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Should You Put Sunscreen On Before or After Moisturizer?

Depending on your routine, you’ll have a clear answer.
August 02, 2023

By now, you probably know the importance of sun care and applying sunscreen daily. If not, here’s a quick refresher: Sun exposure can lead to premature aging, skin damage and several skin conditions, not to mention skin cancer. While sun protection is a necessary step in your skin care routine, knowing when to apply your SPF is another story. More specifically, whether you should apply moisturizer or sunscreen first.


Lucky for you, we’ve taken away the guesswork — because sun safety isn’t something you should be hoping you’ve made the right call on. Below, find the definitive answer on whether you’re supposed to apply sunscreen before or after moisturizer, plus SPF products to shop from L’Oréal Paris.

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Should You Apply Sunscreen or Moisturizer First?

As a rule of thumb, you should apply sunscreen as the final step in your skin care routine. Since products with SPF are specifically formulated with certain sun-protective ingredients, layering one on after your moisturizer will help block out any harsh rays. So, in other words, SPF always goes on after moisturizer (and before makeup) in the morning. Since you don’t need to worry about SPF at night, you’ll only need to apply moisturizer and that will serve as the last step of your routine.

What’s the Difference Between Moisturizer and Sunscreen?

This may be obvious, but moisturizer hydrates the skin. It’s often one of the last steps of your skin care routine to lock in moisture and hydration after applying your facial serums and other skin care. All skin types need moisturizer, and without it, you can experience dull, oily and irritated skin. 

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, sunscreen is formulated with active ingredients that help prevent UV radiation from reaching your skin. The sun’s UV rays can lead to signs of aging, such as fine lines and dark spots, and more serious issues, like skin cancer. The two have very different functions, and it’s extremely important to incorporate both into your daily routine. There’s also the option of a hydrating moisturizer that includes SPF to protect your skin. Additionally, some sunscreen products have a hydrating formula that work as a two-in-one product to protect and hydrate the skin. 

Let it be known that all skin types need to use daily sunscreen so if you avoid it because you have oily skin and you’re worried about clogged pores, look for a non-comedogenic formula that doesn’t feel greasy. Also, not all sunscreens are made equally so look for one with broad-spectrum coverage that protects against UVA and UVB rays that cause aging and burning.  

Why Is Sunscreen So Important

As we mentioned, SPF protects your skin from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays which can lead to aging and burning, and even worse, skin cancer. Furthermore, the Skin Cancer Foundation shares that regular daily use of SPF 15 sunscreen can reduce your risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) by about 40 percent, and lower your melanoma risk by 50 percent.

That said, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends going with a formula that includes SPF 30 or greater. They also recommend reapplying sunscreen every two hours, wearing sun-protective clothing, like long sleeves and wide brim hats, and avoiding the sun during its peak hours from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. As for how much sunscreen to apply, the AAD suggests one ounce, or a shot glass full, for your entire body. This translates to half a teaspoon for your face and neck.  


Can You Combine Sunscreen and Moisturizer?

While the idea of mixing your sunscreen and moisturizer together to form one holy grail product seems like a smart idea, it’s really not. Mixing your sunscreen and moisturizer into a hybrid concoction can result in formulas not working as tested and therefore, as intended, and that isn’t a risk you want to take with sun protection.


However, if you do prefer to multitask, there is a solution — moisturizer with SPF. This type of moisturizer is specifically formulated to both hydrate your skin and protect it from the sun’s harmful UV rays. If you sometimes forget to apply your SPF in the morning, it’s a great option because it tackles two skin care steps at once. 

What Are the Different Types of Sunscreen?

Sunscreen is categorized into two different types: physical and chemical. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, physical sunscreens block sun rays like a shield before they penetrate your skin. Chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays before they can damage your skin. The bottle may mention what type of formula it is, but the ingredients are always a helpful identifier. Physical sunscreens include ingredients, such as minerals titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, while chemical formulas may include avobenzone and octisalate, per the Skin Cancer Foundation.

As for what’s better, it really depends on your skin type and what you prefer. After all, the best sunscreen is the one you like because that means you’ll be more inclined to wear it daily. 

Additionally, the Skin Cancer Foundation shares that it’s very common for sunscreens to include a mixture of physical and chemical ingredients and this is the case for some of the L’Oréal Paris sunscreen offerings. The most popular sunscreen formulas, the aforementioned Revitalift Triple Power Day Lotion SPF 30 and Bright Reveal Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Daily UV Lotion, are both chemical sunscreens.

8 L’Oréal Paris Skin Care Products With SPF 

Sunscreen doesn’t have to be one size fits all. Here are eight different sunscreens products to consider with different formulas and benefits for your morning routine. 

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L’Oréal Paris Bright Reveal Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Daily UV Lotion

Made with UVA and UVB filters, this sunscreen protects the skin from the sun’s rays that cause aging and burning. It has a lightweight, non-greasy finish that doesn’t leave a white cast on any skin tone. The formula is fragrance-free, it’s suitable for all skin types, and it even helps to prime the skin for makeup. 

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L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Triple Power Day Lotion SPF 30

Not only is this anti-aging face moisturizer formulated with SPF 30, but it’s loaded with a powerful trio of ingredients — Pro-Retinol, vitamin C and hyaluronic acid — that work wonders on skin. After one week, expect to see the appearance of wrinkles reduced and a firmer and brighter complexion. Not to mention, the formula is dermatologist-tested, free of dyes, mineral oil and parabens, and is suitable for sensitive skin.


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L'Oréal Paris Age Perfect Collagen Expert Day Moisturizer with SPF 30

When we age, our collagen — you know, the protein that makes skin look plumper — begins to diminish, leaving us with sagging skin. But this lightweight moisturizer with SPF will help counteract signs of aging when used daily. In addition to SPF, the moisturizer is formulated with peptides (the key to producing collagen) and niacinamide to brighten, retighten and rehydrate maturing skin. 


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L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Cell Renewal Anti-Aging Day Moisturizer SPF 25

This luxurious anti-aging cream is packed with vitamin E, antioxidants and broad-spectrum SPF 25, which all help renew and protect the skin. Over time, skin feels smoother and looks refreshed with continued use. The formula maximizes the skin's power of rejuvenation by stimulating surface skin cell renewal to reveal a more hydrated and youthful-looking complexion.


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L'Oréal Paris Wrinkle Expert 55+ Age Defense Lotion

This anti-aging moisturizer is a must for anyone 50 or older. With the help of broad-spectrum SPF 30, the lotion helps reduce wrinkles and strengthen, smooth and protect the skin. Immediately after applying it, your visage will look noticeably fresher and radiant, and it will feel softer and hydrated. 


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L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Anti Wrinkle Firming Day Cream SPF 25

Just as its name suggests, this moisturizer is formulated to deliver firmer, smoother skin while providing UVA and UVB protection. In just four weeks, the retinol-infused formula increases cell turnover to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and provides long-lasting hydration. If you have mature skin, this day cream with SPF is a great option to minimize signs of aging while providing sun protection.

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Next: Can You Actually Get Rid Of Sun Spots on Skin?

Photo Courtesy of L'Oréal Paris 

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