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Should Sunblock Come Before or After Primer?

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Skincare and makeup routines are essential parts of our daily lives. They help us look our best and protect our skin from various environmental factors. However, the order in which we apply these products can be confusing. One of the most common debates is whether sunblock should come before or after primer.

This question is crucial because the effectiveness of both sun protection and makeup application depends on the correct order. Applying products in the wrong sequence can reduce their benefits and cause skin issues.

This article will explore the importance of getting the order right and explain why applying sunblock before primer is essential for optimal skin protection and makeup efficacy. By following the proper steps, you can ensure your skin stays healthy, and your makeup looks flawless all day long.

Understanding Sunscreen and Primer

Before discussing the proper order of application, it’s important to understand sunscreen and primer and their roles in your skincare and makeup routine.

What is Sunscreen?

Sunscreen is a vital skincare product designed to protect your skin from the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) rays. These rays can cause sunburn, premature aging, and increased risk of skin cancer. Using sunscreen creates a protective barrier on your skin that helps prevent these damaging effects.


Types of Sunscreens:

There are two main types of sunscreens: mineral and chemical.

  • Mineral Sunscreens: These are also known as physical sunscreens. They contain active ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Mineral sunscreens work by sitting on top of the skin and physically blocking or reflecting UV rays. They are often recommended for sensitive skin because they are less likely to irritate.
  • Chemical Sunscreens: These contain organic compounds such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, and octinoxate. Chemical sunscreens absorb UV radiation, convert it into heat, and release it from the skin. They tend to be lighter and less visible on the skin than mineral sunscreens.

What is Primer?

Primer is a makeup product applied after your skincare routine and before foundation. Its primary purpose is to create a smooth base for makeup application. Primers help to blur imperfections, fill in fine lines, and minimize the appearance of pores. This results in a more even application of foundation and extends the wear of your makeup.

Woman applying Wonder Skin Primer to her cheek

Different Types of Primers:

Primers come in various formulations to address different skin concerns and preferences:

  • Hydrating Primers: These are ideal for dry skin. They add moisture to the skin, creating a plump and smooth surface for makeup. Hydrating primers often contain ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin.
  • Mattifying Primers: Perfect for oily or combination skin, mattifying primers help control excess oil and shine. They create a matte finish, reducing the appearance of large pores and keeping makeup in place longer.
  • Color-Correcting Primers: These primers target specific skin concerns such as redness, dullness, or sallowness. They come in various colors (e.g., green to neutralize redness, purple to brighten dull skin) and help create a more uniform complexion before applying foundation.

The Recommended Order of Application

Applying skincare and makeup products in the correct order ensures you get the maximum benefits from each product. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you understand why sunscreen should come before primer.


Step-by-Step Guide

1. Cleansing and Moisturizing the Skin

Start with a clean face. Use a gentle cleanser to remove dirt, oil, or makeup residue. Follow this with a moisturizer suited to your skin type. This step ensures your skin is hydrated and prepped for the following layers.

2. Applying Sunscreen First

After your moisturizer, apply sunscreen. This is the most crucial step for protecting your skin from harmful UV rays. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Apply it generously to all exposed areas of your face and neck.

3. Allowing Sunscreen to Absorb

Once you’ve applied sunscreen, give it time to absorb fully into your skin. Waiting for about 10-15 minutes is recommended. This waiting period allows the sunscreen to form an even protective barrier on your skin without being disrupted by other products.

4. Applying Primer After Sunscreen

After the sunscreen has been absorbed, you can apply your primer. Choose a primer that suits your skin’s needs, whether hydrating, mattifying, or color-correcting. Apply the primer evenly over your face to create a smooth base for your makeup.

Why Sunscreen Should Come First

Ensuring Maximum UV Protection

Sunscreen should be the first layer applied to your skin after cleansing and moisturizing. It needs direct contact with your skin to form an effective barrier against UV rays. Applying sunscreen first ensures you get the full SPF protection promised on the product label.

Avoiding Interference with the Sunscreen’s Efficacy

If you apply primer before sunscreen, the primer can create a barrier that prevents the sunscreen from properly adhering to your skin. This can significantly reduce the effectiveness of the sunscreen, leaving your skin vulnerable to UV damage. Applying sunscreen first lets it do its job without any interference, ensuring your skin stays protected throughout the day.


Benefits of Correct Application Order

Applying sunscreen before primer has several benefits. This order ensures that both your skin and makeup look their best. Here’s why it’s essential to follow this sequence:

Skin Protection

Sunscreen is your first line of defense against the sun’s harmful UV rays. When applied directly to the skin, it forms a protective barrier that helps prevent sunburn, premature aging, and skin cancer. 

Applying sunscreen before other products ensures your skin is entirely shielded from these damaging effects. This layer of protection is crucial for maintaining healthy, youthful skin over time.

Makeup Longevity

Primer is designed to create a smooth, even surface for your makeup. When applied after sunscreen, it helps your foundation and other makeup products adhere better to your skin. This not only improves the appearance of your makeup but also extends its wear throughout the day. 

By smoothing out pores and fine lines, primer ensures that your makeup stays in place, resists smudging, and looks fresh for extended periods. This is especially important for those with oily or combination skin, as primer can help control shine and keep makeup from sliding off.

Overall Skin Health

Sunscreen is vital for maintaining overall skin health. Regular use of sunscreen prevents cumulative sun damage, which can lead to various skin issues such as hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and wrinkles. By integrating sunscreen into your daily routine and applying it first, you’re taking a proactive step in preserving your skin’s health and appearance. 

This practice helps keep your skin looking its best, reduces the risk of skin conditions related to UV exposure, and supports the effectiveness of other skincare products you use.


Tips for Choosing the Right Products

Selecting the right products is crucial for ensuring the effectiveness of your skincare and makeup routine. Here are some tips to help you make the best choices:

Selecting the Right Sunscreen

When choosing a sunscreen, it’s essential to opt for non-toxic formulas. Non-nano zinc oxide sunscreens are an excellent choice. Zinc oxide is a mineral that provides broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays. 

Non-nano means the particles are more significant and won’t penetrate your skin, making it safer for you and the environment. Look for sunscreens free from harmful chemicals like oxybenzone and octinoxate, which can cause irritation and have negative environmental impacts.

Choosing a Compatible Primer

Your primer should be compatible with your foundation to achieve the best results. Primers and foundations generally come in two types: silicone-based and water-based.

  • Silicone-Based Primers: These primers create a smooth, velvety finish and are excellent for filling pores and fine lines. They work best with silicone-based foundations, ensuring a seamless application and long-lasting wear.
  • Water-Based Primers: These are lighter and more breathable, making them ideal for sensitive or acne-prone skin. They pair well with water-based foundations, helping to maintain a natural, dewy finish without clogging pores.

Multi-Functional Products

Incorporating multi-functional products into your routine can simplify your process while providing multiple benefits.

  • Moisturizers with SPF: These products combine hydration and sun protection in one step. They are perfect for those who prefer a streamlined routine. Ensure the SPF is sufficient for your daily needs (at least SPF 30).
  • Tinted Sunscreens: Tinted sunscreens offer sun protection benefits with the added advantage of light coverage. They can even out your skin tone and provide a natural look, making them an excellent choice for everyday wear. Look for tinted sunscreens that match your skin tone for the best results.


For optimal results, always apply sunscreen before primer. This sequence ensures that your skin is fully protected from UV damage while providing a perfect base for your makeup. By following this order, you maximize the benefits of both products, ensuring that your skin stays healthy and your makeup looks flawless.

Remember, the key to a flourishing skincare and makeup routine is not just about the products you use but also how you use them. Applying sunscreen before primer is a simple yet effective way to enhance your skincare and makeup regimen, ensuring you look and feel your best every day. If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact our professional team. We are ready to solve your problems.

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