According to Dr. Eldik, the three guiding principles to effectively choosing and applying any sunscreen are the SPF, the amount you apply, and the frequency of reapplication. You already know how to pick the level of SPF; the next step is understanding how to apply the right amount, which is critical. You’ll see that most powder SPFs are packaged in a brush that houses the SPF in a canister, which is released by tapping the brush or clicking a button.
“I recommend tapping the applicator on a hard surface or on your hand to fill the brush with the powder evenly,” says Dr. Eldik. He then suggests dabbing the forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin with the loaded brush. “Then you can go back and in a gentle circular motion evenly rub and blend it into the entire face,” he says. Repeat on your neck and chest.
There are a few places where people always forget to apply sunscreen; powder makes it easier to make those areas part of your go-to application pattern. “I recommend dusting a little bit on the tips of the ears as these are two of the most common areas for sun damage,” notes Dr. Eldik. We also like using powder SPF to protect our scalps and the backs of our hands.
As for reapplication, you’ll need to be consistent—every two hours is the dermatologist recommendation, which is one of the reasons powder SPF has become such a standby for us personally. “The powder brush does make it very accessible to reapply as it can fit into a pocket or purse, and doesn’t require getting your hands involved,” Dr. Eldik points out. Plus, you’ll probably end up wanting to reapply: “The powder can also help improve shininess that tends to develop throughout the day,” he adds.
And lastly, if you’re concerned about sunscreen’s effects on nature, particularly whether or not it’s reef safe—an honorable thought—don’t be concerned about powder SPF’s contributions. All of these formulas are mineral-based, meaning they use minerals like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to protect your skin by creating a physical filter against the sun, rather than chemical-based sunscreens that absorb UV rays via a chemical reaction.
Sold on powder SPF yet? Keep reading—below, we’ve rounded up our favorite formulas on the market to keep your skin perfectly protected without a fuss