Are you blending away your mineral sunscreen?

I had a question for myself recently while I was applying my makeup: did I just apply away my sunscreen? Okay, this sounds like a trivia question but well, for a skincare fanatic when it comes to the area of sun protection, nothing is too trivia eh?

I use a mineral sunscreen a.k.a physical sunblock containing Zinc Oxide and because Zinc Oxide and or Titanium Dioxide in a mineral sunscreen is meant to sit on top of our skin to deflect the UVA and UVB rays, it is thus better to leave them “undisturbed” after application. However, many of us do apply some powder or foundation over our face after our sunscreen application and so what makeup tools are better to be used after that – a brush, a sponge, a puff, or fingers? And what should we do to minimize disturbance of the sunscreen?

Using fingers
I know some ladies like to apply their makeup with their fingers. In this case, I would suggest that you dab on rather than blend on so as to minimize rubbing away your sunscreen.

Using sponge
Sponge offers better coverage but I realized that one may tend to use the sponge to blend the foundation on the skin and when that happens, you may actually be blending your mineral sunscreen away. So again, dabbing might be a way to avoid the “disturbance”.

Using powder puff
I actually quite like the idea of puffing powder on my face as that hardly disturbs the layer of sunscreen sitting on my skin. The light puffing action ensures almost no disturbance.

Using brushes
However, most of the time, I use synthetic kabuki brushes to apply my face powder, whether it is a mineral foundation or a compact foundation. The soft bristles seem to ensure that I barely need to disturb my mineral sunscreen that I’ve applied on the face. However, I think it really depends on the pressure that one applies although I usually apply with a light hand and so the disturbance should be minimal.

What about chemical sunscreen?
While I’ve kept my discussion to only usage of mineral sunscreen, you can also apply the same tips when using a chemical sunscreen although the latter work by absorbing the sun’s rays and should be the first thing you apply on your skin even before using an additional moisturizer. However, because mineral sunscreens need to form an external barrier on your skin and hence, it is more important not to rub or blend them away since they’re the last of the skincare products you apply before your makeup.

Applying makeup about 10 mins after using a sunscreen
But whether you are using a mineral sunscreen or a chemical sunscreen, it is actually best to let your sunscreen sit and settle on your skin for a few minutes before applying your makeup. If you can afford the time, 10 minutes or slightly longer is good.


  1. EcoBeauty says:

    eh… what about using liquid foundation/bb cream over mineral foundation? :S

  2. EcoBeauty says:

    (continuation..) do you think it blends away the mineral sunscreen?

  3. sesame says:

    It should not if you use fingers to dab on. That’s what I do with BB cream now. But if you use a brush, like I know some do, then there could be a possibility that the brush might remove some of the sunscreen during the blending. Same for sponge unless you don’t blend but dab on.

  4. Lene says:

    Perhaps a beautyblender is an option too, you bounce on the foundation.. like dabbing ?

  5. pf1123 says:

    Oh my gosh, I recently tried a mineral sunscreen which I got from Paris. It was a physical blocker and water resistant. My gosh!! So difficult to blend. It basically sits on my skin a gooey oily whitish layer. I had to wash it off.

    Sorry for the rant. ?

    Not a nice first experience with mineral sunscreen.

  6. Miss Vinny says:

    Why don’t you try Fancl Sunguard? Currently I’m trying the samples and it’s quite good.

  7. pf1123 says:

    Thanks. I have quite a number of chemical sunscreens to use up. Just wanted to try a mineral one.

  8. Blovetbeauty says:

    Oh no I always rub my sunscreen onto my skin. Thks for the info that dabbing it on is better ?

  9. Audris says:

    Hmm, I never thought about this. I use a moisturiser with SPF (Devita ;))so that sinks in pretty quickly, although I do wait for around 10 – 15 minutes before putting on mineral makeup with my synthetic brushes. As mineral makeup itself contains Titanium Dioxide and Zinc oxide, does that mean I’m actually layering on added sun protection? I guess for those really concerned, a light sheer layer of zinc powder as finishing powder might help too ?

  10. Audris says:

    What I meant to say is: if I’m layering on added sun protection, I guess if I do inadvertently rub away some of the SPF moisturiser, it shouldn’t quite matter that much as I’m piling on more layers?

  11. Andrea @ Mineral Cosmetics says:

    Hmm.. Never thought of dabbing it until now. Thanks. Now I know why I don’t notice any effects of my sunscreen.

  12. sesame says:

    I have no idea what’s a beautyblender. I’ll go and ‘google’ for it.

  13. sesame says:

    Haha…if it’s water resistant, then likely very thick. But you can be sure it works to deflect the UV rays if you apply a thick layer. ?

  14. sesame says:

    Rubbing or blending the sunscreen on your skin is okay, but not rubbing your makeup foundation over it.

  15. sesame says:

    The powder do offer some sun protection but actually quite little considering we don’t apply a thick layer. But it does help to compensate for whatever sunscreen you’ve accidentally removed while applying it on.

  16. sesame says:

    It may also be due to the fact that you’re not applying enough? Or the sunscreen isn’t that effective.

  17. Amanda says:

    This is an interesting post, but how do I know the sunscreen I use is mineral or chemical-based? By the ingredients or what? I am using Shiseido.

    I used liquid foundation, so there seems to be no way that I could use a puff or a brush to minimize the disturbance.

  18. Silva says:

    I never thought of this, but yeah, what if I’m blending it away? Not a nice thought. I apply with my fingers, but I think I might just use a brush to lightly apply it.

  19. sesame says:

    Mineral sunscreen uses only zinc oxide, titanium dioxide or both.

  20. sesame says:

    The thought came to mind cos I was using a sponge to blend properly but I noticed that I blended harder than usual and I might have blended away the sunscreen I applied.

  21. Sun lover says:

    So, I have been thinking about this lately, what if my tinted moisturizer has oils in it (I use the Physcian’s Formula one), and I apply my mineral makeup over-top…is my tinted moisturizer, because it contains so many oils, actually attracting more UV to my skin, and basically undermining the SPF in the mineral make-up….??
    I don’t want to ditch the tinted moisturizer because it helps to even out my skin tone and helps the mineral powder to “stick” better and makes it last longer through the day. So any suggestions of a tinted moisturizer that does not have terrible ingredients but won’t make my skin photosensitive??

  22. sesame says:

    It depends on the type of oils used…some could be beneficial in terms of protecting the skin from UV exposure. You can read this post here for some idea:

    I don’t know about your skin type but one that I used and like is from Marie Veronique Organics. However, I have some readers telling me that they find it hard to blend while others share the same love as me.

    You can find the sunscreen here:,_SPF_30_-_No_Tint

    It contains oil all right but they’re good stuff. I’ve been using like over a year now, toggling between no tint and light tint.

  23. Sophiemom says:

    Hi Sesame, I really enjoy reading your blog and I came to know Marie Veronique Sunscreen which I am in love with – thanks for great recommendation. I use MV sunscreen to replace foundation but found blending difficult. Sometime it would come out very nicely but sometimes it’s so noticeable and fake looking. I moisturise my face and use primer before putting MV sunscreen. I used finger tips before and now I am trying to apply it with foundation brush (traditional flat one). But I am not satisfied with the result that I got with brush neither. I am thinking weather I should try kabuki or stippling brush instead? or maybe sponge? (weather dry or damp). How do you apply MV sunscreen and have you heard any good tip from other users please?

  24. sesame says:

    I’ve found through my experiences with all their sunscreen products are, your face needs to be slightly damp or oily to achieve a smooth finishing. When it is too dry, it will cause some flaking. So I use it immediately after toning. Your primer would cause your skin to be matt I suppose so that could be causing the problem. Another trick is to have damp hands when you’re applying the sunscreen…that’ll help with the blending. Fingertips are best…

  25. Sophiemom says:

    Hi Sesame, Thanks for great reply. Do you think damp hands or face doesn’t change the effectiveness of sunscreen? Just like sunscreen needs to be reapply after sweating or swimming.

    Another question is what’s best way to reapply MV sunscreen? I can get good result in most mornings but when I reapply at mid day my face tend to look stained and sunscreen is very difficult to blend – feels really thick compare to morning. I tried many thing to solve this problem, like cleaning my face with wipe before reapply and using MV anti-aging oil, Avene mist. I’ve tried with fingertip, sponge and brush and reapplying MV sunscreen is quite challenging. All your advice are appreciated. Thank you very much.

  26. sesame says:

    Slight dampness should not affect the efficacy. As long as you can tell you have already applied thoroughly, then it is not a problem. The process is different from sweating or swimming cos you are applying your sunscreen on damp skin. When it comes to reapplying, it’s a bit more challenging. The mist should help as it’ll keep the skin damp but cos you already have a layer on your skin, it’ll mean you’re sort of rubbing that and that’s why it’s causing the unevenness. I don’t usually reapply unless I have to because this is a mineral sunscreen and it’ll remain on your skin until you wash it off.

  27. Sophiemom says:

    Sesame, thanks for reply. Your reply is also very similar to MVO customer service:

    “Unless you are sweating, doing water sports, towel drying or in prolonged extreme sun exposure situations one thorough application should be fine. ”

    It’s my first physical/mineral sunscreen and I have freckles and sun spots. So in order to prevent more of these and any other sun damage I really wanted full protection throughout day. I don’t wear any foundation or power over MV face screen and by around 2pm I can see that tint is quite faded and thought that means face screen isn’t effective anymore…?

    Also I use AHA lotion in the morning which makes my skin more sensitive to the sun. If I don’t need to reapply sun screen at mid day (of course unless I did sweating, swimming etc) that will be really convenient but I just want to be sure that I am getting enough protection especially when I go out for lunch 1pm and visit to bank around mid-afternoon.


  28. sesame says:

    Why don’t you use AHA in the night only? Is it possible? I try to avoid any sun sensitive ingredients in the day.

    Actually based on my experience, I find the best form of sun protection is to protect from within and out. So on top of sunscreen, I always take some supplements that will help with sun protection. Not sure if you read it here:

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