What Is the Two-finger Sunscreen Rule?

Does the two-finger rule truly work for sunscreen, and how much sunscreen should we be using? 

The recommended amount of sunscreen is two milligrams per centimeter square of skin. But, what are you supposed to do – use a tape measure? Some people also say that you should use roughly a shot glass of sunscreen for the entire body. But, that's not convenient either. But if you really want to get the exact measurement right, did you know there’s a such thing as a sunscreen spoon? But since a lot of us don’t have one, most of us use “the two-finger rule.” The two-finger rule is when you squeeze two stripes of sunscreen on your pointer and middle finger. This is supposed to be enough to cover two square centimeters of the face. But, is it truly enough to keep you protected during the day?

To figure this out, Cassandra took the sunscreen spoon and saw if it was equal to two fingers. And it turns out that you should actually be applying about 3 fingers worth of sunscreen to the face, ears, and neck. At the same time though, the thickness and formula of your sunscreen do impact how much you should be applying. Depending on which sunscreen your using, you might need the two or three-finger rule, especially if it’s a watery sunscreen. If it’s a thick sunscreen, dermatologists say you should apply a little at a time. You can apply the full amount in layers. This helps it to absorb layer by layer rather than flashback. 

Results can vary as different sunscreens have different formulations. For example, this one is more watery, but Cassandra loves it. 

Jumiso AWE⋅SUN AIRY-FIT Sunscreen SPF50+ PA++++ 50ml

This is Jumiso, and it’s also a lotion. Most sunscreens are basically moisturizers with SPF protection. So, you don’t need to wear a moisturizer underneath your sunscreen unless you’re trying to mattify it, add extra moisturization, or use a treatment moisturizer. This one took about 3 fingers. 


On the other hand, this sunscreen is very thick, and the two-finger was more than enough. 

MAKEP:REM Defense Me Daily Vegan Sun Fluid Non-greasy Calming Hydrating SPF 50+PA++++

This is very lightweight, meaning you might need a little more. 

This one is lightweight and mineral but it’s tinted. A lot of people assume that mineral formulas can be very thick, but this one is super runny. It almost takes up four fingers. So, depending on the size of your hand, and the consistency of the sunscreen, you might want to use a little bit more or less. 

In addition, you should also be reapplying your sunscreen throughout the day to keep your skin protected. And if you have sunscreen in your routine, you’re already doing a great job. You are doing a way better job than most. It’s not about being perfect or getting the exact amount of sunscreen and reapplying it every two hours. It’s about making sure that you are protecting your skin and doing your best while still being able to enjoy life.


That’s why Cassandra loves the two-finger rule. Even though it can be a little off sometimes, it’s convenient and creates consistency. For thicker sunscreens, use two fingers, and for a thinner one, use three. Or, if you have a very watery one, you can use up to six fingers. The smallest bit of sunscreen can help prevent a lot of damage . Sunscreen also has strong anti-aging effects. But, there’s no way to completely stop aging, nor should we want to because it’s a privilege.

The goal is not to prevent all signs of aging. It’s about enjoying the sun in a happy healthy way. It’s about preventing melanoma, and it’s about feeling good. This means it's good to use things that actually work with our routine instead of against it. So, the 2-3 finger rule is a great rule of thumb, but it’s not perfect for everyone. It’s hard to get it perfect, but if you want, you can get a sunscreen spoon. Also, remember to reapply!