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Should I Wear Makeup to the Beach? Here’s What Dermatologists Say


That’s all to say: “Of course we want to look our best at the beach and appear snatched in photos, but the primary goal is sun protection at the beach,” Dr. Turner reiterates. “A broad-spectrum, water-resistant, tinted sunscreen is optimal.”

Dr. Turner’s preferred water-resistant tinted sunscreens include EltaMD UV AOX Elements Broad-Spectrum SPF 50, EltaMD UV Physical Tinted Face Sunscreen, and ISDIN Eryfotona Ageless Ultralight Tinted Sunscreen.

EltaMD UV Physical Tinted Face Sunscreen

ISDIN Eryfotona Ageless Ultralight Tinted Mineral SPF 50 Sunscreen

Lightweight & breathable formulations

Mixing heat, sweat, and heavy makeup can and often does lead to clog pores and breakouts, which is why “it’s important to look for lightweight formulations that are oil-free and non-comedogenic so they won’t clog the pores,” according to Dr. Garshick. “Tinted sunscreens and moisturizers with SPF can be a great way to provide natural and lightweight cosmetic coverage while still ensuring protection from the sun.” And since so many of them contain SPF, it’s a win-win.

Dr. Garshick’s recommendations? ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint SPF40 and Neutrogena PureScreen Mineral UV Tint Liquid Sunscreen. You can also consider makeup primers with SPF, like Charlotte Tilbury Invisible UV Flawless Primer With SPF 50.

ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint SPF40

Neutrogena PureScreen Mineral UV Tint Liquid Sunscreen

Celebrity makeup artist Natalie Dresher says the same regarding the importance of lightweight formulas. “Make sure your makeup is light, breathable, and SPF-heavy to avoid harming your skin on your beach day,” she says. “Just make sure to double cleanse at night and follow up with a hydrating product right before bed!”

Some of her must-have makeup products for the beach? “Naturium DewGlow Moisturizer has an SPF of 50, and is so dewy and beautiful it’s one of my favorites right now for outdoor wear,” she says. “I love layering that with the tarte BB Blur Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen, which has a tint and has really good coverage for a BB cream.”

Finally, if you don’t want to bother with layering SPF and makeup, “CoverFX has a really revolutionary product called SPF booster drops,” Fisher says. “You can mix a bit into your makeup and turn anything into a tinted SPF!”

Naturium Dew-Glow Moisturizer SPF 50

Setting Powder

As for how to ensure your makeup of choice stays on should you go in the water? “Water-proofing products as much as possible with a little bit of powder goes a long way,” says Dresher. “I keep a powder foundation on me during beach days if I’m going full glam, a pressed powder foundation that is always in my beach bag is the MAC StudioFix Powder Plus Foundation. Layering cream and powder products is always the best way to ensure longevity and endurance.”

For a double-duty product, consider setting with an SPF-spiked powder like those by Colorescience. “Their powders are by far my favorite to help set make-up,” says Dr. Turner. “They offer an easy way to touch up makeup, get SPF, and it is water-resistant and sweat-resistant.”

If your base product already contains enough SPF, consider BareMinerals’ cult-favorite Mineral Veil Setting Powder Broad Spectrum, which has SPF 25.

Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Brush-On Shield SPF 50

BareMinerals Mineral Veil Setting Powder

Setting Spray

In terms of setting spray, Fisherr and Glamour editors recommend One/Size by Patrick Starrr On ‘Til Dawn Mattifying Waterproof Setting Spray. “It really makes makeup resilient,” she says. “An alternative for more sensitive skin types is MAC Prep + Prime Fix, which also does a really good job at making makeup last in the heat and pool. It also feels really refreshing in the heat.”

They make SPF-spiked versions of setting spray, too. “Supergoop (Re) Setting Spray provides SPF 40 broad spectrum protection, and leaves behind a matte finish,” says Dr. Garshick. “This SPF mist works to set makeup but also to help reapply SPF throughout the day. It also contains optical-diffusing silica silylate which helps to absorb excess oil.”


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