficient amounts (if they are listed towards the bottom, it’s less likely they’ll offer enough protection).

    Also, even if they contain good ingredients, you need to apply several layers of these products on your face to get the protection claimed on the label. If you’re using a foundation with SPF30 for instance and only apply one layer, you won’t get SPF30, but SPF15 or even less.

    These products can be ok to do touch-ups throughout the day if you can’t reapply sunscreen frequently or for those that spend most of the day indoors. Otherwise, always use a sunscreen anyway.

  5. Jojoba, if you apply sunscreen beforehand anyway, then you should be fine. You still have the protection from your sunscreen and if mixing the two works better for you, then I guess why not? As long as you don’t rely solely on the lotion you mix, there shouldn’t be any problems.

  6. Dao, thick sunscreen is a pain! I guess a tiny drop wouldn’t lower the spf that much, but I’d be more worried about some of the ingredients in the two products to cause problems when mixed. Personally, I wouldn’t risk it, not with a chemical sunscreen anyway. I’d get another sunscreen with a lighter consistency though.

  7. Prettybeautiful, personally I wouldn’t rely solely on foundation and moisturizer with SPF, especially SPF15, which is not very high. And besides, you’d need to apply a lot of product (just one layer is not enough) on your face to actually get the protection it claims on the label. You can still use them, but I’d apply a sunscreen of at least SPF30 beforehand. Unless you’r spending most of the day indoors, other products with SPF won’t offer enough protection.

  8. Anastacia, I’m glad you found it helpful. I’m with you there. I don’t like mixing products together and I do that as littl as possible. I like mixing blush and lipbalm to create lipgloss but I wouldn’t mess with skincare or sunscreen products.

  9. Sherry, I know that’s tempting to do esp if your sunscreen is greasy or dries up your face, but you’re actually making it less effective. I’d avoid mixing the two and just buy another sunscreen that suits your skin and needs better :)

  10. Connie, you’re welcome. I agree with you, a face mist with SPF would be great. Unfortunately it’s not always possible to reapply sunscreen, esp when you have a full face of makeup on, so on those days doing touchups with foundation or powder with SPF is an alternative. It will give a lower protection than sunscreen but if you’re not spending a lot of time outside, it should do.

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