Do You Apply Primer or Sunscreen First?

Do You Apply Primer or Sunscreen First

The intersection between skincare and makeup is a beautiful thing. But one of the most common causes of confusion when these worlds collide is what order to apply your products. 

And yes, it matters! Getting the order right affects how well each formula works on your skin and how smoothly it blends to achieve that healthy, radiant glow.

Are you confused too about what should go first, primer or sunscreen? Many people need to figure out when to apply primer and when to sunscreen.

Let’s end this confusion; keep reading to know primer or sunscreen first!

Difference Between Primer and Sunscreen

Before you layer sunscreen and primer together, it’s essential to understand how each works.


A primer is a product that creates a barrier between your skin and makeup. This makes application smoother and more manageable and helps your makeup last longer, from foundation to eye shadow to blush

It is formulated to form a smooth base for makeup application, minimize shine, and improve its staying power. Others are loaded with hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid (1) for drier skin types or color-correcting pigments to reduce redness or sallowness.


Sunscreen’s role is to protect your skin from ultraviolet radiation (2). There are two main types of sunscreens-

  1. Mineral/Physical
  2. Chemical

A sunscreen deflects and scatters UV rays from the skin’s surface like a shield with ingredients like Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide. Chemical sunscreens absorb UV radiation using ingredients like Octinoxate (3) and Avobenzone (4), converting rays to heat and sending them away from the skin.

Should You Apply Primer or Sunscreen First?

apply primer or sunscreen first

Sunscreen should be applied as the last step in the skincare routine before makeup. This means that sunscreen should be used before applying primer. 

Leave a few minutes between applying sunscreen and beginning your makeup routine, so it has adequate time to dry and settle into your skin. Now, apply primer with your fingers or a clean sponge and let it set before following up with a tinted moisturizer or foundation.

How Will That Layer of Primer Affect Your Sun Protection?

Primers form a barrier between products, so they will not interfere with the efficacy of your sunscreen. It can help hold it in place for longer.

Dermatologists and skin experts advise against using cosmetics with SPF instead of a separate facial sunscreen. Makeup with SPF offers a noticeable boost but does not offer the same level of protection.

How Long Should You Wait to Apply Primer After Sunscreen? 

Your skin should absorb your sunscreen before applying primer. The waiting period between both applications should be at least 15 minutes. That allows sunscreen to provide optimum protection against UV rays. 

Here are a few things that need attention-

  • For sun protection, it is essential to allow sufficient time for the sunscreen to absorb into the skin.
  • It is essential to apply sunscreen before primer to ensure even distribution on the skin.
  • Sunscreen primers come in various formulations that may react differently without time to work.
  • Skin preparation steps, such as cleansing, toning, and moisturizing, should be spaced out perfectly for optimal outcomes.

Why to Use Sunscreen Before Primer?

Using sunscreen before primer prevents damage to your skin. UV rays harm our skin and cause premature aging and skin cancer. Sunscreen helps protect your skin from it and enhances the effectiveness of primer, making your skin smooth for makeup application. 

Skin can be inflamed and irritated if exposed to the sun without applying sunscreen. If you skip the sunscreen from your routine, it increases the chances of sunburn and skin damage. So, always apply sunscreen before using a primer to keep your skin healthy and beautiful.


So, the answer to primer or sunscreen first is sunscreen.  

For best results, apply primers and sunscreens in the proper order.

Sunscreen should always be applied before primer and given enough time to set and protect the skin from dangerous UV radiation.

Remember that no matter how high its SPF rating is, sunscreen is not a replacement for primer. Reapplying every two hours throughout the day is critical to provide enough sun protection.

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