If there’s anything that could potentially challenge our devotion to putting our best face forward, it is the need to do so with the least amount of effort exerted. The multitude of skincare and make-up related hacks, tips, and tricks floating around the Internet is evidence enough; a vivid tableau that sums up the inner workings of the modern-day beauty buff—one that aims to get their visage, tresses, and self to an optimal state without having to put in a back-breaking amount of work. And while there have been plenty of game-changing and effective shortcuts divulged on social media, there remain several that appear to be far more contentious in nature. Enter: SPF cocktailing.
@paintedbyspencer BOO! 👻 Is your sunscreen having you look like a GHOST?! Try adding in a touch of your liquid or cream bronzer to help eliminate that “white cast” effect! 🤗 I prefer this method of adding in a TINY amount of a deeper-tone pigment rather than a pigment that’s closer to my skintone, such as foundation, which would require more product to achieve this effect and in return, further dilute the sunscreen. Although some say that mixing in ANY product will “destabilize” the sunscreen, but if that’s the case, couldn’t the same be said if we were to apply sunscreen like usual, on top of our other skincare, and then add our foundation, concealer, bronzer, etc on top? Wouldn’t the formulas mesh together anyway? So interesting to me! What do you think? 🤷🏻♂️ #sunscreen #makeuphacks #makeuptutorial #makeup #paintedbyspencer ♬ original sound – SPENCER
The arguably controversial practice first emerged on TikTok, with certain beauty luminaries advocating for the incorporation of SPF in a time-efficient manner. That is, mixing liquid highlighter, foundation, and/or bronzer into sunscreen and directly applying the concoction directly into your mien. Believers claim that this allows for a natural diffusion of make-up that blends seamlessly into skin. Dr Sylvia Ramirez, medical director at Cutis Medical Laser Clinics, however, disagrees. “I strongly advise against engaging in SPF cocktailing, as it may compromise the very essence of sunscreen,” she states. “Doing this is likely to affect a sunscreen’s effectiveness in the safeguarding of your skin health against the sun’s damaging effects. In fact, there are plenty of compelling reasons why this trend should be approached with caution.”
On that note, Vogue Singapore delves deep into this viral TikTok trend with insight provided by Dr Ramirez. Here’s why you should avoid SPF cocktailing at all costs—and what you can do to up your sunscreen game instead.
What are the potential dangers of SPF cocktailing?
It seems a large part of the risks associated with this trend has to do with the amalgamation of differing ingredients and textures from a variety of products. “Beyond compromising the integrity of a sunscreen’s formulation, certain ingredients commonly found in makeup—such as oils and waxes—may interfere with the sunscreen’s ability to provide adequate protection,” reports Dr Ramirez. “Not just that, it may also contribute to skin issues, including acne and other dermatological problems.”
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Said conditions include breakouts, redness, and sensitivity, all of which could result from SPF cocktailing due to specific components commonly present in make-up that have the potential to clog pores. Unstable or unvalidated mixing can exacerbate this risk, and might even heighten the likelihood of triggering specific allergic reactions.
Is there a recommended amount of sunscreen an individual should be utilising on the daily?
Long story short? Yes. “Given that everyone’s facial size varies, determining the precise quantity of sunscreen needed for your face can be a bit subjective. To simplify this process, I recommend following the two-finger rule,” explains Dr Ramirez. “This straightforward approach involves applying enough sunscreen to cover the length of your middle and index fingers when they are placed together. By following this practical guideline, you can ensure that you’re applying an adequate amount of sunscreen to effectively shield your face and neck.”
Are there any other sunscreen practices to live by?
Regular reapplication aside, it is also recommended to let sunscreen set before layering any make-up on over it. “It is essential to allow sunscreen a minimum of two minutes to properly absorb into your skin. Rushing into make-up application immediately after sunscreen can potentially disrupt its effectiveness, as it may dilute the sunscreen or lead to interactions with its active ingredients,” says Dr Ramirez. She is also quick to point out that it is also highly important to pick the right formula for your complexion type.
“A good rule of thumb is to not use sunscreen that isn’t broad-spectrum and SPF30 or higher. To ensure comprehensive protection, choose a sunscreen labelled as broad-spectrum. This type of sunscreen guards against both UVA and UVB rays, where it addresses long-term and short-term sun damage,” Dr Ramirez elucidates. “Additionally, it’s best to opt for an SPF30 or higher sunscreen, as it blocks at least 97% of UVB rays, providing stronger defence against sunburn and skin damage.”