Combining Makeup with Skin Care: The Best of Both Worlds?

Skin Care Routine

A lot of brands combine skincare and makeup. There are now beauty brand creams that pack sunscreen, moisturizer AND foundation. Can we now skip the multi-stepped skincare regime in the morning and go straight to makeup? Or does the combination reduce efficacy in terms of hydration and sun protection?

I am not a big fan of multitasking products. As a general rule, they do not do anything as well as specialized products. I only recommend these products to people who cannot handle multiple steps and the alternative is using nothing. I’ll also give a free pass when traveling and on trips when you just need to pack less. 

In the morning, everyone should splash their face with water or wash with a gentle cleanser, apply an antioxidant serum on bare skin and then apply sunscreen. If you have dry skin, you will need to use a moisturizer after the antioxidant and before the sunscreen. After sunscreen, you apply your makeup. And no, the sunscreen in your makeup is NOT enough. I answer that question 10 times a day. 

Active ingredients in skin care are supposed to be absorbed. Good makeup is supposed to stay on top of the skin. Makeups typically contain silicones such as dimethicone to smooth out fine lines and pores. In the process of doing that, it also blocks ingredients from getting into the skin. Thus, when makeup is used as skin care, it reduces the absorption of active skin care ingredients (aka the good stuff). Yes, there can be good ingredients in makeup but I do not consider them skin care. The goal with skin care is to get your skin healthy enough that you do not need to wear a lot of makeup on a daily basis.

But what about skin care–as–makeup? There are plenty of high quality, effective skin care products that can be used to replace certain makeups. Here are a few pro tips… When going makeup-free, make a statement with healthy, brushed-up brows; working a small amount of RESTORE Healing Balm into your brows first will help them stay in place before brushing the hairs upwards with a spoolie brush. Instead of a highlighter, add a little extra sunscreen to create a flattering sheen on cheekbones and brow bones. There are a few excellent tinted sunscreens that can also provide light foundation coverage. My favorites are MD Solar Science Crème Mineral Beauty Balm SPF 50 in light/medium and Dermquest SheerZinc SPF 30 in nude.

My go-to makeup-only products are Eyes to Kill Mascara by Gorgio Armani in black and Chantecaille Future Skin Gel Foundation in alabaster. This foundation is great after procedures to hide red and around eyes to fade dark circles without caking up. For blush, I use Charlotte Tillbury Cheek to Chic in ecstasy. For lips, I use Charlotte Tillbury Pillow Talk Lip Liner for color covered with RESTORE Healing Balm for shine and hydration. 

Like most things in life, specialized products will perform much better than a multitasking one. Makeup as skin care will likely reduce the efficacy of the active ingredients, and remember, that makeups with SPF cannot replace regular sunscreen. Skin care products that provide light makeup coverage are a much better option.

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Meet the author: Board-certified and practicing dermatologist, Dr. Heather D. Rogers, MD, is the founder of Doctor Rogers Skin Care and Modern Dermatology in Seattle, Washington. She studied at Stanford, University of Washington School of Medicine and Columbia University Medical Center. She lectures nationally, is well published, and an active member of the American Academy of Dermatology. Highly respected among the skin care community, Dr. Rogers has been annually named “Top 1% of Most Honored Doctors in the US” by Castle Connolly. 

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