Skincare Routine 101: Sun Protection

Welcome to MADEWITH’s third post in our Skincare 101 series. This series is meant to help educate you on the products in your skincare routine, how they should be applied, and when they should be applied. We’ll tell you what these products do, what their benefits are, and which one is best for different skin states. 

This post will help you better understand the most common last step in a regular skincare routine during the day: Sun Protection!


Mineral SPF (sun protection factor) is the fifth and final step in a basic skincare regimen. It is absolutely essential to protect your skin from DNA damage caused by sunlight (UV) + electronic screen light (HEV) exposure, as well as slowing the development of environmentally-triggered signs of aging and hyperpigmentation. One ounce of mineral sunscreen is recommended for the entire body. For the face + neck use 1/10 of an ounce (about a quarter size). SPF 20 is the lowest you should use for daily wear. SPF 30 and above should be worn during heavy sun exposure. If you’re very active during your time in the sun, try to choose a water + sweat resistant product (it is still recommended that you reapply every 2 hours, if you are being active and/or going into the water).

Mineral sunscreens are inert mineral barriers that block the most common forms of UV rays: UVA + UVB. This type of SPF also protects against HEV light (the blue light emitted from electronic screens, which can also cause skin damage). Another benefit of mineral SPF is that it is zinc-based, and is anti-inflammatory, which can help acne, and calm skin disorders like rosacea, eczema or dermatitis. 

At MADEWITH, we only offer mineral SPF because ingredients used in chemical sunscreen are linked to hormonal disruption and can possibly trigger acne. These chemicals have been banned in Hawaii due to the destruction they cause to reefs. Chemical SPF also breaks down quickly and is less effective than mineral SPF.

The SPF product that’s best for you is generally based on your level of sun exposure, activity level, and the type of formulation preferred. The most common formulations of SPF are creams, liquids, powders, and solids.


Best for: All skin states!

Creams are the most universal style of SPF. The reason this style is so universal is that you can blend a formulation for almost any activity. The textures go from lightweight lotions, to almost butter-rich pastes, and everywhere in between. Creams are also the most convenient formulation for both face + body application. They may be a combination of a moisturizer with SPF, or an SPF that should be layered over moisturizer. Some varieties come with a very slight tint to diminish the white cast commonly associated with zinc. More heavily tinted forms are generally for face only, and live somewhere between the worlds of makeup and skincare.

The best way to apply cream SPF is just as you would with any moisturizer.  Warm the product between fingers and blend into skin with fingertips.


Best for: All skin states!

Liquids are usually only made for the face. Because they are truly liquids, they come in a small bottle that needs to be shaken before each use to combine the mineral spf component with the liquid medium. They are meant to be layered over a moisturizer, and don’t add any moisturizing benefits of their own. Tinted and untinted varieties are offered in this category, as well.

The best way to apply liquid SPF is just as you would with any moisturizer.  Warm the product between fingers and blend into skin with fingertips. 


Best for: All skin states exposed to outdoor elements

Solids come in several forms (the most common being sticks and pastes), they tend to have the highest concentrations of zinc. These balm-like formulations are some of the most sweat + water resistant sunscreens. Usually they’re blended with oils and waxes that solidify at room temperature. When they combine with body heat on your skin, they melt into liquid. This formulation is best for outdoor sports and activities. If you’ve ever seen a surfer with a white stripe on their nose, it was probably applied from a solid zinc SPF. And that’s how you want to apply it: stripe the highest points of the face and shoulders, which get the most sun exposure.

Because solids are so visible on the skin they are not recommended for daily wear or for use with makeup. This SPF style can be found tinted, untinted, or even with bright, saturated colors. 

The best way to apply solid SPF is by using finger tips to stripe onto the highest points on your face and body. It is meant to be visible, so no blending is needed.


Best for: Combination to oily skin 

Powders are made of crushed zinc and/or titanium dioxide. They usually come in a container with a brush attached so you can sweep it over your face and go. This makes them super convenient and great to travel with. Powder is a face and neck product. It works best on the face because of the naturally higher concentration of oil, and it is generally slightly tinted.

It’s best to apply powder SPF after applying your daily skincare regimen.  Use the powder brush to apply the powder across your face and neck.

If you’re not sure of the different states of your skin, don’t worry – we spent months figuring out how our software can best capture the different states of your face. Make sure to set up your profile if you haven’t already by visiting our homepage, and we’ll be happy to help you find a mineral SPF that is best for your skin (plus, all of our new customers get a discount off of their first order)! 

Hopefully we have made the variety of sun protection formulations a little easier to navigate, and piqued your curiosity into some SPFs you haven’t previously considered adding to your routine. 

To see any of the other posts in our Skincare 101 series, click on any of the links below:

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