How To Layer Sunscreen Like An Esthetician!

We need to talk about how to layer sunscreens. Did you know that Cassandra didn’t even learn how to do this in aesthetic school? A common misconception is that layering two different sunscreens together equals double the protection. For example, some people might combine an SPF 40 with an SPF 50 to attain an “SPF 90” protection. But, SPF protection doesn’t work this way, and regardless of the SPF number, almost all sunscreens protect between 92% and 98% of the sun’s rays. That little number in front of the letters “SPF” simply describes how soon you should reapply it.

Why do we have to reapply sunscreen?

Over time, sunscreens break down under the sun. But most importantly, we can’t see the spots we’ve missed upon applying sunscreen. We often miss a few spots. But, reapplying your sunscreen increases the likelihood that your entire face is covered. You want to protect your skin as much as possible.

Why layer sunscreen?

Layering your sunscreen helps ensure that you’re getting the perfect blend for your skin.  If you’re someone who has a really oily T-zone and nose, but you’re dry in other areas, layering can help. So, there are three ways you can layer your sunscreen, and one is multi-masking.

#1 Multi-masking for combination skin

Having combination skin can be challenging, but layering your sunscreen is a wonderful tool.  In Cassandra’s case, using eye-safe sunscreen that blurs the pores is great for her T-zone. However, she might use a matte sunscreen for the rest of her face. When you’re applying sunscreens to different areas, the layers can overlap. For instance, when covering the nose, you can apply it liberally so you don’t miss the sides of your nose. You can overlap a little with the sunscreens you use on your cheeks.  

Dermalogica Porescreen SPF 40 Mineral Sunscreen with Niacinamide -$55 

If you do struggle with large pores, this is one of Cassandra’s absolute favorites.This is an 8 out of 10 on the flashback scale, and the pore coverage is a 9 out of 10. This sunscreen has niacinamide, microalgae, and vitamin E. These ingredients blur pores and reduce the sebum and oil our noses naturally create. On the other hand, the algae is very hydrating, and the vitamin E helps with scarring and irritation. Cassandra loves using this all over her face, but her biggest issue with the product is the size. Cassandra does wish this sunscreen came in a jumbo bottle. This formula is also completely mineral, and when applied to the T-zone, it works so well. 

Cassandra has used this sunscreen as a morning eye cream too. It has niacinamide to brighten the eyes and SPF to prevent sun damage around her eyes. It also has microalgae for hydration.  

If you struggle with sebaceous filaments on your nose or chin, this Dermalogica SPF is a must-have. Because of the price, you can put it on more breakout-prone areas with large pores and irritation too. Then, you can follow up with a less expensive sunscreen elsewhere on the face to keep you protected and your cost down. 

Black Girl Sunscreen Make It Matte Broad Spectrum SPF 45 -$17.99 

This is much more affordable, and it is a mattifying sunscreen. So, if you have areas where your pores aren’t as large, you can use this. This texture feels like a Supergoop sunscreen, but it dries down mattified. If you’re going to be out somewhere sweating, this is a great option that keeps you matte.

Another great reason to layer sunscreens is having multiple skin conditions. For example, Cassandra’s cheeks tend to get very red because she has subclinical rosacea and dermatographia. So, when she simply touches her skin, it gets all pink. Sometimes, she can’t even tell if she’s sunburned! So, she can use a K-beauty sunscreen on those areas, and the others that need more mattification and pore control. 

And luckily, she recently found a K beauty sunscreen that tops her list. 

MIXSOON Centella Sun Cream SPF 50+ PA+++ 

This does have a lavender fragrance. So, be aware of that. But because it’s 100% mineral, it’s very safe to use around her nose and eyes. 

Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Watery Sun Gel SPF 50+ PA+++  

This is one of Cassandra’s favorite K-beauty sunscreens. It gives a dewy glow without making the skin feel oily. However, she wouldn’t use it on her T-zone because she already has an oily glow here. The sunscreen is very hydrating and dewy.

ROVECTIN Skin Essentials Aqua Soothing SPF 50+ PA++++ 

Cassandra likes this suncreen from ROVECTIN as well. It is slightly mattifying but not as mattifying as the one from Black Girl Sunscreen. It is a completely mineral filter that does not feel mineral, and it is also fantastic for undereye areas. It’s almost like a budget version of the Dermalogica porescreen.


What sunscreen can I use if I have a beard?

If you have a beard, you can use an invisible sunscreen on the beard area. 

SKIN 1004 Madagascar Centella Moisture Cream SPF 50 PA++++ 

This is such a great, watery, hydrating, and beautiful sunscreen. It works so well on facial hair. And since it’s not sticky, you could also put it on your scalp.


#2 Use a powdered sunscreen

Jane Iredale Dry Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30 - $55

Powdered sunscreens are a great way to ensure that you are both reapplying and layering your sunscreen properly. This Jane Iredale sunscreen says SPF 40, but you’d need to apply a thick layer of powder to get that SPF protection.

In real life, most people just kind of dust powder on sunscreens. They’re often used as part of a makeup routine. So, they shouldn’t be your primary sunscreen.  You can dab powder sunscreen like this one from Jane Iredale on oily areas throughout the day. By doing this, you’re reapplying, layering, covering little gaps, and staying protected from the sun. This powder sunscreen is particular is refillable and interchangeable. So, you don’t have to throw it away when it’s out.

Are sun sticks worth it?

Moreover, sunsticks are another type of sunscreen. Because most people  swipe on sun sticks, some people question whether they truly give full coverage. That’s why sun sticks are perfect for reapplication and layering over other sunscreens. You can use sun sticks for primary application, but you have to spread and rub them out after applying. This will help you miss fewer spots.


#3 Use a sunstick

Sunforgettable Total Protection Sport Stick SPF 50 - $34



Pick a sunscreen that works best for you, but remember, you can also layer all of these to make sure you’re covered properly in each area of the face.