I take sunscreen very, very seriously, especially when it comes to my face (read: my premature, rapidly worsening crow’s feet), but that doesn’t make the reapplication process any less of a bitch. Like, I already overexerted myself while trying to reach the middle of my back once today, do I really have to do it again?
The answer to that one is an emphatic, uncontested yes, and the same goes for sun protection on your face. No matter how good the product is, the SPF 60 you applied in the morning isn’t going to hold fast throughout a day spent out in the sun—that just isn’t how it works. And because wearing a little bit of makeup to the beach is a no-brainer, there’s yet another factor to contend with: One cannot in good faith slather on a quarter-sized amount of lotion and expect their full face of makeup to stay put.
To be clear, this is a concern of vanity rather than real necessity—if you’re not worried about smearing your brow pencil off or rubbing away your under-eye concealer, then by all means, go forth and get busy with your standard sunscreen. For the rest of us, however, there are SPF setting sprays, and they’ll completely revolutionize the way you think of that annoying old “reapplying sunscreen” thing.
Think of these formulas as the lovechild of makeup setting sprays and spray-on sunscreen. That’s it, essentially; they combine ingredients that lock your makeup in place with SPF protection, creating the ideal two birds/one stone situation. It’s almost too good to be true, just as the idea of a magic wand that keeps your makeup looking fresh and protects your skin from sun damage seems too good to be true—but according to dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, this stuff is legit.
“Setting sprays are a great way to give added sun protection both immediately after putting on your sunscreen and makeup in the morning, as well as a mid-day touchup,” Dr. Zeichner confirms. Still, the derm emphasizes the need to use the sprays as a supplement to your regular sunscreen routine, not a one-step way to replace it: “In order to achieve the level of SPF protection labeled on the bottle, you need to be applying more than just a spray or two to the face,” he says.
But as far as using SPF setting sprays to top off your anti-sun damage armor without compromising your makeup, you’re in the clear. “When they’re layered over your regular sunscreen and/or makeup with sunscreen, they offer a safety net of extra protection,” Zeichner says. “They’re a great way to give a boost to what’s already on your face.” Spritz on—and if you’re not quite there yet, Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50 ($28), Coola Face SPF 30 Makeup Setting Spray ($36), and the new must-have AMOREPACIFIC Resort Collection Sun Protection Mist SPF 30 ($75) are three excellent places to start.