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Should You Use Face Moisturizer Before or After Sunscreen?

by Ella Goodman 15 Sep 2023

Hey sunshine!

Ready to glow up and dive deep into the mysterious realms of skin care?

We've all been there: standing in front of the mirror, moisturizer in one hand, sunscreen in the other, confused as a cat at a dog convention.

Which one goes first? Does it even matter? What day of the week is it?

Buckle up, buttercup, ‘cause we’re about to answer those burning questions in the chillest way possible.

And by the end of this read, your face is gonna thank you!

Moisturizer vs. Sunscreen: The Epic Battle

Just kidding! There's no battle. It's all about teamwork. But let's spill the tea.

The Marvelous Science of Moisturizing

Ever wondered why desert soil cracks? Lack of hydration, darling!

Now, imagine your skin as that lush garden. To keep those petunias (or pores) perky, we must hydrate.

  • Cellular Chit-Chat: At the cellular level, hydration aids cell turnover. Meaning, fresh cells come to the party, keeping your skin radiant.
  • Barrier Boosting: Hydrating also strengthens the skin's natural barrier. The stronger it is, the harder for pollutants and toxins to crash your skin's party.
  • Elastic Fantastic: Elastin, the protein that keeps our skin flexible, thrives in a hydrated environment. More moisture = more bounce! Think trampoline-level bounce, not jelly-on-a-plate wobble.
  • Emotion Ocean: Think of your skin as an emotional teenager. When it's dehydrated, it can overproduce oils as a rebellious act, leading to pesky breakouts. Keep it happy with consistent hydration.

Skincare gem: Hydration is the key to the fountain of youth. Keeping that face moisturized locks in your skin’s natural elasticity and glow, and we're here for that ageless magic!

The Spectacular Spectrum of Sun Blocking

If your skin is the kingdom, then the sun, although benevolent at times, can also play the villain with those treacherous UV rays.

  • Alpha and Beta Baddies: UV rays come in two primary flavors, UVA and UVB. While UVA ages the skin (think "A" for aging), UVB burns it (and "B" for burning). Both are like those uninvited guests at your party – you don’t want them around!
  • DNA Defenders: On a microscopic level, our DNA can get damaged by these rays, leading to – cue dramatic music – premature aging and, in worse cases, skin cancers. Sunscreens act as guardians, keeping the DNA knights in shining armor.
  • Blue Light Brigade: Surprised? It's not just the sun. Digital screens emit blue light, another troublemaker for our skin. Some sunscreens offer protection against this sneaky nemesis, too!
  • Reflect vs. Absorb: Here's a fun fact: sunscreens either reflect the harmful rays (like a mirror) or absorb them, changing these rays into harmless heat. Science? More like magic!

Sun-kissed tip: Consistent sun protection is the unsung hero of ageless beauty. It’s not just for those beach days; it's an everyday suit of armor against the world.

The Order of Things: Drumroll Please...

Okay, skincare rockstars, let’s talk order of operations.

Picture it: It's prom night. Who do you let loose with on the dance floor first? Your besties who've been with you through thick and thin (that's your moisturizer, folks!), or the big bro who's there to make sure nobody steps on your toes (that would be your sunscreen)?

1. The Moisturizing Maestro

Why Moisturizer First?

  • Deeper Connections: Moisturizer isn't just for the surface game; it plays the long one, reaching deep into the epidermis layers. It's like inviting your soul sisters over before the big bash. They help set the tone, understand the vibe, and get deep with you. In skin language, moisturizers carry active ingredients deep into your skin layers, ensuring they're nourished from the inside out.
  • Serving Base Realness: Think of moisturizers as the primer before the main act. They ensure your skin is hydrated, which allows for a smoother base. A hydrated skin is like a perfectly laid out canvas ready to take on more. Ready for the next step? Bring out the bodyguards!
  • Balance Beam: The hydration from your moisturizer ensures your skin’s pH levels are balanced and ready. Without a moisturizer, skin could be too oily or too dry, making it harder for the next layer of protection to set in place properly.
  • Hydration Hack: For the best moisturizing results, apply it on damp skin. It’s like locking in the natural moisture your skin just received from cleansing or a shower. Boom, hydration maximized!

2. The Sunscreen Sentinel

Why Sunscreen After?

  • Guard Duty: Sunscreen's primary role is protection. If it sinks too deep, it might not be as effective in shielding you from those harsh UV rays. Remember, sunscreen needs to act as the bouncer at the club's entrance, not get lost mingling inside.
  • Lock and Seal: Once your moisturizer has done its job hydrating and nourishing, sunscreen acts as a sealing layer. It's like that final coat of varnish on a piece of art, protecting it from external elements.
  • Layer Logic: On a microscopic level, the molecules in sunscreen are designed to either reflect or absorb harmful UV rays. If buried beneath the moisturizer, it can't perform its job to the max. It’s like asking your big bro to watch over you while he's in a different room - not very effective, right?
  • Sun-tip: For sunscreen to be truly effective, you've got to apply a generous layer! No skimping here. Imagine he's your ever-watchful, ever-present big bro. He's gotta have full view to keep you safe!

Blend it Beautifully: The Perfect Pairing

So, in our skincare ballad, the moisturizer sets the stage, making sure every nook and cranny of your skin is prepped and ready.

Then, in sweeps the sunscreen, our valiant protector, ensuring that the evils of UV don’t rain on our parade.

Together, they're the power couple of skincare. They've got your back (and front, and sides... you get the gist!).

FAQs - Because You're Not Alone in the Confusion

Q: Can I mix my moisturizer and sunscreen together for a quick fix?

A: Alright, listen up, skincare enthusiasts! While it might be tempting to mix that lush moisturizer with your superhero sunscreen for a swift one-and-done deal, hold up! Let's dissect the why:

  • Consistency is Key: Moisturizers and sunscreens have different formulations and textures. When mixed, they may not blend well, leading to patchy application. And honey, patchiness is for leopard prints, not your face!
  • The Science Scoop: Sunscreens are designed to sit atop the skin, forming a protective shield against UV rays. Mixing them with moisturizers can dilute their protective properties. Imagine watering down your coffee - you still get the flavor, but it's just not as potent.
  • Verdict: Keeping them separate ensures that each product works at its max potential. So, apply them sequentially and let both shine in their full glory.

Q: How long should I wait between the two?

A: The golden question! Here's the low-down:

  • Absorption Action: After applying moisturizer, your skin needs time to absorb all that hydrating goodness. If you rush and layer sunscreen immediately, you risk smudging your moisturizer or even wiping it off.
  • Breathing Space: Offering your skin a brief pause (think 5-10 minutes) post-moisturizing allows the ingredients to penetrate and work their magic. It’s like marinating your favorite dish – it needs time to soak in the flavors.
  • Verdict: Settle down, sip your morning coffee or dance to a quick tune, then apply sunscreen. It's worth the wait!

Q: What if my makeup has SPF?

A: Look, we love multitaskers. A lipstick that doubles as a blush?

Yes, please! But when it comes to SPF in makeup, there are some things to note:

  • Quantity Matters: You might generously apply sunscreen (as you should), but do you apply your foundation or BB cream in the same quantity? Probably not. And, to get the full SPF benefit from makeup, you'd have to lay it on thick – like, birthday-cake-frosting thick.
  • Coverage Concerns: Sunscreen needs to cover all exposed areas evenly. With makeup, we often miss spots like the hairline or under the eyes. Missed spots = missed protection.
  • Reapplication Revelation: Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours, especially if you're outdoors. Reapplying a thick layer of foundation every two hours? Sounds cakey.
  • Verdict: SPF in makeup is a fab bonus, like that surprise fry at the bottom of your takeout bag. But it’s not enough on its own. Think of it as your backup dancer, not the main act. Stick to the real deal sunscreen for the spotlight.

Moisturizer and SPF, Tailored to Your Busy Lifestyle

On the Beach

Ah, the tantalizing call of the waves! But the beach isn't just bikinis and pina coladas.

  • Deep Dive: Salty seawater can act like a dehydrator, zapping your skin of its moisture.
  • Fashion Forward Fix: Post a luxuriously hydrating moisturizer, strut out with a water-resistant sunscreen, boasting an SPF of 30 or higher. The goal? Capturing those mermaid aesthetics without the crustacean consequences. Glide, don’t fry!

Mountain Hiking

Mountaineering might be about the thrill, but those UV rays? They're getting a natural "boost."

  • Elevated Insights: For every 1,000 feet you ascend, UV exposure increases by 4-5%. Thinner air, fewer barriers!
  • Fashion Forward Fix: Lace up with a moisturizer that combats mountain dryness. Follow this with a sunscreen championing both UVA (the aging culprits) & UVB (the burn bandits) protection. Aim for an SPF higher than you’d use at sea level. Scale those heights, but keep the burns low!

Office Days

Those fluorescent lights and windows aren't as innocent as they seem.

  • Indoor Intel: Windowpanes might ward off most UVB rays, but UVA rays play the long game, easily penetrating glass.
  • Fashion Forward Fix: Own the office space with a moisturizer that fights off AC-induced dryness. Don your armor of a lightweight sunscreen, preferably one that also offers protection against blue light emitted from screens. Work it while you work!

Night Out

A night on the town can stretch into a greeting with the morning sun.

  • Moonlit Memo: Dancing, although fab, equals sweat. Sweat can reduce the efficacy of your sunscreen.
  • Fashion Forward Fix: Cocktail your skincare with a moisturizer that retains its charm all night, and if you’re the kind to dance till dawn, a reapplication of sunscreen might just be your encore. Stay luminous, not leathery!

Netflix & Chill

Couch comforts are unmatched, but your skin can still crave some drama.

  • Relaxation Revelation: Indoor heaters or prolonged AC exposure can make the atmosphere drier than a sitcom without a laugh track.
  • Fashion Forward Fix: Sink deep into your cushions with a rich, creamy moisturizer that’ll keep your skin feeling like it’s wrapped in a silk robe. Sunscreen can sit this one out, but hydration? It’s got a starring role!

Making It Personal

Now that you've unlocked the sacred knowledge, let’s get real. Your lifestyle, your needs, your rules! Tailoring a skin care routine isn't about following the crowd. So, think about:

  • Your skin type: Oily? Dry? Combination? Choose a moisturizer that suits your unique complexion.
  • Your day's activities: Beach day or Netflix binge? Plan accordingly.
  • The climate: Hot & humid or cold & dry? Your skin's needs will change.

Join the Conversation: The Skin-Care Diaries!

Remember, every face has its own story. Share yours!

Engage with us and other glow-getters. Let’s navigate this skincare journey together. Use the hashtag #AdmireMySkin and let's get trending!

Your Glow-Up Awaits!

And there you have it!

Consider yourself the newest graduate of Skincare University.

Stay glowing, stay protected, and most importantly, always remember to love the skin you're in!

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