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Why SPF Cocktailing is a Bad Idea

It’s best to save the cocktails for Friday night, not your skincare routine. 

October 30, 2023

On TikTok, the trend of SPF cocktailing has been plastered all over the For You page since summer. It promises to optimize your morning routine and make your SPF look better by mixing SPF with everything from bronzer to concealer to highlighter. But here’s why the only cocktails we’re into right now are the kind that come with three olives. SPF cocktailing isn’t the easy life hack you might think it is. 

What is SPF cocktailing? 

This viral trend is the practice of mixing sunscreen with makeup products like foundation, bronzer drops, or highlighter. The idea is that it’s supposed to save you time in the morning as well as prevent the chalky white cast that some SPFs leave behind. Sounds like a clever little shortcut, right? We wish. Unfortunately, this trend probably does more harm than good. 

Why SPF cocktailing is not a good idea

We all want to save time and streamline our beauty routines, but SPF cocktailing isn’t worth the time saved. This is because SPF is designed to be worn as a separate product. In order for sunscreen to be as effective as it says on the label (like SPF 30 or SPF 50), you have to apply a decent amount of it and take care to rub it in completely. When it’s mixed with other products, it’s easy to accidentally use less SPF than you actually need. 

The other issue with SPF cocktailing is that it interferes with the chemistry of the sunscreen. If the makeup product has oils or emulsifiers in it, these can compromise the SPF formula. Your SPF may not work as well and you’ll be missing out on sun protection. You end up getting the worst of both worlds–less protection and texture problems. Not exactly what a life hack is supposed to do! 


What can you do instead of SPF cocktailing?

We know that it’s tempting to be a mixologist if SPF leaves a white cast on your skin. That’s why we recommend using tinted physical sunscreens, or chemical sunscreens if you can tolerate them. Both physical and chemical SPFs are safe and effective. Chemical sunscreens don’t leave a white cast because they don’t contain minerals like zinc or titanium oxide. But some people have a sensitivity to chemical sunscreens, so you may have to stick with the physical kind. We rounded up our picks for the best SPFs for all skin tones, including tinted options. So you don’t have to put up with a white cast to protect your skin.

If you’re layering makeup over your SPF, be sure to give your skin a couple of minutes to absorb the SPF first. This can help with the dreaded pilling or texture issues that SPF cocktailing is trying to work around. And make sure that your SPF is the very last skin care product you put on before makeup. Layering other skincare products on top of it can make it less effective.   

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