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How to Add Sun Protection When You're Already Wearing Makeup

A new breed of SPF-infused, makeup-setting mists offers a solution to the sunscreen reapplication problem.
A perfect solution for all of those yacht parties you'll be attending in the south of France this summer. (Here, Kim Kardashian in Cannes.) Photo: Richard Bord/Getty Images 

A perfect solution for all of those yacht parties you'll be attending in the south of France this summer. (Here, Kim Kardashian in Cannes.) Photo: Richard Bord/Getty Images 

You've probably read enough sunscreen articles at this point to know that most dermatologists recommend reapplying it every two hours. While this generally applies to situations when you're outside and being active/getting wet/sweating/in direct sunlight, it's also ideal to touch up your sunscreen on a normal work day, too. Its key chemicals can break down over the course of the day and become less effective, and it's in your face's best interest to reapply at least once on non-beach days. 

Which brings us to the problem: How do you reapply sunscreen when you have a face full of perfectly contoured makeup? Should you wipe it all off and start over? Yeah, not happening. 

Thankfully, a new category of sunscreen popped up this season and I couldn't be happier about it. Two of my favorite brands, Supergoop and Coola, both launched makeup setting mists with SPF. Mists for refreshing makeup, mattifying and providing hydration are all the rage right now, but this is the first time that high SPF has been offered in a mist. Here are the details on each one:

Photos: Coola and Supergoop

Photos: Coola and Supergoop

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Coola SPF 30 Makeup Setting Spray, $36, available at Ulta: This is a chemical sunscreen containing avobenzone, homosalate, octinoxate and octisalate. It boasts 70% organic ingredients and mattifying and makeup-setting properties, as well as cucumber and aloe vera to refresh and hyaluronic acid to bind moisture and visually plump up skin. 

Supergoop Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50, $28, available at Sephora: This one acts as a makeup setting spray and an "afternoon pick-me-up," thanks to the invigorating minty, rosemary scent. It contains the same active sunscreen ingredients as the Coola product.

How They Compare: The Supergoop mist has a higher SPF, but the Coola bottle releases a finer mist, which makes it feel like it's providing more complete coverage. Both smell rather sunscreen-y, but the Supergoop wins best smell overall for its herbal freshness. Both felt equally weightless and mattifying on my skin once they dried. The Supergoop is the better financial deal at $28 for 3.4 fl oz versus Coola at $36 for 1.7 oz, but Coola's has more skincare-type ingredients and also organics, which are generally more expensive. I used them both over Memorial Day weekend while at the beach in South Carolina to touch up frequently, and I didn't get any extra color. I actually really love them for the beach, because reapplying cream on your face — which is often gritty with sand and salt — can be unpleasant. 

What the Dermatologist Thinks: Dr. Elizabeth Hale, an NYC-based dermatologist, gave her stamp of approval to this product category, with a few caveats. My first concern was inhaling sunscreen sprayed right on my face. "As long as sprays are applied in well-ventilated areas, they are generally proven to be safe," Dr. Hale says. Titanium dioxide, a physical blocker, can be potentially dangerous if inhaled, but neither one of these contains it.  To be on the safe side, I held my breath and also used them outside. (And once I stuck my head out of a moving car's window, which has its own inherent set of risks.)

These mists also shouldn't be used as your primary sunscreen. Dr. Hale likens them to powder sunscreens — great for touch-ups. "With a mist, you’re not achieving completely even coverage, so you shouldn’t rely on this product alone," she explains. "It's nice for a touch-up, and nice to have a product that sets your makeup and multi-tasks, but I wouldn’t rely on it for your full sun protection."

One thing's for sure: Now you have one less excuse not to reapply your sunscreen.